- Mar 8, 2010
- Reaction score
A reduced capacity of about 10%, it's not massive. The OL has more capacity than the existing subway as well - it's not some low capacity line.For clarity, the O/L is unlikely to open by December 2030; its always possible, but that's certainly optimistic.
Also, the largest chunk of 'savings' in overlapping segments of the O/L an d Relief Line aren't from any changes in alignment, they are from smaller stations and lower capacity rolling stock.
I don't think we need to, and I will not re litigate the whole question of which project design is better and why; but I will make the case that you are awarding credit for achievement that isn't really merited.
Segment for segment, if one chose to go with the reduced capacity model, you could have built the R/L (meaning same alignment) and easily afforded the extension to Eglinton.
Alternatively, based on the R/L's unit cost, had you bloated the budget by 4B, or roughly 57%, allowing for fixed costs etc, you certainly could have achieved a 65% increase in length and stations. That gets you at least 11.5km of length.
And that is also if you believe the O/L budget holds.
Ford didn't deliver any miracle or panacea, he delivered delay, much consternation, and reduced capacity with, yes, an advancement of future extensions by a few years.
Some of the savings are from the technology change, yes, but most of it actually come from surfacing the line along the Lakeshore Corridor and elevating it further north and at Exhibition. The alignment went from around ~7km of tunnels to ~4.5km of tunnels to get from Queen and University to the Danforth, a ~35% reduction. The entire OL line only has about 8.5km of tunnels on it's 15km corridor length, and that's where it really saves on costs.
The technology change is a big reason the line makes so much sense anyway as it is what enables a lot of things like shallower stations, surfacing along the Lakeshore corridor, etc., and still provides roughly 2x the capacity of projected demand on the line.
Make no mistake, the OL is not some brainchild of Ford himself.. I somehow doubt he's a transit aficionado looking to make innovative changes to subway system designs. I suspect the OL was pitched to Ford by Metrolinx, which had previously published similar ideas (i.e. a subway connection from downtown to Exhibition to take pressure off of Union Station for the GO system). Ford simply backed that decision, which I think was the right one in the end.
He's also making stupid mistakes elsewhere, like burying Eglinton West.. But I think people are right to give him credit for genuinely pushing these projects forward as quickly as possible. There is a clear eagerness for his government to get major infrastructure projects actually underway ASAP, unlike the Liberals.