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Transit City Plan

Which transit plan do you prefer?

  • Transit City

    Votes: 87 81.3%
  • Ford City

    Votes: 20 18.7%

  • Total voters
    107

Disparishun

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But as long as Toronto residents alone have to shoulder the cost of maintaining or growing capacity, it will continue to be unfair to prioritize new riders over those already using the system. That's why I believe that the Mayor's comments making the extension conditional on additional funding for capacity growth is both reasonable and prudent.

The Toronto mayor's comments were, of course, purely political, so I don't really know what I think about them. The point is that, yeah, it's got to be done, and doing it helps the whole region. The more we talk about this, the more -- I'm sorry, I know you'll disagree vehemently -- I am beginning to see uploading transit to Metrolinx or something (although its catchment area is enormous) as the only solution. These just aren't productive catfights.

As to who shoulders what load, I genuinely believe that shuttling people from other municipalities into Toronto to participate in Toronto's economy helps Toronto, not just other municipalities, and I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why it does not. On the other hand, I further believe that it is not the kind of argument where you can do an accounting and come up with a definitive answer. There are too many devils in those details and a creative accounting could tell just about any story one likes. So, again, I'm beginning to think that having a huge central transit agency that, nonetheless, is only as huge as the City of Toronto, doesn't work too well, because you end up with thsee unproductive bunfights. Either get more local, or get regional. The TTC is neither.
 
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kEiThZ

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The Toronto mayor's comments were, of course, purely political, so I don't really know what I think about them. The point is that, yeah, it's got to be done, and doing it helps the whole region. The more we talk about this, the more -- I'm sorry, I know you'll disagree vehemently -- I am beginning to see uploading transit to Metrolinx or something (although its catchment area is enormous) as the only solution. These just aren't productive catfights.

As to who shoulders what load, I genuinely believe that shuttling people from other municipalities into Toronto to participate in Toronto's economy helps Toronto, not just other municipalities, and I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why it does not. On the other hand, I further believe that it is not the kind of argument where you can do an accounting and come up with a definitive answer. There are too many devils in those details and a creative accounting could tell just about any story one likes. So, again, I'm beginning to think that having a huge central transit agency that, nonetheless, is only as huge as the City of Toronto, doesn't work too well, because you end up with thsee unproductive bunfights. Either get more local, or get regional. The TTC is neither.

Actually, I don't disagree with Metrolinx being responsible for transit across the GTA. It's the only way to eliminate disparities. As it stands, though I don't consider what the TTC or any other provider does to be necessarily unreasonable. Take the TTC's limited participation in Presto. Were the TTC to agree to integrate Presto completely across its network, it would cost tens of millions and benefit few riders. However, a suburbanite who commutes in and goes anywhere but union is screwed. It's a fiscally prudent decision for the TTC but does not benefit that rider. If Metrolinx was willing to bear such burdens than the cost of implementing Presto across the TTC get's spread across the whole region. So I am all for it.

As I have said before, my ideal solution would be something like TfL with the subways falling under Metrolinx and the bus/streetcar/LRT service falling under the TTC. This would give a much more regional perspective to the subway managing authority.
 

scarberiankhatru

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Thank you. That’s exactly what I have said. The line was meant to serve Kingston and UTSC. It makes sense to at least extend North to Sheppard to complete the network. Yet, others think that it’s some grand conspiracy to serve Malvern.

Seems I missed this juicy tidbit. Really, the grand conspiracy is to kill subways. In that respect, Malvern's just along for the ride...
 

kEiThZ

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I'm not ignoring anything...you're ignoring reality: Agincourt is not getting multiple lines (even though it's larger than Malvern, with worse traffic and busier bus routes). Same with southern Scarborough. Same with everywhere else in the entire GTA, other than Jane & Finch and Flemingdon Park (though at least those two sites are not unreasonable candidates for new transit lines).

THE LINES SERVE MORE THAN MALVERN.


It may happen, but by this point, the "must-run-to-Malvern" gambit will have already played out by preventing the subway extension on the grounds that it'll only go as far as STC (though it'll help far more people).

THE LINES SERVE MORE THAN MALVERN.

They're not running a line along Ellesmere to UTSC (the only route to UTSC that makes sense) so that they can run a line to Malvern. Even if they cut the line short somewhere before, the desire to fix social problems in Malvern by spending transit dollars will have already affected the choice of routes, preventing a line from getting built on Lawrence or Kipling or Wilson or any one of a dozen roads that actually need it.

Again with the Malvern bashing. And again I will repeat my view of the Morningside LRT. That line serves Kingston Rd and UTSC. The only part of it that is Malvern is the extra 2 km that allows the line to connect with Sheppard.

Avenueization is triggered by rezoning, not by adding transit...this has already been proven.

Fair enough. But a streetcar line surely does not hurt. I for one, look forward to the rezoning and development of Kingston Road.

Sheppard and Morningside is not a node, it's a Home Depot and some backyards. Transit lines need to terminate/intersect in proper places or the lines are abject failures.

It seems like a fairly busy corner to me and has yet more potential to develop. Anyway to me, the intersection of the Morningside and Sheppard LRT lines hardly needs to be yonge/bloor. We don't demand that when streetcar lines intersect downtown. So why is it necessary in this case? What's more like I have stated before and will repeat again, the Morningside line was extended to improve network connectivity. It does not need to connect to Sheppard.

Only the NE is responsible for ridership on the outer half of these lines, and ridership will be low. Other parts of Scarborough will not see better service so that these lines can be run to Malvern, so it's true that ridership may suffer in other parts of Scarborough.

That's not how I see it. But we can disagree. I see the thought process transpiring something like this....

SHEPPARD - The TTC thought the likelihood of getting the Sheppard subway finished to be pretty low because of the cost and decided it would use LRT instead. With that decision, I think they went on to decide to replace the Sheppard bus in its entirety because it would not then make sense for riders east of Mccowan to have transfer onto the LRT and then transfer onto the subway.

MORNINGSIDE - The city has always wanted a stronger transit connection to the UTSC. And the city wanted to service Kingston with a streetcar. Taking the existing bus routes into account, it makes sense to start at Kennedy and follow the route that they did. Having the line go up 2 km to Malvern was a bonus. I think it would be better if they route the line down Sheppard and back down the RT extension if LRT is to be used.

RT extension - Again the TTC always had it on the books to extend the RT to at least Markham Rd to serve Centennial. I'll agree that the line's viability is debatable now that Malvern will have LRT links to the Sheppard line and BD line. However, an extension to Markham and Progress still makes sense IMHO. Anyway, I think it's hard to debate the merits of the line until we know whether its going to be LRT or an ART Mk II.

Yes, peak service is what matters most. Peak service determines whether or not new infrastructure is viable, based on peak loads at peak times. This is not debatable. Peak ridership on the lines out in Malvern will be fantastically low...the small ridership base will be split up amongst multiple routes.

You have said in the past that ridership is always expected to be low at the end of the line. Well, does that not hold in this case. Half the Sheppard LRT will be outside Malvern. Half the RT extension is outside Malvern. Three quarters of the Morningside LRT is outside Malvern. Yet, Malvern is to be held responsible for not generating enough riders during the peak hours?

Malvern (like Agincourt) as a placeholder for individually named subdivisions is more than 3.25km. Ward 42 goes from McCowan to Meadowvale. At times I've referred to the entire NE quadrant of Scarborough as "Malvern," though quadrant is a misleading term because it's not even one quarter of Scarborough. I could be generous and talk about everything north and east of STC (the area served by the three overlapping lines) and it's still not many people, not nearly enough to support multiple transit lines.

You know that I strongly respect your opinion and knowledge of transit issues, but I am starting to think you are just bitter that they picked Kingston over Ellesmere and Malvern provides a convenient target to lash out at. I don't think the City of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission sat down and decided to come up with a 120 km of LRT and 7-8 billion dollars worth of transit lines to service some random neighbourhood. They are attempting to implement a new LRT grid across the entire city instead of focusing on building just one line. I see it as visionary because it will break the auto-centric ways of the inner suburbs. We can disagree on that idea. We can disagree on the actual implementation of each line (I agree with you on Sheppard being a subway for example and disagree on Morningside and the RT corridor). But I will take umbrage and I will continue to consider it non-sensical that you blame all of Transit City's flaws on one neighbourhood.
 

kEiThZ

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Getting back on topic....

Back to the merits of the TC concept....

Transfer City has no inherently better chance of success than any other transit plan. A smaller chance, if anything, because of its extreme cost and because it's a half-baked plan. More than enough money was offered by the province and suggested by Metrolinx to build all the subways Toronto would ever need and all kinds of suitable LRT lines and better GO service, but much of the money has been hijacked by pet projects that don't have the best interest of the city in mind, so we have lines proposed that defy logic and basic planning principles. The political reality was a blank cheque. No one has ever suggested building tens of billions of dollars of subways, or 120km of subways, or whatever red herring of subways you'll mention next. Still, extending the Spadina subway to Vaughan was probably the key force behind the entire recent splurging on transit by upper levels of government - Transfer City would be unthinkable without the Sorbara line. Maybe that's a good thing, though, since it would have forced Toronto to consider a series of the highest value lines one at a time, and then we would be seeing improvements on the busiest and most congested routes instead of wherever Miller and friends want to dole out some ideological largesse.

You raise a good argument here that I somewhat disagree with. Looking at the history of transit building for this city, I think the TTC had good reason to be skeptical. The lines that were solely meant for Toronto: Sheppard and Eglinton. Partial funding for stubway and hole in the ground. Lines to the 905: Spadina extension and Yonge extension. Agreements from three levels of government and the province even leading the TTC on the latter. That's the political reality of transit projects in the GTA. I suspect the TTC thought that they would get stuck building subways only to the 905 without any possibility for development within the city. Hence the came up with Transit City. To me its a practical and feasible plan. Instead of spending 4 billion on the Sheppard extension (east and west) alone that yields 14km of subway lines, the TTC now gets a 120 km grid that services the entire city. A unique Toronto solution to a regular Toronto problem (no money from other governments for transit).

Now you argue that there was blank cheque from the province. I'd argue that there was probably at least some tacit understanding that Toronto would not demand more than a fifth to a quarter of the total. I highly doubt the province would have jumped for joy if the TTC came back with a 20 billion dollar wishlist for just 2 lines: Sheppard and Eglinton.

Let's consider what would have happened if the TTC just wanted to fund Sheppard first. Given that the funds for Sheppard alone would have been a third of the first tranche of 11-12 billion, it's highly likely that there would have been some pushback. If the province was to give the TTC that much of the pie, the other diners would have a lot less to feast on. So I would argue, there was no blank cheque.

Lastly, I suspect that Metrolinx and the province had at least some input into developing TC. Metrolinx's reports love to boast about the percentage of residents with 2km of a rapid transit line. Those kind of metrics fall drastically if you build subways.

That's my take on the evolution of TC. Others are of course, entitled to their own.
 

scarberiankhatru

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THE LINES SERVE MORE THAN MALVERN.

They won't do a very good job serving other areas and won't be much of an improvement, if any, over the buses they'll replace (at a cost of billions). There's a good chance short trips on Sheppard in Agincourt will actually take longer than before, and for who's benefit?

Fair enough. But a streetcar line surely does not hurt. I for one, look forward to the rezoning and development of Kingston Road.

A streetcar line does nothing to help, either. Rezoning is everything. Why not plan transit based on the needs of riders, or on improving the busiest/most congested routes? That clearly was not done with Transfer City.

It seems like a fairly busy corner to me and has yet more potential to develop. Anyway to me, the intersection of the Morningside and Sheppard LRT lines hardly needs to be yonge/bloor. We don't demand that when streetcar lines intersect downtown. So why is it necessary in this case? What's more like I have stated before and will repeat again, the Morningside line was extended to improve network connectivity. It does not need to connect to Sheppard.

If you think that's a busy corner, you need to get out more. Any place can be redeveloped, so why waste billions of dollars on pointless transit lines when simple and free rezoning can take place instead, freeing up the transit dollars for, you know, actual transit? We don't demand it for every streetcar interchange downtown because we're not spending billions of dollars on new infrastructure along these lines. They already exist and don't need to be justified.

That's not how I see it. But we can disagree. I see the thought process transpiring something like this....

SHEPPARD - The TTC thought the likelihood of getting the Sheppard subway finished to be pretty low because of the cost and decided it would use LRT instead. With that decision, I think they went on to decide to replace the Sheppard bus in its entirety because it would not then make sense for riders east of Mccowan to have transfer onto the LRT and then transfer onto the subway.

No, cost is clearly not an issue. You don't reject one project that been in the works for years based on cost and then suddenly propose billions and billions of dollars of other projects. The province wrote them a blank cheque, too.

You have said in the past that ridership is always expected to be low at the end of the line. Well, does that not hold in this case. Half the Sheppard LRT will be outside Malvern. Half the RT extension is outside Malvern. Three quarters of the Morningside LRT is outside Malvern. Yet, Malvern is to be held responsible for not generating enough riders during the peak hours?

No, that's not what I've said. I always say that ridership cannot be at capacity at the end of a line...it's everyone else that thinks anything below capacity is "low." You can't remove someone's torso, but you can amputate a diseased limb. Malvern will be getting 3 diseased limbs, one on Sheppard, one on Morningside, and one on the RT, and it has a limited supply of blood and energy to send to these limbs to try to heal them. All three lines will need to be propped up on life support, when one or two should be chopped off to save the third. Theoretically, if the vehicles in Malvern were filled and no one got on outside Malvern, you'd be onto something, but that just isn't going to happen, and you know that. It's a mathematical certainty that one neighbourhood supplying riders to three lines will generate a trivial amount of riders compared to larger neighbourhoods, each with only one line running through them.

You know that I strongly respect your opinion and knowledge of transit issues, but I am starting to think you are just bitter that they picked Kingston over Ellesmere and Malvern provides a convenient target to lash out at. I don't think the City of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission sat down and decided to come up with a 120 km of LRT and 7-8 billion dollars worth of transit lines to service some random neighbourhood. They are attempting to implement a new LRT grid across the entire city instead of focusing on building just one line. I see it as visionary because it will break the auto-centric ways of the inner suburbs. We can disagree on that idea. We can disagree on the actual implementation of each line (I agree with you on Sheppard being a subway for example and disagree on Morningside and the RT corridor). But I will take umbrage and I will continue to consider it non-sensical that you blame all of Transit City's flaws on one neighbourhood.

No, the neighbourhoods were not random - they were selected from a short list of priority neighbourhoods. They're trying to bring "access" to light rail to within a few km of every point in the city, as if this were SimCity. The province is visionary for spending money on transit...the city is squandering this vision.

I'm not bitter that they picked Morningside when virtually any other arterial road in the entire city would have been a better choice, I'm angry that they're messing up my city. Throwing a dart at a map would have picked a better line serving more people. I actually won't use any of the Transfer City lines...not only that, I wouldn't have used them at any of my 5 previous homes, either. There's entire wards in Toronto that will be utterly unaffected by a so-called "Transit City" plan. Maybe phase two or three will add more lines, but then the total cost will be a dozen billion dollars or more...who's gonna have the gall to say it's an affordable alternative to subways then?

Transfer City's flaws go well beyond Malvern, and you know I think so. The Jane line is highly dubious (it doesn't and won't have peak load issues, and the possibility of a required tunnel serving no purpose - and no riders - is a tad obscene). The Waterfront line is fine, an extension of an existing line. The Finch line could turn out OK...it's possible. Don Mills must be a subway; a continuation of the DRL is in the city's very best interest and will benefit many hundreds of thousands of riders, far more than all of Transfer City. A tunnelled Eglinton streetcar could spell catastrophe - having a line run in a multi-billion dollar tunnel for a while, then stop at red lights for a while is an awful solution - why not take advantage of the Richview corridor? But if we're going to build a fully grade-separated streetcar, we might as well build a subway line for virtually the same cost. Remember, it's not just about what Transfer City is proposing, it's about what plans were cancelled to make way for it. The Sheppard subway extension was cancelled so that the area farther east - Malvern - could get a streetcar ROW.

Transfer City is not a grid, it's just some random lines. Many more lines, costing many billions of dollars, are needed to induce changes in the travel behaviour that just one well-placed subway line would accomplish (no one will switch to Transfer City lines from parallel routes, and drivers simply will not get out of their cars for them). Maybe if they planned some real light rail lines, common sense could prevail over sycophancy and Toronto could get the transit system it needs. It's really a shame.
 
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kEiThZ

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Oh, jeez, will this ever end?? You both make good points, but this argument is clearly going nowhere!

Passionate debates are the bedrock of any good democracy.... I do strongly appreciate Scarberian's view though despite our vigorous debates. He has changed my viewpoints on a number of issues. And I do see where he is coming from on TC's flaws....
 

scarberiankhatru

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Oh, jeez, will this ever end?? You both make good points, but this argument is clearly going nowhere!

The Metropolis/Toronto Life Square thread has over 5000 posts, and almost every single one of them is a complaint about the exterior signage.

I predict you'll have 5000 posts soon, too, and not one of them will be longer than one line or more substantial than an emoticon.
 

TJ O'Pootertoot

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I just wanna say that I think Scarberian's comparison of Transit City to the sort of system any one of us would design in SimCity is the best, succinct description I've seen.

At first glance, it looks great - light rail everywhere! Cheaper than subways, faster than cars...what could be wrong?

Only that they're just lines on a map which only occasionally coincide with the realities of what is needed where. I wonder if it would have been designed differently if they actually thought funding would come within a few years.

Keith's take on TC is interesting but my impression was always that they just came up with it on their own and threw it out there, as if to prove to people that they were thinking about the "big picture." I don't think anyone knew Move2020 was coming and that's the only thing that's made it close to the reality.

And, lastly, I think it's unfair to think the province doesn't back subways in Toronto because of what happened with Sheppard and Eglinton. Those were different times and different governments. The current planning strategy at the province is regional growth directed along transit-supported corridors (as opposed to Mike Harris's strategy of not funding public transit AT ALL).

Anyway, a lot of this is now in Metorlinx's hands so we can only hope they know what they're doing in terms of taking TC and figuring out what's actually worth doing and when...and that TTC realizes they have a very big role to play but that they are still a piece in a larger puzzle. I don't think they get that yet.
 

Brandon716

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And, lastly, I think it's unfair to think the province doesn't back subways in Toronto because of what happened with Sheppard and Eglinton. Those were different times and different governments.

Probably the best statement I've read in a while. Everyone, by nature, tends to get caught up in whats happened in the past as if every last circumstance is identical today. The fact is that times change, governments change, priorities change.

I bet if a proper TTC subway revamp project were presented in a unified fashion to the McGuinty government and also even attempt at federal funding for some things that there would be a pretty good backing overall for the plan. Especially if it included completing Sheppard, building a DRL subway, AND an Eglinton subway.
 

Coruscanti Cognoscente

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Probably the best statement I've read in a while. Everyone, by nature, tends to get caught up in whats happened in the past as if every last circumstance is identical today. The fact is that times change, governments change, priorities change.

I bet if a proper TTC subway revamp project were presented in a unified fashion to the McGuinty government and also even attempt at federal funding for some things that there would be a pretty good backing overall for the plan. Especially if it included completing Sheppard, building a DRL subway, AND an Eglinton subway.

I agree with all of that. Toronto needs a subway PLAN, and it doesn't have one. It has this idea of LRT as "rapid" transit, but we have no inkling that it will indeed be rapid at all. And if it's not faster than the buses, if it won't get people out of their cars, what's the point?

I think Scarberian's point about getting people out of their cars is a good one. I wouldn't take a streetcar from Port Credit to Union. That'd be crazy. That's what the GO train is for. It just doesn't seem any sense of rationality has been applied to these plans. It's like GO train or LRT and those are the only two options.
 

kEiThZ

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And, lastly, I think it's unfair to think the province doesn't back subways in Toronto because of what happened with Sheppard and Eglinton. Those were different times and different governments. The current planning strategy at the province is regional growth directed along transit-supported corridors (as opposed to Mike Harris's strategy of not funding public transit AT ALL).

As has been pointed out earlier, it was the federal Liberal government of the day that came up short. The Harris Tories, with all their disdain for urban transit stuck to the province's committment and pitched in for the Sheppard line. Keep that example in mind when you hear today's Liberals gush about all things transit.

Probably the best statement I've read in a while. Everyone, by nature, tends to get caught up in whats happened in the past as if every last circumstance is identical today. The fact is that times change, governments change, priorities change.

Because the past is all we have to instruct us...This city has been screwed over repeatedly for nearly two decades when it comes to transit funding. If you were a planner at the TTC looking at that history and similar promises from before, what would you think?

I bet if a proper TTC subway revamp project were presented in a unified fashion to the McGuinty government and also even attempt at federal funding for some things that there would be a pretty good backing overall for the plan. Especially if it included completing Sheppard, building a DRL subway, AND an Eglinton subway.

Scarberian thinks they might. I think they might not. My rationale was given above. When TO asks for 6-8 billion that does not sound bad. If they asked for 20 billion minimum, someone else in the GTA would lose out or the province's bill for MO2020 would have ballooned by about 10-15 billion. I am a little skeptical the province would willingly swallow that medicine. There are other demands across the province and MO2020 only meets the requirements of the GTHA. Ottawa's got light rail plans that call for at least 2 billion from the province. And I would not be surprised if Kingston or London was not too far behind.

I agree with all of that. Toronto needs a subway PLAN, and it doesn't have one. It has this idea of LRT as "rapid" transit, but we have no inkling that it will indeed be rapid at all. And if it's not faster than the buses, if it won't get people out of their cars, what's the point?

I think Scarberian's point about getting people out of their cars is a good one. I wouldn't take a streetcar from Port Credit to Union. That'd be crazy. That's what the GO train is for. It just doesn't seem any sense of rationality has been applied to these plans. It's like GO train or LRT and those are the only two options.

Fair enough. And I agree that the city needed to show more vision regarding the subway system....maybe something like network 2011. But the perennial problem the TTC faces is an unsteady vision with higher levels of government. Even MO2020 could get thrown out with the window with a change in government. In that sense, TC projects are great because they are relatively quick to complete and fund and give pols of all stripes something tangible to point to. The 10 year subway building cycle doesn't always do that.

Anyway, we keep debating TC as though it excludes other options. I think it's quite conceivable that subway building will go on after TC is done and that the Sheppard line, DRL and BD extensions (east and west) will occur in my working lifetime. All of that, though, would be contingent on continuing to have support from higher levels of government. And that's where I'd be a little worried.
 
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Hipster Duck

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THE LINES SERVE MORE THAN MALVERN.

Fair enough, but why must three lines intersect at a node in the top right-hand corner of Toronto's map? The purpose of such an intersection in the transportation world should be to collect and redistribute travelers at a geographically important junction. This is why major airline hubs in the US are places like Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago and not, say, Anchorage.

Why are Malvernites so spoiled for choice? Since nobody - not even 905ers - lives to the immediate north or east of them, why must they alone be offered three distinct rapid transit routes to the south and southwest of where they live?
 

kEiThZ

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Fair enough, but why must three lines intersect at a node in the top right-hand corner of Toronto's map? The purpose of such an intersection in the transportation world should be to collect and redistribute travelers at a geographically important junction. This is why major airline hubs in the US are places like Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago and not, say, Anchorage.

Why are Malvernites so spoiled for choice? Since nobody - not even 905ers - lives to the immediate north or east of them, why must they alone be offered three distinct rapid transit routes to the south and southwest of where they live?

So given what I have explained repeatedly above about each line, tell me where you would place the node.
 

Hipster Duck

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Well, STC would be a more useful node, for starters. Its position within the context of Scarborough is much more central than Malvern, which is the Kamchatka of Toronto. Seriously, what is the need for a line south from Malvern on Morningside? To serve the handful of Malvernites who work at UTSC? An alternative route to Kennedy station for Malvern and Woburnites if the RT breaks down?

The most useful balance of service and capital expenditures would be to terminate Sheppard at STC (as a subway), the Kingston LRT at either UTSC or Rouge Hill, and extend the RT to Malvern. That, I think, would be more than sufficient.
 

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