A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘don valley parkway

[VIDEO] Crossing the Bloor Viaduct, facing south

Written by Randy McDonald

September 29, 2019 at 10:15 am

[PHOTO] Three photos of Toronto seen exiting the city

Looking south down the Don #toronto #dundasstreetbridge #donvalleyparkway #donriver #dundasstreeteast

Towers in the sun past Todmorden Mills #toronto #donvalleyparkway #todmordenmills #playterestates #skyline #towers

Towers of Victoria Village at Eglinton #toronto #donvalleyparkway #eglintonavenue #victoriavillage #skyline #towers

[PHOTO] Nine photos of the Prince Edward Viaduct at twilight

I decided to walk at least part of the way home from an evening meditation session at Broadview and Danforth, over the Prince Edward Viaduct at twilight. I love this bridge, with its majestic arcs over the Don Valley below, and its colour-shifting Luminous Veil.










Written by Randy McDonald

June 12, 2017 at 9:15 am

[URBAN NOTE] “City manager blasts Wynne’s U-turn on tolls”

The Toronto Star‘s David Rider reports on how Toronto city manager Peter Wallace has criticized the Ontario government’s refusal to let Toronto levy tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway.

By flip-flopping on tolls Premier Kathleen Wynne has robbed Toronto of badly needed revenue, prolonged gridlock and undercut the city’s independence and decision-making ability, says the city manager.

Peter Wallace’s withering assessment of Wynne’s surprise decision to block tolls is in a three-page letter to Mayor John Tory and the 44 councillors sent Tuesday and obtained by the Star.

While bemoaning Toronto’s lost fiscal opportunity and flatly rejecting Wynne’s argument she has replaced the lost revenue, he urges council to keep pushing the province for road pricing.

Tolling the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway, approved by council in December after Wynne said she would not block tolls, would have helped bridge the big gulf between the city’s limited means and considerable ambitions, Wallace wrote.

Tolls were to “provide stable, significant revenue sources to invest in transit and transportation polices and, importantly, to shift the burden from property tax and transit riders towards user fees for roads.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “How to Turn the Province’s Rejection of Tolls on the DVP and Gardiner Into an Opportunity”

At Torontoist, Tricia Wood argues that, if we try, the rejection by the Ontario government of Toronto imposing tolls on the Gardiner and the DVP can inspire creative thinking abut the future of the city.

The Premier is right to say, in her decision not to approve road tolls, that Toronto residents need better transit options. But under the Liberals’ watch, sound transit-planning practices have been more talk than walk. Every development decision is a transit decision. The recent siting of two new hospitals in St. Catharines and Windsor in suburban locations is straight out of 1950s planning around the automobile.

More importantly, Toronto’s own goals are still murky on the question of the future of the car in the city. Too frequently, we lack vision, and we lack political leadership. The Mayor’s random revenue-generating ideas encourage narrow, limited thinking. We are implicitly encouraged to think small, to accept compromises that are not real compromises. We should resist this.

I don’t include the mayor among progressive city-builders. The Tory road toll proposal was not a city-building idea, nor a good plan. Its only achievable goal was to raise money, most or all of which would have gone towards roads, not transit. As a revenue tool, it was unfair, and as a city-building plan, it was auto-centric. It was trying to make money off the status quo instead of building towards something better.

Road tolls on the DVP and Gardiner would not have improved mobility in the city, nor would they have brought about significant mode change—namely, getting people out of cars.

So let’s take the opportunity to shed ourselves of a weak plan and imagine what could be done with the Toronto-owned highways to build a better city, one that isn’t oriented around the automobile. We should talk about rethinking how they are used, or even getting rid of all of them.

Our three inner-city freeways were the brainchild of the Metro Toronto government in the 1950s. There were even more expressways planned that were never built. They are the epitome of auto-centric city-building that cuts the city in pieces and envisions it as a place to get through, rather than a place in which we live.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 1, 2017 at 8:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Wynne’s U-turn on road tolls dangerous for Tory”

Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc writes about how Premier Kathleen Wynne’s decision to not let Toronto impose tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway weakens John Tory’s position.

What she did, in a way that breaks from her mostly civil approach to politics, was to play Mayor John Tory for a fool. Whatever else you might think about Tory’s policies — and there’s plenty to criticize — he’s been a respectful and accommodating dance partner for Wynne. She could have done better.

But you’ve seen this film before. Last week’s U-turn reminds me of that moment in the spring of 2010 when Dalton McGuinty double-crossed David Miller and withdrew a $4 billion tranche of promised funding for Transit City.

It’s easy to say that all this is just politics. But you didn’t need to be a polling genius to anticipate the electoral risks for Wynne in backing tolls, so it’s not clear why the premier didn’t offer Tory options in the first instance, including the now transparently political pledge – increasing the gas tax transfer to municipalities from $321 million to $642 million — she served up on Friday in Richmond Hill.

The operative words in Wynne’s press release are, “beginning in 2019,” which is to say, after the election the Liberals will lose resoundingly. Ignore all the calculations about how much Toronto’s going to get a few years out. The city is going to get nada, because Tory leader Patrick Brown will win handily on pocket-book issues, of which this new gas tax will be merely one.

All of this puts the fiscal ball squarely back in Toronto city council’s court, and marks, in a very important way, an unavoidable turning point moment for Tory. It is now quite clear that important anticipated sources of capital support for major infrastructure are drying up, and this is happening at a time when several of these projects are seeing dramatic cost escalations.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 1, 2017 at 8:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Wynne to halt Tory’s plans for road tolls on Gardiner, DVP”

This report in The Globe and Mail was a surprise to read last night. I have no idea as to how this will rebound onto politics in Toronto and wider Ontario.

In a stunning about-face, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will announce Friday that she will refuse to give Toronto permission to go ahead with Mayor John Tory’s plan to toll the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway.

Ms. Wynne, who is facing an election in 2018 and riding low in the polls, is expected to break the news at an event in Richmond Hill, Ont., on Friday morning, senior city hall and provincial government sources told The Globe and Mail. She had previously suggested she would not stand in the way of the city’s decision to impose tolls, approved by city council in December.

However, sources say Ms. Wynne will also announce an increase in the amount of the provincial gas tax that Ontario hands over to municipalities. One source says the new revenue could entail $170-million for Toronto to spend on public transit – close to the $200-million the city estimated the tolling plan would bring in. The gas-tax changes would also mean more revenue for municipalities across the province.

Mr. Tory sold his plan for tolls, in the range of $2 a trip, as a way to make drivers in Richmond Hill and others from around Toronto pay for the city’s two expressways, which are maintained by City of Toronto taxpayers and do not receive direct provincial funding.

The move is a blow to Mr. Tory, who until this disagreement appeared to have a good relationship with Ms. Wynne. Mr. Tory unveiled his toll proposal with fanfare in November, selling it as a bold plan to move the city forward. He acknowledged that he had reversed his previous position against tolls, which dated back to his run against David Miller for mayor in 2003. He is not scheduled to attend Ms. Wynne’s announcement Friday, but is set to address reporters at city hall afterward.

One person close to the mayor characterized his reaction as a mixture of surprise and disappointment.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 27, 2017 at 9:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Yorkdale-sized shopping complex coming to Toronto’s east side”

blogTO’s Derek Flack reports on the plans for the construction of a massive retail centre in east Toronto, by the mouth of the Don in the East Harbour area.

The plans for what’s known as East Harbour have been in the works for some time, but only recently has the full scale of the project come to light in the wake of supporting documentation filed with the city. It reveals that beyond the transit and commercial priorities of the development, the retail component is going to absolutely huge.

Well, to step back for a moment, everything about this project is huge. Set upon some 60 acres of land, it would represent one of the largest master developments Toronto has witnessed. The proposed transit hub would integrate GO train lines, a streetcar route, and possibly a relief subway line if we ever get such a thing built.

Right now, there’s 11 million square feet of office space proposed for the site, spread over a number of towers. Yes, that’s right. This isn’t more condos. On the contrary, this is the place where developer First Gulf hopes that residents in places like the East Donlands and Bayfront will come to work, eat, and shop.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Why doesn’t Ontario’s NDP get road pricing?”

Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc is fed up with the NDP’s failure to get Toronto voters, most recently on the road toll issue.

How long do progressives and urban dwellers more generally have to wait before Ontario’s NDP stops compensating (atoning?) for former premier Bob Rae’s decision, circa the early 1990s, to slap tolls on Highway 407?

The question arose again late last week when Andrea Horwath’s populists stood shoulder to ideological shoulder with Patrick Brown’s Progressive Conservatives to support a symbolic motion calling on Kathleen Wynne’s government to reject the City of Toronto’s forthcoming request to put tolls on the Gardiner and the Don Valley Parkway.

I understand that opposition parties need to be, well, oppositional. But as happened in the last provincial election in 2014, Horwath revealed she’s got a tin ear when it comes to not just funding urban infrastructure but deploying green policies meant to change driver behaviour, reduce emissions, and spur transit use.

Instead of tabling a motion calling on the provincial government to, say, properly fund the operating costs of transit, toll all the 400-series highways or urge the Wynne Liberals to give the City of Toronto other revenue tools, such as sales tax, Team Horwath threw in their lot with a rurally-based party that has little interest in transit and scant purchase with urban voters.

Why? Shouldn’t progressive voters in big cities like Toronto be able to back an electoral option to the Liberals? Of course. Yet last week’s stunt — which, let’s face it, is what that motion amounted to — stands as a fairly crisp signal that the NDP isn’t interested in Toronto. I understand why the Tories don’t much care about the city, but the NDP’s indifference is much more difficult to grasp.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 14, 2016 at 4:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Why an NDP veteran cut his party ties over tolls”

The Toronto Star‘s Martin Regg Cohn writes about why one Toronto NDP MPP left his party over its opposition to road tolls.

Politicians are like pretzels — easily twisted out of shape.

Until they snap.

Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives are twisting themselves into cloverleafs over road tolls. But they’re not the only politicians clutching fig leafs.

The New Democratic Party is also twisting and turning in ideological circles over road tolls. And this time, the road kill is one of their own.

Paul Ferreira, a lifelong New Democrat, one-time MPP, and former chief of staff to two of Ontario’s NDP leaders, has quit the party.

Many New Democrats responded by telling him they’d “already taken a similar decision,” Ferreira told me, for the same reason: The party is being “fundamentally dishonest.”

Written by Randy McDonald

December 14, 2016 at 4:30 pm