Is there anything slower than the speed of government?
Case in point: Toronto is about to get a new (and much-needed) transit line. But the timeline does not make sense. For example, there will be a new subway station built in the same vicinity as an existing one at Queen and Yonge Streets.
It shall take 4.5 years* to complete, and during that time, Queen Street shall be closed from Victoria to Bay Street, meaning downtown traffic will become even more hellacious. (*4.5 years is the estimated amount of time for completion; given these projects invariably go past deadline and over budget, we can only guess what the real due date will be...)
But the question arises: why does it take almost as much time to build one station today as it did to build the entire subway line in the 1950s (five years)?
We reached out to Anne Marie Aitkens (she/her), the chief spokesperson for Metrolinx, who said the chief difference between these dire days versus the fabulous '50s is that Toronto is a bigger city now.
"We are now building under another subway and the population of Toronto has grown immensely with condos now all along the area.”
Look, I'm no urban planner nor civil engineer, but does that reason make sense to anyone?
Since traffic will be horrific during this construction period, there are things that can be done to alleviate the future gridlock.
For example, would it not be a no-brainer to remove the cycling lanes on Richmond and Adelaide Streets and to eradicate the King Street streetcar-only mandate on King Street in order to facilitate better traffic flow. Ms. Aitkens states:
“Lots more decisions with our partners at the city yet to come.”
Bottom line: expect the war on the car to continue. After all, so many councillors (including Mayor John Tory) live within walking distance to City Hall (when they’re not working from home, that is.)
What do they care about impending traffic misery for those people who actually count on traffic moving at a pace that exceeds snail-speed?