Wednesday, January 5, 2011

TEA & Pembina Inst. LRT Reports Incorrectly Based on Unfunded Lines...

Earlier today, reports released by the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA Transit Map) and the Pembina Institute (Making Tracks to Torontonians) were going around Toronto blasting Mayor Rob Ford for pushing for subways as opposed to the planned Transit City LRTs, making outrageous claims about how the LRTs are better for Toronto, and how they will be far more efficient in terms of the number of riders they will serve, and all kinds of green-related benefits of the plan.

Well, news is now coming out that both the TEA and the Pembina Institute's numbers/figures were completely inflated, and included LRT lines that have not been funded by Metrolinx and Dalton McGuinty's Ontario Government, and in fact they have no plans whatsoever to fund those lines in the future.

Here's the story from the Globe and Mail:

The TEA and Pembina transit reports, debunked
With TTC and Metrolinx staff scurrying to produce a new transit plan for Toronto by the end of the month, a pair of environmental groups teamed up Wednesday morning to make the case for the old plan.

Transit City, the light-rail network championed by David Miller, would serve 630,000 people, 10 times the 61,000 served by Mayor Rob Ford’s plan to extend the Sheppard subway and replace the aging Scarbourgh RT with a subway, according to a splashy map produced by the Toronto Environmental Alliance.

Would Transit City really serve that many more riders? Sure, if you base your map-doodling on a version of the plan that’s mostly unfunded and mostly dead, especially now that Mr. Miller has vamoosed.

The trouble with TEA’s map and with the Pembina Institute figures that underlie them, is that the numbers include whole lines, or parts of lines, that Queen’s Park hasn’t committed to funding yet. In a city where we once filled in a subway hole we'd already started digging, unfunded crayon lines on a map are meaningless.

TEA’s map is of the original Transit City plan, which Metrolinx, the regional transportation authority for the GTA, supports (in theory) as part of its long-term Big Move plan. It’s a map of eight lines and nearly 150 kilometres of light-rail, spread across 25 Toronto neighbourhoods. Mr. Ford's subway proposal, by contrast, would cover 18 kilometres and three neighbourhoods, according to TEA's map.

Of the eight lines on TEA's map, the province has only agreed to fund four: The Sheppard LRT, which has already broken ground; the Finch West LRT; the Eglinton Crosstown LRT; and the conversion of the Scarborough RT into a light-rail line. The rest of Transit City is a pipe dream.

Pembina’s numbers are based on the original plan for the four lines, not the current, funded plan, meaning even Pembina inflates the number of people the four priority lines would serve. Twenty-five fewer stations means fewer people "served," which Pembina defines as the number of residences and workplaces with 500 metres of a rapid-transit stop.

I guess given the fact that both of these reports came from green organizations, it should be assumed that they would release reports that are pushing for any way to take more roads away from cars (a la war on the car), even if that means releasing purposely flawed reports (shame on you TEA and Pembina Institue, you have lost any/all credibility you ever had, if you had any).


(Image: by Jay Woodworth on flickr


Cherise Burda, Pembina Institute said...

Please see the update to the Globe and Mail blog. The Pembina Report in fact compares costs of the funded Phase 1 LRT lines with the subway plan. See Table 2 in the Pembina Report. Also see the Globe update:

jackandcokewithalime said...

Thanks for your comment Cherise.

You know, I love how unfunded extensions can be included in these reports for LRTs because "we considered the greater benefits that Torontonians would experience under full completion", but imaginary unfunded subway extensions can't also be included for some reason...

I could easily draw a subway map with all kinds of unfunded potential extensions, and then talk about the numbers of people who could be served "under full completion" of the subway plan.

I mean, come on. Am I wrong?

Did you also notice in the report that when comparing the BENEFITS of the LRT plan versus the subway plan, for some reason the "fully completed" unfunded version of the LRT plan was used, but when comparing the COSTS, suddenly only phase one of the LRT plan was used in the comparison? I mean, who are you kidding?

Not to mention that for all of the Quotations that were blown up in big fonts and colours in your report, they were referring again to the unfunded "fully completed" plan, and not to the actual funded "phase one" plan.

You folks must think Torontonians are idiots.

That report that was released by the Pembina Institute was one of the most manipulative and mis-informative documents ever released by a "non-profit" green organization like yours, and I stand by my deduction that the Pembina Institute has lost all credibility and should no longer be viewed as a source for legitimate information.

Next time, try releasing a report with less manipulation and more straight-forward facts, and that may put you back on the path to re-earning the trust of Torontonians.