Push on to put transit on city agenda

By DON PEAT, City Hall Bureau, Toronto SunMayor Rob Ford’s transit plan isn’t on the agenda for next week’s council meeting but some councillors are trying to bring it up.Two motions, one focused on Finch West and the other on Sheppard East, ask for transit solutions for commuters that won’t be served by Ford’s plan.Unveiled last week, Ford’s transportation plan scrapped an LRT along Finch Ave. W. and calls for a Sheppard subway rather than a longer LRT.Councillor Anthony Perruzza’s member motion, seconded by Councillor Joe Mihevc asks for the city’s transportation services department to report on future options to improve rapid transit and traffic flow along Finch Ave. W.Perruzza wants to know “any and all future options” to reduce travel times for the 40,000 riders of the Finch 36 bus route and drivers who use the busy road.The York West councillor said putting the brakes on the Finch LRT is a “terrible mistake.”During peak hours, there is half a kilometre worth of buses on Finch, Perruzza said.“The street is no longer working for drivers (either),” he said. “We need to improve that and the LRT was the way to do it.“The powers that be have just completely missed the point on that.”A second motion by Councillor Raymond Cho, seconded by fellow Scarborough Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker asks city staff to come up with ways to provide “better public transit” to Scarborough residents now that the LRT is being shortened and “will no longer serve residents east of the Scarborough Town Centre.”Cho also asks for a cost-benefit analysis of any transit options staff propose.Both motions will need two-thirds of council just to support debating them at the meeting.“I certainly hope (we’ll get support),” Mihevc said optimistically. “I live in hope with this council and mayor.”Mihevc said the mayor’s plan needs to come to council and goes out for community consultation.“We have to have a conversation with Torontonians on public transit,” he said.Although Ford has said the Sheppard subway will be built with private money, Mihevc worries there will be a cost to residents.“If the Toronto public knew how much a Sheppard subway would add to the tax bill there would be revolution in the streets very quickly,” he said.http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2011/04/07/17915291.html

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