Subways are faster if a person wishes to simply travel from point A to B in the least time possible. Few refute this argument. However, I firmly believe that the day of the subway is ending. They are too costly and take too long to build.
In countries with large populations and small geographic size (e.g. England, France, Spain ), and in cities that are compact and where the federal government is contributing to their financing, then subways may remain viable for another decade. For everywhere else, they are too costly and too take too long to build. The way of the future is “light-rapid transit,” which is not to be confused with streetcars on their own right-of-way (Spadina and St. Clair streetcars).
The LRT system is San Francisco is an excellent example. The LRT trains are about a third the size of those on a subway, and thus the stations cost much less. Trains are more frequent to compensate for the smaller-size trains. Unlike streetcars, the distance between stations is similar to subways, which reduces the time required to travel the length of the line. Where the city traffic is highly congested, the trains travel underground, and in in less congested areas, they travel above ground on their own right-of-way. This is the same as the LRL proposed for Eglinton Avenue. An LRT is the best of both worlds. They are almost as speedy as a subway, with reduced construction times and far less costs.
It’s fine for Mayor Ford to rant against construction of LRTs. He won’t be a passenger in either a subway or a LRT, as he’ll be in a comfy automobiles, likely subsidized by taxpayers as a business expense. I suppose it’s unkind to say that he will be riding his own “gravy train.” Some politicians say that if the city builds an LRT, it will have to be replaced in 30 years with a subway. Nothing wrong with this. If passenger traffic merits a subway on that route 30 years from now, then a subway is merited. In the meantime, where passenger loads are too light for a subway, such as on Finch and Shepherd, should we wait 30 years for a proper transportation system?
I have spent much of my adult life researching and teaching about the city of Toronto. I love this city. It has provided the background for my writing. My book “The Villages Within” was short-listed for the Toronto Heritage Awards. My other books are also all about the city. If interested in novels with a Toronto setting, descriptions of the books are available by following the link: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/toronto-author-publishes-seventh-novel/ They can be purchased in soft cover or electronic editions. All books are available at Chapters/Indigo and on Amazon.com. The electronic editions are less that $4. Follow the links:
There Never Was a Better Time: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000056586/THERE-NEVER-WAS-A-BETTER-TIME.aspx
Arse Over Teakettle: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx
The Reluctant Virgin; http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx
Author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/
Authors can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org