LORINC: Rossi’s newest tunnel vision

Where to begin, or, perhaps more accurately, where to end?

That’s the question Rocco Rossi’s troops flatly refuse to answer about his newest pledge to commission a study on constructing a highway tunnel between end of the Allen and an un-named location along the Gardiner.

The grinding sound you’re hearing is Jane Jacobs coming back from the dead.

Tellingly, the campaign won’t say what it will cost, who pays, where or how many other exits will be built, what will be the impact on congestion, and whether they’ve consulted the thousands of homeowners who live on the presumed path between Eglinton and Gardiner. “Those details are not even available,” said Larry Archer of Rossi’s campaign team. “We put out no numbers today because we don’t have them.”

As a plan for a new piece of urban infrastructure, Rossi’s so-called Toronto Tunnel is little more than a fantasy, and an exceedingly expensive one at that. But coupled with his other recent pronouncements — especially his plan to somehow slash the size of council — this latest gimmick reveals Rossi as a candidate so desperate for a bump that he has jettisoned all traces of good judgment in the pursuit of a fleeting news hit. True leaders are made of stronger fibre.

Indeed, the Toronto Tunnel, from where I sit, officially puts Rossi in the fringe candidate column. He’s no longer to be taken seriously, which is regrettable because Rossi’s candidacy began on a far more sober note. You may not have agreed with his plan to privatize Toronto Hydro, but it was a serious idea. The tunnel isn’t.

All this is good to know, because his judgment in advancing an impossible and destructive highway building scheme shows that Rossi would be an attention-craving mayor for whom petty politics would trump all else.

Let’s imagine a mirror image of Rossi’s Toronto Tunnel – e.g., a highway tunnel linking the 401 and the 407 and running under some unfortunate collection of Scarborough and Markham neighbourhoods. Such a proposal would never happen, because those are votes he wants. Apparently, those south of the Allen, not so much.

Interestingly, Sarah Thomson’s new bike plan, released last week, offers a highly revealing contrast to Rossi’s tunnel vision.

When it was announced early in the race, Thomson’s subway plan was rife with gaps and factual errors. But she’s clearly grown as the campaign has evolved, and her impressive bike plan reads as if it had been written by a team that’s done its homework and consulted those who know a thing or two about the topic.

“Bike City” cites the need for bike boxes, more extensive sharrows, physically segregated bike lanes on Richmond/Adelaide and University, among other pledges. Thomson’s political naiveté is still in evidence: she believes that if city council approves a four-year bike strategy, the naysayers will retreat into defeated silence.

But the broader point is that Thomson has shown herself to be a candidate who has sought to better understand the city’s current problems and how they may be solved in a sustainable, cost-effective and urban-minded manner. Rossi’s proposed tunnel, by contrast, is about reviving old fights and pumping more congestion into an already congested core. Forty years after the Spadina Expressway fiasco, it seems we may have to learn those lessons all over again.

photo by Toronto Archives

56 comments

  1. Would this article be just as effective without getting all George A Romero on Jacobs’ memory? Probably.

  2. Nick – Jacobs is evoked all the time in Toronto, sometimes wrongly, and often on how she “might” feel about something. This one, the Spadina Expressway, was her fight. Rossi held his press conference where she helped stop it. No more appropriate time to bring her up than now.

  3. Everyone’s strategy is about grabbing a little TV time away from the Ford juggernaut, isn’t it? And while that might distinguish the real leaders from the dilettantes, as you say, what other strategy is there in a polarized race led by this bull in a civic china shop?

    Let’s set one thing straight. This race was never about leadership. Ever. Not even for one second. It’s a race about the opportunistic desires of the also-rans. Candidates who wouldn’t otherwise get invited to the table, “finally” being given their shot at the bigtime. A blowhard councillor with an axe to grind against a spotlight-seeking politico who cut and run from provincial government before he was buried by his mistakes. Stack those two against the backroom dealer, the 3rd string legacy man and the total unknown and you’ve got a race that’s about the candidates, not the job for which they’re vying. This downturn was inevitable post-Giambrone and it points to something which hasn’t received nearly the ink it should…

    Is the Mayoralty of Toronto a sucker gig? The sitting Mayor didn’t want the job. His heir apparent, so desperate to get out of the gig without having to say no to his mentor, created a scandal to save himself and the so-called “best candidate” (a certain AM radio host) couldn’t be bothered to take something that many people thought was being offered to him on a silver platter.

    No one should be surprised by this race. We’re left with the scraps, the junk candidates and the race is a perfect reflection of that. So let’s not ask “what wrong with these candidates?”…rather, let’s start asking “what’s so wrong with this city that good people can’t be bothered to lead it?”

  4. To be frank, when you look at the transportation map from the 60s, it is clear to see that the Allen/Spadina should never have been a priority. It didn’t connect to the Gardiner (though it would have connected to the Midtown Expressway) nor did it link to any towns or cities in the GTA or the rest of Ontario, and would have spilled downtown traffic directly on to city streets like it does at Eglinton. Even if it was built to completion, I am certain it would become a toll route within a few years.

    If there is to be any adult discussion or debate about highway construction in Toronto, it should be with a 400 extension. Without getting into all the engineering and costs, I could see the 400 continuing south with interchanges at Lawrence and Eglinton, going underground and having an exit at St.Clair, then would continue underground under where the subway goes above ground near Bloor West and High Park, then connecting with the eastbound Gardiner (westbound would continue to use the 401/427). I’m not saying this will ever happen, but it is a far better strategy than extending the Allen.

  5. What astounds me in this mayoral race is the willful ignorance most of them display. I mean, when Rossi was coming up with this idea, why wouldn’t he look at the research that’s been done on urban development and traffic engineering? I’m not talking about the ‘normative’ stuff that seeks to provide evidence that it’s good to reduce vehicle traffic and promote cycling and walking. I mean the objective-as-possible ‘science’ of traffic engineering. Even Robert Moses realized (a bit late, to be sure) that more highways just leads to more traffic (“induced traffic”).
    I just wish some of this mayoral debate was between competing ‘schools of thought’ and not just amateur ideas that completely disregards all the research that’s out there for the taking.

  6. Josh, I mostly agree – but what about Pantalone? I’ve brought this up before, but he seems to be the most credible candidate. I’m still waiting for reasons why he isn’t.

  7. Just in case people thought Rossi was reasonable, I did some quick research.

    Rossi is unwilling to specify how it will be paid for, though admits toll roads will have a place. How much would the public have to shoulder? Likely most of it. Rossi claims that it could be built for as “little” as $105 million per km (and even this amount per trip would be a big number). Drawing a straight line from the Allen Expressway down to the Gardiner it would be 7km long. Let’s compare it to Boston’s Big Dig which was 3.5 miles or 5.6 km. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Dig), the Big Dig, when all costs are paid for, will total over $22 billion. The “Toronto Tunnel” would likely cost over $27 billion.

    OMG, that’s a lot of subways!

  8. Hey Mark – I’m wasn’t claiming that Joe isn’t credible; just that he wasn’t (from my perspective) the 1st choice to carry David Miller’s legacy. I’d probably rank him 3rd, behind Miller himself and Giambrone. If one accepts that theory, then it’s fair to ask why he wasn’t the first or second choice. I would chalk that up to charisma (or lack there of). Policy wise, I find him to be just a scattered as any of the others. Although his hipshot policies are more to my liking than the other guys. 

  9. The rossi camp was not ready to release details on funding, exits/entrances, cost, potential neighbourhood harm, and general information…..why bother holding a press release for it. He should have focused on other means of transportation. It was a joke when he said that england and france can do it underwater, therefore we can too. Can anyone tell me the difference between building underground on land and underground in the water? You know basic stuff like existing neighbourhoods, hard services, the subway, etc. In my mind Rocco and Sarah thomson (miss jane jacob’s takes people on walks) should fold and support a serious campaign. Maybe not Rob Ford’s but something realistic. *cough* Pantalone *cough*!!

  10. Mark – Pantalone is the only credible candidate because he is the only one who has stayed consistent with his original vision. He has been in council for over two decades and has been a constructive member of council, unlike Ford.

    He understands that tunnels and subways are crazy talk, having been at Miller and Giambrones side during the whole funding talks with the province over transit city. He knows how hard it so get a penny from the province.

    I’m pretty sure Pants is the only candidate who hasn’t announced a multi-billion dollar policy program during this campaign, correct me if i’m wrong. Makes you wonder want Torontonians really want. 

  11. @Shawn: That’s not what I was arguing. The concept of a Spadina Expressway Tunnel is a direct affront to everything she fought for, and invoking her memory to continue the fight against short-sighted transportation planning is entirely appropriate. The “grinding sound” sentence is just a bit zombiefied, ‘sall.

  12. Well, to be fair, the proposal is zombiefied. Zombies beget zombies. Jane Jacobs wrote about that too. I think.

  13. In that same Wikipedia article on the Boston Big Dig there’s a link to a Boston Globe article that claims to show that the Big Dig pushed the bottlenecks out of the city and actually made it worse overall – http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/11/16/big_dig_pushes_bottlenecks_outward/

    It seems to corroborate the research on the concept of “induced traffic” (http://streetswiki.wikispaces.com/Induced+Traffic):

    “Induced traffic is the phenomenon whereby decreasing the cost of vehicle trips in a particular corridor — usually by decreasing congestion through a roadway improvement -– induces new vehicle trips in that corridor. Transportation planners generally believe that land uses generate travel demand, and roadway capacity is provided to respond to that demand. In recent years, evidence points to a strong reverse direction in this relationship: the building of roadways encourages land development as well as new trips from existing land uses. This is “induced traffic”.”

    Not only would Rossi stop us from meeting any greenhouse gas reductions but would merely move congestion to other areas at a very large price.

  14. I love Jane Jacobs, but if she came back as a zombie I’d have to treat her like any other zombie…shovel to the head…

    Just sayin’

  15. What about the exits from the tunnel. Which neighbourhoods will be demolished by traffic.

  16. Josh,

    totally agree with you that the Toronto mayor position is not wanted by anyone competent for it. Here is my theory why: I think a person competent enough for such a complicated job will want something back as reward. The reward can be money, which is not there, the 160K looks really shabby against the salary of CEO of any mid-sized corporation; but that is not the main problem, many of those competent people have money already, they can probably do it for $1 a year. But they will want some other reward, which I believe is the power, the power to push through changes that have a big impact, the power that will leave their own marks on the city. Unfortunately the city’s governance structure does not offer too much power to the mayor either. His is just one vote in the council. So why would any one who is capable bother with this job?

    I remember one poster asked, now that it looks like Ford will be the next mayor, do you still want that strong mayor thingy? My response would be, you know what, if we have that strong mayor thingy, Ford will not be the next mayor. Somebody competent enough will become interested.

  17. @Josh: Jane Jacobs’ ghost walks among us and is known as the Annex Residents Association. 😉

  18. Yu – I’m inclined to agree with you. Toronto doesn’t allow for the “visionary Mayor of singular authority” like New York or Chicago.

    Some would rightly argue that while this system makes it difficult for truly great Mayors to excel, it also prevents a bad Mayor from fouling up the city too badly. This argument is partially valid, but it’s an argument driven by fear. And fear doesn’t build great cities. Not to mention that if the Mayor were given more powers, I agree that the job would attract a stronger sort of person.

    And all governance is a trade-off anyway. Ask Chicagoans. For every Millenium Park bit of vision, there’s a moment where the Mayor sends the bulldozers out in the middle of the night to short-circuit a debate. 

  19. Good thing Giambrone dropped out of the race. Now Pantalone might stand a chance. I just wish he’d release some of his own policies instead of just carrying out what Miller has done in the past 8 years. He may not be able to light prairie fires, but he’s gotta give people something to be excited about.

  20. “(T)he Toronto Tunnel, from where I sit, officially puts Rossi in the fringe candidate column.”

    +1. When I heard a mayoral candidate was going to do something about the Allen I thought Eb Zeidler’s deck-over proposal was going somewhere.

  21. One problem with Rocco Rossi is know who the real Rocco Rossi is. Is he a Liberal? Conservative? A mixture of both?

    The other problem with Rossi is that I believe that he is a manufactured candidate. He’s like a boy band who can’t think independently. He is completely dependent on his campaign team to create his image rather than rely on any good personal instincts. I’m not sure where those instincts are.

    If Rossi had run as himself instead of as a phony right winger, he would likely be further ahead.

    Sarah Thomson at least has more common sense. Dare I say it, Rob Ford now has more common sense than Rocco Rossi. That’s saying a lot knowing that I would never vote for Ford.

    I knew Rossi was in trouble when he gave his first campaign speech in front of the Toronto Board of Trade. I do not wish to speak negatively of the Board of Trade. However, its members do not represent the citizens of Toronto. Rossi has not demonstrated during the campaign that he has actually listened to Torontonians. If he had, the Spadina Tunnel “Highway to Hell” would not be one of his campaign issues.

  22. As a commenter wrote on another comment board, Rossi seems to be running for a provincial MPP or federal MP position. This campaign is just meant to get himself some exposure.

  23. @John Lorinc…touche. But if the Annex Residents Assoc. ever comes after me moaning for “Braaaaains”, it’s on!

  24. This depresses me. How can candidates for Mayor of one of Canada’s largest cities come up with such pandering unrealistic ideas? I would say that with the tunnel concept the race has now entered the sphere of fantasy. But still Royson James thinks everybody is great. Wake me up when its over.

  25. Rocco Rossi’s tunnel will mean that more parking lots will be required. In other words, buildings torn down, residents pushed out, all for an area larger than an office cubicle for each vehicle that will only be used for 8 hours Monday to Friday. Other times, it will be empty, like downtown Detroit or Hamilton is now.

    So far, Rob Ford and Rocco Rossi are in my do-not-vote-for list.

  26. I swear, if Rossi or Ford wins, this city is finished.

  27. @ScottD…the Star decided to be the #1 shill for Rob Ford a long time ago, printing every dumb word that exited his maw. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ford just hired StarMedia to be his PR firm. It’s good politics for Ford, he gets all the exposure, but can still claim that the liberal media is picking on him.

    If you look closely, I wouldn’t be surprised if all of Rob Ford’s signs are printed on discarded copies of the Atkinson Principles.

  28. Jane had it right and I am glad that Sarah has shown that she can thrive on constituent feedback. I won my poll in the provincial by election in at Paul’s where the Allen Ends.
    The city sold the properties that were originally expropriated for the mistakenly car oriented development strategies of the 60s. Most were sold 10-15 years ago when values were a third of what they are today. Incredible spending for a fiscal conservative candidate.

  29. John, 

    I think you are flatly wrong. Do you even know why people invented tunnelling? It’s so things can move without disturbing the surface.

    Imagine taking the subway lines and surfacing them across Yonge… across Bloor. Tell me how those communities would feel.

    By putting traffic BELOW the ground, the neighbourhoods south of Eglinton would experience LESS disruption from traffic — the very traffic that has made our city amongst the most congested in North America.

    You are trying to draw a line between uptown and downtown — between car and bike. It fits your agenda, but it doesn’t fit with the reality of the issues addressing our city.

    Gridlock, economy, jobs — that’s what we need to be talking about.

    I’m supporting Rossi because he has the COURAGE to push bold ideas forward.

  30. Ben, I agree with your comment on the Black Creek Tunnel…if there is to be any tunnel at all. The reality is that a lot of cities worldwide have undertaken road tunnel projects for the simple purpose of beautifing their city.
    Take Madrid…they buried their M30 highway which ran along a river through the city. In burying it, they created greenspace above (parks on the riverfront), buried 3 lanes of traffic each direction, and the tunnel size allowed them to twin a subway underneath (http://www.roadtraffic-technology.com/projects/m30_madrid/m30_madrid7.html). Think of a tunnel that dove underground on Black Creek either north of Lawrence or Eglinton. The Black Creek ravine could become a park again. South of Eglinton, the tunnels could follow the rail line all the way to the waterfront. Industrial right-of-ways along that corridor would allow on/off ramps paralell to the tunnel, avoiding the clovers Vaughn rightly worries about with Rossi’s plan. Keep them sparse, at St. Clair and Bloor perhaps. Then take advantage of the tunnel to twin under the road deck, the much needed western leg of the Downtown Relief Line subway, running from Dundas West Station south. The tunnel would spit its cars out in the barrent industrial triangle east of Strachan downtown, and could connect to a shortened Front St. extension. If the tunnel was pitched like THIS, maybe it wouldn’t be so crazy.

  31. Nice try Michael….
    What about the MASSIVE disturbance when they need to dig UNDERNEATH the subway? What about the exits that will need to be above ground? Where will they come out? What neighbourhoods will be destroyed then?

    Who the HELL would spend 30 Billion on 6 lanes of highway when you could outfit this city with 100 km of new subway for that
    or 500 km of LRT!!! or More Local GO

    Public Transit will reduce traffic and gridlock more than ANY highway scheme will. Bringing workers downtown!?! dPlease, not every downtown worker drives a car or lives North of Eglinton. Jeesh

    I respect courage, but not when it’s downright dimwitted pandering to suburban voters. Ford wasn’t even stupid enough to come up with this idea. 
    Bye Bye Rocco. 

  32. Some have compared this, to the Big Dig. Boston’s project had many complications which escalated the costs. Many cities have tunneled highways through their core, and did so at a fraction of what the Big Dig totaled. With that said, giving the complexity, length, and densities such an Allen tunnel would cost, I could see it making the Big Dig look like chump change!

    @Michael

    While I don’t agree with your position, I will admit you bring up an excellent point when it comes to tunneling. You could get the traffic benefits of a highway in that heavy through traffic does not disrupt local street traffic, all without a giant structure dividing the community. In my fantasy world, I would have our subway network elevated (possibly with monorail) with highways underground in the city.

  33. Okay folks – so Rossi and Ford have both officially proven themselves as nut cases. That leaves Smitherman, Pantalone, and Thomson – can we all agree to vote for one of them exclusively so neither of the crazy ones win? I’m personally between Pantalone and Thomson at this point – though neither of them particularly inspires me.

  34. So… a key difference from the Big Dig and the M30 projects: those projects buried highways that were already there. Not new ones. Now, if Rossi wants to bury Gardiner *and* Lakeshore, and can come up with a marginally plausible scheme for financing that, power to him. But this is a new highway, loaded with the well studied issue of induced demand and without answers as to what cars will do once they emerge into daylight again — or, indeed, *where* they will — and so is not like Big Dig at all.

  35. (Of course, Rocco Rossi would never propose anything that would unilaterally benefit people who actually live downtown — so if he picks up the Gardiner idea, it will be widened to 401 standard eight lanes in each direction.)

  36. I just figured it out. Rossi is not running for mayor of Toronto. He’s running to be a future MPP and possible premier of Ontario. His campaign is geared toward 905’ers in Thornhill, Richmond Hill, and Vaughan. He supports subway expansion to the Vaughan City Centre. He waved an Israeli flag at the Pride Parade. He talks a lot about his Italian heritage. Now, he supports the Spadina tunnel that would serve the people of southern York Region.

    In Thornhill, Richmond Hill, and Vaughan, there are an ample amount of Jewish and Italian Canadian voters. Everything is starting to make sense.

  37. So Rossi puts an idea on the table for study, and all hell breaks loose. After years of living in status quo, watching our city in transit paralysis, it seems that we Torontonians can’t even begin to think about world-class projects such as the one proposed.

    A city with a $9 billion budget and tons of talent can’t build subways, streetcars, buses AND a tunnel? Oh no, that’s just not possible. Quite a narrative we’ve got for ourselves. Shucks.

    Can the tunnel work? Can we fund it? Is it realistic? Well one thing I know is that one statement from a candidate is not enough. If Rossi is serious, he will have to expand on this issue further so that the rest of us can begin to think that it might just be possible.

  38. Rossi seems to have forgotten about the northern end of the Allen.  The original plans for the Spadina carried it north to the 407.

    The traffic that travels south in his Toronto Tunnel in the morning will be heading back north in the afternoon.  Sure, some of it will exit the Allen and enter the already-overcrowded 401. But the majority of it will be carrying on past the 401 and up Dufferin. I wonder if Rossi’s ever seen Dufferin during rush hour. It already moves slower than walking.  I’d hate to see it with the extra traffic coming out of downtown.

  39. Pantalone is a non-starter because he has no ideas.

    He’s been my city councillor for over 6 years. He doesn’t respond to his constituents. He is opposed to new business (he is on the record, for example, as saying Sam James was a stupid idea that wouldn’t fly, he wouldn’t license a bistro on Harbord, and wants to shut down the Ossington strip). He panders to elderly Italians (Toronto’s demographics have changed). Oh, yeah, he puts dump sites into working class neighbourhoods because there’s less likely to be opposition (how very progressive of him). He has no voice, as evidenced by the campaign for mayor and any debate that has been held.

    Time to retire.

  40. Traffic is elastic. The Fantasy Tunnel would be gridlocked the second it opened as demand rose to meet supply. An absolutely insane idea. I can’t even believe I’m wasting time typing these words.

    First Ford wants to remove the streetcar network every other city wants to have, and now Rossi has decided that the expressway that every other city wishes they hadn’t built is what Toronto needs to finish. Doesn’t anyone ever visit other cities in North America? Did time stop somewhere around 1955? Is there no one in Toronto capable of running the place like, you know, a modern livable city?

    Note – I hear Daley is available…

  41. @Michael. The tunnel is not the problem. The exits are the problem. When the city was contemplating burying the Gardiner between the CNE and Spadina as part of the 2008 Olympic bid, I had an opportunity to see mock-ups of the exits and entrances at Spadina. They were really shocking because they took up so much space as they came to the surface. You have to imagine two sets of in-bound and two sets of outbound tunnel entrances for each interchange, each one curving up and away from the arc of the tunnel, each buttressed by retaining walls like those you see on the streetcar tunnels at St. Clair West, each somehow knitted into the existing downtown street grid, and each producing something akin to the traffic snarl you see each and every day at Allen and Eglinton. And then we must ask, where, exactly, on the path between the Allen and the Gardiner, can we find space for such ramps? Christie Pitts perhaps… 

  42. lincoln

    To John’s point (and I admit this is slight unfair) look at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey — this isn’t cozy urbanism.

  43. “And then we must ask, where, exactly, on the path between the Allen and the Gardiner, can we find space for such ramps? Christie Pitts perhaps…”

    Funnier if you could spell it correctly John Lorinc.

  44. I dunno… looks kind of cozy for all those cars.

  45. It is all I can do to control myself from writing a scathing comment about neanderthals walking the earth.

    All that traffic from the Spadina tunnel, even assuming we could build it, has to go somewhere. We already know from that master of transportation planning, Rob Ford, that there is no room on downtown streets for more traffic and we have to stop letting more people into Toronto.

    Where would the tunnel emerge? Maybe centre field at the Dome?

    This proposal is so poorly thought out (except as political theatre and pandering to people whose analysis of transport consists of “get the f out of my way”) that it destroys Rossi’s credibility.

    And all this on the eve of the 2010 Jane Jacobs Prize which will be presented Tuesday afternoon.

  46. I am making a guess that Rossi will have tolls to use this tunnel of his. How much would it have to be set at? $5? $10? $20 a car?

    It is currently $4.50 CDN to cross from Windsor to Detroit ($4.75 CDN from Detroit to Windsor) via their tunnel (built in 1928). And it is shorter than Rossi’s tunnel. Something to think about.

  47. Let’s just imagine, for a moment, the complexity of this. To get south of Eglinton Avenue:

    a) the road tunnels have to go somewhere. Do they run beside the subway or under it? Given the nature of the area, probably under it, at least initially. (beside would involve taking a number of houses on Everden Rd, just south of the sutation, as the subway is relatively shallow cut-and-cover there).

    To get below the subway, the road would need to drop 60 or 80 feet, minimum so it would have to start dropping height half a KM or so north of the station. Great, launch the TBM. The ROW exists up there.

    Now, you have to get under the subway. No small feat, you either go shallow and have to underpin the structure or go very, very deep and complicate the portal and ramp designs.

    Do you leave an allowance for a future Eglinton subway? Where does that piece in. Again, leaving an allowance for that makes it much more complicated.

    What about southbound ramps? There’s a park on one side there, and a parking lot for the 13 division police station on the other. OK. How deep is the road at this point? How quickly do the ramp tunnels need to descend? Either way, those houses on either side of Everden are doomed. Next, how do you build them? How do you build the ramp/highway interface? Cut-n-cover? Mine it? If you’re deep enough to be in bedrock it’s not too difficult to tunnel as it won’t collapse as you build it, but it’s hard to get a ramp down within a reasonable distance. If it’s shallow you can cut-and-cover it, but that voids the whole idea of not disturbing the neighbourhood.

    At either way, you’re 2 blocks south of Eglinton and have already not only utterly destroyed an entire neighbourhood, but blown many hundreds of millions of dollars already.

    Now, into the ravine. Again, the subway tunnel is there. It meanders around quite a bit and begins to drop altitude as soon as it leaves the station; maintaining close to the maximum grade for a subway all the way downtown. Not only this, but there’s also one of the largest sewer trunks in the city lurking in there too; it’s as big around as the subway tunnel and has a much more unpredicable vertical profile. (relatively level segments separated by “waterfalls” so the water doesn’t flow too fast and erode the pipe). Not insurmountable, but very difficult, especially tunneling through water-saturated till.

    Then, Bathurst ramps, if any. St Clair ramps, if any. Again, either deep and hugely complicated mined intersections or disruptive and destructive cut-and-cover intersections. At least in midtown there are places to put the portals; try to find places south of Davenport where this is the case.

    Basically, an engineer’s wet dream. Not very practical.

  48. No Tunnels Please

    It is easier and cheaper to build a street or lane above a street than to build a good tunnel with reliable sump pumps and power and ventilation.

    Our future density will probably have elegant streets rising above our daily congestion with elegant parking and pedestrian action meeting those streets at raised levels integrated with shops, schools, galleries and restaurants with virtually no land rights.

    Eventually the net effect is that older stuff with traditional land rights in the busiest areas ends up in “tunnels” that remain below the new stuff, but that takes ages and those tunnels never have to be paid for as such.

    Let’s pay to go up, and only where it makes sense I hate burying money that I don’t have.

  49. While I think that this is a stupid idea. Why is everyone assuming that the the traffic flows on the Allen are predominantly inbound in the AM? Just to clear up some misconceptions, In 2005 the AM peak hourly volume at Eglinton was 1691 southbound, 1901 northbound.

  50. Glen: where do those stats come from? (not disputing them, just interested)

  51. Glen,

    I have a hypothesis for this stats, the volume at Eglinton is not limited by demand, but by capacity. All the stats tells us is that cars moves faster north-bound than south-bound at Eglinton, which I believe is the case.

  52. Andrew, they are available at the bottom of this page…..
    http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/index.htm

    Yu, That goes without saying. Have a look at the AM and PM maps along with the counts for the intervals. While it is impossible to really deduce anything definitive, my main point was that the notion of the majority of traffic into the city is inbound in the AM is incorrect. Mississauga is a net importer of labour from Toronto, So to is Vaughan. I examined the issue on my blog..http://southofsteeles.blogspot.com/2008/05/good-news-bad-news.html

  53. Pantalone ain’t winning so get over it!!! Toronto does not want Miller 2.0 who will bring in more taxes, and kiss the union’s ass!

  54. Okay, back to the tunnel. Put aside any thoughts whether the tunnel would be good or not and focus solely on the economics. Rossi is saying that the tunnel would be paid for by tolls. But first we need a 2 million study to see if it is viable,

    Bull. If it was viable, companies like SNC-Lavalin would come forward to the city and say “look, we will build this tunnel and it will cost you nothing, all we ask is that we get to keep the tolls:. All the city would have to do is let the word out that it would allow it. After some simple back of the envelope calculations private companies would decide if any serious consideration should be given. Cost to taxpayer…0$.

  55. Re: primary direction of flow on the Allen — it’s more heavily weighted to northbound traffic in the morning because, in its current state, the Allen functions more as a long on-ramp to the 401 for the neighbourhoods around Lawrence and Eglinton.

  56. Brent,
    Perhaps. As I said it is hard to extrapolate anything concrete from the volume maps. That being said the trend (heavier northbound in the AM) continues to an even larger extent north of the 401.

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