UPDATE: For thundra, a graphical demonstration*.
I'm not a big fan of Karen Stintz. A card carrying member and supporter of teh Conservatives, she was Rob Ford's personal choice to head up the TTC. She's been a solid voice for the right-wing of LEAFS SUCK Council since she was elected.
But credit where due - about a month ago, she came out swinging for the original Transit City plan for the Eglinton Crosstown. The other Ford-ites on the TTC board blocked her. She then put together a coalition of other councillors and forced a special meeting today, capped off with a 28-15 vote to endorse the old surface route plan. She fought for rational transit, fought hard, and at the expense of cutting herself off from her political allies. Good work Stintz.
Here's teh background, and there's a lot of it. Transit City was a massive project with over 100 km of light rail across seven lines, mostly in dedicated at-grade right-of-ways. There were also some dedicated bus ROW's in the plan as well. This got cut in half after the provinical government decided how much cash was actually available for the project. Then they deferred half the money. And then David Miller who had championed the thing announced that he wasn't running for Mayor again. Then Adam Giambrone, who was the TTC chair at the time and Transit City's best spokesman in the 2010 mayoral election dropped from the race because of a sex scandal. And then Rob Ford was elected with a historically huge margin of victory, and he proclaimed Transit City dead.
Rob Ford's plan was to use the 8 billion in provincial funding to build one line, but bury it all. Because putting rails in the middle of our streets is part of Teh War on Teh Car. Or something. And he used his huge electoral win to bully the province into changing the plan yet again to ensure that cars would nevar be bothered by new rail. This is the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding plan that you'll see referenced if you're interested in this thing enough to read moar about it.
And then the inevitable fallout from electing a jackwad shitbag asshole fucktard pus-filled boil on teh backside of humanity started manifesting. Ford ran on a magical fairy tale - about rich fat cat swivel servants and boondoggle porkalicious bloated super waste in teh City budget which he would personally fix and teh taxpayers would suddenly get a pony. His slogan was Stop The Gravy Train. Turns out that there wasn't any gravy in the city budget. Unless you count stuff like public libraries. His "Core Services Review" was about as well received as a solid cockpunching.
So while Rob Ford had big victories early in his tenure, his influence has basically entered freefall. The first coup was when Council told him to stuff his waterfront plan (with a Monorail! yes teh inevitable Simpsons joke was bandied around a lot at teh time) and then council reversed a bunch of his budget cuts. That budget cut reversal vote was on January 17th, and was a squeaker at 23-21. Karen Stintz voted with Ford that day.
Anyways, Rob Ford's plan was obviously stupid. Here's a look at the various plans. The part of the Eglinton Crosstown that he wanted to bury is out east into Scarborough - my neighbourhood. Here Eglinton is seven lanes wide. There is space for a dedicated ROW. Also too, density is pretty low. A lot of it is strip malls and big box stores with big box parking lots. Getting the density to support a full subway would require a massive shit-ton of development. Not that it matters since Ford wasn't even actually proposing a subway. He was proposing the exact same LRVs as in the Transit City plan, just with all of the rail buried. Because cars.
But that's now a thing of the past. You see, LEAFS SUCK has a "weak mayor-strong council" system of governance. The mayor only gets one vote and he needs to build support amongst councillors for his proposals. There was in fact a legal ruling (solicited by Council) that the Mayor did not have the authority to unilaterally bind the city to the 2011 MOU. And Rob Ford is a stubborn ideologue who is actually physically incapable of compromise without becoming violently ill, so his ability to build consensus is directly tied to his ability to intimidate and bully. And now that the city has had the opportunity to see how useless and ignorant he is, he's a lot less intimidating.
Which brings us to tonight. Council got a taste of victory in the budget cut reversal. A lot of councillors are serving their first terms, but they now have some experience with the system. And Council exercised its power and basically told the mayor to go fuck himself. It is about fucking time.
*Bear cockpunch stoleded from this thread.