Gil Meslin Profile picture
Mar 27, 2018 50 tweets 12 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1) A mapping thread to provide some context and perspective for #TransformYonge.

This is Toronto’s street network.
2) Excluding laneways, Toronto has 5,289 centreline km of expressways, arterials, collectors, and local roads.
3) If we drop local roads, which don’t handle through traffic, we have 2,105 centreline km of expressways, arterials, and collectors.
4) If we just focus on arterials - the best comparable for #TransformYonge - Toronto has 1,096 km of major and minor arterial roads.
5) Minor arterials are defined as carrying 8,000-20,000 vehicles/day. Major arterials carry greater than 20,000. No stop signs.
6) City identifies the primary function of arterials as traffic movement – they also happen to constitute most of the city’s main streets.
6) This is the #KingStreetPilot. Bathurst to Jarvis, approximately 2.6 centreline km.
7) This is the Bloor bike lane pilot. Shaw to Avenue, approximately 2.4 centreline km.
8) ...and this is the stretch being considered for #TransformYonge. Beecroft to Avondale, approximately 2.6 centreline km.
9) So, in total, these three projects would impact 7.6 km of our 1,096 km of arterial roadway. Impact, not close.
10) Think of all the headlines, the talk radio shows, and the council debates these three projects have commanded…
11) In terms of centreline km, these 3 projects impact:

0.14% of the road network
0.38% of arterials & collectors
0.69% of arterials
12) and remember, even that paltry km figure could only be broached because the projects had such overwhelming cases in their favour...
13) King unlocks the city’s busiest surface transit line.

Bloor serves the Toronto neighbourhoods with the highest bicycle mode share…
14) …and #TransformYonge addresses movement, safety & public realm in a dense residential neighbourhood, home to tens of thousands.
15) far from proactive, Council to often needs to be dragged to the right choice, even in the most glaringly obvious circumstances.
16) So despite the small and specific share of roadway impacted, I hear this lead-in on @NEWSTALK1010: “your commute’s about to get worse…”
17) Who does this really impact? Not the commuter who is driving to a destination out of the city, unless they drive straight up Yonge.
18) Not the commuter that drives across the middle or top of the city…
19) If you’re driving downtown from below Sheppard, or east/west of Yonge your commute shouldn’t change…
20) If you come downtown from the east end, unless you traverse downtown on King/Bloor, the pilots shouldn’t much affect you…
21) And if you’re coming downtown from Etobicoke, you’re most likely on Lakeshore/Gardiner, but some would certainly be using Bloor…
22) …but long story short, the outrage is way out of proportion to the share of commuters likely to be regularly impacted by these projects…
23) …especially when considering the benefits, and the small number of minutes they are projected to delay those drivers that are impacted.
24) 'a minute of driving time above all else!' is no way to make decisions in a large and growing 21st century city.
25) So where are the roots of the opposition? The local councillors support the projects…
26) When I think of the most vocal opponents, I think of Crisanti, Campbell, Holyday, Mammoliti, and former Councillor Doug Ford.
27) Their wards:

Vince Crisanti – Ward 1
Giorgio Mammoliti – Ward 7
John Campbell – Ward 4
Stephen Holyday – Ward 3
Doug Ford – Ward 2
28) A picture doesn’t always tell a story, but here’s one that’s worth 1,000 words…
29) We seem to have a small group of councillors in the city’s northwest leading opposition to road design improvements in central n'hoods.
30) A small group of councillors, leading opposition to safer streets, active transportation, more efficient movement of transit riders.
31) A small group of councillors, reaching out of their wards to hold back change in wards where residents and local councillors want it.
32) Ok. Benefit of the doubt. Maybe a LOT of their constituents in wards 1/2/3/4/7 drive downtown and to North York Centre. Let’s test this!
33) Fortunately, using the Transportation Tomorrow Survey we can cross-tab trips by origin, destination, mode, time, purpose...
34) so let's look at morning peak trips (6-10am) to work by car, originating in wards 1/2/3/4/7, going to planning districts 1 and 11.
35) These are Toronto's planning district boundaries - sorry, forgot to number them!
1 is downtown.
11 is centred on Yonge, above the 401.
36) From wards 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7:

Only 6.5% of driving/passenger trips to work during the morning peak (6am - 10am) go downtown,
37) From wards 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7:

Only 2.6% of AM driving/passenger trips to work go to planning district 11. Less to North York Centre.
38) Maybe AM work trips is too narrow a filter - what if we look at all driving trips, for all purposes, originating in those wards?
39) 2.4% of all driver/passenger trips originating in those wards go downtown.

Less than 1.5% go to the North York Centre area.
40) So with #TransformYonge, these councillors would override local interests to serve, what, 1% of car trips made from their wards?
41) ...override local interests to save that 1% of driving trips less than 1 minute, compared to the alternative, per staff models...
42) and that's not even to mention #VisionZero, #MinimumGrid, complete communities & other things 21st century cities should be considering.
43) Let’s be clear. They’re not interested in the projects. They’re interested in using the projects to enrage their constituents.
44) They're interested in making all drivers feel put upon by projects that will only, really impact a small percentage of trips.
45) They're interested in exaggerating what those impacts would be, and diminishing or ignoring the offsetting benefits...
46) They're interested in scaring people that soon a pilot will come to a neighbourhood NEAR YOU!
47) And I suspect they oppose because they know the projects will succeed, robbing them of the ability to wield them for political leverage.
48) Perspective and context.
We need to be bigger than this.
We need to look past the fear-mongers to address facts.
- End -

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More from @g_meslin

Sep 16, 2018
1. In a few hours @fordnation will convene Legislature at 12:01 AM.

To rush a bill using the notwithstanding clause.

In the dead of night…
@fordnation @RodPhillips01 @MichaelParsa @Andrea_Khanjin @douglasdowney @ToddSmithPC @PrabSarkaria @sandhuamarjot1 @billwalkermpp @janemckennapc @KarahaliosPC 2. He claims this as an important policy matter.

It was not campaigned on.
It narrowly effects Toronto.
It has no real case for support.
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Sep 11, 2018
1. Can we talk a bit about the referendum that @JohnTory keeps circling back to? #TOpoli #Bill5
@JohnTory 2. In Tory's letter to Ford: "I urge you to consider putting the process on hold to allow for a referendum so we can let the people speak.”
@JohnTory 3. Let the people speak...

Conveniently walking past the consultation that has taken place, devaluing the input of those who participated.
Read 22 tweets
Jul 27, 2018
1. The 25 ward option was examined as part of the City's Ward Boundary Review process (
2. After the original recommendations (47 wards), Exec Ctee asked the consultants to provide additional info, leading to this final report.
3. 'additional info' included "whether and how Toronto's ward boundaries could be consistent with the 25 federal and provincial ridings".
Read 19 tweets
Jul 5, 2018
1. Apparently it's never too soon to scapegoat.
@Fordnation attributes our housing crisis to asylum seekers.
Let's thread on actual causes.
@fordnation 2. Decades of disinvestment in building & maintaining social housing have contributed to our housing crisis. Not asylum seekers.
@fordnation 3. Political ideologies valuing a dollar less in taxes over the benefits of social programs & public goods contribute. Not asylum seekers.
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Mar 21, 2018
1. A few thoughts about the tragic incident in Arizona, where a woman was killed by an #Uber self-driving car…
2. Much of what I read in the first day after the incident clearly tried to shift blame to the victim, and to devalue that individual…
3. She was crossing outside a marked crosswalk…

She came out of the shadows…

She may have been homeless…

She had a criminal record…
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Mar 16, 2018
1) Earlier this week, the outgoing city manager detailed Toronto’s looming fiscal crisis, and the extent of its unfunded capital projects.
2) I’d like to focus on priorities, opportunity cost, and those $30B (billion – with a ‘B’) of unfunded strategies, plans and projects.
3) On this platform, I have often challenged the Scarborough Subway Extension, and the #GardinerEast ‘Hybrid’ alternative.
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