The student side of Transit City

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Since Rob Ford’s city council moved to save the Transit City plans, there are big changes coming to the TTC. Emma Prestwich explores how the developments could affect commuter students

Ryerson commuter students are looking forward to a boost in transit service after Toronto’s city council voted on Feb. 8 to move ahead with parts of the Transit City plan.

The motion, put forward by TTC chair Karen Stintz, halts Mayor Rob Ford’s plan to move the lightrail transit lines below ground. It shows the city’s support to resume construction on three new light-rail transit lines that would service outlying areas of Toronto.

Those plans would involve building lines along Eglinton Avenue and Finch Avenue, as well as an extension of the current Scarborough Rapid Transit (RT) line .

Concrete plans for an extension of the Sheppard line to Scarborough will be debated by an advisory committee, which will report back to council in March.

“It demonstrates the committee is able to work together,” said Toronto Centre-Rosedale city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who signed the motion opposing Ford.

Ryerson students in the Finch corridor, from Finch station to Humber College, would see a new line. Students who live along Eglinton Avenue from Scarborough to Jane Street and those who ride the Scarborough RT would see a new light-rail transit line and service eventually extended to Malvern Town Centre.

Wong-Tam also included that while the advisory committee’s meetings aren’t open to the public, students who live in the Sheppard area who want to provide input can write to their local councillors.

Fourth-year geographic analysis student Vadim Sabetski said he commutes to Ryerson from Vaughan and the plans for a Finch line would speed up his travel.

“I can’t believe they didn’t do it before. My opinion is that [this plan] is better than subways,” he said. “At least we’re getting something.”

Urban and regional planning professor Mitchell Kosny said that while he doesn’t think the plans will affect Ryerson students any more than those at other schools, their opinions on public policy issues have an impact.

“I think students don’t exercise [their right to be part of debate] because they’re really not organized,” he said. First-year urban and regional planning student Gus Gomes said while he takes the subway from Glencairn station and the plans don’t affect him directly, he’s frustrated by the quality of Toronto’s public transit. “Commute times suck, especially when coming into town,” Gomes said.

“We needed a transit system that caters to the global title that [Toronto] is,” he said. “Anything is better than what we have right now.”

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