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LOOK: Toronto can learn a few things from the stunning design of Stockholm’s subway

Here is Toronto we are used to simple, utilitarian subway stations. Even our friends over in Montreal take a much more artistic approach to how their stations appear. Unfortunately the type of rock in which we are digging here in Toronto means that our stations are quite often as small as possible, but newer station designs like Museum show that a small space can still have a big visual impact.

All of that is nothing compared to Stockholm’s Metro system. Take a look at the images collected below by VisualNews that show the fantastic take the Swedes have in their subway stations.

1. Fantastic escalators through red stone.

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2. Looks like the escalator through Mordor.

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3. With a cool woodland scene on the walls.

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4. Even more epic escalators.

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5. Patterns, exposed stone, and sculpture all in one.

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6. Half buried pillars.

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7. This flower mosaic looks like a cross between Super Mario and Easter eggs.

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8. These awesome elevators look like Saul Bass designed a villain’s lair from a Bond movie.

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9. They’ve got ghosts in their tiles.

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10. Geometric shapes in an ice cavern design.

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11. Stunning view from the platform.

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12. View from inside of a train.

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13. Even the trains themselves look fantastic.

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14. Even more epic cavernous escalators.

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15. The simplest doors are designed to catch your eye.

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16. It is a wonder anyone makes it to work on time when these stations beg to be marveled at.

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17. Giant leaves overhead.

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18. Checkers and houndstooth overhead.

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19. a Cross between Alice in Wonderland and the Chamber of Secrets.

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20. These stations are so striking it wouldn’t surprise me if these statues came alive at night.

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21. Complete with ancient ruins to admire on your way to the train.

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Rob Ford the taxman

Toronto city council voted in favour (28-16) to replace the worn out RT line with a subway from Kennedy station east on Eglinton north on McCowan to Shepperd Avenue East. By approving the subway council has cancelled the $1.8 billion LRT it had approved last year, which was fully funded by the province. It is expected that the under ground subway option could cost close to $1.1 billion more than the LRT.

The subway expansion requires the Federal government contribute at least $418 million and that the province contribute $1.4 billion., and the city make up the additional funds with a 1.1 – 2.4% tax increase along with new development charges.   This places most of Toronto’s portion of the additional funds needed for the subway expansion onto homeowners as development charges get passed on to them as well.

Council approved a series of motions to try to limit the cities risk, and asked that the province and Ottawa commit to funding by September 30.

But perhaps the most momentous event of the past week was that Rob Ford has changed his tune from the “No Tax” man to calling for an increase in taxes to pay for transit in Scarborough.  Like many politicians before him his desire to get re-elected has caused him to change his most sacred position. Rob has spent over a decade raging against any and all tax increases, and yet for the past 3 years done very little hard work — while taking credit for the work of other councillors. Without bothering to do a line by line analysis of all city departments, without finding the efficiencies he promised, without stopping the “gravy train” Rob Ford has chosen to embrace taxes.

Some may accuse him of trying keep his promise of subways, while other might point out that he also promised not to raise taxes, to find efficiencies and stop the gravy train – but to whatever people say Rob Ford has grown into a true politician, authentic to the core he has shown that he is not only a lazy charlatan , but also a hypocrite willing to say whatever it takes to get re-elected.

Rob Ford is calling for higher taxes and I can hear Mayor Miller chuckling…

 

 

LRT vs. SUBWAY: Here is a map of both proposed extensions

This week saw a flurry of activity around the LRT versus subway debate. What will replace the Scarborough RT?

What you may not know is that the extensions will not follow the same route. Look below to see the routes of both.

Both begin at Kennedy station, currently the eastern terminus of the Bloor/Danforth subway line. The proposed subway extension takes the route further east before meeting up with Danforth and jutting up to Sheppard.

The extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT continues on from the Kennedy station where it is currently slated to end. The extension thakes the LRT along a very similar route at the current Scarborough RT but going further west and eventually curving up to meet Sheppard.

Take a look below, which route best serves the community?


View Poposed subway extension vrs LRT in a larger map

Toronto’s troubled transit: The future lies with Council and the time to act is now

Last year, Toronto City Councillors led by Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Chair Karen Stintz reaffirmed a transit plan that allowed the Government of Ontario and Metrolinx to move forward. But lack of action on it has led to mass frustrations amongst Torontonians stuck in traffic on the way to work, packed in subways and buses, or feeling cheated because the transit system does not extend into their neighbourhood or communities. Unfortunately, despite the claims of a number of Councillors and Mayor Rob Ford, change is not happening.

Metrolinx and the TTC have both come out identifying the downtown relief line (DRL) as the next transit priority. It will be a huge relief for TTC commuters from North York and Scarborough, taking pressure off of the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth lines.

Toronto is a great City, envied by many. But success in recent decades has created challenges. Phrases like “world-class” have little meaning when you are stuck in traffic or have no reasonable transit options to mitigate that traffic. Congestion has been identified by the Toronto Board of Trade (TBOT) and renowned think-tanks as Toronto’s single biggest competitive disadvantage, costing the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Region (GTHA) $6 billion annually. Manufacturers have delays in shipping and moving inventory. Companies with valued and valuable staff waste unproductive time in traffic. If the City does nothing it will be the reason employers and their employees will leave or stay away from our City.

Solving transit gridlock is more than just dealing with individuals’ frustrations. It is making sure this and future generations will available job opportunities, careers and establish roots in Toronto. Millennials coming up in this City are making dramatically different choices about how they want to live and work. The City needs to be able to react to this and we need to be able to build a City for the future.

The City’s elected officials must be honest with themselves. Toronto is now paying the price for having done nothing over the past 20 years. That price of “doing nothing” will only increase. How much more is Eglinton going to cost today than if we had not stopped building it almost 20 years ago?

What will the cost of inaction be for all of us?

Whether and individual drives a car, takes the train, rides a bike or walks, a good public transit network is a necessity for a City the size of Toronto. Transit, like health care and education, is a public good. Everyone benefits from a transit system that works.

A sensible government must realize that unlocking our City’s transit mess will not come cheap. There are no magic solutions; there is no transit fairy or money tree.

City Council recently voted to reject revenue tools. It is time to put this in perspective.

First of all, that phrase fools no one. This is a conversation about taxes and tolls.

I have long considered myself a fiscal conservative. I generally support keeping budgets slim, regulations limited, and taxes low. I disagreed with the previous Mayor’s wasteful spending. I believe Mayor Ford’s agenda of cutting costs and engaging the private sector in outsourcing initiatives to be in the best interest of the City of Toronto. However, when it comes to spending money on unjustified and unfunded transit projects, a self-identified fiscal conservative has to say, “No.”

So when it comes to calling for new taxes, not a single advocate is doing it lightly. I believe in frugality when it comes to government spending, however I know that transit and subways are not built for free. A revolution of common sense at City Hall would allow the current administration’s power brokers to realize that they must find a way to pay for the transit infrastructure we need.

As Chair Stintz proclaimed on Twitter following Council’s decision to reject dedicated revenue, ‘Saying something and doing nothing is still “doing nothing”.’

The City still has a chance to be innovators. Now is City Councillors’ chance to be city builders and help restore pride in a city that works. The only question is; will they have the political will, or won’t they?

 

Follow Jordan on Twitter: @JordanAGlass