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Toronto Transit Alliance – Unlockgridlock Transit Symposium


Tonight, the Toronto Transit Alliance launched their first of 10 symposiums.

The discussion was billed as Proposing Toronto Transit solutions and the Implications of Gridlock.

Panelists were

  • Criminal Lawyer and activist Clayton Ruby
  • Developer Alfredo Romano
  • Gary McNeil, President Go Transit

Moderated by Sarah Thomson.

It was rather strange, hearing these familiar arguments, these oft-repeated nuanced talking points about how to fund transit expansion that have remained with us since the 2010 Municipal Election and persist daily, if not hourly, within the ephemeral echo chamber found on Twitter using the #TOpoli hashtag.

Except, it mildly felt as if this was a different audience for whom tonight was the first honest at length discussion they’ve attended where such points of view were heard.

Lazily working the room after the discussion had ended, the few conversations I had confirmed my gut take on this crowd. For many who were here tonight, it was well worth their price of admission.

Toronto Transit Alliance – Unlockgridlock Transit Symposium – November 21 2012

Transit SymposiumWHO: Gary McNeil, President Go Transit, criminal lawyer and activist Clayton Ruby, and developer Alfredo Romano.WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 from 6-9pmWHERE: Urban Space Gallery, 401 Richmond Street West, Toronto

Storified by HiMY SYeD · Wed, Nov 21 2012 20:07:04

Akamaihd
HiMY SYeD — Unlockgridlock, Toronto Transit Alliance, Regional Transit Symposium, November 21 2012himysyed
Looking forward to UnlockGridlock.ca transit symposium on Wednesday night. Thanks @ThomsonTO for the tickets.Andrew Tumilty
Live twitter feed tonights #Transit Symposium from 6-9. Use #unlockgridlock2 post ?’s Details: http://ow.ly/fszbE #topoli #drl #torontoSarah Thomson
Toronto Transit Alliance | Unlock GridlockThe Toronto Transit Alliance is a nonpartisan group of business and community leaders committed to supporting a 1% dedicated sales tax fo…
Looking forward to attending #unlockgridlock symposium tonight. More ideas from more people on transit is always a good thing #TTCAndrew Tumilty
On my way to #unlockgridlock, I’m interested to hear some more details on a 1% sales tax for transit #TTC #TOpoliAndrew Tumilty
Sarah @ThomsonTO setting up #unlockgridlock Twitter Wall… (#ONpoli #TOpoli #TTC #DRL) — http://twitpic.com/bf8gr0HiMY SYeD
Sarah @ThomsonTO setting up #unlockgridlock Twitter Wall… (#ONpoli #TOpoli #TTC #DRL) —HiMYSYeD
Proud to support @unlockgridlock thx @ThomsonTO for the tickets!SPiN Toronto
Tonight’s symposium is coming together! Follow what’s discussed #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
At tonight’s @TransitAlly symposium. Follow our tweets using #unlockgridlockDumitru Onceanu
At #unlockgridlock to hear more about a 1% sales tax for transit. What’s your first reaction to the idea? #TTC #TOpoliAndrew Tumilty
Tonight’s #unlockgridlock symposium features Gary McNeil of GO Transit, lawyer and activist Clayton Ruby, and developer Alfredo RomanoTransitAlliance
Almost ready to go, #unlockgridlock begins in just a few minutes.TransitAlliance
#unlockgridlock starting soon it seems. Side note: Clayton Ruby speaking tonight, think Ford’s COI case comes up? #TOpoliAndrew Tumilty
@ThomsonTO introducing the panelists #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
at #unlockgridlock, forum about how to fun subways in Toronto #TOpoliAlvin Fong
I’m at 401 Richmond for a symposium on how on earth we get better transit in this town. #unlockgridlockMarcus Gee
Clayton, why has it taken so long to get dedicated transit funding? #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Sarah@ThomsonTO introduces tonight’s Toronto Transit Alliance. #unlockgridlock #TOpoli http://twitpic.com/bf8oudHiMY SYeD
Sarah@ThomsonTO introduces tonight’s Toronto Transit Alliance. #unlockgridlock #TOpoliHiMYSYeD
Not live tweeting #unlockgridlock btw, will leave that to @TransitAllyAndrew Tumilty
Glad to be at #unlockgridlock with @ThomsonTOTom Middlebrook
At the #unlockgridlock event hosted by @ThomsonTO. @GOtransit’s President is on the panel. Looking fwd to the discussion. #topoli @MetrolinxChris Drew
It’s really been just recently that government priorities have changed #GaryMcNeil #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
historically, priorities such as education and health compete with transit for government funding #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
commuting times are much higher in Toronto (~80 mins) than other cities, such as NY (~60 mins #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Paraphrase: as long as we focus on cutting taxes/spending, we will yield poor results in serving the people -C. Ruby #unlockgridlockH Liu
Why hasn’t TO embraced BRT? Cheaper to implement, flexible delivery, rapid change model and routes can be moved at low cost. #unlockgridlockAndrew Smyk
in @toronto , we have build 40k new condo units last year. at a dev. fee of $5k each, this would bring sig. rev to transit#unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Is this a city problem or a regional problem? #GaryMcNeil #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Developer Alfredo Romano says development levies alone will never raise enough money for better transit. Taxes needed. #unlockgridlockMarcus Gee
Any notion of having a levy based on growth alone will not be enough to fund new transit. Must be tax based. -Romano #unlockgridlockH Liu
@toronto ‘s transit problems don’t stop at our borders. #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Q. "Is it a City problem or is it a Region Problem?" #unlockgridlock A. "…must be regional sol’n" http://twitpic.com/bf8qx3HiMY SYeD
Q. "Is it a City problem or is it a Region Problem?" #unlockgridlock A. "…must be regional sol’n"HiMYSYeD
Any kind of funding has to be on a regional basis #GaryMcNeil #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
We can’t just think about the city. We have to think about where the guy in the bus wants to go -Clayton Ruby #unlockgridlockH Liu
@unlockgridlock – transit conversation is dominated by rich people with cars. Ordinary people take transit! #topoli #transit#gridlockWangari Muriuki
At the Toronto Transit Symposium – with the Toronto Transit Alliance #unlockgridlockGoutom Datta
Clayton Ruby: "Affordable Transit has [historically] meant buying a ‘cheaper’ car." #unlockgridlock http://twitpic.com/bf8rgaHiMY SYeD
Clayton Ruby: "Affordable Transit has [historically] meant buying a ‘cheaper’ car." #unlockgridlockHiMYSYeD
Gridlock is a fact of life. What you’re trying to do with a transit solution is to give people choice, an alternative #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
increase to @toronto ‘s transit system means less cars and a better driving experience #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Clayton Ruby: http://bit.ly/10wbWsx "Affordable Transit has [historically] meant buying a ‘cheaper’ car." #unlockgridlockToronto Buzz
We have to think of the system we need to build…has to be a grid. The linear system just doesn’t work #AlfredoRomano #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
"This is a London Oyster Card" #unlockgridlock http://twitpic.com/bf8rzhHiMY SYeD
"This is a London Oyster Card" #unlockgridlockHiMYSYeD
The #London #oyster card is a symbol of what they’ve done to make their system easy to use. #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Touche: Gary pulls out a @PrestoCard. #unlockgridlock http://twitpic.com/bf8sf7HiMY SYeD
Touche: Gary pulls out a @PrestoCard. #unlockgridlockHiMYSYeD
Clayton Ruby says it loud: the way to improve transit is to ‘tax the hell out of the car.’ #unlockgridlockMarcus Gee
We have to give as many alternatives as possible to people. Have to explore all opportunities. -McNeil #unlockgridlockH Liu
It’s important to get all communities engaged and involved, especially those who need transit the most. #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
‘We have to get our political leaders to make the hard choices’ to build transit, says developer Romano. #unlockgridlockMarcus Gee
Each municipality fights for fares over transborder routes. we need one authority for a regional seamless solution #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Amalgamate GTA transit systems, so it serves people under seamless system that isn’t limited by political boundaries -Romano #unlockgridlockH Liu
Most of the transit systems cooperate quite well right now. Amalgamation of transit systems is not quite as necessary now #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Sarah Thompson raises the question of jurisdictional _ amalgamation of transit systems gridlock!#unlockgridlock #transit#topoliWangari Muriuki
even a large amalgamated transit system would need sufficient funding #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
McNeil : important to secure funding, as an amalgamated system would still be limited by $ #unlockgridlockH Liu
"One system, one solution … From Clarington to Oak Ridges Moraine … amalgamate" #unlockgridlock http://twitpic.com/bf8u2zHiMY SYeD
"One system, one solution … From Clarington to Oak Ridges Moraine … amalgamate" #unlockgridlockHiMYSYeD
We should be asking "are you in favour of more gridlock" rather than "are you in favour of more taxes for transit" #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
congesting is "taxing" on drivers, pardon the pun. #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Gary: "Debate is ‘Do you want more Transit?’ Debate should be ‘Do you want more Gridlock?’ We have to rephrase debate." #unlockgridlockHiMY SYeD
an organized regional effort is much more powerful in attracting provincial or federal funding #topoli #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
New York is building two major transit lines, because the region speaks with one voice #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Romano says NYC is spending $17b on transit expansion, with money from feds and state. #unlockgridlockMarcus Gee
It’s really not an either-or. We really need everything that we can get. Subways and LRTs in the right places #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
#unlockgridlock For us to succeed, there needs to be a financial commitment at the federal level – see New York City egg.Wangari Muriuki
It doesn’t matter the methodology, but they have to work well together. How they connect is key, like #london hubs #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Great cities know that transit investment will yield a tenfold payback over time, says GO prez Gary McNeil. #unlockgridlockMarcus Gee
Boston’s transit system integrates streetcars and subways #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
‘I’m one of those people who want to pay more taxes,’ says Clay Ruby. #unlockgridlockMarcus Gee
Clayton Ruby, "I’m one of those people who wants to pay more taxes … I’m waiting to be told what the argument is…" #unlockgridlockHiMY SYeD
People will pay more taxes, if the argument can be made that the outcome really is better #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Inverse of previous tweet is that people would pay more taxes if… the alternative is more expensive #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
First mention of "The Big Move" by Gary. For those of you playing along at home, take your first drink. #unlockgridlock #TOpoliHiMY SYeD
Concurrent with a new line has to be zoning approvals that work hand-in-hand #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
polarization of #topoli along 905-416 lines doesnt work, gridlock hurts us all #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
You need to tax gas guzzling cars, and too many cars with only one passenger. #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
The panel opens the floor up to questions #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Driving should be a privilege and you should pay for it, says Romano — favouring car taxes. #unlockgridlockMarcus Gee
all funding mechanisms should be considered, multiple solutions is more likely #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
@ThomsonTO a property tax only benefits each manicipality, a sales tax would benefit each #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
surprising, there may be a lower than expected impact of the HST drop from 14% to 13.#unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Cgy biz leaders want GST hike/Penny tax for cultural buildings. In Toronto, penny tax call is for transit. http://www.unlockgridlock.ca/ #yycccJason Markusoff
Sales tax is easy to collect, is fair as it does not target any particular group and has broad benefits. #unlockgridlock #topoliWangari Muriuki
a 1% sales tax may be the easiest way to raise funding, but regressive. A combination with other funding mechs can balance. #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
a tax credit or exemptions can mitigate the regressiveness of a sales tax. #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Alfredo: I think it would be appropriate for developers to pay a special transportation levy #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
The big issue is not the mechanism of funding, but that it is earmarked for transit. #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
how do we get the torontonian media interesting in reporting on transit solutions over the next decades? #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
engaging the people at a grassroots level would bring more political attention on transit #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Make the roadsystem efficient with variable tolls $20 for 1, $15 for 2, $10 for 3, 0 for 4 or more passengers #unlockgridlockB. Traven
As a society, we have to remind politicians that they’re there to think and act in terms of legacy solutions #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
gridlock can be measured not just in dollars and cents, but also our time and health #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Q. How to get ‘media’ reporting on #unlockgridlock issue? My A.: Columnist @Marcusbgee is here; I’m sitting beside journalist @DesmondCole.HiMY SYeD
Corporate responsibility/connectivity side? How do we involve existing Hydro Ontario and CN rail corridors #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
improved transportation helps corporations with more efficient, healthier workers- how can we drive corporate involvement? #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Who are some of our political strategic allies we could be speaking with? #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
tapping into connections with #topoli ticians’ aides and advisors can change the debate. #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Some great discussion tonight at #unlockgridlock , heard some more diverse opinions than I expected.Andrew Tumilty
Best idea tonight, Gary McNeil said discussion should change. Instead of do you favor more tax, do you favor more gridlock? #unlockgridlockAndrew Tumilty
Tonight’s @TransitAlly event should have been webcast. Ticket price was a bit out of most people’s price range. #unlockgridlockAndrew Smyk
Congrats to @ThomsonTO & the TTA on a really great event tonight. #unlockgridlockAndrew Tumilty
Bldg transit is not different from building roads,bridges. Transit needs to be valued as legacy projects. Costs of poor-health, econ.,etc.Wangari Muriuki
Rail fetish? Transit City Bus plan quietly faded away MT “@andrewsmyk: Why hasnt TO embraced BRT? #unlockgridlock” http://www3.ttc.ca/PDF/About_the_TTC/Transit_City_Bus_Plan.pdfEric Sehr
@andrewsmyk Here’s my "Why hasn’t TO embraced BRT?" Video from Curitiba Brazil (#unlockgridlock): http://Viewtopia.TYO.ca/curitibas-trinary-bus-rapid-transit-system/HiMY SYeD
@chrisjamesdrew good to meet you at the #unlockgridlock symposium tonight and finally put a face to the name.Dumitru Onceanu
Thanks 2 all who took part in the TTA #transit symposium tonight -terrific people who care about #toronto #topoli #unlockgridlockTransitAlliance
Thanks 2 all who took part in the TTA #transit symposium tonight -terrific people who care about #toronto #topoli #unlockgridlockSarah Thomson
@ThomsonTO pleasure meeting you at #unlockgridlock, keep up the good work!Alvin Fong
Thanks 2 all who took part in the TTA #transit symposium tonight -terrific people who care about #toronto #topoli #unlockgridlockCity Subway Loop

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