You are on page 1of 2


"Pagliaro, Jennifer" <>


"" <>


Wed, 16 Dec 2015 13:16:22 -0500

From: Councillor Matlow

Sent: November-19-15 4:48 PM
To: Jennifer Keesmaat
Subject: Response to your transit letter

Dear Jennifer,
I appreciate your timely response to my letter. I was truly surprised by what you
wrote and needed time to thoughtfully reflect on my response. I have decided to
send you a private email in hope that you will reconsider your stated position.
As I believe you already know, I have a great deal of respect for your passion for our
city. You have made significant contributions from a policy standpoint but also, and
perhaps more importantly, from an educational and communications perspective. I
believe that many Torontonians are more engaged and conversant about urbanism
and planning a great city because of your leadership.
It is because of the remarkable qualities you've demonstrated as Chief Planner that I
was so disappointed in your letter to me.
I was particularly taken aback by your defence of the 14,000 am/peak hour ridership
figure for the Bloor-Danforth Subway Extension. I thought that the City had finally
moved past using this flawed and questionable number.
Your letter to me claims that I'm somehow incorrect in stating that Planning is no
longer using the 14,000 number. How so? The Terms of Reference projects that the
am/peak hour ridership will be "upwards" of 9,500. This is the exact terminology and
figure that the TTC used in its January 2013 report that recommended the LRT.
I could understand if "upwards" referred to an additional thousand or so riders but to
suggest that a 50% increase could be captured by that wording is ridiculous.
I was also very concerned by how you messaged the validity of the 14,000 figure to
me. To suggest that a process that you yourself described as problematic could
produce a ridership number that isn't problematic, is splitting hairs and comes
across as spin to me. I've never known you to write like that.
Moreover, the 14,000 figure doesnt stand up to any reasonable scrutiny. Recent and
independent studies by Metrolinx and the TTC projected that the first leg of the
Relief Subway Line would carry approximately 11,000 pphpd during the am peak
hour. How is it possible that a line going through one of the most densely populated
areas in the country could have lower ridership than a line serving a suburb?
Perhaps the most concerning aspect of your letter to me is a table in the appendix
that lists the assumed transit projects in place to justify the increased ridership for
the Bloor-Danforth Ext. projected by your department. The Relief Subway is notably
absent from this list. Yet, the Relief Subway is the specific project mentioned as

causing the increased ridership number in the July 2013 Staff report.
But you know all of this. You know this better than I do and thats why your letter is
so frustrating.
It's been over two years and the public still hasnt been provided with a shred
of proof that the 14,000 number was derived from anything other than a
conversation in a meeting, as your Transportation Director, Tim Lapsa, told the
How is it possible that a figure of this importance wasn't shared even once in an
email, or produced a paper trail as a result of modelling, if there was a process that
even approached meriting inclusion in a report before Council? If the planning
department had evidence to support the validity of this number, it surely would have
been shared by now.
You were quoted in the summer as saying that the 2013 ridership number was now
irrelevant because of the new U of T model. Nothing could be further from the
truth. A decision worth billions of dollars was, in large part, based on this number. I
know this because of feedback I heard from some of my colleagues on Council
whose votes were directly influenced by the misinformation they received.
You blamed Council for putting Staff in the position of having to go through
a political process on the Scarborough transit debate. Thats fair. Council did not
conduct itself well during that period.
But it is precisely at a moment like the Scarborough transit debate when politicians
need civil servants to stand up and say that a reasonable analysis cannot be
completed in the given time frame instead of providing a number that was useful for
proponents a of 3-stop subway extension.
As you know, City Council has yet to ratify a change to the Metrolinx Master
Agreement that still says a 7-stop, traffic-separated LRT for Scarborough - that
would serve so many more people who are shamefully underserved. If a flawed
ridership number supporting a subway extension was conveniently placed in the July
2013 report, the public and councillors need to know.
There is still an opportunity for you to do the right thing. It is critical that Council
makes transit & planning priorities based on facts, rather than in the interests of the
political masters of the moment.
Id welcome the opportunity to speak with you any time about how to move forward.

You might also like