Housing, homelessness, budget, and bike lanes

4:19 p.m. Jan. 18, 2019. Bike lanes on Adelaide Street and Richmond Street became permanent this week.
4:19 p.m. Jan. 18, 2019. Bike lanes on Adelaide Street and Richmond Street became permanent this week.

Weekend Newsbrief: February 3, 2019

What happened at Toronto City Hall this week 

Affordable housing. Council voted for the city to allow developers to build housing on 11 city properties with a minimum of one-third affordable rental units, one-third market rental housing, and a maximum of one-third for ownership. Councillor Mike Layton brought a motion to change the terms so 30 percent of the future units would be affordable and 20 percent be deeply affordable. Council did not support the proposal.

Council did not deem homelessness to be a state of emergency. Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam brought a motion asking council to declare homelessness a human-rights disaster akin to a municipal emergency, and to affirm housing as a human right and to take appropriate measures to address homelessness as a human-rights crisis. That motion lost.

City budget. The city budget committee started meeting this week. They presented a budget that relies on funding from the federal government (which has not yet committed such funds). The city’s budget process goes throughout February with special meetings at civic centres in Etobicoke, Scarborough, York, and Toronto City Hall, where citizens can go and lend their voice to the process. Some city councillors also hold budget town halls.

Adelaide/Richmond bike lanes become permanent. City council voted to make bike lanes on Adelaide Street and Richmond Street permanent. Both lanes will go from Parliament Street to Bathurst Street. The Adelaide lane will be relocated to the north side.


Seen and heard: “You want to risk your life? Go try and take the subway”

Councillor Mike Colle addressed the subject of the Eglinton Crosstown’s construction at council this week. He also took a moment to speak about taking the subway.

Colle: In a perfect world, transit investments reduce congestion, take cars off the road – that’s a given. But the other fact, the reality is, there’s also increased density. So you’ve got more congestion, more people, more mayhem. Try and get on the subway at Eglinton and Yonge. You want to risk your life? Go try and take the subway. This morning at 8 o’clock. I dare you to try and get on the subway. See how many cars you have to wait for. You want an adventure? Try and… get on the subway. Because of the density – congestion. Try and walk the streets along Eglinton. You want to risk your life again? Try and walk from Yonge over to Keele on the sidewalk, wherever you can find a sidewalk. But remember these projects, like the Crosslinx, this has gone on for 10 years. This is not six months. Ten years of construction hell, traffic hell, dangerous places to walk, drive, whatever you want to do – and there’s incredible achievement, too. The tunnel’s already been dug from Black Creek all the way to Laird Drive. I think the tunnel’s complete. They’ve got a work train running on it. So there’s great achievement, and our staff is really caught in the middle…


comedy barArts beat

This column for Signal Toronto is inspired by Mark Wigmore’s new podcast, Art at the End of the World. The 10-part series investigates the careers of some this country’s most engaging personalities while seeking to reflect on what it is to be an artist during a time of massive cultural change.

This post is a first-person account by Mark that tracks his recent investigation into the history and popularity of the Toronto venue the Comedy Bar. Mark speaks with three Canadian comedians and Comedy Bar founder Gary Rideout to track the bar’s rise to prominence.

The Second City Mainstage alum Ann Pornel, actress and dancer Anjelica Scannura, and this week’s podcast guest (actor, writer and standup comedian) Chris Locke, all weigh in on why Comedy Bar is the ultimate comic clubhouse in the city.

Read here


First look (member content)

A deep dive into the city’s shelter capacity in January

Become a member to read this article for $5 a month, or make a one-time pwyc contribution to read this article and help support the production of Signal Toronto (which cannot exist without your contributions).


This Newsbrief is by Arianne Robinson.