Weekend Newsbrief: March 17, 2018
What happened at Toronto City Hall this week
As Jameson Whiskey ads pay for free TTC on King and Queen on Saturday, TTC chair encourages transit agency to “explore similar partnership opportunities” in other parts of the city. This is the first time in recent memory that one route and not the entire TTC system has been sponsored to allow free rides. A news release from the City of Toronto quotes Maria Sweeney, senior brand manager at Jameson Irish Whiskey:, “Our partnership with the TTC demonstrates Jameson’s commitment to enjoying St. Patrick’s Day while ensuring responsible consumption.” While the King and Queen routes are not the busiest, according to a TTC spokesperson, King St. is the third busiest TTC route after subway lines 1 and 2. TTC chair Josh Colle said via email on Thursday that the sponsorship will offer free service through the Entertainment District’s busiest routes, and it’s a business model he’d like to see expanded to other parts of the city. “I am pleased to see sponsorship opportunities like this directly benefiting transit users and I would encourage the TTC to explore similar partnership opportunities.”
Former city councillor, ex-mayoral candidate, and originator of the “Tory Ticket,” Doug Ford elected by members to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. In a slim win against Christine Elliott, Doug Ford had his first week as leader of the provincial Conservative party. Ford had also announced his intentions to run against current Mayor John Tory for mayor, but retracted that idea when the Conservative leadership race began. More recently, Ford made appearances at or near city hall on issues related to transportation. In one news conference, Ford held up a large yellow slip of paper that he called a “Tory Ticket,” in reference to rules that prevent cars from driving straight through the entirety of King Street, so they must instead turn right at major intersections. After Ford was named leader, a statement from Tory’s office congratulated Ford and the other candidates on a “spirited contest,” and said he will be arranging a meeting with Ford. So far this term the two politicians have only spoken publicly about each other, but have not had a formal meeting.
In other news, with the focus on Ford at Queen’s Park, who will be Mayor John Tory’s No. 1 challenger? The election of Doug Ford by Ontario conservative members has left Mayor John Tory very much without high-profile opposition for the municipal election in October (just months after the provincial election in June). The National Post’s Chris Selley wants to see mayoral candidates with different, reality-based visions for the city (Mayor Josh Matlow? Mayor Mike Layton? Mayor Kristyn Wong-Tam?). The Toronto Sun’s Antonella Artuso reports one of council’s more passionate and controversial members is considering taking on Tory in October’s municipal election (Mayor Giorgio Mammoliti?). The Globe and Mail’s Jeff Gray was able to nail down responses seemingly in the negative from Wong-Tam and Layton, but nothing from Matlow. May 1 (a month and a half away) is the first day for candidates to file a nomination paper for the office of mayor, councillor or school board trustee and begin campaigning. Last year there were 65 candidates for mayor.
On deck this week: Monday’s mayor’s Executive Committee will take place in Scarborough. On the agenda is an item about the possibility of Toronto residents using cryptocurrency as a form of payment for their property taxes.
Good to know
The Line 3 Scarborough Rapid Transit train will be closed this weekend, March 17-18.
Shuttles buses will operate from Kennedy to McCowan and will stop at stations along the route.
Kennedy, Lawrence East and Scarborough Centre stations will remain open for fare sales.
In pictures: traffic, pedestrian and bike lanes on Yonge Street
City council will soon be faced with deciding the future of the northern stretch of Yonge Street, between Sheppard Avenue and Finch Avenue. In the immediate future, the pavement on Yonge is in desperate need of repair. City staff have offered two plans through an Environmental Assessment process. The first plan adds bike lanes on Yonge Street and reduces the number of car lanes. The second plan puts bike lanes on Doris Avenue and/or Beecroft Road, and doesn’t limit car-lane capacity on Yonge. At the centre of the debate is the question of whether bike lanes and fast traffic can coexist along a commercial strip like Yonge, or whether the inclusion of cycle tracks will slow down traffic flow. How to design streets so residents can get around safely in whatever way they choose – by foot, transit, bicycle, or car – is the political puzzle that challenges urban leaders who have the tricky job of making room for everyone, while not appearing to slow the city down in the process. In the spirit of a good old-fashioned online deep dive, we’ve tried to capture all the facets of the issue – in photos. Starting near Sheppard Avenue and going up to the Hydro corridor, we’ll take you along the streets and sidewalks, where new surfaces and bike lanes will one day exist. Here are five selected photos from the series. (Read the story and see all 34 pictures)
This Newsbrief is by Arianne Robinson