Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Tags Posts tagged with "Transit"


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A TTC bus stopping on the road on a winter day.

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There may be some new changes to Toronto’s transit system in the coming months. Earlier this week, John Tory put forward his budget proposal to City Council which featured expansions to transit service.

Last Monday, Tory and TTC Chair Josh Colle announced a $95 million investment that will aim to improve all areas of transport services. Some of the aims of the proposed investment include reducing wait times and crowding, as well as eliminating fare costs for children 12 and under.

However, there will be a fare increase of ten cents for riders. But this will not affect cash only fares such as the $3 dollar fare for adults. The price of metro passes will also increase to $141.50 per pass.

“The bottom line is our transit system is in crisis,” says Councillor James Pasternak, “It’s hard to expand our transit lines and people are now getting frustrated with the congested traffic so the only solution is to improve our public transport.”

The pay increase comes after the provincial government announced an $86 million funding withdrawal to the city.

According to the TTC’s website, the fare increase will see the city take in an additional $43 million in revenue. It will also allow for several new features for transit riders some of which will include adding more trains during rush hours, and the use of 50 new buses around the city.

Milly Bernal, a spokesperson for the TTC, said that with the release of its new 2015 Customer Charter, the TTC will hope to install several new features for riders such as: providing Wi-Fi on its buses, bike repair stations at subway stops, and generally improving service for all transit users.

“People are going to get value for their money,” says Pasternak, “We’re going to see a lot of new routes opening up and it’s going to help the city get moving again.”

All these proposals and indeed the rest of Mayor Tory’s budget is still subject to approval by City Council and will be reviewed and revised in the coming weeks.


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The TTC are possibly hiking their fares to help raise money for expanding and improving service. (PHOTO: Alex Karageorgos)

As a commuter school, Humber College students will feel the brunt of TTC’s latest proposed fare hike – and they’re not happy about it.

The fare hike was announced by John Tory and TTC Chair Josh Colle the day before city council’s first budget meeting under the new mayor. This plan is an attempt to raise approximately $43 million for service improvements. TTC ridership is expected to climb to 545 million people by the end of the year.

Effective March 1st, monthly adult metropasses would be the highest fare increase. The price for these passes would see an eight dollar bump, from $133.75 to $141.50. Non-cash fares will not be affected.

It’s not all bad news for TTC users. With the proposed changes, children under 12 will ride for free and express bus routes would run more frequently during peak hours.

To hear what Humber students had to say about the fare increase, listen to Alex Karageorgos’ report here:

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John Tory was elected as the new mayor of Toronto almost a month ago. Because of his victory, Tory’s ‘SmartTrack’ plan to build a new Regional Express Rail (RER) surface subway line is a go. Mayoral candidate, Ari Goldkind, shared his thoughts on the plan. While he supports SmartTrack and knows Tory has the experience to put it together, Goldkind has concerns of the plan’s costs and routing and says his transit plan, ‘More Than a Map’ is better for the city.

Goldkind, 40, is a defense attorney. He was part of a high-profile case earlier this year where he defended Gordon Stuckless, a convicted sex offender. According to The Toronto Star, Stuckless pled guilty in April for 100 sex-related charges.

Afterwards Goldkind ran for mayor and came fourth in the overall mayoral election. According to the City of Toronto, Goldkind received 3,912 votes. During the election though, Goldkind says many ideas about transit were presented for the city, but all consisted of the same concerns.

“Over the course of the election we heard a number of people talking about their vision for transit in this city,” says Goldkind. “Of greatest concern, of course, is cost, but that must be paired with practicality. Subways, for example, are efficient in moving large numbers of people, but are limited by their route. They also take a very long time to build.”

In SmartTrack’s case, Goldkind says the same concerns apply. “I remain concerned about the cost of the SmartTrack program, mainly because Mr. Tory was never very clear about costs when asked to explain,” says Goldkind. “I am also concerned about certain parts of its routing. It leaves pockets of the city that are desperate for good transit without good transit; that can create problems for everyone.”

Everyone includes the people of Toronto, who, Goldkind says, will be inevitably affected when construction of the RER commences.

“Financially, I expect Torontonians will feel some pain as they absorb the cost of the plan. Whether it comes from city taxes, provincial taxes or federal taxes, ultimately the money comes from you and me,” says Goldkind.

The RER is planned to travel from the Airport Corporate Centre to Union Station and then to Markham, which Goldkind says will cause inconvenience for commuters.

“Construction of any sort of transit system requires road closures, detours and other interruptions,” says Goldkind. “There are no alternate corridors for the amount of people who travel through our city. This can be seen currently on Eglinton, as well as at Union Station where people and cars continue to use the space during construction.”

More Than a Map was Goldkind’s transit vision he promoted through out the election. Goldkind’s website has a detailed description of the plan which proposed to transform Toronto transit over the next 15 years.

“It was based on expert research and planning that was originally done for Mayor Miller’s Transit City project, and focused a great deal on achievable costs and timelines,” says Goldkind.

The idea was to make 12 new rapid transit lines spanning from Scarborough, North York to Etobicoke. “It was far more comprehensive in terms of linking existing and new transit systems, as well as covering the entire city,” says Goldkind.

Ultimately, the total investment would have been $56.65 billion but it would have expected to improve the city’s subway, LRT, and streetcar network by 50 percent. However, Goldkind says he supports Tory and has faith in his personal ability to see the SmartTrack through and keep the costs manageable.

“When all is said and done, Toronto badly needs a transit overhaul,” says Goldkind. “Mr. Tory’s plan seems to offer a good solution for what I would call the first of a few big steps that this city needs to take.”

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No, he is not related to current Toronto mayor, Rob Ford…

But for 30 years, resident Russ Ford, has been serving the Etobicoke – Lakeshore community as the executive director for LAMP Community Health Centre.

Now, Ford is running as a candidate for the Ward 6 seat at city hall. With his platform addressing issues such as public recreation and transit services, Ford is bringing the issues of the Etobicoke- Lakeshore community to the table at city hall. Sara Miller has more.


Students want more parking options on campus

Humber College is cramped to find room for new and returning students who wish to park near campus.

Along with limited parking along residential side streets, time restricted spots along Lakeshore Blvd. also make it difficult for students to find convenient parking spots.

Not only this, but local residents frequently call Toronto’s parking enforcement to ticket vehicles parked longer than three hours, the limit on some streets.

Alexandra Burdzy, a student who has had a parking pass for six years, says most students parking on the campus’ main lot are subject to either buy a pass or to pay and display.

Pay and display permits allow for students to buy parking lot time for more or less than four hours.

But students cannot rely on the pay and display payment option for long. At about mid-morning, campus security places a sign in the student parking lot stating that the lot is only reserved for students with permit parking passes.

Students are at that point squeezed out of the privileged parking spots because they don’t have morning class.

“A parking pass is only beneficial if students are on campus most of the week,” says Burdzy. “And for long periods at a time.”

Student travel and parking payment options
(GRAPHIC: Gianluca Primucci) Student travel and parking payment options.

In 2011, the school debut the L-building, costing more than $35-million. But this was only at a time when the lakeshore campus hosted 6,000 students. Previously, the lot was used for parking.

Now with more than 8,000 students at the Lakeshore campus, the college is investigating how to accommodate for the growing number.

Faculty parking located around the outskirts of the campus is not enough either.

The AB lot, already limited with spaces, is required to provide for not only students, but also faculty and guests.

The athletic and welcome centres, both projected to open in 2015, will open the opportunity for more parking options as well.

“We would like to increase parking,” says Wanda Buote, the principal of the Lakeshore campus. “But we’re in a state of investigation.”

The school is looking at purchasing land near the campus for students to park and walk or potentially be shuttle-bussed to school.

“There’s not a lot of room for parking near campus,” says Lindsay Walker, Humber’s sustainability manager. “But we are working to find more sustainable ways to help.”

Partnered with Smart Commute, an alternative travel program run by Metrolinx, the college promotes walking, cycling, public transit, and carpooling as a means of travelling to school.

Using the online tool, students can connect with other students to carpool in order to save money. In return, the driver receives a deal on their parking pass.

In addition to this, new bike repair stations are set to appear on-campus within the next year. An air pump for flat tires and the right tools for a do-it-yourself bike repair, students will be encouraged to ride their bike to school instead of commuting by transit or car.

“We are also talking with the TTC to add more 44 buses to accommodate for the number of students,” says Walker. The 44-south bus runs directly from Kipling station to the college and carries the largest amount of students.

With the athletic and welcome centres to rise in 2015, students hope it will be enough to accommodate for even more students by next year.

“It may not be ideal,” says Burdzy. “But at least it’s an option.”

Parking options for students around campus
Parking options for students in and around Humber College’s lakeshore campus.

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(PHOTO: Alex Karageorgos)
Central Commerce Collegiate on Shaw St. is one of the many busy public schools dealing with road safety concerns.
Central Commerce Collegiate on Shaw St. is one of the many busy public schools dealing with road safety concerns. (PHOTO: Alex Karageorgos)

Toronto Police Service and the Toronto District School Board are teaming up in a road safety blitz for students and motorists.

The Back to School – Back to Basics, Remember Road Safety initiative runs through the first two weeks of school to promote safe driving habits. Toronto Police Traffic Services Const. Clint Stibbe says the joint project is the first of its kind in the city.

“Habitually, speeding is our largest offence,” Stibbe says. “Any time speed limits are imposed, it is quite common for somebody to break those rules.”

Police officers and parking enforcement officers canvass school zones to monitor and limit driving infractions, focusing on intersections, crosswalks, and no-stopping areas.

“There have been on-going concerns the school board has been working on with both the city and the police,” says TDSB Chair and school trustee, Mari Rutka.

Coupled with speed, stopping is another concern. Violet Ling, 14, was killed while crossing the street near C.W. Jefferys CI on the first day of school last year when a disposal truck ran a stop sign and struck the Grade 10 honour student.

“If a school zone is located within the boundaries of a community safety zone as described in the Highway Traffic Act, then the fine for failing to obey a stop sign increases and is doubled,” says Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Bob Nichols.

On top of this, drivers travelling through public school streets should be aware of school buses dropping off and picking up students. If convicted, the first offence for not stopping while a school bus has its four-ways on ranges from $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points.

“Hopefully from this project there will be improvements in the safety for all students,” Rutka says. “The more support the board can get from the police on that, the better.”

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The fire marshal is investigating what caused a six-alarm fire that destroyed a foam-mattress factory  in northwest Toronto Thursday.

“We anticipate the fire investigation to be challenging due to the severe damage to the building the intense fuel load and the duration of the fire has destroyed much of the building,”  Ontario fire Marshal spokesperson Carol Grabelle said today.

Grabelle said heavy equipment may be needed to remove the remains of the collapsed factory to determine origin and cause of the fire  and if  the sprinkler system was adequate.

It took more than 120 firefighters to put down  the blaze inside the factory on Castlefield near Dufferin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Smoke  from the flames was so intense it could be seen on radar. Four nearby business had to be evacuated and several schools had to put protective measures in place.

No one was injured.

Large plumes  of smoke were visible as far south as the Lakeshore.

Walter Ramirez said when he got to the scene it was  “pretty intense with lots of water and lot of firefighters.”

Ramirez said he lives at 401 and Weston Road which is about “five or six kms away” and took the bus to see what was making so much smoke.

Brian Minezzez works at a bicycle shop  near the factory. He was rather calm about the matter having arrived at work around 11 a.m.

“It doesn’t seem that bad, I guess they contained it which is good,” Minezzez said.

By early afternoon, walls began to collapse and firefighters used the new openings to blast more water  on the burning mattresses.




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