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Newsstand: October 18, 2012

If Thursday had a motto, it would be, "Good things come to those who wait." Let's just try and get through this one, folks. In the news: TTC ridership hits record levels, provincial cuts could drive thousands to homelessness, and the Reference Library gets some funky new study pods.

If lately you’ve been feeling like there have never been so many people on the subway, that’s because there haven’t. The TTC is reporting that in the last 12 months, it’s seen its highest-ever ridership levels. Of course, it’s hard for that to seem like an accomplishment when you’ve got someone’s backpack crammed against your head. Overly packed subways are becoming such a problem that the TTC’s CEO is temporarily forgetting what city he’s in and is calling for immediate action on transit infrastructure. Specifically, he wants a downtown relief subway line that will help shoulder the passenger load on the Yonge line, especially at Bloor-Yonge Station, what with all those pesky green-liners milling about.

Elementary school teachers across the province have received the latest union directive to help them stick it to the government over their recent wage freeze. This fall, teachers are being encouraged to write as little as possible on their students’ report cards. That means the report cards, which dropped the conventional letter grades in favour of more direct teacher comments a couple of years ago, could be particularly vague this time around. No official comment from students yet, but so far the general mood seems to be one of indifference.

Thousands of people could be in danger of becoming homeless because of cuts to a provincial program that gives money to people on the verge of becoming homeless. The government says the cuts are necessary because of Ontario’s $15 billion deficit, but something tells us that’s not going to fly for the people who face the prospect of moving into a shelter.

The mayor is doing his part as well, by rounding up City staff to finally kick all those homeless people out of Nathan Phillips Square. After the Sun reported a City bylaw against people sleeping in the square was having no effect, Mayor Rob Ford got serious. City staff went out and shooed away potential Square sleepers, causing the number of overnight guests at the square to go down to zero. Staff have at least been offering to help the homeless get to shelters for the night, so that’s kind of good.

Better watch where you’re walking at the Toronto Reference Library. As part of the library’s multimillion-dollar renovation, it’s being outfitted with 15 glass pods for quiet study. Library staff say the pods were created to provide an environment that’s “a little more private.” Because what could be more private than doing some reading inside a huge glass tube, while passers-by gawk at you and make “Beam ‘em up, Scotty” comments to their friends as if nobody had ever thought of that joke before? And you’ll try to yell back “That’s a dated reference!” but they won’t hear you, ’cause you’ll be stuck in a tube.

CORRECTION: October 18, 2012, 10:30 AM This post originally stated that thousands of people had become homeless because of cuts to provincial programs. That is not correct—rather, thousands of people are in danger of becoming homeless.

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