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Newsstand: March 20, 2013

Today the sun will be at zenith over the equator and we all know what that means: winter is over! In the news: Minister of Transportation doesn’t like GO parking charges; double-file cycling gets legalized; too many butts in the city; “have my councillor home by 6 p.m., lobbyist”; and new predictions on just how beautiful spring will be.

newsstand bluffs2

Charging people to park at GO stations seems to be a counter-intuitive idea, according to Glen Murray, our provincial Transportation Minister. The former mayor of Winnipeg pointed out that in many places the only reasonable way to get to GO lines is to drive, so charging to park would probably mean less people taking trains and buses as part of their commutes. Metrolinx had recently floated the idea of charging for parking to raise more transit funding.

Cyclists can now ride beside each other on city streets without fear that an old, redundant by-law would be grounds for an officer to give them grief. Yesterday, the city’s public works committed voted unanimously to scrap the law, which many view as redundant to a section of the Highway Traffic Act that requires cyclists to move over should a quicker vehicle want to pass.

Because it’s not litter if you suck on it first. Right? Wrong. While litter on the whole is decreasing in Toronto (yay!), cigarette butts increasingly constitute the largest portion of tossed and dropped garbage in the city. According to the general manager of the solid waste management division, butts are one of the most difficult things to clean up from city streets. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that has ever looked down.

Today, council will be looking at changing the way that lobbyist-councillor interactions are reported and when those lobbying efforts can occur. A lobbying “curfew,” which was proposed in the fallout from 2005’s computer licensing scandal, is intended to help keep tabs on what lobbyists want from officials and to make sure that there is less of an opportunity for either side to be taken advantage of.

Lastly, today is the first day of spring. So, get out your light jackets, put away the warm boots, and be prepared to enjoy the sounds of chirping birds while flowers bloom all around you.


  • estta

    Re: cigarette butts. I really wish portable ash trays would catch on in North America. They’re popular in other parts of the world and we could really, really use them here. Ex:

  • Kate Roberts

    “This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that has ever looked down.” lol totally, not to mention all the dog poo resurfacing as the snow melts – gross.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    What I can’t stand is when the cigarette butts are within a few paces of a garbage can (with that cigarette thing on the side). Bars and restaurants should be obliged to provide ash trays and clean the sidewalk when their patrons pollute the environment this way.

    (There’s a bar two doors to the right on my apartment, and an can with butt receptacle (ha) a few feet to the right. So where do the cigarettes end up? In my mail box. Fucking smokers!)

    • estta

      Right? At that point it’s like they are just spitefully littering.

    • IJustGotToBeMe

      Well have you ever considered getting a job. That way you could afford a real home rather then a slum apartment next to a bar.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        But if I got a job they’d kick me off welfare and I wouldn’t have as much time to father illegitimate children all across the city, or ride my bike to the park where I deal drugs.

    • vampchick21

      I struggle with my smoking, I know one day the quit attempt will be a success, but I can assure you, this smoker uses the recepticals! I think it’s more “inconsiderate jerks who happen to smoke and if they didn’t smoke they’d find some other way to be an incosiderate jerk”

  • Sylvain

    I hope that cyclists don’t ride side by side just because they can. It’s selfish to slow people down so you can have a chat. But that’s Toronto: everyone’s number one.

    • frank

      they won’t.

      The vast majority of cyclists ride single file, at all times. They aren’t just going to change their habits because they can now ride two abreast legally.

      Side by side comes in handy when riding with a group on faster roads. In the core its pretty rare to see.

      • Sylvain

        except for cops who take the whole lane and mosey, talking about women and the Jays…I spend so much time staring at their fat asses while I wait for them to acknowledge my bell and allow me to pass.

    • dsmithhfx

      And what’s your number?