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Real City Matters

Join us Tuesday night for a discussion about municipal ethics in Toronto

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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.

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