It's not every day you get a Thursday like this...really more like every week, to be honest. In the news: city council gets more than it bargained for in its Homeric transit expansion debate, a casino debate will probably be put off for now, the City highlights the worst intersections for traffic, and a burned playground will be rebuilt.
A classic Monkey’s Paw situation is playing out at City Hall right now. So you want to open up a debate around paying for transit expansion in the region? Well, you’ll get that, but it’ll come with multiple days of debate, tangential arguments, and calls to modify the City’s agreement with Metrolinx to spend more non-existent money on subway expansions into Scarborough and elsewhere. Councillors spent yesterday debating various aspects of transit—against the city manager’s wishes—until they were blue in the face (seriously, they quit to watch the hockey game). And they’ll be back at it today.
Toronto isn’t the only city second-guessing the Metrolinx plan now that the time to put up or shut up is approaching. Brampton mayor Susan Fennell is suggesting an alternative to an LRT line that would connect her city with Mississauga, and which has been at the centre of Mississauga’s transit demands. Fennell is also criticizing the proposed fees and taxes on Metrolinx’s transit funding shortlist. Apparently it’s never too late to come out against a potentially unpopular political move.
Given the length of the transit debate at Toronto City Hall, maybe it’s for the best that councillors decided against also opening up a debate on whether Toronto should get a casino now, and instead waiting for the special meeting on it later this month. The situation at City Hall seems one step away from Lord of the Flies as it is. Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) isn’t giving up hope on a casino vote this week, though, so never say never.
Of course, all this talk about expanding transit to fight gridlock might be a load of bunk anyway. How else can you explain why three of the city’s 10 most clogged up intersections outside the downtown core are in areas covered by the Sheppard subway line? And don’t say, “Because nobody uses the Sheppard line,” because we’re sure if we ever went up there, we’d probably see some people riding those trains. The City’s Transportation Services division released the list as part of a report on how it plans to fight traffic congestion by improving traffic light systems, among other things.
A Malvern playground that was burned down the other day will be rebuilt with money from a bunch of corporate donations that have come in since news of the razing broke. Police are still looking for the person or people who burned the playground. If you know who did it, man, you’ve really got some jerk friends.