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Newsstand: December 12, 2013

Still waiting for Rebecca Black to do a Thursday song so there would be some killer lyrics to put here. Until then: teens are getting wild and scaring adults (as always), a think tank report calls for better TTC/GO system integration, Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly is more popular than Rob Ford, and the Toronto District School Board will look into some questionable raises.

matt newsstand newspaperlies

Oh, teens. Always getting into trouble and making adults think that they’ve brought the end of civilization. Will they ever learn? Do we really want them to? They’re at it again, of course; Ontario youth are drinking that sizzurp (also known as lean and purple drank, or as “cough syrup, Sprite, and a Jolly Rancher”) and smoking pot. They’re cutting back on the two most popular intoxicants of the western world, alcohol and cigarettes, at the same time. If you were a devotee of Dr. Phil in the mid-2000s you’ve no doubt heard of the horrors of drinking cough syrup to get high, which Dr. Phil claimed the kids called “‘Tussin” (after Robotussin). He was definitely wrong because that is a ridiculous nickname no teen would endorse. Rather than clutching our pearls and bemoaning the state of youth these days, though, it may prove useful to look into why teens are heading for their home medicine cabinets rather than buying expensive alcohol to get wrecked. Just a thought.

A report from an unnamed “local think tank” recommends that in order to truly serve customers, increase ridership, and cut down on commutes and road congestion, the Toronto Transit Commission should begin having GO trains run every 15 minutes in both directions throughout the day. It also recommended combining the current Scarborough RT line with the proposed subway line and the Sheppard subway line into a single light-rail system. Big talk from an organization that doesn’t even have a name.

Forum Research has conducted a poll finding that Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly has a higher approval rating than Mayor Rob Ford. The mayor is holding steady around 42%, but one month after assuming most of Ford’s duties, Kelly is enjoying 65% popularity, the same as his approval rating last month. Perhaps tellingly, 43% of Ford supporters think Kelly is doing a good job.

On Wednesday, Toronto school board trustees voted unanimously in favor of looking into some “questionable” raises given to senior executive staff during a provincial freeze on public sector wage increases. School board chair Chris Bolton told the Toronto Star that there was some confusion over whether the freeze applied to senior executives, who are public sector employees. Presumably, there was no question that lower-level employees already being paid less were included in the freeze.


  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Robotussin: Robitussin for robots?

  • jsphrs

    >> A report from an unnamed “local think tank”

    The linked article may have been updated after you read it, but it names it as the Neptis Foundation.

    • Sean_Marshall

      Yep, Neptis Foundation.
      A few good ideas – mosly about upgrading GO Trains and their connections and fare integration.

      But there’s lots of faults and errors and falsehoolds in that report – such as the idea that the DRL can be junked just by running extra trains to Danforth Station during rush hours – never mind all the issues raised by such a plan (capacity at Union, difficulty in getting passengers to change via a 250-metre walk, reliance on a not-so-reliable GO network, complete gloss over of local/intermediate needs). He gets the history of Main Street Station entirely wrong, thinking that a mezzanine at that station was built to accomodate a GO connection when it was actually the old fare collection area.

      • HotDang


        The absolutely best thing about the DRL is that it wouldn’t have to go to union. It would probably be more useful if it went to King or Queen.

        • bobloblawbloblawblah

          DRL will likely go to King(St. Andrew) as Union is near capacity or will be by the time the DRL gets built.

      • dsmithhfx

        What people seem to forget about a DRL is that a) it’s easily 10-years out even if they start digging by end of day, and b) like all subways it will be a sinkhole for transit spending.

        GO can be rather more quickly retrofitted, and reliability can be improved without a major infrastructure spend and attendant disruption. Warts and all, the Neptis plan is a lot better than a shimmering Metrolinx mirage that changes direction with each new set of political masters.

        • Sean_Marshall

          At least in theory it’s not a bad idea for a short term fix if the momentum to finally build the DRL is not lost. There’s nothing wrong with improving connections to Danforth GO, especially if GO is electrified and urbanized with more frequent services (it will allow transfers both ways).

          What I fear though is that someone in power (Hudak) will take the proposal to completely replace the DRL with this scheme, kicking the DRL can down the road another decade or two. This also ignores serious flaws with regard to reliabilty, ease and desirablity of transfer and capacity at Union.

        • Don River

          Not happening. The province will only pay for electrification incrementally, and the city will protect the TTC’s turf like it’s Fort Knox. Unless the province stages a coup and uploads the TTC (also not happening), GO having a significantly larger role in local Toronto transit is a fantasy.

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        That whole business of mothballing the DRL idea in favour of a GO shuttle from Main is utter nonsense. It shows little understanding of what the DRL would accomplish: taking the stress off the Yonge/Bloor interchange and providing a line for King Street which has almost 60,000 passengers a day on it’s streetcars. Even if GO could run shuttle trains on a 5-10 minute basis ( not likely) people coming from east of Main aren’t going to get off at Main and walk that 250 metres of windswept streetscape(especially in the winter). Why would they? They’d just stay on and transfer at Yonge even if it’s really crowded at Yonge. A good deal of that study appears to be written by someone who never even came to Toronto let alone rode the TTC.

        • dsmithhfx

          The chances are excellent you will not be around long enough to use any drl that actually gets built. You’ll be living/working elsewhere (another city, even), or found alternate transportation. So no sense pining for something that you’ll never, ever benefit from, but you WILL pay for in the meantime. I am interested in transit that will come on stream in the next 5 years or so, that everyone agrees we can afford, now. Anything beyond that, given the political constraints against intelligent, long-term planning, must be viewed as pie in the sky.

          • Don River

            Nothing is guaranteed to come on stream in 5 years that isn’t already under construction.

          • dsmithhfx

            Nothing is guaranteed, period.