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Real City Matters

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Newsstand: June 20, 2014

How is everyone's World Cup team doing so far? Either far worse or a little better than expected seems to be the norm. Good luck. In the news today: David Soknacki's radical reimagining of downtown, Wi-Fi on the TTC (kind of), and no e-payment on Toronto ferries until the fall.

matt newsstand bikelane

Mayoral candidate and former City budget chief David Soknacki has proposed what the National Post calls one of the first “radical ideas” of the current election campaign. Soknacki wants to ban on-street parking on arterial roads in the downtown core, which he defines as the area south of Bloor Street, between Spadina Avenue and Jarvis Street. Reaction has been tepid at best. Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) was adamant that the idea is no good, a business leader from the area’s Entertainment District said the approach is unnecessary especially since no-parking hours were recently extended, and even a local cyclist and environmental activist was reluctant to voice his support. Franz Hartmann of the Toronto Environmental Alliance cited the “law of unintended consequences” and said he’s “not sure if a one-size-fits-all approach will work.”

In 2016, the TTC will begin to roll out Wi-Fi service on its buses, but as part of a new dispatch and vehicle location system, rather than for riders to use. The new system will make the bus and streetcar system far more reliable, according to TTC spokesperson Brad Ross. Riders looking for Wi-Fi on the TTC have the platforms at Bloor and St. George stations, and can look forward to the service eventually being offered at the remaining stations.

Ferries to the Toronto Islands carry 1.2 million passengers each year, with more than 80 per cent of that total travelling in the summer (between the Victoria and Labour Day weekends). And while long lineups are commonplace during the summer, e-payment and e-tickets will not be introduced until the fall. They had initially been planned for roll-out earlier this year, but the company chosen for the project underwent a series of acquisitions in 2013 that left the City unsure about “intellectual property rights related to the ticket purchasing power” of VisionMax, the company in question.

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