WHAT: The long-awaited debut of Toronto’s new streetcars. Hundreds of transit enthusiasts cheered as one of the vehicles charged through a banner depicting an old PCC streetcar (to the strains of no less than Metallica’s “Enter Sandman“) and ushered in what TTC CEO Andy Byford called “the start of a new era.” For months the TTC has been touting the new vehicle’s improved accessibility and reliability (among other modern bells and whistles), although riders on this day were more taken by the sheer novelty of the thing—these are, after all, the first new streetcars to ride Toronto’s rails in three decades. The 501 Spadina line is the first to run the new vehicles, which will roll out across the entire system over the next five years.
It’s that time of year again. The days are getting a little shorter, the air is feeling a little crisper, and all the kids are sullen about their impending scholastic imprisonment. That’s right: fall is just around the corner. It’s time to prepare for the inevitable and get the warm clothes out of storage. But that goes for more than just humans—even utility poles have broken out the knitwear. It seems they learned their lesson after last winter.
It’s just three more sleeps until Toronto’s new streetcars roll out on the 510 Spadina line, and during a media event today, the TTC showed off some of the vehicle’s modern features at the Hillcrest rail yard on Bathurst Street.
The new ride is packed with technological bells and whistles that set it apart from the ancient and obsolete streetcars most Torontonians are familiar with, and its basic physical specifications are vastly different, too—it can carry twice as many passengers as the TTC’s standard streetcar, and, at 30.2 metres, is longer even than the articulated Queen Street model.
How resilient is our city? That’s a challenging question—one that demands consideration of a wide range of social, political, and economic issues—but it’s also a critical one. Urban resiliency, or the ability to cope with catastrophic events and long-term stresses, is vital to a city’s success.
On August 12, Oakland appointed Victoria Salinas as its very first chief resilience officer (CRO). The creation of the position is part of Oakland’s partnership with 100 Resilient Cities, an organization, founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, that is contributing over $100 million to urban resilience projects in 100 cities around the world. “In a rapidly urbanizing world, cities cannot afford to remain crisis-driven and reactive,” Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin said in a City of Oakland press release. “Cities like Oakland are at the forefront of fostering a resilience mindset that will be critical to proactively managing the inevitable challenges, shocks and stresses all cities will face.”
Just three candidates participated in last Thursday’s mayoral debate on heritage preservation issues, and in a refreshing change of pace, the participants managed to find some common ground.
Originally, five candidates were scheduled to attend the debate, hosted by Heritage Toronto. But Mayor Rob Ford went to a campaign fundraiser at his mother’s house instead, and Karen Stintz dropped out of the mayoral race altogether. That left John Tory, Olivia Chow, and David Soknacki, which made for a more reasoned—and less noisy—debate. And apart from a pair of snipes delivered by Tory and Chow, the candidates made no references to the absent mayor.