Newsstand: August 25, 2011
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Newsstand: August 25, 2011

If this is Thursday, then you survived the great Toronto tornado that never was. Congratulations. Here is your prize, the news: CN Tower to honour Jack Layton, new report on commuting confirms that it sucks, the TTC wants to ban abusive riders, York is beefing up security kinda, and lightning.


As Jack Layton’s body was laid in state on Parliament Hill for mourners to pay their last respects and Olivia Chow broke the nation’s heart with her grace and resilience, officials confirmed the CN Tower will glow orange on Saturday in honour of the fallen NDP leader.

There is a new report about Canadian commuting trends out that says lots of things. Almost 11 million Canadians drive to work and less than 15 per cent of those drivers have ever tried public transit to make the schlep. The average commute time nationwide is 25 minutes, but for Torontonians it’s more like 33 minutes. And public transit users fare worst of all, clocking in an average 44 minute commute, which is 20 minutes longer than the average car commute and just not even worth comparing to cyclists and walkers unless you feel like welling up on the subway platform today. (And yet, TTC ridership is up.) Scintillating stories always come out of this type of report, and this time is no exception. There’s the tale of two Torontonians trumping transit by tramping the terra firma with their own two feet, or wheels, while one newspaper reporter drives to Markham. Thrilling stuff.

Meantime, the TTC is considering a ban on abusive riders. Assaults on TTC employees have not been deterred by safety measures like security cameras and those plastic shield things bus drivers have. There’s an average of two assaults a day and the transit commission is having none of it. A spokesman says the TTC is working with the Crown’s office to implement a prohibition program that would apply on a case by case basis to ban serious or repeat offenders. While they’re at it, they should consider banning those people who stop right inside the door of the subway and all the bus riders who consider the steps in the middle of the bus the back.

An early morning meeting today of York University campus staff is expected to result in sort of improved safety measures for the troubled campus. Wait for it. Hold on, this should be good. For the campus that frequently makes headlines with the word “assault” in them, the security staff may soon have handcuffs and batons. That’s it. That’s the expected announcement. Well that and the school is hiring 12 more security staff. The teaching union at York recognizes the move as perfunctory, asking why the overarching issues aren’t being looked at, or at least a few more lights installed around campus.

As we learn of the joyous news of Adam Giambrone’s engagement, here’s some other tidbits about the former mayoral candidate and TTC chair that you probably also don’t really care too much about.

And a storm happened. The Ex was closed early and the lightning was nuts. And if you got scared enough to sit in a closet for a few moments, that’s OK.