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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered


  1. Yes, Royson James, the St. Clair line is “compromised to death” because of screeching from influential people like you who should know better. I thought you were in favour of good city-building?

    One cannot blame local merchants on a short-term lease to want to act in their own narrow interests but do not for a moment support them in their efforts to block improvements that Toronto so desperately needs. It’s no coincidence that the headline summary on Spacing today combines articles about the overblown St. Clair fire access issue with an article titled “Toronto a city in decline”.

    How naive of you to claim that “future neighbourhoods along new routes will be more inclined to cooperate rather than oppose” if only the TTC is more “honest” (whatever that means). Perhaps you are not aware that NIMBYism will always exist and must not be pandered to. Otherwise the blame for the TTC’s, and Toronto’s, stagnation will rest squarely on your shoulders.

  2. I really don’t understand what all the fuss is about on St Clair. There are still four regular traffic lanes available, even with the new right of way. That means St Clair has the same kind of room for emergency vehicles as Yonge St, Bay, Bloor, Bathurst and hundreds of other streets. In fact, there is still more room on St Clair than many other Toronto streets, such as those found in Kensington and Cabbagetown. Furthermore, there are innumerable sidestreets with speed humps, which pose a far greater danger and delay to firetrucks than St Clair. In addition, there are several streets such as University Ave and Kingston Rd in Scarborough with centre islands that prevent firetrucks from turning left at will. So why then, is the St Clair ROW being singled out? St Clair had a ROW back in the early 20th century, and it is merely being restored. If firetrucks can’t use or cross it, so be it. There are four regular lanes still available, and if they are gridlocked, then they can handle those situations the same way they do with all other congested four lane streets in Toronto, which is to blare their sirens and horns and force their way through traffic.

  3. Wow, Mike Harris blaming the City of Toronto for its current state? That’s the pot calling the kettle black.

  4. Well the city in decline thing was written by Mike Harris, who is only pointing out that he achieved his objectives in government…

    The Province giving the cold shoulder thing has an odd quote though:

    “We can cut the demand by 40 megawatts for as long as you want. We can keep it on all day if you want – or four or five minutes if you want.”

    My understanding of the AC shutoff programme was that it was supposedly limited to short periods so that “you won’t notice the difference”. If they are now saying that AC could stay off all day then people who work from home or are housebound may think twice about signing up. Perhaps the system operates on a rotating basis but Hydro need to be clearer when they make statements like this.

    Obviously anybody who leaves their house during the day should be on a programmable thermostat already so their AC isn’t cooling an empty house.

  5. When did Mike Harris become a scholar and a researcher? The Fraser Institutes survey is somewhat suspect because well, its the Fraser Institute, brought to you by the same people who created all the problems that Toronto, and Ontario are trying to reverse. Yes Mike the scholar is the same proud Toronto hating anti-intellectual who refused to listen to the people of Toronto who voted no to amalgamation.

    If you want to see who the Fraser Institute appeals to, read the comments section at the Post a dose of redneck opinion and selective memory. Its funny how people who read the post cannot seem to recall the Harris years and the damage done. Is this study a serious research document? Or an attempt to blame somebody else for what Mike Harris did to screw Toronto?

  6. St. Clair> Figuring out Royson James is a whole topic in itself but Royson’s so-called “dissidents”, otherwise known as the small shrill minority, just cant seem to let this go. St.Clair, as other have mentioned, will still be much more accessible than most other side streets and main streets in the city. As I have said before, the FD always lives in a perfect world scenario when it does reports and no city is perfect. If this is really such an issue then we should ban street festivals and marathons and parades and make every street 8 lanes wide, but nobody wants that. This safety issue is really a crass pr move and I cant wait to see how much better St.Clair near Old Weston will be when the ROW revitalizes the area.

  7. The NP comments section is frightening… dementia with a pinch of xenophobia. When did the National Post boards become the new Free

  8. Another interesting bit of GO Transit news is that this morning they announced:

    1) They’re adding bike racks to buses
    2) They’re starting a pilot program to allow folding bikes on rush hour GO Trains.

    More details at I Bike TO.

  9. Yes, those NP comments were stunning in their vileness. However, these are the people that populate the country so if they think Toronto is a @$#&!%#! place, then Toronto has a problem no matter what the facts on the ground are. We need tourists and business and trade and unfortunately that depends on what ignoramuses in other areas think about us. The city does need to improve its image so that the stereotypes start changing. I suggest taking the New York route of highly publicized crackdowns on quality-of-life stuff. It may not make a big difference in the running of the city if there is less graffiti, less panhandling and less litter but it makes an enormous difference in perception. It’s a Family Feud world (i.e. the correct answer is what people think the correct answer is), and perception matters.

  10. In the NP’s defense, even the Globe and CBC have their share of vile comments. It’s the price of being a big mainstream publication and opening to blog-style dialogue. It gets derailed a lot.

    We’re very lucky here that our comment section is largely devoid of that sort of thing. There’s lots of disagreement within the comments or towards something one of us has written in a post, but it tends to be civil and has room for back and forth. But we have a niche audience here — people who, generally, care about the same stuff, even if from different political stripes.

    It has been interesting to see when the comments here dip into the vile direction — generally when a post has been picked up by a special interest blog/board/paper, and directs loads of their readers here for one-time-post-and-run visits. Then it returns to civilized normal. Mostly.

  11. It is interesting just how quick everyone here is to shoot the messenger, so long as it is Mike Harris. If you had gone to the trouble of actually report, you would have noticed that he is not the author. He just wrote the forward. The stats were complied from the 2006 Census.

    Blaming Toronto’s problems on downloading is a red herring. Take a look at the city’s budget. Provincial grants have increased far more than the cost of Provincially mandated / cost shared expenses.

    Toronto over taxed business properties, so they and the jobs that go along with them left. Ten years into the decline they were still asking the province to soften the cap on non residential taxes so they could tax them more. Exasperating and accelerating the problem.

  12. Glen> Anything from the Fraser institute is an agenda and anything with name Mike Harris attached cannot be considered reasoned objective thought.

    I have seen the same data and I do not share the same opinion. And where I do agree, there is a clear link chain of custody back to Mike Harris.

    Its not the data, its the Interpretation.

  13. scott,

    Would you care to share your interpretation? The biggest mistake Mike Harris did towards Toronto was allowing class averaging during the shift to CVA. This is what set the stage for such high non residential taxes which caused the city to miss out on nearly a generation of growth.

    Even mayor Miller has finally caught on to what a high price was to be paid for such ill treatment of the only revenue positive property class the city.

  14. St. Clair right of way is a done deal… and life goes on. But if design choices were made that compromised quality of life on that route, I do think the City and the TTC have a duty to learn from this. That doesn’t mean doing away with building right of ways, but it does mean perhaps not dismissing all opposition as selfish knee-jerk nimbyism (which is really just a way of tuning out people who are saying something than what you want them to say). Some of the concern regarding some of the design choices that have been made on the St. Clair ROW was from well-respected transit writers (I won’t mention any names) who supported the ROW. Bureaucrats and their various experts don’t have all the answers…they don’t have any magic crystal ball and sometimes they do screw up in terms of the negative impacts of a particular project. Personally, I think the St. Clair ROW is a good thing (though I think the money should have first been spent to address other more transit-needy areas) but I don’t live in that area and I can well imagine some of the concerns that had not been anticipated by the planners. To simply brand these concerns as “selfish NIMBYism” is to sidestep the question of whether these concerns deserved to be addressed — and that’s something that I think planners do at their peril.

  15. Glen> I think most people who post here have Mike Harris figured out and unlike him we see problems and greatness but not doom and gloom. His vision is just another lower tax crusade to help his friends. I see the glass as half full unlike you possibly,”SOUTH OF STEELES

  16. scott,

    I you are unable or unwilling to elaborate, just say so. No need to resort to ad hominem remarks.