8 comments

  1. “the redesign of Nathan Philips Square”

    Seriously? Last I heard, they had no idea where the money was coming from for that, and I figured they were planning on just forgetting about it. What was the price tag, $16 million? You just know they’re gonna go after corporate funding, their “appreciation” for which will have to be come in the form of logos or other branding in at least one part of the Square. I’d rather have a completely public chunk of mostly-successful brutalism than a semi-private semi-green space.

  2. That’s about as cynical as one can get, Jonathan. While I understand your position, there is no way anyone at city hall, the architects working on the square, the politicians (save Holyday and Ford), or the public would put up with any logos permanetnly placed on Nathan Phillips Square. Street furniture and city hall are two different things and I think even our sometimes small-minded councillors would never go that far.

    The Sqaure work is being done. Different projects within the whole re-design. That way it can be done economically over a decent period of time. The pdoium is one of the first things to get re-done. Though, I hear the bike station might be the one thing to get the axe since its a really expensive investment for little return.

  3. Overall it’s more posturing for very little return from Miller.

    And true to form he doesn’t challenge any of the true challenges to any of his goals such as waste or his precious unions.

  4. It’s always helpful to have the perspectives of those inside – however, there are some concerns with what’s on this list – and the Square is as good a place to begin with. It seems pretty much unnecessary if there has been maintenance, or smarter design, even though the conditions of exposure are brutal.
    I contrast the emphasis on this Square cosmetics when adjacent Bay St. has been horribly dangerous and rough to bike on for far too long, and there’s a dangerous carpush-ledge to pavement at the SW corner of Dundas and Bay.
    There was a cheap lightening of the square under Lastman – the City hung all sorts of national flags all around the square – cheap bright colour and tying into our cultural mosaic!! Why not?
    Folks in the core should wake up to the missing of the old City core in the Transit Suburbs program. And if one reads the WWLRT EA, it says it’s not worth doing unless it’s more direct into the core – and I don’t think the cost of rebuilding the Union Station loop has been added on to things either. An extra? @ $175,000,000ish?
    Meanwhile, in Curitiba, they obtained about the same capacity as a subway for 1% of the cost through the political will to clear off cars and private vehicles from street and favour larger bus transport plus at least one other innovation beyond political will.
    As for boosting the Bike Plan, the Metrolinx plan says the cost of painting bike lanes is $10,000 a lane km, making the Sherbourne to High Park Bloor bike lane a whopping c. $200,000 – and some of us would likely be very happy to do it for $100K.
    It will be interesting to see what the civic priorities are with a 10% slide in real estate.

  5. Rob Ford would put up a logo in a second.What are you CSI, a Communist ? : )

  6. Jeff, do you think there’s a room somewhere 9 levels below City Hall where Miller and the Civil Service stash mounds and mounds of this waste you speak of? If you’re looking to root out waste, that’s essentially what happens when Miller demands the equivalent of a 5% budget reduction from all departments (though in some cases, cutting 5% means cutting service that works very efficiently). I hope this isn’t a surprise to you but Miller has some ambitious plans given the financial straight jacket he’s in so it really isn’t in his interest to have a few hundred million here or there in wasteful spending.

    RE unions: The reality is that unions exist at the City of Toronto. Lastman was never friends with them and they existed then too with very similar results. They also existed pre-amalgamation. Unions and the workers they represent have rights and they exercise those rights. You may not like it but that’s the reality of managing a unionized workplace. What do you want Miller to do about it?

  7. Not mentioned as a priority, but one that I hope makes it through the budget is the library’s hours expansion project.

    I think TPL has been a model of efficiency the last few years adding lots of new service and drastically improving its branches with fairly small budget increases.

    The plan to add up to 25% more hours, in large part due to installing automatic check-outs at the City’s busiest libraries, with only a modest amount of ‘new’ money sounds great.

    I’d like to see that funded; then the library folks set loose on other departments that haven’t shown the same customer-service orientation; or penchant for innovation.

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