Mount Dennis sees a bright future

An artist impression of the future Mount Dennis Station at 3500 Eglinton Avenue West.

Just as the UP Express is beginning to make a difference in Weston, according to an Inside Toronto article, people in Mount Dennis are anticipating a boost to their area as a result of the Eglinton Crosstown and the new Mount Dennis Station. The 19 km line with a 10 km underground stretch between Keele and Laird is set to open in 2021 after ten years of construction.

Incidentally, without former Premier Mike Harris, we could be riding a different version of the line today. This is a map the subway line that Harris buried (and not in a good way) in 1995.

The subway line that we could be riding today if Mike Harris hadn’t killed it in 1995.

The Eglinton West Line would have run from Eglinton West Station all the way to Renforth along a right of way that had been reserved for the Richview Expressway (killed in the 1970s). Sadly, the Eglinton road allowance was sold for small change by Rob Ford in 2010 but nobody thought to tell John Tory as he was putting crayon to napkin for his SmartTrack plan. The allowance is now being filled in with some spectacularly awful townhomes.

Gratuitous side note: right wing politicians claim to be able to lower costs but their penny wise antics often end up costing us more in the end.

The latest iteration of an Eglinton line.

The new Mount Dennis Station will adapt the old Kodak Recreation Building and will be part of a transportation hub connecting with buses and the UP Express lines. Let’s hope that combined with the end of the vacant property rebate, the new transportation infrastructure will actually breathe fresh life into the area.

Mayor Tory gets on board

From the mayor’s Twitter account.

Today’s announcement from the mayor (standing behind what looks like a sign recycled from a Rob Ford presser) is to the effect that empty stores should not continue to receive a property tax rebate.

Here at Weston Web, we are grateful that the mayor has obviously been using our search feature and reading back issues. We pointed out the unfairness of this tax situation back in 2013.

Hopefully, hizonner will check through Weston Web for more hints on how to do things better in Toronto. Perhaps that will help boost his dismal 55% popularity rating.

Ezra Levant praises Ahmed Hussen

Ezra Levant is a an abrasive right-wing commenter on all things political. He reports for Rebel Media and has a lot to say about the Liberal government – most of it sharply critical. On Friday, he had a few things to say about our MP Ahmed Hussen’s recent promotion. In Levant’s video piece from last Friday, January 13, he shows Hussen in extracts from CSPAN, testifying in 2011 to a U.S. Congress Homeland Security committee concerned with the radicalization of recent immigrants, particularly those from Somali communities south of the border. In the first clip, he states,

I’m a Canadian Muslim who is proud of his faith and heritage, and I truly believe that the Canadian and American values of liberty, democracy, rule of law, human rights and respect for minorities do complement and work neatly with the tenets of my faith.

Levant likes Hussen’s stance on immigrants and their need to adopt Canadian values. Levant thinks that this viewpoint is in sharp contrast to the one held by the the Liberal Party and in particular, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The video is posted below. Thanks to commenter ‘Westonarian’ for the tip.

 

Speed limits lowering around Weston / Mount Dennis

We get outraged whenever a murder takes place in our city, yet people driving cars kill a similar number of Torontonians each year. Part of the problem is that our city has been designed to favour the automobile. Most cities in Europe have extensive traffic-free zones where pedestrians can walk without worrying about traffic.

A quiet Sunday afternoon in the Spanish city of Cartagena. Traffic free streets like this are common in Europe. Incidentally (and completely off topic), notice the lack of overhead wiring and also the use of mid-rise apartment buildings to achieve density.

Cars have been heavily redesigned over the years to protect the occupants in the case of a collision. Nothing is on the outside to help an unfortunate pedestrian or cyclist who is struck by a car.

The old expression goes, “Speed kills”. Logic tells us that the faster a car goes, the greater the impact in a collision. What most of us don’t realize is that thanks to the laws of physics, a car travelling at 6o km/h is almost twice as likely to kill a pedestrian or cyclist as one going at 50 km/h.

Pedestrian and cyclist risks when hit by a car. Data from aaafoundation.org

With greater speed, longer reaction times are needed and braking distance increases.

This Australian video illustrates the dangers of low level speeding.

As part of Vision Zero, a city-wide push to target the huge number of deaths and injuries on Toronto streets, some speed limits across the city are about to be lowered. The ones in our immediate vicinity are:

  • Dixon Road from Highway 427 to Royal York Road – Reduced from 60 km/h to 50 km/h
  • Rogers Road from Weston Road to Old Weston Road – Reduced from 50 km/h to 40 km/h

In addition, pedestrian crossing times will be lengthened at certain intersections.

All of us are vulnerable pedestrians; let’s think that way when we’re driving.

We’re number 12!

A typical day on Black Creek. From google.ca

As many readers will attest, the stretch of highway along Black Creek Drive between Weston and Trethewey can be a long, tough and tedious slog. Apparently it’s the 12th most congested piece of roadway in all of Canada. It begins as the 400 South and like the 427, was originally intended to bulldoze a path all the way down to the Gardiner. The 1970s got in the way and put a stop to further division and demolition of neighbourhoods. Black Creek drive was the best 1980s road builders could come up with in the space already cleared. This hybrid stretch today is as much fun in rush hour as a hemorrhoid transplant.

The vision from the 60s. From gettorontomoving.ca

Unfortunately, the money saved wasn’t channeled into public transit and today, instead of making transportation decisions around data, our wise leaders are spending billions that we don’t have on a Scarborough Subway that we don’t need.

Read the Star’s article on the topic here.

Apparently nothing changes in Toronto. Our Mayor’s big idea? According to CP24, tweak the lights; oh, and maybe have someone direct traffic. That’ll do ‘er.

Want to be depressed further? Read this article about the refusal of our council (and councillor) to consider data and need over political expediency.

Hussen promoted to Cabinet

Ahmed Hussen speaking in Parliament. Screen shot from YouTube.

In a cabinet shuffle announced today, newly minted MP Ahmed Hussen has been promoted to Immigration Minister and becomes the first black and Somali-Canadian member of the Trudeau cabinet. Hussen will take the place of John McCallum who has been appointed Ambassador to China.

Hussen came to Canada from Mogadishu as a 16 year-old and later managed to put himself through York University, earning a B.A. He worked in provincial politics before standing in the 2015 general election for the Liberals.

As a rookie MP, his rise to cabinet has been meteoric by any standards. York South Weston is already represented by influential representatives; the Speaker of Toronto Council, Frances Nunziata and the provincial Minister of Citizenship, Laura Albanese. Let’s hope this increased power and influence translates into some positive results for York South-Weston.

CBC has the full story here.

Red light camera coming to Weston and Lawrence

From 730.ca

There is a list of 79 proposed red light camera locations for 2017 and the busy, diagonal intersection of Weston Road and Lawrence is on it. The cameras cost around $100,000 each but no doubt recoup more than their cost in the long run. Many pedestrians use the intersection and the camera may make things safer for them.

Red light cameras only photograph vehicles that enter an intersection after the light has turned red. Motorists nabbed while running a red light are politely requested to cough up a $325.00 fine. For the last five years, Toronto has run 77 RLCs and their statistics are here. Based on the data, accidents at intersections have been significantly reduced where RLCs are used. There is a FAQ list here.

Hopefully, this is not the only council decision that will be based on data this year.