Bike non-news

Mayor Tory announced 1000 new, tax-payer- and Metrolinx-subsidized shared bikes this week, bringing the total to 3750. Alas, not one is in York South–Weston.

Users can rent a bike for $7 a day, or $99 a year, with extra fees for long trips. The bikes can be picked up and dropped off at any station.

The new bikes

will be near TTC subway stations and stops, to enhance Toronto’s public transit and transportation network. Bike Share Toronto stations will be located as far north as Yonge Street at Eglinton Avenue, and as far east as the Beaches and East York.

Given the focus on TTC stations, it would have been very nice to see bikes at the Mount Dennis transit hub. Though there will be 200 bike parking spaces at the hub, we’ll have to bring our own wheels.

Your correspondent knows that Italians have it way better. Florence, for instance, is flooded with Mobikes, over-engineered commuter bikes anyone can rent for a pittance, subsidized by internet billionaires clutching for ‘scale’. They beat Toronto’s bikes in two ways: they do not require stations, and they are cheap. It seems to me that investing in public bike shares right now is a bit like investing in taxis pre-Uber, but what do I know?

In other bike non-news, nobody stole my son’s brand-new bike. Stupidly, we left it at Elm Park for a few hours unlocked and unattended. When my boy belatedly remembered, he ran back, and it was still standing there on its kick stand.  What a great neighbourhood we live in.

That got me thinking about bike thefts in Weston. I’m glad to say there are relatively few of them. The Toronto Police keep track, and, unsurprisingly, most of the thefts are downtown.

I was surprised to see that only one local theft was reported at the GO Station. A surprising number of bikes, though, were stolen from sheds and garages—I would have figured that bikes are generally stolen from public spaces. Not so.

The Humber condos to launch in September.

10 Wilby Crescent – artists concept.

The long awaited condo apartment building at 10 Wilby being built by Options For Homes will be launched to the public next month, OFH announced yesterday. The Wilby Crescent condo, aka, The Humber, will have 22 storeys and thanks to a no-frills design and its unique financing scheme, purchasing will be a more affordable option for people looking to buy a home. OFH is also touting the advantages of the location which includes convenient access to schools, extensive parkland, proximity to the GO / UP Express and south west views of the Humber and Raymore Park. Prices start at $350,000

Read more about The Humber from OFH’s newsletter here and from their site here.

Crime in Weston: a review

A Mount Dennis minor was arrested in connection to at least one shooting on Tuesday. The police say that shots were fired near Weston and Black Creek, and then, 40 minutes later, near Woolner and Jane. It’s not clear if the incidents were related, but the youth was arrested on Craydon Avenue shortly after the second shooting.

The police were also called to Jane and Wright avenue Tuesday afternoon; two men were seen fighting, one of whom had a gun. He may have fled the scene in a white car.

These incidents made me wonder whether Project Patton, which saw the Weston-area Five Point Generalz decimated (and 75 guns taken off the streets) was successful. Notwithstanding this lousy week, it seems to have been.

Following Project Patton, gun crime took a steep dive, both city-wide and in 12 Division. In May, shootings were was twice as bad as last year. After the raids, they fell below last year’s levels.

Year-to-year, gun crime is basically unchanged: incidents are up 3%, but victims are down 3%. Nor is 12 Division much worse than average: Of the 17 police divisions in Toronto, we are the 12th safest. Not great, but not bad.

I’ll say it again and again: Toronto is a super safe city, and York South–Weston is a very safe neighbourhood—made even safer by the efforts of the police.

Today in (Greater) Weston. August 14, 2018 (from Twitter).

Unfortunately, both Mr Tory and Ms Nunziata recently voted against a storm management strategy that would have reduced runoff water so their sympathy rings a little hollow. This problem has been with us for years and fixing it will require a modicum of political courage that has been lacking to date.

Mount Dennis Station latest videos

Metrolinx has released two videos, one with some lovely drone footage of the old Kodak building which is being incorporated into the new Mount Dennis Station. The second video is a walk through of the actual station.

Letter of the Week from ‘Red Alert’.

This week’s letter comes from reader, ‘Red Alert’ responding to this article and is somewhat representative of a mindset that inhabits the comment section of the Sun and National Post. The usual mantra of ‘hardworking taxpayers’ is mixed in with the prospect of us becoming like Venezuela.

‘Red’ opens his letter by mocking the article’s suggestion that Frances Nunziata and Frank DiGiorgio are right leaning. Then he gets to the meat of his argument, the waste of taxpayer money on unnecessary ‘socialist’ programs.

Right leaning? Who wrote this nonsense. They are all socialists talking platitudes, promising SOCIALIST  welfare programs and services on the backs of hardworking taxpayers in order to get elected by enslaving you. The City should not be in the business of managing Provincial or Municipal social programs or infrastructure. The city should not be in the housing business, retirement/long term care home business, children’s services business , social welfare business. They only know how to run businesses into the ground.  If you want your property taxes to remain low and lowered, demand the city follow it’s original mandate of providing basic services that everyone uses, like police, fire, sewer & water, roads, emergency services, etc. and spending within it’s means and operating any services at a zero sum gain and not a loss. The TTC operates at a colossal loss, it’s mind blowing; More than half of the gross TTC budget is made up of revenue the TTC takes in from fares. Discounting that revenue, the city will spend $576.8 million to SUBSIDIZE with your taxes, conventional service this year ( to pay for the loss) and a staggering $143.4 million to subsidize Wheel-Trans, that often sits idling, moving one person at a time to go shopping or other errands. What a life, hey? What a joke!   Spending billions of dollars the city doesn’t have on services offered at a loss demonstrates politicians gone mad to keep their jobs and stay in power.  It’s a page taken out of SOCIALIST Venezuela, currently going bankrupt and in the mist of hyperinflation which brings poverty and misery. Do you want this for Torontoians? Wake up before it’s too late for you.

Let’s take a few of these points and expand them. ‘Red’ thinks that the city should not spend money on:

  • Infrastructure
  • Transit including Wheel-Trans
  • Public housing
  • Retirement/long term care homes
  • Children’s services business
  • Social welfare

I’m assuming, ‘Red’, that you drive everywhere, never take transit or visit a park. It sounds like you have been lucky enough in life to never need any social services, either personally or for a family member. I’m assuming that you don’t plan on getting old or needing a long term care home. Presumably you would have been ok with letting the AIDS and SARS outbreaks run their course and don’t use the library.

Red, did you know that  if Toronto’s property taxes were increased by 24%, that would bring them up to the average level in the GTA? That must make you feel good.

Here’s a couple of pie charts outlining what the city does and where the money comes from. A lot of the stuff the city does is because no other level of government will. For example, community housing used to be a provincial responsibility until Premier Mike Harris arbitrarily downloaded it to municipalities in 1998 (while stiffing them for adequate funds).

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Every country in the world subsidizes transit. There is no shortage of scholarly articles to show that subsidizing transit not only makes life better for people, it lowers pollution and keeps cars off the road. If it’s any comfort, Red, Toronto at about $1 has the lowest per fare subsidy level of any city in North America yet despite that, one of the most threadbare subway systems in the free world. Ka-ching; more money for hard working taxpayers like you.

Mayor Tory reacts with astonishment on seeing a real subway map while travelling on the London Underground. (From the Toronto Star.)

Try and imagine what would happen if subsidies ended and single fares rose to the cost recovery level of $5. People would go back to their cars causing gridlock. Less travelled bus routes would be cancelled and bus and subway schedules would be trimmed leading to further loss of ridership forcing even higher fares.

As for Wheel-Trans, you seem to resent that it’s used for shopping or personal errands. Well duh; if you were unlucky enough to be disabled what would you use Wheel-Trans for? How do you suggest disabled people buy food or get to appointments?

Incidentally, if you truly believe that Frances Nunziata and Frank DiGiorgio are ‘socialists’ in the way you understand the term, I’ll have to vigorously defend them. The Toronto taxpayer, labouring under the lightest tax load in the GTA has no greater friend than these two. Just look at Wards 11 and 12 and you can tell that a great deal of effort has gone into saving taxpayers money over their combined six decades in office. Poverty is everywhere, litter is everywhere, basements are flooding, buses are crowded, many storefronts are shabby and often unoccupied, public housing is run down and they’ve kept our streets free of business-killing, traffic-pinching bike lanes used by unlicensed hipster freeloaders.

I think you owe them an apology.

Lastly, ‘Red’, next time you want to use the term socialism, you should understand that it refers to a system where the people own and / or control the means of production and distribution. I think we’re still light years away from that. Maybe if we had socialism, there would be less need to tip the scales in the other direction.