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.

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.

Survey on Lawrence underpass art

The city would like your input into the art that should be painted on the Lawrence Avenue underpass. Clearly, however, you should vote for Alexander Lazich, whose bird-themed mural is really something.

Alexander Lazich

I say that in jest, of course. Most of proposed murals, which will be painted in 2019, are really something.

I’m not partial to Christiano De Araujo’s proposal this time, though I do quite like “The Windows of Time” on Perfect Blend.

Christiano De Araujo

A Shop’s work will have local themes emerging from the bold geometric background.

A Shop

Regular readers will know that I love to bike, and I should love Charlie Johnston’s series. But I have a pet peeve: I hate it when artists don’t know bikes. Johnston’s mural has the gears (bottom) all wrong. The front cog is on backwards–the large chainring should be most visible not least visible.

Charlie Johnston

Jill Stanton’s art is, I think, the most interesting. Rather than a collage, she proposes a comic strip. I love it.

Jill Stanton


Upcoming events

UrbanArts Shockweek continues until August 11. The duo Faarrow look really great–they’ll be performing on Saturday.

Here’s something you don’t see every day in Weston: modern dance. Shotgun Juliet will be performing “The Forest for the Trees” in Memorial Park (on Little Ave) on August 16 at sundown.

12 Division police rescue two men drowning in elevator

It sounds like a B movie: a flood shorts out the elevator while it’s at the parking level; the water rises, ever upward, ever faster. There’s no cell signal, no way to call for help. The brown, roiling water lifts two passengers until there is just enough space at the top of their tomb to snatch breaths.

It’s a true story.

Klever Freire and his colleague Gabriel Otrin were working at a startup on Alliance Avenue when the flooding started. They went into the basement to save Friere’s car–and got trapped in the elevator.

With the water rising, Otrin was able to push the elevator hatch open just enough to get his cellphone through and get a signal. He called for help, and constables Ryan Barnett and Josh McSweeney, two of Weston’s finest, rushed to the scene.

With the water rising Barnett and McSweeney struggled to open the elevator doors, first trying their hands and then crowbars. The water was at Otrin and Freire’s necks when the police were able to get the doors open.


Constable Barnett said,

“The way I look at it is, every police officer would have done the same thing. On the radio we heard 12 Division officers going into the water to check vehicles for people in flood waters. We were in the right place at the right time to help them.” on gangs and guns meeting

While I was sitting on my duff enjoying Neighbour’s Night Out, a real reporter, Lisa Rainford, attended the meeting to debrief residents after the recent arrests and gun seizures in Weston:

Six weeks after police seized 80 guns off the streets of Toronto as part of operation ‘Project Patton’ — which targets the infamous Five Point Generalz gang with ties to Weston —  officers spoke to the community about its after effects.

The seizure was one of the largest in Canadian history, Toronto police told the dozens of residents who attended a public meeting

The police outlined the many risk factors for gang involvement—and revealed a sad fact. Most gang members are children.

“Fifty per cent of gang members are under the age of 18,” Chhinzer said. “Education is our best bet.”


Sinkhole eats car

A car was swallowed by a sinkhole at the former Weston bakery outlet earlier this week. The sinkhole was caused by a water-main break (not recent flooding) and the car seems to have driven into it, rather than having had the sinkhole open up underneath it.

There were no injuries.

Car in sinkhole
From CTV news

Update: the sinkhole opened up underneath the car.