Scarlett Heights Academy to close.

From Wikipedia.

Last June, the Toronto District School Board voted to close the Scarlett Heights Entrepreneurial Academy. The school sits just across the Humber, on Trehorne, near the Royal York Plaza and will usher out its last student next June. With only 221 students and room for 843, the school was only 26% utilized and had become an expensive hobby for TDSB. Even elementary schools would struggle to cope with such a tiny population and high schools are unable to provide a decent variety of courses with an average of only 55 students per grade. Students south of Eglinton will move to Richview C.I. while those to the north will will transfer to Kipling C.I.

The school’s closure might be a tad premature because Plant World on Eglinton sold for squillions to Lanterra Developments and a large influx of new students might have materialized once the 1900 proposed homes are built on the property. (Five, 18-33-storey towers are proposed for the site – subject to an OMB appeal by the City).

No matter, the kids will be moving and as a result of the Scarlett Heights influx, Kipling C.I. is exploring changing its name to reflect the two school communities.

Richview Collegiate, former high school of Beatles impersonator, Stephen Harper…not so much.

Suggestions for Kipling C.I.’s new name can be submitted using this link.

Lawrence Bridge Mural is Complete

In August, several talented young people were seen painting a stylized thunderbird along the abutment wall of the Lawrence Avenue bridge over the Humber. Here is the finished product in panoramic view so that it can be seen fully.

Lawrence Avenue Bridge Abutment Mural
Click to expand.

Painting of the mural was arranged by Urban Arts, who specialize in beautifying vertical spaces. The team worked under the direction of Cree Metis artist Jason Baerg who came up with the indigenous people theme. Team members were: Devlyn Mar, Tyson Simms-Campbell, Jerlie Thorpe, Aryana Singh, Carlos Guevara, Italia Santoyo and Taye Harding. This same team completed a sweetgrass themed mural in the underpass carrying the Pan Am Trail under Scarlett Road.

Devlyn Mar, Tyson Simms-Campbell, Jerlie Thorpe, Aryana Singh, Carlos Guevara, Italia Santoyo and Taye Harding
Five of the seven young artists who worked on the mural.

Bloor Bike Lane Report is out

Karl Jilg/Swedish Road Administration
This cartoon illustrates how much of our streets are dedicated to traffic. Karl Jilg/Swedish Road Administration

Cycling is experiencing a boom in many cities in the world. Here in Weston, other than a short stretch along Eglinton between Scarlett and Jane, there’s no space exclusively dedicated to cycling through our streets. We have ‘sharrows‘ along streets like Weston Road and bike lanes that are simply painted lines but these do little or nothing to improve safety levels for cyclists in a city where people in vehicles have killed 2 cyclists and 28 pedestrians so far this year. Interestingly, when police report that someone has killed a pedestrian or cyclist, it’s the victims of driver inattention who are consistently lectured to wear light clothing and use more caution. Motorists are never asked to be more vigilant. The advent of the mobile phone and lax enforcement of distracted driving laws has made our streets less safe. Transportation Services’ cycling maps are hopelessly confusing and out of date.

Here in Canada, society favours motorists but Europe seems to be re-thinking their cities and many have extensive car free centres.

While Toronto doesn’t even have a single car free street, it is moving timidly in a more car-centric direction and recently set up bike lanes along Bloor street between Shaw Street and Avenue Road as a pilot study. The expectation was that the pilot would fail. Cyclist lanes would be unused, clog traffic and bankrupt the merchants along Bloor.

A report has been delivered to council with the following findings

The negative:

  • Car journey times did increase
  • Merchants had difficulty with deliveries
  • Parking convenience was reduced (longer walks)

The neutral or positive:

  • Increased journey times were reduced 50% with traffic signal adjustment
  • Cyclists felt safer and cycling increased by 49%
  • Motorists felt more comfortable with bikes separated
  • Near miss collisions have been reduced
  • Parking revenues remained steady
  • Most merchants reported increased customers and sales
  • Store vacancy rates were unchanged

As a result of the successful Bloor pilot, the city’s Transportation Services are recommending that the bike lane be made permanent. The report will go before the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee and despite the committee’s car-oriented membership the recommendation will go forward to Council next month because as a result of the report, Mayor Tory supports the bike lanes. T.S. Committee members are: Christin Carmichael Greb, Stephen Holyday (Vice Chair), Chin Lee, Giorgio Mammoliti, Anthony Perruzza and Jaye Robinson (Chair).

Where does that leave Weston / Mount Dennis streets? Still dedicated to the traffic that mainly uses our area as a conduit to other places. Metrolinx is supposed to be investigating the extension of the West Toronto Railpath into our area but inquiries take weeks for a response and answers are vague or simply unhelpful. Even Toronto’s own Transportation Department doesn’t seem to bother to update its cycling information.

Toronto Cycling Map
A detail from the City’s latest cycling map showing our area. They still have the GO station in its old location. Click to enlarge.

Councillors in the suburbs tend to be very car-centric and ours is no exception. Ms. Nunziata’s support base may be called many things but cyclist tends not to be one of them. It remains to be seen if the Mayor’s turnaround will influence other members of Council when it comes to local bike lanes and public car-free areas. If this is his way of not being Doug Ford then long may it last! Perhaps he can also turn his attention to adequately funding the TTC and cancelling that idiotic $3.45 Billion one-stop subway.

Janes Walk follows Carrying Place route

John Graves Simcoe. From Toronto Dreams Project

This Saturday (tomorrow) Swansea Historical Society will conduct a Janes Walk in two halves which will take participants from South Kingsway all the way up to the Eglinton Flats in Weston / Mount Dennis. The walk will begin with ‘Lt. Governor John Graves Simcoe’ accompanying walkers at 9:30 am from South Kingsway to Bloor (approximately 12 noon) and will continue at 1:00 pm after participants have found their own lunch.

From https://taiaiakon.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/taiaiaikon/

The second half will begin at the Alex Ling fountain at the north-west corner of Bloor and Jane and will last about 3 hours, ending at the Eglinton Flats; site of the 1793 camp where the Humber now meets Eglinton.

More details and an interactive map can be found on the Janeswalk.org site.

Province cuts GO/UPX – TTC transfer cost.

An older model Presto Card and reader.

Many people are taking advantage of the rapid link to downtown that we enjoy here in Weston. It’s only 6 minutes to Bloor station and 14 minutes to Union from where TTC connections can be made. Some people find the combined cost of the GO/UP Express and the TTC too high and have felt that a discount should be offered. The Liberals will announce today that people who use a Presto Card to pay for fares will soon get a break when using both transit modes.

For example, people taking the GO train or UP Express will get a $1.50 discount on a TTC ticket when a Presto Card is used. Similarly, in the reverse direction a GO or UP Express ticket will be discounted $1.50 for those transferring from the TTC. The fare subsidy is designed to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and will save commuters up to $720 annually.

The new fare system will come into effect in December and is similar to  (but more generous) than those offered in other municipalities.

If you thought the UPX was crowded before…

Read more in this Star article here.

Weston Station to get a new platform.

Work has started on a fourth passenger track that will run through Weston. The track bed is already in place and rail will be put down between Nickel and the 427 over the next few weeks. This fourth track will be for GO only and a new low level platform will be built at Weston Station. This fourth track will allow for faster and more frequent passenger service along the Kitchener line.

The single GO track back in October 2013