Pedestrian and bike committee meeting

Ward 11 now has a city-sponsored committee advocating for pedestrians and bicyclists, and your correspondent is delighted to be a member. We’ve

cycle toronto

had only one meeting, and our goals remain a touch nebulous, but our

mandate includes reaching out to see what needs to get done.

Paths, yes, everywhere paths! But what else do you think is important?

Here are some questions to get you thinking:

  • Where are pedestrians unsafe?
  • Do we need more pedestrian crossings? Where?
  • What do you need to ride your bike to work?
  • What do you think of bikes and transit? Do they work well together?
  • Does your bike need a repair? Still? How come?
  • Do you find it hard to lock up? Where? What could be done about that?
  • What about bikes and schools? How is that relationship working out?

Leave a comment or drop me a line at adam at westonweb.ca if you have input.

Toronto Life remembers Weston exists

Netizens around Weston rallied this week and scored a minor victory over the downtown media: Toronto Life amended an article to include Weston, a location it had entirely forgotten about when it listed the places around the GTA in which It had been shot.

The original article included locations as far away as Port Hope and Elora, but forgot about our beautiful town, which is featured prominently in the trailer. It’s not the first time Toronto Life has maligned us: in the past, they named us, without reason, as a lousy neighbourhood to live in. They were wrong about that, too.

 

 

 

Metrolinx Board Meeting September 14

Source: here.

At Metrolinx’ latest board meeting held yesterday, the local wizard of all things transit, Steve Munro, reported on the proceedings and pertinent highlights are extracted below with my gratuitous comments.

Some enlightened jurisdictions allow the use of a credit card to ‘tap and go’. Not Metrolinx – they’re still trying to fully implement their own in-house card, Presto. Credit card ‘tap and go’ might be available in 2019. Until then at least, the only ‘tap’ game in town is the Presto card.

While there are still plans to electrify GO and UP Express trains, Metrolinx is studying the use of hydrogen fuel cells as a form of power. They’re calling it due diligence – your mileage may vary but I suspect a few trips to Hamburg, Aruba and Dubai (where there are trains powered by fuel cells) might be ‘needed’. One such train in Hamburg is supposed to start operating in December and (oh joy) the Christmas Markets are to die for.

A ‘reconfiguration’ of tracks at Union Station is being considered. This would mean reducing the number of tracks and making platforms wider. Not sure how this would help but because of the huge number of trains coming and going, there may be a need to have East and West annex stations with shuttles to the main station.

Integrating fares across the GTA still seems a long way off although there may be a push towards a discount for people having to access two systems e.g. GO and TTC and eventually, time based fares across the board so that people might pay for a two-hour pass (for example).

The current TTC model costs users the same for one stop or twenty – Steve believes that Metrolinx would like to charge fares by distance travelled. If that system was implemented, it would cost people in the suburbs a lot more to go downtown.

December’s board meeting will discuss integrating UP Express fares into the GO system.

Read Steve’s full report here.

From Outsider Club.

Incidentally, according to the Star, Metrolinx holds about 40% of its meetings in private. They are now promising to tell people when their private meetings will be held and will publish (no doubt suitably redacted) minutes. It was after one of these closed-door meetings that Metrolinx announced the famous two additional stations; one that just happened to be a John Tory request and one in the riding of Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca.

With reference to shedding more light on closed door meetings, Board Chair Bob Prichard managed a straight face when he told the Star, “I’m always in favour of continuous improvement in governance . . . . Our practices are developing, and I think it will be a good evolution in our practice to do that.”

Translation: OK you caught us; we’ll have to find another way of isolating the public from our decisions.

UP Express ridership zooms 20%

Anyone who has travelled on the UP Express recently will know that since fares were reduced, the train has been wildly popular; not only with airline passengers but also with commuters and people moving between the stations of Pearson, Weston, Bloor and Union.

Fares dropped to their current levels in March 2016 and by July of that year, monthly ridership had increased from a low of 60,000 in February 2016 to about 250,000. Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins tweeted today that in July 2017, ridership was over 300,000 for that month. While this might be a reflection of tourist numbers, it’s still a good sign and a great perk of living in Weston.

 

Upcoming event

The Frontlines AGM will be September 19th at 7:30 pm at the York West Active Living Centre.

There will also be a celebration of Frontlines’ 30th Anniversary, which is this month.

Orville Wallace will be the keynote speaker, and Frontlines’ culinary program will provide a light meal and desserts.

You are asked to RSVP at info@frontlines.to by September 15th.

Weston students streamed into dead end pathways

York South–Weston students are being streamed into high-school programs that limit their life opportunities, according to Social Planning Toronto.

The province formally did away with streamed high-school programming many years ago, but much of the old system persists, SPT says.  The results are profound: students choose “academic” or “applied” courses in grade 8 that will affect their careers, and earnings, for decades—and they do so without knowing the difference.

Further, “low-income and marginalized students [are] over-represented in lower level courses”.

Map of applied courses
A single map in the report tells a sad and scary story: students in the poorer horseshoe around wealthy old-Toronto take more applied courses.

Applied courses are an academic lobster trap: easy to get into, but hard to get out of. Students are asked to take make-up courses in the summer or after school to make the transition into the academic program.

The report recommends:

  • Delaying choices about education pathways for as long as possible
  • Improving de-streaming
  • Providing better support for students who want to move into the academic stream
  • Improving communication about pathways to parents and students
  • Providing better one-on-one support, especially from teachers