Traffic around HJ Alexander to improve

The traffic around HJ Alexander should get better after the Etobicoke York Community Council meets later this month. The city is asking the council to change parking regulations to make traffic flow better, especially during the pick-up and drop-off periods.

Some of the “No Parking” areas will be removed and replaced with “No Stopping” and “No Standing” areas.

UPX fares too expensive study says

69% of Torontonians think the UP Express is too expensive, and only one in four people think the train is priced well, according to a Forum Research poll released before Christmas.

The UPX will cost $27.50 each way for a ride between Pearson and Union Station.

The poll also found that only 18% of people are “very likely” to use the UPX. Another 24% of respondents say they are “somewhat likely” to use it.

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These responses, of course, are unlikely to phase Metrolinx, who have never said that this train is for people like you and me. The UPX, they say, is for elite business travellers (or, at least those elites who take public transit).

Steve Munro has weighed in on the UPX fares, and he is, as usual, unsparing:

The fare structure is, to no great surprise, not “affordable” in the sense of day-to-day travel for the distance involved. Metrolinx makes virtue of this by positioning the UP Express as a premium service in a league with other cities: Missing from this statement is the acknowledgement that many “world class cities” also have lower-cost routes to their airports…. Notable by their absence from comparisons with other cities are any North American airports because none of these offer a premium express service….
The mentality that claims Toronto needs to be “world class” by having a premium air rail link is the worst kind of boosterism that says more about the people whose careers depend on this sort of project than it does about good planning and leadership.

Mount Dennis ‘On the rise’; Weston, not so much.

According to BlogTO, Mount Dennis is in the top 5 of Toronto ‘neighbourhoods on the rise’. The reason given for their optimism is the upcoming development of the Kodak lands, the new Crosstown LRT and the emergence of Supercoffee and the Nyctophilia art installation.

Here in Weston, things should also be on the rise – although on Boxing Day, a rather large oaf decided that a Weston Road shop doorway would be the perfect place to waddle from his SUV and vomit in a shop doorway. When the store owners protested, they received a foul tirade for their trouble. Perhaps it is the run-down air of Weston Road that makes people feel entitled to do this. We’re almost into January and there are still leaves and litter piled up under the benches at Weston and Lawrence. Perhaps Weston Village BIA could put some money towards a more regular street cleaning.

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On a more positive note, the long awaited Perfect Blend Bakery and coffee shop is now hiring.

 

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Weston Village lights up the darkness.

It’s the Winter Solstice today – the darkest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere). Last night, WestonWeb did some drive-by shooting through Weston Village in the annual hunt for Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanza / New Year / Festivus / Shopping Festival lights. Several of the more charming displays are included for your viewing pleasure along with comments from our expert team of know-it-all adjudicators (my wife and I). If your house is not included, its image has probably been rejected, not on the bounds of good taste but thanks to the abject skills of the photographer.

SJTE expansion hits a bump

St John the Evangelist may not expand in the way originally envisioned, because of the graves discovered there earlier this year. According to Dave Bennet, “the TCDSB had planned on a land swap with the church to gain access to Fern Avenue, where 4 properties were already purchased.” That land swap now may not happen because the church council will not pave over the to create a parking lot.

The Catholic School Board will meet in March 2015 to discuss new options.

InsideToronto has more on the changes.

The Weston Historical Society has published pictures of the gravestones. They photos are wonderful. Go there. Don’t stay here.

 

 

Trains make first run through tunnel

The first trains went through the Weston tunnel today. Metrolinx said in its press release that “with the trains running in the new tunnel, the major work for the Weston Tunnel project is now complete…. This is a major achievement for the $1.2 billion GTS Project whose objective is to increase rail transit capacity by widening the rail corridor for additional tracks.”

Right now, only GO trains are using the tracks. UP Express trains will start running in the spring, and CN trains will continue to use the level tracks outside the tunnel. Transitdrum118 captured the historic first run.

UPX fore-lash

The UP Express backlash backlash has started. Several supporters in the downtown media have come out in favour of the $27 fares, which were announced last week.

Marcus Gee, of the Globe and Mail, says,

This line was never supposed to be part of the city’s ordinary public transit network, to be used for local trips. It was designed to be like Tokyo’s Narita Express or London’s Heathrow Express, high-end rapid services with fares to match.

But to say it is only for the rich and so deserves no public funding takes things too far. The standard fare for a one-way UP ride was announced this week: $27.50. That is hardly outrageous for a traveller who may have spent hundreds of dollars on a flight and $25 or more just for checked baggage.

The National Post convened a panel of yay-sayers, who, by in large, said something along these lines:

[After the fare announcement] the bitchfest began anew: Too expensive, not a commuter service, too many stops, inappropriate use of public money, ugly diesel trains, yadda yadda yadda. Personally, I’m willing to set aside my limited objections and call the long-awaited airport link a huge win

 

Website commenters have been less kind, almost uniformly rejecting the fares—and, interestingly, the criticism comes from readers of all political inclinations. A Yahoo reader pointed out that VIA is offering a trip to Montreal for $44 dollars. A Sun reader said, “Well, more and more folks will be taking flights from Buffalo, that’s for sure.” A CBC reader wrote “This is infuriating. Public money being spent to give corporate travelers a luxury ride. Unbelievable. This is a disgrace.”

In response to the fares, the TTC rebranded its 192 Airport Express bus with a new theme (and at no taxpayer expense). The bus says “Your journey starts here”

From The Star