New steps down to Humber River

A reader noticed a lot of work being done at the parkette on the northwest corner of Weston Rd. and St. Phillips and went to investigate.

He found that there are new metal stairs leading down to from Weston Rd to the ravine.They are on the north side of St Phillips, opposite the rickety wooden ones that had fallen apart. The new ones are quite sturdy, very safe, and built to last a long time.

The stairs lead down to the northernmost reach of Cruickshank Park. That area of the park is beautiful but relatively unused.

Police seeking suspect

Toronto Police are seeking a young man they believe committed a violent, gun-point robbery.

Police describe the mugger as black, 20-30, with a thin build. He pistol-whipped his victim in the elevator of a high-rise apartment building at Weston and Lawrence and stole the victim’s cash.

The police are encouraging anyone who can identify the man from the security camera footage to call 222-TIPS or to leave a tip on 222tips.com

Suspect in violent mugging

Electrification Comment

How is it that just about every jurisdiction in Europe can install and run electric locomotives but here in Toronto, it’s beyond our ability? The use of the Pan-Am games to justify diesel (Metrolinx claims electrification cannot be achieved by 2015) is either faulty reasoning or a flimsy excuse. The 16-day Pan-Am games will manage just fine without a rail link.

Politicians need to understand, people don’t want smelly, noisy diesel locomotives barreling through suburban neighbourhoods several times an hour.

Electric locomotives are cleaner, quicker, quieter and more efficient. People would support this project enthusiastically if electrification were the goal. Let’s not get stuck with a poor choice because of lack of determination on the part of politicians or Metrolinx officials.

St John calls emergency meeting

St John the Evangelist Catholic school has called an emergency meeting to discuss the tunnel that will be built very close to its property:

Dear Parent, Teacher & Neighbour

A meeting at St.John the Evangelist, will be held at this Wednesday [November 17, at 7:00 pm]  by Metrolinx to discuss the train tunnel at the back of the school yard.

Questions to be addressed

  • Noise
  • Safety
  • Disturbance to the classes and portables
  • Transportation when Church and King are closed temporarily

Please try to join us at the school if you were unable to attend the other meeting

In Touch may have stolen money from residents

The Toronto Star is reporting that In Touch, a Weston retirement home, is now being investigated for stealing money. The article says that the home may have stolen around $75,000 from residents.

In Touch has been exposed in the press for starving and neglecting residents. One of the residents who may have starved to death received a cheque for $65,000 that went missing.

Metrolinx plans coming under fire

As the board meets today (and the Clean Train Coalition protests), there are several signs that the public transportation agency is moving toward greener commuting.

After decades of resistance, Metrolinx is slowly coming around to the idea of electrification, according to several reports. At an press conference on Monday, a representative said:

Electric locomotives are cheaper to operate than their diesel counterparts, they are faster and more environmentally friendly, said Ms. Pitre, but there’s a price tag attached to changing the rolling stock, building the overhead catenary system and supplying power. “Everyone has always acknowledged that there are benefits” to electrification, Ms. Pitre told a room full of journalists gathered Monday for a study briefing, but “do the costs justify the benefits?”

The Air Rail Link, however, is still a source of much irritation for the Coalition and transportation thinkers. Steve Munro, Toronto’s foremost independent transportation pundit, said

Particularly galling is the comment that this line will not serve commuters. Those who work at the airport and those who travel in the Weston corridor can look elsewhere for their travel needs. For $300-million (the cost of the spur, airport station and vehicles) plus the ARL’s share of infrastructure upgrades in the Weston Corridor (two of eight tracks), the cost of infrastructure to serve 5,000 tourists and business travellers per day is getting rather high.

The Coalition has also responded in a thoughtful letter to the chair and board of Metrolinx. While the letter is technical (and brutally reproduced by the Star), I think the CTC’s objections can be summed up as:

  1. Metrolinx is putting the cart before the horse and buying diesel trains before the electrification study has been completed
  2. The diesel trains will be much less environmental than the cars they replace
  3. The ARL is an expensive way to serve tourists, not a part of public transit

Albanese votes against G20 inquiry

Laura Albanese voted earlier this month against an inquiry into government actions and spending at the G20 gathering that took place this summer.

According to Peter Kormos, who sponsored Bill 121, the inquiry would “report on the decisions and actions of the government of Ontario and of Ontario’s law enforcement agencies in connection with the G20 summit, and make recommendations to the government of Ontario and to Ontario’s law enforcement agencies about how to reduce spending, reduce arrests and reduce violence in connection with similar events”.

The G20 meeting has come into the news again as the final bill is being released. The Globe also ran a series of stories covering

  • Who was really caught in the ‘kettles’ police set up
  • Violations of the police spending policies
  • Dropped charges against protesters

Despite the recent controversies, bill 121 was soundly rejected. Only members of the NDP voted for it.