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Leslieville businesses feel the pinch of TTC construction

Posted by Sarah Ratchford / May 13, 2014

Leslie BarnsA blue, white and red "for lease" sign is perched in the upper left-hand corner of Pentimento Gallery's front window. John Rait is closing the doors of his Leslieville gallery this summer for good, and he says it's because of road closures associated with the construction of the TTC's Leslie Barns. The closures have already slowed down business in the neighbourhood, he says, and with construction going on throughout much of the summer, Pentimento can't sustain itself.

The barns are being built to help house the TTC's fleet of new, low-floored streetcars, a function Rait agrees is necessary. But he says he's concerned that when the work is done, Leslieville as we know it won't exist -- it'll be a ghost town.

"This is impacting me in prime season. I had two shows scheduled this summer that would carry me through the year," he says.

"The whole city is benefitting from [the installation of the Barns], but my neighbourhood is being decimated through it. There's nothing to assist small businesses through this kind of interruption."

He says if the city had better anticipated the magnitude of the economic slowdown in the area, he may not have had to close. "The city should give tax breaks to the property owners. And if [the construction period is] extended, the rent should be paid for small businesses that need to survive."

The construction is already underway, with Leslie St. at Queen closed for watermain repairs. This portion of the constuction is expected to carry through until June 21, and after that, streetcar tracks along Queen St. E. need to be installed, which is expected to take until the end of July.

TTC Leslie barnsIt's all happening in Ward 30 Toronto, Danforth, councillor Paula Fletcher's territory. Fletcher says the last thing she wants to see in her ward is a construction-induced mini recession, and that she will do what she can to fix it.

"Surrounding businesses shouldn't have to pay for a city-wide project," she says, or be fearful they won't meet rent or be able to pay property taxes. "It shouldn't be all pain and no gain."

Fletcher brought forward a member motion at council last week requesting city manager Joe Pennachetti to report back to the executive committee on "the feasibility of implementing a property tax relief program for businesses impacted by large infrastructure projects of municipal significance, including the current connecting track work on Leslie Street."

While that's a solution Rait thinks could help, he says it comes way too late to be of any use. "The bill to help small businesses could have been [introduced] five years ago [when planning began]," he says.

From what I can see, Rait is right about business being affected. Construction under way so far has made the usually bustling little east end neighbourhood, full of families and professionals, seem sleepy. There's much less foot traffic than I'm used to seeing when I visit Rait on a Tuesday, midday. The energy in the area has dipped, and other business owners have noticed it, too.

Max Ryan works across the street at Sandy Aleksander,a specialty food shop specializing in charcuterie, cheese and chocolate. Ryan acknowledges business has been slower than normal. But Ryan has a kind of "whaddya gonna do?" attitude, and says that he believes Leslieville's small businesses are wonderful enough that they will survive the summer lull that's been foisted upon them.

Leslieville construction"I think [the city and the TTC] will do their best to get it done as quick as possible," Ryan says. He mentions that despite the decidedly negative impact to businesses in the area. the BIA is doing its part by launching a shop local campaign for the neighbourhood. And members of the community have banded together to create a thing called cash mobs, in which everyone bands together and makes sure to shop at a couple of featured small businesses in the area.

That, combined with community commitment to getting the word out online, is giving him hope.

What do you think? Should the city have put cost-alleviating initiatives in place sooner? Is the impact of construction being overstated?



jameson / May 13, 2014 at 05:22 am
Nice move by Fletcher, too little too late.

How long did Roncy's live with construction for...more than 2 years?
flob / May 13, 2014 at 07:46 am
The city is a very poor construction planner. As evidenced by many poorly run and scheduled projects. Tear up the street one year only to tear up sidewalks the next. Whoops - tear up the street again to do something else we didn't anticipate but could have planned for originally.
Deric / May 13, 2014 at 08:55 am
The construction isn't stopping - so the question I think - should be, 'How can we bring people here, despite the construction'.

Festivals, unique street events, etc. should be encouraged and supported by the city, and local community. Most construction is stopped on the weekend, so having a Taste of the Danforth, or 1000 tastes of Toronto, type street festival, a few times this year, would go a long way.
Tony / May 13, 2014 at 09:27 am
Get rid of streetcars and use electric powered buses. Once the tracks are complete the constant maintenance will shut the streets down as well. It will never end.
iSkyscraper / May 13, 2014 at 09:42 am
Just remember what it took to build the Yonge subway. Every city suffers with this -- not an easy thing to manage.


New York also has issues with this. Every dense city does:


PS: Tony, you can go join Ford in rehab if you think there is any logic to getting rid of streetcars.
Problem Solved / May 13, 2014 at 09:52 am
Let's ban construction and live with sewage problems for the rest of our lives.
John / May 13, 2014 at 10:17 am
I smell a lot of BS -- Mr Rait isn't closing his Gallery because of the impact of construction, he is closing his Gallery because of poor business planning. How can a business that is so dependent on only two events expect to survive? The location of his gallery isn't blocked off -- patrons of his gallery can still access his location (Queen is only closed at Queen and Leslie), and I'm sure if he was advertising the events, people would still find a way to visit his gallery (despite the construction).

I have little sympathy for merchants that try to blame the demise of their business on other factors.

stop the ebelly aching. / May 13, 2014 at 10:18 am
For god sakes.

Ive never once thought.."hmm..construction at so and so corner? Fuck that i will never go to that area ever again in my life".

These people have such do or die attitudes.

Yes, it will suck for the summer. But it happens the world over.
And once its over, the area is better than ever and shops old and new continue to do business, and forget about the minor impact that they lived through for 2 months.

When did everyone lose perspective?

This is simply a small blip on the radar.
Ive heard of Bonnie Rait / May 13, 2014 at 10:21 am
I have lived in this area for 6 years now.

Until this very moment i didnt even know his "gallery" existed.

So ya, pretty sure this has nothing to do with construction at one street corner.
jen / May 13, 2014 at 10:22 am
We dealt with construction on St. Clair for years. I made sure to get out and support my local businesses. Everyone needs to do the same...don't let construction delays stop you from going to these places.
bob / May 13, 2014 at 10:58 am
"The whole city is benefiting from [the installation of the Barns], but my neighbourhood is being decimated"

NIMBY much?
eat shit / May 13, 2014 at 11:12 am
Shut your whore mouth, Rait.

Every damn part of the city goes through this.

Not its Leslievilles turn. Fucking deal with it or move.

Ell / May 13, 2014 at 11:13 am
'The Tasty Chicken' is still doing well.
W. K. Lis replying to a comment from Tony / May 13, 2014 at 11:16 am
The sewer and watermains piping needed replacing anyways. They are doing just that, at the same time as the track installation.
sonofkhan / May 13, 2014 at 11:17 am
This "barn" is a joke!! It is overbuilt, with green roofs and all the other garbage that no other transit agency in the world would ever spend a dime on, especially one as limited to funding as the TTC. The streetcar purchase was never debated thoroughly. It was rushed through. We should have had a debate about using articulated buses. An HONEST debate, without the view that streetcars are sacred cows above criticism. People discuss efficiencies and labour yet look only at the guy behind the wheel not the army of people needed to maintain the fleet, tracks, and wires.

The connection to the barn is entirely in the wrong place. It should have been a block east, on a less important roadway, but Canada Post objected. Leslie Street will see dozens of tanks going by their doorstep empty, and that they cannot use.
DK / May 13, 2014 at 11:18 am
You dont hear Dukes Tavern complaining.
And they just spent a ton on a huge new patio last summer.
sonofkhan replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / May 13, 2014 at 11:18 am
We all would welcome such construction if it meant it was for the greater good. This is not it.
the hell replying to a comment from sonofkhan / May 13, 2014 at 11:29 am
Why cant they use them?

If anything the people in and around Leslie will benewfit the most from this.

They will now have access to the prime cars going into service along Queen, etc. They will have the pick of the litter as to which car they want to ride on.
sonofkhan replying to a comment from the hell / May 13, 2014 at 11:48 am
Leslie will be a deadhead route for streetcars. It will be unlike other barns as its off the route. They are planned to not serve Leslie, maybe to keep car traffic moving.
the hell replying to a comment from sonofkhan / May 13, 2014 at 11:55 am
Of course they are not going to service Leslie going south to the barns.
There is nothing there you'd need to take a streetcar to.

But for those people at Queen, as the cars come north for the day, they are the ones who will gain the most from having the cars there.
sonofkhan replying to a comment from the hell / May 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm
They already do with Russel Yard. No change, other than a few billion to build a new barn, and tear up roads, and put down 2.5 feet of concrete and tons of new rail, using loads of expensive unionised labour, then also add the switches, and installation of overhead wires....all the things buses don't need.
walker replying to a comment from Ive heard of Bonnie Rait / May 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm
I'm so disappointed to hear that gallery is closing. I went there for the first time this weekend and it's really charming. Prices weren't insane either.
whine / May 13, 2014 at 12:39 pm
East enders are such bitches.
sonofkhan replying to a comment from whine / May 13, 2014 at 12:49 pm
Yes clearly we are. We already have a streetcar barn, a sewage plant, a water plant, a movie theatre, a highway, a skate park, a Canada Post sorting centre, movie studios, a waste sorting location, a man made peninsula from land fill, an off site horse betting place. We clearly must be NIMBYs.
Whine replying to a comment from sonofkhan / May 13, 2014 at 01:04 pm
Which were all there before you descended from your hamlet of South Porcupine.
amazing. replying to a comment from Whine / May 13, 2014 at 01:11 pm
Hahaha, that was pretty funny.

Ive been to the S. Porc. Its fuking awful.
sonofkhan replying to a comment from Whine / May 13, 2014 at 01:18 pm
Some yes, others are more recent.
Gerrard Squish replying to a comment from Ell / May 13, 2014 at 01:35 pm
I love it there on cheque day.
Marty replying to a comment from eat shit / May 13, 2014 at 01:45 pm
Not every part of the City deals with this type of issue & I believe he is dealing with it.... Eat Shit, why don`t you shut your whore mouthÉ
Marty replying to a comment from John / May 13, 2014 at 01:48 pm
So you`re aware of someones business plan are you - perhaps you could enlighten people as to how this gallery has remained open for 9 years. BS is right.
Marty replying to a comment from Ive heard of Bonnie Rait / May 13, 2014 at 01:52 pm
Shame... It`s been reviewed numorous times, especially on this website. Perhaps its just that you`re not into Arts, or just not awareÉ
iSkyscraper / May 13, 2014 at 02:00 pm
"It is overbuilt, with green roofs and all the other garbage that no other transit agency in the world would ever spend a dime on"

Um... no.


As for buses vs streetcars, the fact that many cities have recently built, or are building new downtown streetcar lines is a pretty strong vote of confidence. They want what Toronto already has, yet you would casually throw it away?

The real reason for rail over bus lies not in the third decimal point of cost analysis but in economic development. Without streetcars, there are no passengers in the first place. Learn about what is happening in all of these cities and why they chose not to use articulated buses, then come back to me and complain about investing in streetcars:

Tucson - http://urbanrailtoday.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/0_urt_tuc-lrt-stc-testing-2014-jan-z_arizona-daily-wildcat-_tyler-baker.jpg
Seattle - http://fueledbybeer.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/seattle_streetcar.jpg
Portland - http://www.railwaypreservation.com/vintagetrolley/Portland_Streetcar_39_sm.JPG
New Orleans - http://cdn.fansided.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/60/files/2013/01/6956602.jpg
DC - http://www.princeofpetworth.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/h-street-streetcars.jpg
Atlanta - http://streetcar.atlantaga.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/img-slider-Sweet-Auburn-stop.jpg
LA - http://www.planetizen.com/files/styles/primary_image/public/images/LA-streetcar-2-crop.jpg?itok=IIuV0URx
Philly - http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8509/8499662582_f99e4eee62_z.jpg
Jersey City - http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/14411078.jpg
SF - https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-gb4LzMUqJa8/T_X2Pjr9z3I/AAAAAAAAEtU/NEpzch705_Y/njudah.jpg?imgmax=1600
Boston - https://www.flickr.com/photos/widecab/4512762033/in/set-72157623835559104/

sonofkhan replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / May 13, 2014 at 03:21 pm
Why do people bring up Portland or some other leftist hell hole as an example? Portland is the population of Miserysauga!!

Boston also has streetcars in their on RoW which I am perfectly fine with!!!! It also has electric buses which switch between electric and gas depending on where they are in the city.

Jersey also has PATH trains and NJ Transit trains. They don't rely exclusively on those items in your link.

Green roofs are a joke. An urban myth sold to us by snake oil sales men who sell green roof installations. I debated one guy who has major city contracts on this once. He claimed they will save the TTC money on HVAC costs when in reality subways don't have HVAC!! Greenroofs SUCK on public transit stations because they impede future growth. They eliminate air rights.

If you want stunted growth on sprawling TTC infrastructure built on more expensive land than required, then please PAY FOR IT YOURSELF! If you think the way the TTC builds things is the norm then you're wrong. Show me one subway station in NYC or Montreal or London that looks like our Downsview or the planned caveman hut going up for Steeles West? Transit is supposed to carry people as fast and as efficiently as possible, not be some leader in social change or artsy garbage that then leads to costly upkeep.

"Without streetcars, there are no passengers in the first place." Then why do people pay twice the fare to ride express buses in place of streetcars? Why do people on the 501 switch to the 503 when the 503 was replaced every summer with buses?

Buses serve a purpose. They would serve a BIGGER purpose if the TTC didn't badmouth them every chance possible and if it welcomed artics which only cost 700k vs tens of millions for a new streetcar once you add up all the extra construction costs.
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from sonofkhan / May 13, 2014 at 04:23 pm
Nice to see that when presented with actual photographic evidence (rather than armchair musings), you ignore most of it and try to rationalize your way out of the rest. Toronto should have more dedicated ROW, for sure, but the point was that some street-running is still done rather than, say, switch to bus.

You don't seem to understand how Jersey City commuting works, so I'm not even going to touch that. Point is, when they were deciding on a new north-south system they chose rail over bus. Because no one builds development next to a bus line. They absolutely will invest next to a rail line.

Green roofs are a good idea for reasons you seem not to understand, but rest assured that they do not block future development. The structure and foundations and zoning are what determines future development above -- the green roof is just a better way of building a roof, if you are going to have a roof. Again, photographic evidence seems to not convince you, so I'll just you continue believing that you are right and everyone else is wrong.

Speaking of, you don't really understand station design either. The TTC is extremely efficient in its station design, lacking most of the architectural flourishes of other systems. Seriously, google, learn to use it.

I guess you are just angry about the lack of subway lines. I agree, there should be more lines, and there should be more funding for them. None of that has anything to do with streetcars, which are needed to perform their own separate role. Or, for that matter, buses. Buses are the workhorses of the entire TTC system. It's the sixth largest bus fleet on the continent. You're asking for what you already have, for the most part.


So why don't you try to stop badmouthing streetcars and instead push for more buses, more streetcars, more LRT, more subways and more commuter rail to create a better and more complete transit network for the entire city. Trashing things you do not understand is not helping.
John replying to a comment from Marty / May 13, 2014 at 04:36 pm
Thanks for the added insight Marty -- I do not profess to know Mr Rait's business plan, nor do I understand how his business has survived for 9 years -- however, I am calling BS on his claim that he shut his gallery due to the construction on Queen & Leslie (and even the construction that started last year on Leslie between Lakeshore and Eastern).

sonofkhan replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / May 13, 2014 at 04:41 pm
"Because no one builds development next to a bus line."

Please!!! I'm the same guy you're talking to over on the Queen Street article. Bus routes exist in major cities all over and they do not deter development. They attract development just like any other transit would. And since you asked, I've been to NJ several times actually. I've used their NJ Transit trains that either run on overhead pantographs or on diesel. I've also used the local transit in cities inside Jersey.

Green roofs are a fool's paradise. Debunked even by Obama's energy czar who pushed instead for white roofs which cost a fractions, do not impeded future growth, AND most importantly do not put tons of material and moisture on a roof.

As for your last sentence, I push for better transit, that works for the city and does not create a cycle of perpetual maintenance. This was echoed by a former TTC GM who ripped to shred the logic behind ordering the new streetcar fleet over ordering bendy buses. He also ripped to shred the designs of newer stations, which you call "extremely efficient". That is the straw that broke the camel's back.
Its obvious that you're a TTC fanboy. They can put a bile of dog bile on a plate and you'll call it gold.
Marty / May 13, 2014 at 06:17 pm
John I replied to your comment because I felt it was judgmental and unfair. You earlier stated "I smell a lot of BS -- Mr. Rait isn't closing his Gallery because of the impact of construction, he is closing his Gallery because of poor business planning." Continuing you say that you "have little sympathy for merchants that try to blame the demise of their business on other factors".

You are now saying “-- I do not profess to know Mr. Rait's business plan, nor do I understand how his business has survived for 9 years” and yet you still feel qualified to call his decision BS?

I expect the decision to close is based on more than just the one construction site at the Queen & Leslie intersection, perhaps it’s the months ahead with no streetcar traffic caused by the same thing that is going to be done at Queen & Broadview, not to mention the countless track replacements along the 501 route. I feel that unless you are aware of all of the circumstances surrounding this loss – which I don’t believe you are - it’s a little unfair to be calling it BS.
Bob replying to a comment from Tony / May 13, 2014 at 09:28 pm
For all you streetcar haters. Trolley buses or any type of buses aren't going to work. Period. There is no way the city is going to level 2 or 3 neighbourhoods to build 2-3 new bus garages to replace all the streetcar barns. If you hate streetcars, let's level your home as the new location for the new bus garage. These new bus garages need to be in the downtown area to serve downtown. Where are we going to put them? We are taking about 450 buses right now and a upward expansion to at least 600 bus in the next decade.

504 King itself runs with 42 normal and 7 articulated streetcars in the morning. Since the articulated streetcars are 1.5 time longer, the equivalent is 53.5 streetcars. A normal streetcar holds as many people as the new articulated buses. A fleet of 54 articulated buses or 81 normal buses are needed for replacing the 504 with buses. The TTC needs 15% spare, so that puts us at 93 buses. What about the 501, 505, 506, 510 and 512? Honestly replacing buses with streetcars is stupid. There would be a war before we even find a place to place these new bus garages. It's not just the vehicle storage, it's the maintenance. A bus has one engine. A streetcar has one engine. You need two articulated buses to replace a new streetcar. That's twice as many engines to maintain. Alternative we can hope they build 100 ft buses and hope they don't hurt anyone.
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from sonofkhan / May 13, 2014 at 10:07 pm
Developers (who I am more than a little familiar with) do not regard bus lines as transit they will invest near. Reality 1, Armchair Theory 0.

I personally think the TTC as an organization is complete garbage that has proven time and time again they only know how to waste precious resources and reinvent the wheel. They are utterly unaware of best practices elsewhere and have eroded what used to be substantial public support. They should be merged into the regional body (Metrolinx) asap, as in every other large city in North America, San Francisco excepted (and we all know what a basketcase SF Muni is). No politician should ever be allowed near Metrolinx and many forms of dedicated revenue should be assigned to properly fund many kinds of transit throughout the region. Get. It. Done.

But through sheer inertia and a little luck, Toronto did one thing right, which was retain much of the old streetcar network. Other cities across the continent big and small are spending huge dollars to recreate what we already have, and I'm not about to let you spread your ignorance unchecked to throw away a precious asset.

Improve streetcar operations? Absolutely. They could be run much more efficiently. Replaced with buses? Fool's talk.
Get it / May 14, 2014 at 12:06 am
And the businesses will reap the rewards with all the new routes and +10% busses and streetcars from Olivia Chow!!!

sonofkhan replying to a comment from Bob / May 14, 2014 at 07:58 am
Level neighbourhoods?

"These new bus garages need to be in the downtown area to serve downtown. "

NO THEY DO NOT!!! The bus garages are in out skirts. Its the streetcar garages that need to be downtown. You're talking out of your rear son!

As for maintenance, streetcars require more maintenance. Both the vehicle and the infrastructure out there on the road.
sonofkhan replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / May 14, 2014 at 08:00 am
Developers (who I am more than a little familiar with) do not regard bus lines as transit they will invest near. Reality 1, Armchair Theory 0.


You pompous grandstanding clown. Anyone who makes that claim can never be taken seriously. I won't even bother reading the rest of your comment.

I have to run off and catch a Queen Streetcar from the east end that is doing not one but two diversions.
Darren Buttigieg is a twerp replying to a comment from sonofkhan / May 14, 2014 at 09:26 am
White roofs are fine if you are in a sunny climate and want to reduce the cost of AC. Green roofs do a lot more and don't necessarily involves tons of material OR moisture.
John replying to a comment from Marty / May 14, 2014 at 03:16 pm
Marty, I think you aren't reading my comments clearly -- I am not calling Mr. Rait's decision to close BS, I am calling out the fact that he states that the construction has forced him to close.

Perhaps you should direct your frustration on the person that wrote this article, as she uses Mr. Rait's gallery closure as supporting evidence that the construction of the Leslie Barns is taking its toll on the community.

Full disclosure: I live closer to the epicenter of the Queen/Leslie construction than Mr. Rait's gallery, and I have been kept awake throughout the night due to the 24/7 construction that is going on. I also need to leave for work earlier, and get home from work later. I do not tell my boss to expect lower quality work due to the construction, nor will I ask Paula Fletcher to fight for a tax break on my property taxes. I just adjust and adapt, as will my neighbors, and all the business that remain loyal to the community.
keven replying to a comment from Ell / May 14, 2014 at 04:44 pm
holy fawk, that place is STILL there?
AnInquiringMind / May 16, 2014 at 08:30 am
I LOVE you guys. You're so passionate about the neighborhood, and there's so much I can learn from you.

blogTO, this is awesome! This is lively conversation worth reading. We should have more open forums on a wide spectrum of political and city planning topics, throughout the city. Very interesting stuff.

sonofkhan > Way to smoke the iSkscraper! (slang for, I'm so glad someone put iSkyscraper in his place).

I am always truly fascinated by people who live full lives and are willing to share openly with others. This is probably one of the biggest reasons why Leslieville does so well, and why, as a neighborhood, you serve as a prime example of community for other neighborhoods throughout the city.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from AnInquiringMind / May 18, 2014 at 03:19 am
I'm sorry, but sonofkhan schooled iSkyscraper in NOTHING; sonofkhan is full of shit, and it was the other way around. You'll find that iSkyscraper has forgotten more about transit than most people except for local transit activist Steve Munro, and everybody here respects him. I agree with iSkyscraper about this, and think that the people arguing for more buses are full of it and unwilling to face reality about how the bus is now regarded in North America.
Andy replying to a comment from jameson / May 20, 2014 at 01:19 pm
It is time that road and ttc construction projects are worked on 7 days a week and extended hours during the week. Surely with the number of unemployed people out there we labour is not the problem.
AnInquiringMind / May 21, 2014 at 10:50 am
Speak for yourself, and please leave the blanket statements at home.

Tell you what. You like who you want, and I'll like who I want. Kay?
Yep! / May 21, 2014 at 10:58 am
Simon Tarses > Then you and others should tell Olivia Chow how you feel about buses, because more buses are part of her platform.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Yep! / May 25, 2014 at 01:15 pm
More buses are a mistake, and she should know better than that. I'll be writing to her about this, and (maybe) get her to support LRT more.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / May 25, 2014 at 01:17 pm
Why do you hate the TTC so much?
Rae / May 26, 2014 at 12:01 am
Olivia doesn't have a clue and just said some random number - 10%. On alot of routes that havw less than 10 buses running at a time how is she going to increase the service by !0%? Adding oje extra bus a day is not gonna help
LMFAO replying to a comment from sonofkhan / May 26, 2014 at 11:02 am
My god... I have never read such nonsense and drivel before, and that's saying something considering where we are (BlogTO).

Spike replying to a comment from Andy / June 6, 2014 at 01:13 pm
Excuse me, but this is NOT the 1800's; we can't just use unemployed (and unskilled in construction) people to build things, or to speed up the building of thing because you need to get someplace in a big hurry (and can't even be bothered to check the schedules for the streetcars or plan your trip properly.) Please go back to school, or do some learning about how projects are run.
Someone replying to a comment from sonofkhan / February 20, 2015 at 10:49 am
Do your research before you make stupid comments.
The "green roof" you are referring to is a City of Toronto By-law in which TTC must adhere to.
2,500 sq. m. or more roof area, must have a green roof up to a certain percentage.

Don't blame the TTC for that. Blame the City of Toronto.
Other Cities: Montreal