Morning Brew: University Avenue bike lane proposal killed by voting error, dedicated GO bus lanes on the DVP, TTC bus driver charged with DUI, holiday shopping decision deferred to the fall, back taxes for City employees, go Habs!
Advocates for bike lanes in Toronto must be extremely disappointed this morning. In fact, all Torontonians have reason to be shaking their heads in disbelief. There will be no pilot project to test feasibility of dedicated bike lanes on University Avenue because when city council put the proposal to a vote, councilor Paula Fletcher killed the motion -- by accidentally casting the deciding vote in favour of rejecting the proposal. Under the rules governing city council, her vote can't be reversed. How does this happen?
Dedicated lanes of another sort are being proposed. The idea involves using part of the center median shoulder lanes on the DVP as dedicated thoroughfares for GO Transit buses during rush hour. Metrolinx believes that watching a busload of commuters whiz by while drivers twiddle their thumbs in snarled traffic will motivate them to leave the car at home. The biggest problem I see with this proposal is that the section of highway being considered covers just a small fraction of a much longer, troubled commuter route.
The TTC is going to have to go into damage control mode once again, after a 47-year old bus driver was arrested and charged with impaired driving. Police responded to calls from the public about an erratic driver, tracked down and pulled over the bus, and took the driver in for a sobriety drug test (which presumably, he failed). What was he high on? What will union head Bob Kinnear have to say? Will we learn that he has a medical condition and instead of calling police the public should have helped him roll a fat doobie? I jest (only in part)!
The Toronto Star's Royson James isn't pleased with "mainline" media's handling of the mayoral election candidates, particularly that just six of the 26 registered participants are invited to heavily reported debates. Clearly the solution isn't to have 26-person debates, but I'm not sure I like his proposal either -- to have a contest amongst the 20 not invited, with one winner earning a place in a future debate. 95% of the problem remains.
City council has deferred voting on a motion to allow stores outside of designated tourist areas to open on statutory holidays. The issue will be revisited
in October, after the fall municipal elections but likely before the Christmas shopping season gets into full swing.
The Canada Revenue Agency has reassessed the City's taxable benefits dating all the way back to 2006... and decided that 1700 City employees owe back taxes for parking-related benefits and that they need to relinquish their free TTC passes or pay taxes on them. How did this come about? Was the impetus Rob Ford's cost- and frivolous privilege-cutting campaign?
And at the risk of poking at Leafs fans... go Habs!