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Morning Brew: Vaughan says sell the Gardiner, road wear kept quiet, PRESTO will continue despite costs, an angry sign, a new taxi app, and an Ikea monkey tattoo

Posted by Chris Bateman / December 14, 2012

toronto gardiner expresswayFor sale: one aged highway, many previous users, some light wear. Councillor Adam Vaughan says it's time Toronto sold off the Gardiner and implemented tolls to cover spiraling repair costs that could, if approved, reach half a billion dollars. According to the National Post, the idea "was not immediately shot down by the mayor's allies." Is this progress?

The road saw action last night when cops arrested a 22-year-old driver for traveling the wrong way on the elevated road near Islington Avenue. Impaired driving charges are pending.

Rob Ford's office may not have known much about the dangerous state of the Gardiner Expressway even though city staff and engineers were working in "emergency" mode. Documents seen by the Star raise concerns that staff were sending the wrong messages to the public about the safety of the road.

Despite a whopping implementation bill, PRESTO is here to stay. The contactless fare card has cost almost three times more than expected to implement in Toronto and Ottawa but Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig says the card will continue to roll out on the TTC as expected. Will PRESTO come into its own when the Toronto Transit Commission comes online?

A "concerned private citizen" isn't too happy about upcoming cuts to fire services in the city. A sign encouraging drivers to call Rob Ford to complain about a reduction in service has appeared on the lawn of a Scarborough fire hall.

Another new taxi company is wading into potentially murky water related to the city's car dispatching laws. TAG says it doesn't need a taxi operator's license because it contacts the dispatcher and not the drivers. Uber, a similar company, ran into trouble with licensing and standards last week over its system of sending fares directly to each car. We reviewed the TAG app last week.

Toronto's most famous jacketed macaque may have been immortalized forever in ink on a local woman. Pictures on Reddit appear to show a design with the word "believe" underneath being prepared on a girl's side. What do you think - is it real?


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "Gardiner and Skyscrapers" by calebwildes from the blogTO Flickr pool.



dopevaughan / December 14, 2012 at 08:17 am
Councillor Adam Vaughan is a idiot, we see how well the 407 worked out after selling it. I hope Vaughan runs it will mean a shoe in for Ford in the next election
Rob K / December 14, 2012 at 08:51 am
Yeah, I can't believe Adam Vaughan would want to privatize the Gardiner. Toll it and have the City collect the revenue.

Also, I can't believe city staff wouldn't tell the Mayor's Office what the real deal with the Gardiner is. I don't like the guy, but this seems like something right up his alley that he would be proactive with, and it speaks to the, perhaps, lack of professionalism, or petty behaviour, of city staff. That's unacceptable.
MrCelery / December 14, 2012 at 08:54 am
I don't understand the idea of selling the Gardiner. Is owning the Gardiner and having a toll on it mutually exclusive?
Al replying to a comment from dopevaughan / December 14, 2012 at 08:57 am
I would think Ford would support a solution that involves the private sector and would not cost taxpayers anything. That's what he ran on.
fallingconcrete replying to a comment from Al / December 14, 2012 at 09:20 am
no private owner will buy it the shape it is currently in, tax payer money will have to pumped into it to get it up to standard would need to sell it. But what taxpayers don't really support selling this, not even ford nation.
Aaron / December 14, 2012 at 09:58 am
If we sell the Gardiner, the smartest thing for the new owner to do would be to knock it down and build condos.
the lemur / December 14, 2012 at 10:12 am
What about selling the Gardiner to a joint venture between the city and a commercial operator, tolling it to generate revenue for repairs and making sure the money doesn't get vacuumed up by a mysterious foreign conglomerate as with the 407?
asldkjghs / December 14, 2012 at 10:21 am
"Selling" the Gardiner is the stupidest f*cking thing to ever come out of Vaughan's mouth.
Picard102 / December 14, 2012 at 10:24 am
Another gem from Adam Vaughan. Remind me how his bullet ban is going?
Arrow / December 14, 2012 at 11:02 am
Could the province take ownership of the Gardiner?
iSkyscraper / December 14, 2012 at 11:20 am
I don't understand why Presto is so expensive. Is this not an off-the-shelf system that has been in wide use for over a decade? You know, you call up the guys who built, say, the CharlieCard system in Boston or the Clipper Card in SF or the Breeze Card in Atlanta, and you say "yeah, I'll take some of those cards and readers and kiosks you did for those other guys, just change the stickers to say Presto on them. Oh, and make sure they take loonies." Done, right?

I mean, they are all the same tech underneath - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIFARE#Places_that_use_MIFARE_technology

How did Metrolinx screw this up?
Ford4ever / December 14, 2012 at 11:20 am
Sell it and the problem miraculously goes away!

I wonder what else Adam Vaughan wants to privatize.
John / December 14, 2012 at 11:21 am
Is someone really that dumb to get a tatoo of that monkey on them? What a complete moron.
Tony / December 14, 2012 at 11:29 am
Most of the files were hidden by David Miller so he could divert funds to other projects and his own agenda. Ford would have never been aware of these files.
Yemsi / December 14, 2012 at 11:33 am
Sell the Gardiner.
Normally, i like to nationalize things rather than profitize/privatize things, but private firms do luxury items well. The 407 is an expensive beast but oh how well it runs. Construction is minimal and well planned. Its almost like the construction companies when they fix and expand the 407 is that they are actually trying to give customer service rather than just push cones around during rush hour until the engineer screams at them enough, likely making upwards of $25/hr on union 'hours' like in the City (i.e. work 2, charge 6). The 407 is fast, only attracts drivers with 'means' who cut you off properly, rather than break down, drive 80 in the left or have bits of crap fall of their vehicles. The 407 is a middle+ class road and the free flowing traffic shows it. A Gardiner in this way would be dreamlike. Of course the buyer would insist on double-decking it, making it 4 lanes from the 427 to the bottom and up the DVP, and re-implementing the Front St. extension. Geez. I would totally pay $20 to get from Park Lawn to Jarvis in 10 minutes at 8:30am. Do it. Do it., Do it. Hey and make them throw a few picturesque bridges or other pedestrian access routes through/under/over it (not dank, murky, overgrown sidewalks).
Oh and while we are wishing for truly beneficial but unlikely things, could we privatize the DVP/404 from 407 to Gardiner. If you want to boost productivity in the City (and i know many of you don't, dirty hippies), free-flow the highways. Yay for reasonable tolls.
Picard102 replying to a comment from Yemsi / December 14, 2012 at 01:00 pm
Imagine that, a relatively new road using concrete as the road base has minimal construction. Guess we'll have to chalk that up to privatization.
D / December 14, 2012 at 01:44 pm
It's funny reading the comments to the Gardinar story in the National Post. Adam Vaughan puts forward an idea that would generate *billions* of dollars for the city and yet his idea is immediately derided by people who normally want to privatize everything. If Ford or his ilk had proposed the idea, no doubt the reaction would be quite different. Maybe Vaughan's idea would work, maybe it wouldn't, but at least it's something to consider. Why not have the people who use the road pay for it?
Josh replying to a comment from D / December 14, 2012 at 02:04 pm
Yes, it would generate a lot of money for the city. Once.
CanoeDave / December 14, 2012 at 03:11 pm
I would like to know about what happened to the guy who was in charge of the Gardiner file and why he quit. Did he jump ship because he knew the shit was going to hit the fan and that he had withheld information to protect his bungling? Someone should at least be looking for him because there are a lot of unanswered questions and was there some sort of cover up?
Alex replying to a comment from CanoeDave / December 14, 2012 at 03:21 pm
They said council was informed in early 2011, and ignored it. Sounds like the people in charge of it knew exactly what would happen, but had their funding starved for years and were basically ignored by the politicians. So he probably knew it would all come out when that IBI report was made public, and he left so the politicians couldn't use him as a scapegoat. I'm sure everyone will blame everyone else instead of actually focusing on a solution.
Jay / December 14, 2012 at 06:08 pm
Not usually a fan of Vaughan's ideas but at least he's putting forward an idea to open up the discussion. Today we've either had one group promoting solutions to reduce car capacity or other groups keepin on with the same thing.

The Gardiner is hardly a city road. It's used by the entire GTA who are making their way in and out of downtown.

I support privatizing many services but I've never been sold on privatizing roads. I'd be open to tolls as long as the money did not go into general revenues. If you're going to tax or toll me to use it I want the money to go directly to supporting the service I'm paying for.
Philip / December 14, 2012 at 11:04 pm
FYI - the Gardiner is NOT all elevated. The part you mention, near Islington, is about as flat as it gets. Don't be misleading.
Yawn replying to a comment from Tony / December 15, 2012 at 08:01 pm
Specific examples? Proof? Anything other than your word?
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