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Morning Brew: Chief planner champions new bike lanes, Ford needs to use influence, police rescue partygoer from safe, pothole fix season begins, and York Street is closed

Posted by Chris Bateman / March 4, 2013

toronto birdsToronto's chief planner wants new separated bike lanes built downtown. Jennifer Keesmaat says she wants cycling to become a viable means of transportation by giving drivers and bikers the space they need. The latest figures show roughly a third of all downtown travel is made on foot or by bike. Can Toronto create a functional cycling network or are we doomed to argue the point until nothing gets done?

Rob Ford's friendship with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and finance minister Jim Flaherty doesn't seem to have any tangible benefit for Toronto, reports the Star. Ford has gone fishing at Harper's cottage and takes weekend trips with the Flaherty family. Should Ford use those connections to win new money for transit and other project?

Ever wondered how to track a fish? The National Post has you covered. Steven Cooke, a biologist at Carleton University, is catching, slicing open, and inserting microchips inside fish in the Toronto harbour. But don't worry - it's all in the name of science.

Talk about a tight squeeze. A 24-year-old Queen West partygoer had to be rescued by firefighters Saturday night after he climbed inside a safe for a dare. Alcohol was, not surprisingly, a factor. Later the same night a 20-year-old woman suffered minor injuries when she was struck by a streetcar.

An ailing cat rescued from a certain death on a freezing cold night is now "80% healthy" thanks to online donations. Tigress, a stray, was discovered by Alex and Vicky Ba in North York. A campaign to cover the cost of bringing the kitty back from the brink raised $2,270. Tigress is now looking for a new home.

There's a mystery yarn bomber, rouge knitters that have been known to cover trees and bike racks, leaving little hearts near Ossington Ave. and Essex St.. University of Toronto's Bissell Bombers have denied responsibility.

Turns out even vegan organic sweet potato muffins can be high in calories. An offering from Urban Herbivore was found to contain 986 calories and 38 grams of fat, half of the average daily intake recommended for women. Also in food, a the five-second rule didn't apply to a tray of jerk chicken dropped on the floor at the Toronto South Detention Centre. The food made several staffers sick.

Pothole fix season starts next week in Toronto. Though the city patches damaged roads during the winter, the inevitable damage from the freeze-thaw cycle means workers generally get diverted to snow removal. The team will more than triple in size now the worst of the winter weather is over. The city fixes roughly 200,000 potholes every year. Let's hope Dufferin gets the attention it deserves.

York Street will be closed for roughly 10 months starting today to make way for a new PATH tunnel. The construction project is part of the Union Station revitalization work. A tunnel is being built under the street that will connect to a new exit portal between York and University.

IN BRIEF:

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

Image: "The Feeder" by Tony Wei-Han Chen/blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

27 Comments

Xavier / March 4, 2013 at 08:13 am
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I wonder what the breakdown between walking and cycling is? It seems odd to group them together to promote one
bill replying to a comment from Xavier / March 4, 2013 at 08:56 am
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I would say walking and cycling complement each other and it is better to have a larger group than divide people who will say oh I never walk that area or I will never ride my bike in the city.
James / March 4, 2013 at 08:57 am
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Seriously, how do you get hit by a streetcar? The damn thing is on tracks and has a very, very, very linear path.

Hopefully she won't get hit by a parked car when the idiot is released from hospital.
Rob replying to a comment from Xavier / March 4, 2013 at 09:08 am
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I'm curious about it too.. Would be interesting to see that the large majority of that 1/3rd are pedestrians, who wouldn't benefit much from separated bike lanes, and that people are just abusing the statistics to further their own opinions.

Not that I'm opposed to separated bike lanes or anything..
Aaron / March 4, 2013 at 09:21 am
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There's no doubt that walking would make up the majority of that 1/3rd, but a lot of that has to do with the lack of quality cycling infrastructure. And bike lanes actually do offer some benefit to pedestrians by creating more separation from cars.
glenn storey replying to a comment from James / March 4, 2013 at 09:22 am
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you'd be surprised by the number of people who fall asleep on railroad tracks, too.
James replying to a comment from glenn storey / March 4, 2013 at 09:24 am
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This is Toronto, I highly doubt I'd be surprised at that number.
CanoeDave / March 4, 2013 at 09:31 am
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One headline has Toronto getting "greatest benefit" from Federal program the next saying Toronto not getting enough. The bottom line is that in a matching funds system Ontario is stuck with the worst deficit problem in Canada and will have trouble just honoring present Metrolinx commitments where yearly expenditures have just started with the recent award of the first half of the Eglington Crosstown tunnel.
iSkyscraper / March 4, 2013 at 10:04 am
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I cannot wait for Ford to hang himself with the rope Keesmaat is spooling out. This is going to be hilarious, especially since it will be happening as Manhattan launches 10,000 Bixi bikes, putting new media attention on biking in North American downtowns.

Robbie may be lying low now as he waits for the stench of football and court appearances to go away, but the lure of insulting cyclists will bring him right back out of his cave. Bring it.
Duggan replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / March 4, 2013 at 10:12 am
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insulting bike riders will not hurt him at all in the polls, probably help him rise actually. Bike riders are not his voting base at all, families and people who drive are. So a non issue really for the mayor. Now getting those potholes filled that is important issue for his base.
the lemur replying to a comment from James / March 4, 2013 at 10:16 am
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Drunk and/or not looking.
W. K. Lis / March 4, 2013 at 10:27 am
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Whether one parks their car on real estate that uses more square feet than an office cubicle, or one uses public transit, or one bikes, eventually ALL end up walking or turn into pedestrians. Everyone is a pedestrian, so Toronto should cater to them.
Steven / March 4, 2013 at 10:39 am
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The cover picture of the man feeding pigeons is so wrong. A flock of them not only poop all over the place but they carry disease.

As in a popular tv series, you must go by the 'prime directive' and let the birds live on their own. This is also why you wonder why we still have ducks and geese here in the winter.

DON'T FEED THE BIRDS!
Colin replying to a comment from Steven / March 4, 2013 at 11:05 am
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What is it with old people and feeding pigeons?! You may as well leave food out for rats. Go find a nice window to stare out of please! Ok, that was mean. ;-)
Duggan replying to a comment from Steven / March 4, 2013 at 11:24 am
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go over to Wellesley in st. james town in front of food basics, there is always a old lady that has a small grocery cart full of bird seed. She is easily surrounded by at least 100 of those flying rats.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Steven / March 4, 2013 at 11:41 am
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You must be great fun at parties.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Duggan / March 4, 2013 at 11:43 am
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Bike riders, however, may not be his voting base, but they are the voting base for any rival that runs against him in the next election. He might not like bike riders or anyone else who happens to even remotely disagree with him or hold a differeing point of view, but they are as much a voter and taxpayer as the ones he caters to. AND, provided that the vote doesn't split, and voter apathy drops, actually a much, much, much larger voting block.
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from Duggan / March 4, 2013 at 11:56 am
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You are right, but I think you are making an assumption that his base is larger than it is.

The way I see it, there will always be a third of voters so harried/ill-informed/possibly deranged that they will always vote for the poor, beleaguered fat man who is fighting for them and promises lower taxes (no matter that he can't deliver, promises are good enough).

But Ford won last time because he got 47% of the vote. That extra 25% of voters I believe has a brain, and was interested only in some basic conservative cost-cutting. I include people like my brother in this category, who are busy with kids, dislike the high cost of living in Toronto, do not watch the news or read newspapers, and ignore everything that goes on at City Hall. If you take away all of the negatives, why not Ford? So he voted for him.

There is no way that segment of the populace will vote for a guy who is now beyond doubt inept, boorish, embarrassing and full of baggage that they had no idea he would actually try, like redoing the waterfront or screwing up transit expansion. The football stuff was the straw that broke the camel's back - there was no way they could avoid that debacle. If Ford now wants to again screw himself over bike lanes (as a litmus test for intelligence), they will back away from him even more.

That's the noose I'm referring to that Ford is intent on fashioning.
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from Duggan / March 4, 2013 at 11:56 am
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Sorry, meant to say "a quarter of voters" as unshakable Ford nation. A third is too generous.
Ford4ever replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / March 4, 2013 at 01:06 pm
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"That extra 25% of voters ... was interested only in some basic conservative cost-cutting. I include people like my brother in this category, who are busy with kids, dislike the high cost of living in Toronto, do not watch the news or read newspapers, and ignore everything that goes on at City Hall."

I think you are dead-on. And it's a massive failing of the Left (or Centre) that nobody has bothered to connect with those people.

Alex replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / March 4, 2013 at 01:37 pm
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Actually, I think the number of people in Toronto who hate bike riders is probably about equal to or greater than the number of actual bike riders. So really Ford will grow support by promising to shut down any bike lane programs. There are just too many bad arrogant bike riders out there. I'm sorry to the people who ride responsibly, because those jerks are ruining biking for everyone. I guess people are used to terrible drivers, and we just aren't used to terrible bicyclists yet.

Yay for PATH upgrades! In the winter that thing is the best!
mo / March 4, 2013 at 02:53 pm
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Dufferin needs more than just fixing of potholes - it needs to be completely repaved. There are stretches (near Bloor Street) that are so bad that half of the street has crumbled and is now sitting on the edge of the sidewalk (right outside of the old Kent Public School just north of Dufferin Mall.) Whenever it rains pedestrians get doused by cars hitting these massive potholes.
Rick / March 4, 2013 at 05:22 pm
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That guy better be feeding those flying rats bird seeds laced with rat poison!!! What the hell is that guy doing!?!?!?

* Screw bike lanes, what is this downtown Hong Kong?? It seems that cyclists wear tight fitting spandex that prevents blood from flowing to their brains. Their just as bad as those flying rats - A NUISANCE !!!

* Vegan Sweet Potatoe Muffins ??? What the Hell??? Whats wrong with chocolate chip or blueberry??? Vegan muffans??? Since when does any meat infiltrate a friggin MUFFIN !?!? Neo-Nazi Vegans gotta go to - just as bad as flying rats.

* The youth of today are weak. To dumb and waaaayyyy too much time on their hands. Great job media.
Eggman replying to a comment from Rick / March 4, 2013 at 08:11 pm
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Do you even know what being vegan means?

There are eggs in most muffins. Eggs are an animal product.

Vegans don't eat any animal products, therefore their muffins have no eggs.

Don't be such a whiny baby when you don't know what you're talking about.
Eggman replying to a comment from Rick / March 4, 2013 at 08:14 pm
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Better yet, don't even comment at all. Your whole post was negative and pointless. Put all that energy into something constructive. Maybe you'll even live a few extra years.
Rick replying to a comment from Eggman / March 5, 2013 at 09:57 am
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HAHAHA Stick - it vegan. My food shits on your food.
Eggman replying to a comment from Rick / March 5, 2013 at 12:29 pm
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Whatever troll, I'm not even a vegan, or even a vegetarian.

Troll harder.

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