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Morning Brew: Rob Ford knocks car-free King St., Doug Ford wants more buses, controlling Toronto's wildlife, Sue-Ann Levy moves on, and the Jays keep winning

Posted by Chris Bateman / June 24, 2013

toronto skywalkRob Ford, not surprisingly, isn't a big fan of diverting cars off King Street so the 57,000 daily streetcar riders stand a chance of getting through the core at rush hour. Speaking on his radio show, Ford said streetcars should be replaced by articulated buses, which everyone knows are immune to traffic. It's not like the TTC just spent $1.2 billion on a brand new fleet vehicles either.

Doug Ford went further, suggesting Toronto should ditch its entire streetcar fleet except for the ones that could benefit tourists "maybe on Spadina or something." Crazy, right? The pair also derided a province's decision to cut $149.3 million in funding to the city, calling the move "arrogant" and "cocky." "It's time for an election," said Doug Ford.

More than 100 people get bitten by raccoons and require a precautionary rabies shot each year in Toronto, according to cllr. Josh Matlow. In a letter to the licensing committee, Matlow asked whether the city could do more to limit property damage by skunks, opossums, and other common backyard beasties. Are raccoons and other animals a problem?

The Toronto Sun's outspoken City Hall columnist Sue-Ann Levy is no longer going to be covering local politics. The staunch Ford ally is moving to Queen's Park, according to a post on the paper's website. In her final column, Levy cited councillors Doug Holyday, Mike Del Grande, and Case Ootes as stand outs of the last 15 years.

Long Branch GO station is going to get a makeover, including new elevators, washrooms, ticket offices, and platform canopies. 2,700 people use the transfer point every day and most transfer to the TTC. No plans to upgrade the 85-year-old streetcar loop, however. Work is expected to finish in 2016.

The Blue Jays are officially flying. Thanks to 13-5 win over the Orioles yesterday the team has now won 11 13 (getting excited) games in a row, the best streak in the entire MLB by far that ties a franchise record. Could this be the start of something beautiful?

Finally, the city is still under the extreme heat alert that was first issued Sunday. Temperatures are expected to reach 29 C today, slightly cooler than yesterday, but the humidity will make it feel much hotter than that. Stay cool, Toronto.

FROM THE WEEKEND:

IN BRIEF:

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

Image: twurdemann/blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

55 Comments

Clay / June 24, 2013 at 08:10 am
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(11th straight win for the Jays)
Blue Jays / June 24, 2013 at 08:10 am
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They've won 11 games, not 13.
Xavier / June 24, 2013 at 08:10 am
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The Jays have won 11 in a row, give them a couple more days...
Ryan Henson Creighton / June 24, 2013 at 08:13 am
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(11th straight win for Rob Ford)
matts / June 24, 2013 at 08:16 am
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I used to read The Onion a lot but with the Fords alive and well there's just no need anymore
Mark / June 24, 2013 at 08:45 am
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Ford's right about the streetcars! Get rid of them, especially on King. Those things tie of traffic for blocks and blocks behind them. Buses are WAY more efficient. Streetcars are fun to look at and nostalgic and all that, but they are completely inefficient when it comes to transporting people!
Theo / June 24, 2013 at 08:51 am
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Ford's wrong about the cars! Get rid of them, especially on King. Those things tie of traffic for blocks and blocks behind them. Streetcars are fun to look at and nostalgic and all that, and they are completely efficient when it comes to transporting people!
Gregr / June 24, 2013 at 08:55 am
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It's astounding how idiotic the Ford brothers are. Torontonians really underestimated their ignorance, and anyone who worked on their campaign should be shamed for bringing this blight on the city.
steve replying to a comment from Mark / June 24, 2013 at 08:56 am
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Streetcars do not cause congestion, cars cause congestion, cars block streetcars. To relieve congestion cars need to be limited, cars drives are significantly int the minority. There are 1000's more transit users that pay much more to use that street. Fair is only fair.
Enough Already / June 24, 2013 at 09:04 am
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Hey Rob, Doug -- if you hate this city so much, and everything it stands for, and pretty much all modern cities everywhere for that matter, why don't you GET THE FUCK OUT YOU IGNORANT NEANDERTHALS.
steve replying to a comment from steve / June 24, 2013 at 09:07 am
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Except for the fact that streetcars block 2 lanes of traffic and are unable to pass one an other (you know like buses can)

Can you provide stats that back up your bs about transit users paying more than drivers into the maintenance of roads? Its just an FYA number right?
Tweedle-Dum / June 24, 2013 at 09:08 am
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"It's time for an election," said Doug Ford.

I've never agreed with Doug Ford until now. I wonder if we're thinking of separate elections though.
James replying to a comment from Theo / June 24, 2013 at 09:11 am
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Streetcars are efficient? Are you perhaps mistaking San Francisco's streetcar system?

Surely the words 'streetcar' and 'efficient' don't belong in the same sentence when talking about Toronto. You can walk from stop to stop faster in the core than the time the streetcar would take to get you there.
jaaaaaaaat / June 24, 2013 at 09:13 am
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Lyon France has buses that are tied to a electricity grid like a streetcar, but can move in and out of lanes freely. I think this would be a good hybrid for toronto.

Mark replying to a comment from James / June 24, 2013 at 09:26 am
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Completely agree with you. Im all for the nostalgic aspect of the streetcars, and they are 'fun' to ride sometimes, but as an efficient vehicle for commuting people within the core, they are totally useless.
Theo / June 24, 2013 at 09:32 am
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Streetcars are pretty efficient in Calgary, where they have dedicated lanes - yes, even the "ultra-conservative" people in Calgary support streetcars better than people in Toronto do.

Fear not though car lovers. Closing off King to car traffic would make it easier for you to drive, as there would be fewer people on the road, and more in the streetcars.
matts / June 24, 2013 at 09:45 am
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A quick back of the envelope calculation says the new LRTs should carry 200 people (very conservative estimate) and since average per car occupancy in the GTA is something like 1.2 person, one LRT car will replace about 166 cars. Now put the LRT and 166 cars side by side and ask yourself, which causes more gridlock?
James replying to a comment from Theo / June 24, 2013 at 09:53 am
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"Fear not though car lovers. Closing off King to car traffic would make it easier for you to drive, as there would be fewer people on the road, and more in the streetcars."

Right, because the overflow of people who drove on King will now help to crowd parallel streets.

But yes. It'll be easier to drive with the increased traffic. How I didn't come to this logic before baffles me. /sarcasm
Skye / June 24, 2013 at 09:55 am
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That thudding sound is half of Toronto jumping back on the Blue Jays' bandwagon.
DL / June 24, 2013 at 10:00 am
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The King streetcar would become obsolete and pointless with a DRL, as would the Queen, College and Dundas lines. Then convert those four streets to one-ways and voila, you have a downtown that moves!
steve replying to a comment from steve / June 24, 2013 at 10:00 am
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Yep transit users pay the same property taxes that drivers pay. Then on top of that transit riders have to pay and additional fee. Drivers are exempt from all other fees to the city to drive on city streets.
DL / June 24, 2013 at 10:04 am
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BlogTO: "2,700 people use the transfer point every day and most transfer to the TTC"

Toronto Star: "About 2,700 riders a day use the GO station with about 10 per cent of them transferring to the TTC there."

Um...
steve replying to a comment from steve / June 24, 2013 at 10:09 am
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Other than the gas tax. Which you seem to be discounting completely
iSkyscraper / June 24, 2013 at 10:18 am
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Jesus, these comments are stupid. All of you, please go back and read, like, three years worth of blog posts on streetcars, LRT, subways, trolleybuses, etc. before commenting further. You are all tripping all over yourselves in your ignorance.

And by the way, I seriously doubt that Ford or any Ford voter is smarter than the collective wisdom of the dozens of cities that are building streetcar (as well as LRT) systems for serious, legitimate reasons of transportation and development. They need significant improvement (and removing cars is definitely a start), but not removal. Only someone with no respect for taxpayerz would say that, given the billions of cost already sunk into the system.
James replying to a comment from steve / June 24, 2013 at 10:18 am
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He's not discounting it, he just does not want to admit to being completely wrong.
not steve replying to a comment from steve / June 24, 2013 at 10:26 am
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I think TTC fares are used to pay TTC staff and for vehicle purchases, maintenance, infrastructure (tracks, shelters) etc. So I don't really think you can argue that the TTC rider has more right to use the road than a driver because they are paying an extra fare. Does that also mean they have more right to use roads than cyclists?

Also, drivers (some not all) are also paying for street parking and gas taxes. I have no idea if any of that goes to road maintenance, but they also pay extra costs that TTC riders don't.



Theo / June 24, 2013 at 10:33 am
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A big part of the problem with transit in this city is the people who want to see it fail. It creates a self-fulfilling prophecy for the car culture. Toronto is woefully behind the rest of the world for cities its size in creating a transit system which works.
the lemur replying to a comment from steve / June 24, 2013 at 10:34 am
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Gas taxes don't go to road maintenance.
YigNidl / June 24, 2013 at 11:08 am
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For this one time I disagree with Rob on the buses taking over from streetcars - and I don't have a good logical reason. I like the streetcars, the noise, the solid rails that so easily bind, need manual adjustment, need total upgrade seems like every 10 years. Ideally, they should separate every road like Spadina - and we accomplish this by chewing away sidewalk and allowing a designated streetcar and emerg only lane, dedicated car lane with separate right and left turn lanes at ever light and a separated and curbed (with high unjumpable barrier) bike lane that allow single-file cycles only. Spadina can be upgraded. St Clair is close. Roncessville is just a bit too bike friendly. Sherborne is a bike waste. All the big roads - front, king, queen, dundas, college, and bloor should be outfitted this way - we were overwhelmed with cash until Ontario gave us the 'too successful' punitive high-five cash grab. Lets get past the one means of travel priority and push for 'Lets ALL move'.
Shawn / June 24, 2013 at 11:11 am
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Steve - car drivers pay significant taxes via gas, although i believe that goes to the province who in turn gives it to consultants and golden parachutes. That said, something has to be done to improve the queen and king streetcars - force every politician against banning cars from rush hour to commute for a month on those lines during rush hour and see if they still feel the same way. An hour of getting sneezed on, groped, stepped on and pushed around on a streetcar is not acceptable and someone needs to do something to improve the situation
CW / June 24, 2013 at 11:16 am
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Snarling traffic at yonge and bloor. Couple of stopped delivery trucks ruined it for all. Besides, can't cars take Richmond? It must be fast without a streetcar or bus.

The problem with banning cars on king would be for the residents of the neighbourhood.
Dan / June 24, 2013 at 01:08 pm
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Wow Ford is hilarious. Talks about removing Streetcars when he knows there's no way in hell that would ever pass through council. Funny how cities across N.A. are trying to implement LRT and Streetcars yet our mayor talks about removing them and building subways. I've never seen someone so blind to the obvious causes of issues in this city and have absolutely no common sense of how to move it forward.
Dr. Colon Oscopy / June 24, 2013 at 01:32 pm
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Sure, the mayor seems even more confused and ignorant than usual. You would too if you had actual rivers of booze/junk food sweat flowing out of every blubbery crevasse on your bloated body. Never mind your big brother playing you like a sock puppet. Have you ever wondered why Doug's right arm is never visible if he's near the mayor?
James replying to a comment from Dan / June 24, 2013 at 01:34 pm
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"Talks about removing Streetcars when he knows there's no way in hell that would ever pass through council."

Just as how Byford's ridiculous notion of banning cars won't ever pass through council.

Not a fan of Ford, but may as well answer a stupid suggestion with a stupid comment.
Rob replying to a comment from Dan / June 24, 2013 at 01:42 pm
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He's not oblivious. Since day one as mayor, Rob Ford's job, likely assigned to him by the province and/or the feds, was to bung up Toronto's infrastructure. Delay improvements, if possible, remove a few bike lanes so folks can actually make a link to a decline, change the narrative entirely via pie-in-the-sky private sector funding, and soundbytes that are easily repeatable come election time, like "war on car", "roads are for cars", and "all transit needs to be underground".

Like Harris before him.

What's Hudak's solution to transit and infrastructure woes? Find the gravy first. When Hudak gets elected, we'll see this continue.
Rob replying to a comment from Dan / June 24, 2013 at 01:43 pm
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It's really simple:

Neocon trifecta: no new transit beyond what's already been started.
Ford wins again: no new transit beyond what's already been started.
Hudak wins: no new transit beyond what's already been started.

There's a 20 year pattern here, guys.
James replying to a comment from Rob / June 24, 2013 at 01:51 pm
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Lol, Rob, you said "when" as if Hudak will actually be elected. Thanks for the laugh, buddy.
steve replying to a comment from James / June 24, 2013 at 02:00 pm
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Knew some headed person would comment like that.
Gas taxes are not collected by the city, they do not go to maintain city roads. How many times does this need to be pointed out. They are collected by the feds and the province they get 100% of the money
Rob replying to a comment from James / June 24, 2013 at 02:30 pm
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I don't like it either, but it's happening.

People are sick of being burned by the Liberals. Now, I don't know whether people are "being burned" or not in comparison to other hypotheticals, but that's the overwhelming impression that's captured the public. McGuinty's last victory was a narrow one and for all intents and purposes, he snatched it from Hudak who had it in the theoretical bag.

NDP has a snowball's chance in hell.

The GTA does not trust Liberal leadership right now and they certainly don't trust NDP. So, who's left?

jd / June 24, 2013 at 02:43 pm
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You guys are a riot.

New Streetcars hold 148 people. Old ones hold about 80.

The average for people in a car is 1.1

Your talking streetcars holding around the equivalent 134 and 72 cars.

It's laughable that anyone would think they can't drive across King or down Spadina because of Streetcars.

The idea that buses or even subways don't bunch up or have their problems is also laughable.

I use buses, streetcars and subways daily. While I prefer subways, they have their fair share of issues all the time.

But give me a streetcar over a bus every damn time. Anyone that says they would prefer a bus over a streetcar, doesn't use transit IMO.
Dr. Acula replying to a comment from Mark / June 24, 2013 at 02:44 pm
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Each streetcar (Totally useless) carries twice as many people as a bus (Totally useful?). So you'd like to see twice as many buses as streetcars?
Stefon replying to a comment from Rob / June 24, 2013 at 02:51 pm
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Nice story, brah. Captain Conservative is going to rescue Toronto, just like Rob Ford did.
Mark / June 24, 2013 at 03:10 pm
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New streetcars hold 148 people... who cares! Often, those dam things are piled up. 3 or 4 in a row with about 1/ 3 of capacity while cars try to get around them. Traffic is backed up for blocks and blocks! Get rid 'em!
Poopdawg / June 24, 2013 at 03:23 pm
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So the solution to downtown congestion is to remove street cars and replace them with double the number of busses (to carry the same number of people) that can weave in and out of the already slow moving traffic and can potentially block multiple lanes already congested lanes.

Seems like really a well thought out plan. I can see why some of you are so keen to back it.
Rob replying to a comment from Mark / June 24, 2013 at 03:27 pm
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Might be a good idea then to run them on their own ROWs with no street parking. Don't even need to tear up the street... leave the middle lane for streetcars.

Cars get their own lane without that damn streetcar in front of it or parked cars off to the side. That way, we can see what's really bunging up streetcar routes. And it won't be the streetcars.

jd / June 24, 2013 at 03:41 pm
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Come on guys. We all know it's streetcars that cause all these traffic issues across the city.

I mean, ask anyone who lives near Yonge & Sheppard... Streetcars!

Just look at the map! Streetcars!

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/06/14/torontos_10_worst_streets_for_traffic_gridlock.html

Some of you live in a fantasy world.
tommy / June 24, 2013 at 03:51 pm
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The fact that the traffic lights along King STILL aren't synchronized is a complete failure of the city. Get on it Ford.
Marklovesunions replying to a comment from Dr. Acula / June 24, 2013 at 03:53 pm
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Mark is a union supporter, he would love to see more buses out on the street, because that means the TTC has to employee more people. Doesn't take a genius to figure out that street cars put less drivers on the system then buses do.
Swag Butler / June 24, 2013 at 04:29 pm
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Offtopic, but what are the laws around shooting racoons on your property in Toronto? Ok/Not ok?
McRib / June 24, 2013 at 04:32 pm
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i hate when streetcars slow down my drive along Bayview, they are so annoying and should be banned.

and don't even get me started about the streetcars on Eglinton. They cause chaos! ban them.
iSkyscraper / June 24, 2013 at 04:54 pm
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Don't forget those damn streetcars on Yonge St! Always slowing me down. If only we had a subway on Yonge so that traffic could flow quickly and unimpeded...



Artemis replying to a comment from jaaaaaaaat / June 24, 2013 at 05:23 pm
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We had them. It didn't work for the TTC, and they got rid of them. These NOTHING wrong with streetcars that half of you bitching about them being banished to Ottawa or Montreal wouldn't cure.
Mark replying to a comment from Rob / June 24, 2013 at 05:24 pm
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That's actually a great idea.
Moaz Ahmad / June 24, 2013 at 10:37 pm
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Can everyone take a deep breath here for just a moment.

, now repeat after me: nothing.is.going.to.be.banned.

The TTC has been talking about improving the movement of streetcars on King St. for 20 years. Nothing has happened because some people in the TTC doesn't want to have the right-of-way or transit mall or whatever actually be built because taking away the traffic might reveal that the problem isn't just about traffic.

Karen Stintz has backed off on calling for a ban in her motion to the Commission this morning ... so if history gives us any indication, nothing is going to happen.

Now...in case there is a shocking surprise there are a few things that need to be done to smooth traffic flow on King. (In no particular order)

*move taxi stands to Wellington and Adelaide
*eliminate left turns during the 'peak-to-peak' period
*serious enforcement of no parking and no standing rules

Cheers, Moaz
Rob replying to a comment from Moaz Ahmad / June 25, 2013 at 07:09 am
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The TTC has been talking about improving the movement of streetcars on King St. for 20 years. Nothing has happened because some people in the TTC doesn't want to have the right-of-way or transit mall or whatever actually be built because taking away the traffic might reveal that the problem isn't just about traffic.

This doesn't make sense at all. It is impossible for TTC to cause traffic issues on King when one vehicle carries hundreds in mixed traffic, while personal vehicles carry one person in mixed traffic. This is simple math, no greater points about unions need to be made.

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