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Morning Brew: Electric Bikes Given Thumbs Up, Expect Ripped Up Roads in 2010, Alternative to Plastic Bags Required?, No $17 million Community Centre, Lula Lounge Tries to Save Parking Spots, Leafs Lose

Photo: "784" by skateboy075, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

What's happening in the GTA (and sometimes beyond):

E-bikes are now officially allowed on Ontario roads with all the same rules as regular bicycles (except riders must be 16 and wearing a helmet). We should have electric bikes on the streets but I'm not so sure they should be in regular bike lanes; with a top speed of 32 km/h they go substantially faster than most all pedal-powered cyclists. And as an aside, I had no idea that you have to have a disability or be a mail carrier or cop to legally operate a Segway in the province.

Coming Soon: Roadwork near you! Transportation Services is going on a spending spree with $82 million in federal stimulus money. Projects must be done by March 31, 2011 so the city is gearing up for 30-35% more roadwork next summer than usual, making it the busiest summer ever for road-paving. Sadly, those efforts will only account for a drop in the bucket of Toronto streets needing repair.

Are stores that only offer plastic bags - at a nickel per - obligated to provide a free alternative? Councillor Michael Walker says yes but city manager Joe Pennachetti says no. Retailers say they're confused. I'm having a hard time getting past the part where a store's obligation (or lack thereof) to offer bags at all is bylaw regulated. If a store doesn't want to offer any bags at all, that should be their right. Just like it's a customer's right to not shop at a store if they don't like the bag policy.

Toronto city council denied a developer their 26 story Don Mills high-rise condo that came with a $17 million community centre. The Cadillac Fairview project was fiercely supported by local councillor Cliff Jenkins, but the rest of council didn't want to set precedent for a development 14 stories taller than current restrictions. Expect an appeal, an eventual agreement and approval, and no community centre.

Lula Lounge is awfully hot and bothered at the prospect of losing 71 parking spots on Dundas West between Dovercourt and Sterling Streets, but Marcus Gee is all bothered that somebody would be bothered by improving streetcar flow. The city seems to be planning 50 paid spots on side streets, which by my math means a reduction of about 20 spots, improved traffic flow on an awful stretch of Dundas and more encouragement to not drive.

It took overtime to do it, but the Canadiens toppled the Leafs 4-3 after tying it up late in the third period. "I think we were the better team tonight, and we fell short" according to new defender Mike Komisarek, who also indicated the Leafs would find a way to win next time. My first thought would be that Komisarek should look in the mirror... and vow to spend fewer than 15 minutes per game in the penalty box.

President Obama is in Copenhagen today to make the case for Chicago getting the 2016 Summer Olympics. The bid team is hoping his charisma and worldwide appeal will sway the committee, set to announce later today the chosen city. Maybe Obama could give his Ottawa colleague a few tips on how to support Toronto's 2015 Pan Am Games bid? Maybe the better question is, would the bid committee want Harper on their side?


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