Toronto Winter Streetcar

Saturday Brew: Markham Hopes to Contain Sprawl, Slow Speeds on City Streets, TTC Washrooms Disgusting, THS vs. Ontario SPCA, Fantino Summoned, and those Damn Leafs

Photo: "Untitled" by Jon ., member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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

A number of Markham councillors are pushing for a groundbreaking plan to contain sprawl in the growing suburban community. While developers are obviously frustrated with the initiative, the plan looks to preserve a "food belt" (of some 2000 hectares) in the area for at least 20 years. Instead of outward expansion, Markham would see increased density and "upward expansion along the Highway 7 corridor.

In news that will surprise few who drive during rush hour, the transportation ministry reports that average vehicle speeds in the downtown core can be as low as as 11 km/h. The morning commute is speedier with streets like Spadina Ave. (southbound) and Adelaide St. seeing an average speed of 22 km/h. Which ones are the worst? The previously mentioned Spadina and Adelaide head up a list that also includes Dufferin and Richmond streets.

Anyone who's had the misfortune of needing to use a public washroom on the TTC knows what a nausea-inducing experience it can be. After numerous complaints from its readers, the Star decided to look into the conditions of the washrooms at Kennedy Station. In much the same response that you'd get complaining to the fare collector, the TTC said they'd get back to them. I'm sure it'll be spick-and-span in there in no time. Yeah, right. Just be sure to bring the hazmat suits...

The Sun's Peter Worthington has written a provactive editorial that argues that the arrest of the Toronto Humane Society's Trevor Smith on allegations of animal cruelty constitutes proof that the Ontario SPCA is waging a vendetta-driven war against the THS. Citing Smith's clean track record and the troubled relationship between the two entities, the article is contentious if nothing else.

On Friday a summons was issued against former Toronto Police Chief, Julian Fantino, alleging "that he illegally influenced elected officials" during the dispute with aboriginal groups at Caledonia. Fantino will have to report to court in Cayuga on February 3. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

And although I tend to do this a lot, I'm once again rescinding my support of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite a third period rally last night, I've haven't seen a team this heartless and impotent in quite some time. I'm sure the blue and white slump breakers will be exactly what the Pittsburgh Penguins need to get back on track tonight. But, to be fair, the last time I made a similar declaration, the Leafs came up with a big win against Boston. But that's the problem, isn't it? There's always a glimmer of hope to string fans along, but ultimately it's just an exercise in masochism following this franchise.

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