Polar Bear Dip

Saturday Brew: Traffic Fine and TTC Fare Increase, A Wish-list for 2010, Jack Layton for Mayor?, Construction on Roncesvalles

Photo: "Polar Bear Dip" by Georgie grrl, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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

Along with the resolutions and hangovers, the beginning of a new year also brings price hikes. Those who drive in and around the city should be aware of the fact that the fines for a host of driving infractions have been drastically increased for 2010. The financial penalty for running a red light, for instance, is now $325 (up from $180). Failing to stop for an emergency vehicle? That'll now cost you $490 instead of the paltry $110 of last year.

And, not to be a buzz kill, but The TTC Fare hike kicks in tomorrow, so remember to put in three bucks if you're paying cash fare. Otherwise you risk the dreaded turnstile lock, which I recall from my high school days when I failed to show my student card. A full breakdown of the new pricing can be found here.

On a more positive note, the Sun has polled prominent GTA residents for their New Year's wishes. Not surprisingly, the Maple Leafs making the playoffs is a common refrain. But, perhaps the most ambitious of those polled is George Smitherman, who's looking for two victories in 2010: "One on Oct. 25 and the other that the Leafs win the Stanley Cup." For better or worse, I'd say the former is far more likely than the latter.

The Post's Chris Selley thinks that Jack Layton would be a good fit for Toronto's mayoral race (if not as the mayor). In a provocatively titled piece, he makes the argument that with Layton's political career stalled on the federal level, he might want to throw his hat in our municipal race so that he actually has a chance to "[run] something for a change."

And though we've reported on it before, the construction on Roncesvalles Ave. is getting a bit more attention. Local business owners reported a temporary pick-up in retail activity with the Dec. 22 stoppage of construction for the holidays, which saw parking once again available on the street. But with renovations set to resume on Jan. 4 -- and to continue throughout the summer -- any excitement local business owners have with the prospect of a renewed thoroughfare is tempered by fear that they might not make it through the renovations.

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