10 New Year's resolutions on behalf of Toronto for 2011
New Year's resolutions often strike me as closer to wish rather than actual to-do lists. As with many things, it's generally far easier to identify a problem than to fix it. But as I'm filled with renewed hope and idealism as we head into 2011, I thought I'd help our mayor and ward councillors out by writing a few resolutions on their behalf.
1. Eliminate cars vs. bikes rhetoric
When bikes lanes were proposed for University Avenue and were installed on Jarvis, the talk of the battle between cyclists and drivers was at fever pitch. Although Rob Ford has declared that "the war on the car is over," in 2011 it would be nice to see our leaders recognize and endorse the notion that an integrated transit and traffic plan would help both parties achieve some satisfaction. More bikes = less cars. Less cars = less traffic. Less traffic = shorter commutes.
2. Improve service on the TTC
It's been roughly four months since the Customer Service Panel offered its 78 recommendations for how to improve the TTC. And while the Commission has got to work on a few of these, let's make 2011 the year of implementation.
3. Continue progress on the waterfront redevelopment
4. Save the Hearn
Speaking of waterfront development, let's not forget about the port lands. Unless a tenant or use can be found for the Hearn Generating Station, it'll be lost to demolition. Don't let this happen. With a little creativity, the building could become the cornerstone of the port lands revitalization effort.
5. Take more pronounced action on bed bugs
Although the provincial government has not been particularly forthcoming with funds to fight bed bugs, now is the time to get the bed bugs situation brought under control.
6. Bridge the urban/suburban divide
How people voted in the municipal election demonstrated that there is a clear ideological rift between downtowners and those in more suburban areas. Not only is such a split unhealthy for the city in general, but other problems like the cars vs. bikes "war" is fostered by such a division.
7. Continue to build upward
City council is set to consider the Tall Buildings Downtown Project in 2011, which is a report that would effectively re-instate maximum height restrictions for Toronto buildings. The current system, which allows for site-specific re-zoning, tends to work. Why change a good thing?
8. Address the lack of recycling programs in apartment buildings
Toronto wants to get to 70 per cent waste diversion. We're currently at just under 45 per cent. One way to see a jump in these numbers is to get more apartment buildings and condos on board with recycling programs.
9. Save Transit City
Not everyone will agree with this resolution -- and certainly not the mayor himself -- be it's my fake list, so it goes on. While it may not be perfect, Transit City has funding in place, and starting fresh on building subways is a surefire way to ensure that the city gets nothing at all. It's happened many times before.
10. Dispense with the term "gravy train"
Let's make a collective deal never to use this term again. Period.
Got an idea for a New Year's resolution the City should adopt? Tell us about in the comments.
Photo by ronnie.yip in the blogTO Flickr pool.
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