Guerilla activists installed an unsanctioned bus lane in protest of Toronto's mayor
Toronto just got a new priority bus lane, but neither the TTC nor the city's politicians can claim a W on this one, as this new transit infrastructure is entirely unsanctioned — installed by activists overnight in a creative scheme to publicly call out Mayor John Tory.
Before sunrise on Wednesday morning, volunteers from TTCriders, a membership-based transit advocacy organization, donned reflective vests and used some washable children's paint and pylons to transform a stretch of Dufferin Street north of TTC Dufferin station with a temporary bus lane.
A bus lane that the TTC genuinely had no idea about until it suddenly appeared.
The stunt comes just a couple of weeks before the 2022 Toronto municipal election, in a campaign where incumbent mayor John Tory has faced criticism over his eight years of leadership on an austerity platform, among other controversies.
"It took a handful of volunteers 20 minutes to do what John Tory hasn't been able to accomplish in eight years," said TTCriders member Vincent Puhakka. "Surely Toronto's Mayor and City Council can move faster to prioritize buses and streetcars, not just here on Dufferin, but across the city."
This temporary #TTC bus lane will wash away soon, but our need for more bus lanes will remain! Giving priority to buses and streetcars will help tens of thousands of people and can be done cheaply and quickly - just ask our volunteers! #topoli pic.twitter.com/q4elDexxFS— TTCriders (@ttcriders) October 12, 2022
"Rapid transit projects are years away. Giving priority to buses and streetcars will help tens of thousands of people and can be done cheaply and quickly," said Puhakka.
TTCriders claims that the goal of the publicity stunt was to put pressure on the mayoral and city council candidates to "install 10 more bus and streetcar lanes in the next four years, and is calling on Toronto residents to pledge to vote for candidates committed to increasing TTC service, lowering fares, and prioritizing transit on our streets."
Painting bus lanes is easy but finding the leadership to make them happen in Toronto is hard. We're asking all #topoli candidates to commit to installing 10 more bus lanes in the next 4 years. Take our pledge to vote for improved #TTC service: https://t.co/movPpjPCpc pic.twitter.com/ewb2EkKk1V— TTCriders (@ttcriders) October 12, 2022
The new bus lane is expected to disappear just as quickly as it popped up, as activists specifically chose children's paint that rinses away with just water for the job. With rain in the forecast for Wednesday night, the installation may have already disappeared by the time you read this.
TTCriders stated in a press release that "the children's paint used will wash away with water, and should not cause damage to the road surface, vehicles, or surrounding area."
It appears the TTC itself is keeping its lips sealed on the matter, with the TTC's Stuart Green telling blogTO that the transit agency is "not involved in this political action and have nothing to say about it."
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