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Morning Brew: good news from the TTC, Toronto the backward, 12th annual Toronto Global Marijuana March, councillors ordered to return free metropasses, the Bloor St. makeover mess

The TTC is on a bit of a roll, and not the kind you might expect. A couple days ago, it announced the full scale launch of the "next vehicle arrival project." The system -- which will variously feature a GPS system that tracks vehicles, a text messaging system that will provide the arrival time of the next two vehicles to a given stop and screens at various shelters and stops that provide real-time information on the status of upcoming vehicles -- should see significant implementation by July of this year.

Then, just a day later, Gary Webster, the TTC's general manager, announced that steady ridership numbers will result in a $17 million surplus for 2010. Throw in a recent victory in a tax dispute, and that number jumps to $20 million. What's to be done with the dough? Well, the TTC will look to re-hire 32 drivers let go in March and is set to put the kibosh on the planned elimination of 32 other drivers in September. So, given this site's penchant for reporting on all that ails the TTC, let it be noted that this is, indeed, good news.

But, before it seems like I'm in too good a mood so early on a Saturday, I should bring to your attention an editorial written by the Star's Christopher Hume in which he lambastes Toronto for its lack of progressiveness. Citing widespread complaints over bike lane projects, a lack of funding and vision for public transit, the absence of true diversity in the city and NIMBYism in general, Hume's contention is that, despite rhetoric to the contrary, we lag well behind other North American cities when it comes to openness to change. I don't necessarily agree with the loosey-goosey comparative approach, but the general sentiment of the article strikes me as unfortunately accurate.

If you missed the 420 weed protest fest at Dundas square a week and a half ago, there's always the 12th annual Toronto Global Marijuana March. It takes place later today at Queen's Park, and organizers estimated that 20,000 people participated last year. For obvious reasons, I'm not sure how trustworthy that number is... Here's an idea that doesn't appear in today's Radar: "take in" the festivities and then do a little CONTACT gallery hopping -- the photos will be hyper-compelling.

City councillors have been asked to return their free metropasses to the TTC in order to comply with Canadian tax law. Although they'll still be entitled to a free ride on the rocket, elected officials will now have to apply in writing for the $1,188 annual pass, allowing the CRA to tax them accordingly. I can see Rob Ford sporting a self-congratulatory smile over this one.

The mess that's been the Bloor St. makeover has been making regular appearances in the news once again, but the multi-perspective approach of this article is at least a little refreshing, if not particularly encouraging in terms of solutions. What a nightmare...

Photo: "Dwarfed..." by Froz'n Motion / Cameron MacMaster, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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