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Morning Brew: Chief planner champions new bike lanes, Ford needs to use influence, police rescue partygoer from safe, pothole fix season begins, and York Street is closed

Toronto's chief planner wants new separated bike lanes built downtown. Jennifer Keesmaat says she wants cycling to become a viable means of transportation by giving drivers and bikers the space they need. The latest figures show roughly a third of all downtown travel is made on foot or by bike. Can Toronto create a functional cycling network or are we doomed to argue the point until nothing gets done?

Rob Ford's friendship with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and finance minister Jim Flaherty doesn't seem to have any tangible benefit for Toronto, reports the Star. Ford has gone fishing at Harper's cottage and takes weekend trips with the Flaherty family. Should Ford use those connections to win new money for transit and other project?

Ever wondered how to track a fish? The National Post has you covered. Steven Cooke, a biologist at Carleton University, is catching, slicing open, and inserting microchips inside fish in the Toronto harbour. But don't worry - it's all in the name of science.

Talk about a tight squeeze. A 24-year-old Queen West partygoer had to be rescued by firefighters Saturday night after he climbed inside a safe for a dare. Alcohol was, not surprisingly, a factor. Later the same night a 20-year-old woman suffered minor injuries when she was struck by a streetcar.

An ailing cat rescued from a certain death on a freezing cold night is now "80% healthy" thanks to online donations. Tigress, a stray, was discovered by Alex and Vicky Ba in North York. A campaign to cover the cost of bringing the kitty back from the brink raised $2,270. Tigress is now looking for a new home.

There's a mystery yarn bomber, rouge knitters that have been known to cover trees and bike racks, leaving little hearts near Ossington Ave. and Essex St.. University of Toronto's Bissell Bombers have denied responsibility.

Turns out even vegan organic sweet potato muffins can be high in calories. An offering from Urban Herbivore was found to contain 986 calories and 38 grams of fat, half of the average daily intake recommended for women. Also in food, a the five-second rule didn't apply to a tray of jerk chicken dropped on the floor at the Toronto South Detention Centre. The food made several staffers sick.

Pothole fix season starts next week in Toronto. Though the city patches damaged roads during the winter, the inevitable damage from the freeze-thaw cycle means workers generally get diverted to snow removal. The team will more than triple in size now the worst of the winter weather is over. The city fixes roughly 200,000 potholes every year. Let's hope Dufferin gets the attention it deserves.

York Street will be closed for roughly 10 months starting today to make way for a new PATH tunnel. The construction project is part of the Union Station revitalization work. A tunnel is being built under the street that will connect to a new exit portal between York and University.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: "The Feeder" by Tony Wei-Han Chen/blogTO Flickr pool.

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