Morning Brew: Ford won't bail out BIXI, waging war on graffiti, talking transit taxes, "smudge pot" clears King St., protecting Kensington, and the perfect subway car
BIXI won't be getting a bailout from the city Rob Ford if he has anything to say about it. The mayor says he won't subsidize the bike rental scheme, which is experiencing financial difficulties related to repayment of its city-backed startup loan. "If they owe us money, obviously I want the money," said Ford. Should the city cut BIXI some slack?
Also in Ford, the mayor renewed the quarrel with his eternal foe the graffiti vandal yesterday, visiting a Pizza Pizza restaurant in the east end to paint over a few tags as part of the Clean Toronto Together scheme. He later handed out free pizza to high school students and urged them to have their principal to contact him if they're interested in starting a football team. The wall Ford painted will soon be covered by a mural featuring cats and an octopus.
While Rob Ford was painting walls, coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong attended a GTHA mayor's panel discussion on new transit taxes. Ford is the only Toronto-area mayor who is openly opposed to paying for much-needed new infrastructure with tax dollars. Minnan-Wong said he couldn't commit without assurances on who would pay to run new subways and LRTs.
Police closed off a portion of King Street near Yonge last night after a suspicious "military-type" device was found near a newspaper stand. The object, which was inspected by a bomb robot and removed in a secure van, turned out to be a "smudge pot," an oil-burning heater to defrost fruit trees. The bomb squad was called out earlier in the day to investigate what turned out to be a replica artillery shell.
The city will study the possibility of making the intersection of Baldwin and Augusta in Kensington Market a heritage area with protection for small businesses. Vaughan told Torontoist he wants to prevent companies opening large stores and defend the areas cultural assets. Does Kensington need protection?
In case you missed it yesterday, Rob Ford made the Jimmy Kimmel Live show the other night for his face-first collision with a CityTV camera. Kimmel sympathized with Ford, who let the expletives fly as he grabbed his face, but said the mayor could always rely on free healthcare. Ford laughed off the incident, saying he didn't realize being mayor would come with physical knocks too.
Finally, what's the best way to lay out a subway car? Do more poles and fewer middle seats make for a more comfortable ride? A New York study answers those questions, and they've produced an optimal floor plan with extra space by the doors and in the centre of the car. Are middle seats on the TTC a waste of space?
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
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