York offers to help pay for bus-only lanes on Keele Street

Toronto Transit Commission officials have agreed to look again at a plan to create bus-only lanes on Keele Street – York’s preferred option for the final leg of an express-bus route from Downsview station – as a possible alternative to the TTC’s plan to run a bus lane through the southern part of York’s campus, reported the North York Mirror Oct. 22. The move, at this week’s TTC meeting, was an encouraging one for York officials. Ted Spence, York’s point-person on transit issues, said York would even be willing to talk about helping to pay for the work that would be required on Keele Street to create the new, dedicated lanes. “We’ve said for some time that we’re prepared to sit down with the municipality and the TTC and talk about covering the municipal share of the cost if that’s what’s involved, because we believe that our plan to separate cars from buses makes sense,” said Spence after the meeting.

The Howard Show

The Toronto Transit Commission is sometimes known as the Howard Show, after Chair Howard Moscoe, who’s happy to roar like a lion no matter the diplomatic cost, reported The Globe and Mail Oct. 22 in a column on Toronto city council. Witness his recent growling at York University, which is resisting the TTC’s proposal for a rapid-transit bus route through the northwest Toronto campus. No surprise then that at this week’s TTC meeting, commissioner David Shiner told Moscoe that the commission had not signed on to his recent theatrics: “It’s not a one-man show here,” declared Shiner.

Moscoe’s musings about public transit as they pertain to York have found other media audiences:

  • As a guest on Rogers TV’s call-in show “Goldhawk” Oct. 21, Moscoe said the decision to build a new stadium at York University for the Toronto Argonauts could increase political pressure on the need for a subway to the campus.
  • The Toronto Star’s Royson James estimates that Toronto should get $162 million per year when the full amount of gas-tax revenues kicks in, starting October, 2006. Provincial officials have said the city will be allowed to use the money for capital or operating expenses, maintenance or new construction, though there are troubling rumblings that the money is to be aligned with new growth initiatives. If that means “use it to build new subways,” the city should “throw the money back in their faces,” Moscoe said. “To ask us to expand when we do not have sufficient funds to keep the current infrastructure running is to dig a deeper hole for us,” he said. “We are not interested.”
  • Moscoe upbraided York over its announcement that it would be building a football/soccer stadium that would be home to the Toronto Argonauts, reported the North York Mirror Oct. 22. “The thing that troubles me is the University is prepared to give up land to build a stadium that has no public infrastructure and will be serviced by car,” he said. “You’re putting in a facility that will rely entirely on the automobile. It’s grid-iron gridlock.” But York’s Ted Spence said the 25,000-seat stadium won’t present a problem when it comes to traffic because games will be played on weekends.