TTC declares subway to York is ‘first expansion priority’

Three of Toronto’s major daily newspapers carried stories on Dec. 16 of the Toronto Transit Commission meeting where an interim bus rapid transit route to York and the extension of the Spadina subway to the Keele campus were discussed. The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and The Toronto Sun all reported on the TTC’s declaration that a subway to York is the commission’s first expansion priority and that York was seeking assurances that the interim bus-only route would not delay its construction (see also More News).

Noting that a subway to York University is “the TTC’s first expansion priority”, the Star said Toronto transit commissioners attached that declaration to a motion asking the Ministry of the Environment to approve construction of Toronto’s first bus-only route from Downsview subway station to York. Commissioners insisted the bus route was only temporary and declared the subway extension a priority to calm fears from University officials that the busway would be permanent. “We’ll tear it up in 10 years,” said TTC Chair Howard Moscoe, referring to the proposed bus-only road on the campus. “We’re hoping to have some kind of announcement in two years regarding the subway – before we have to dip into York University property.”

Ted Spence, York’s senior policy advisor, said the subway is a priority and was adamant York would not allow construction of the busway on its campus unless the building of a subway has been formally announced. He said it’s up to the University’s board to accept or reject the TTC’s compromise after months of negotiations. “A road on the York campus only makes sense in the context of the subway going ahead,” Spence said. “There’s quite a bit of common ground here in terms of what we’re tying to accomplish. I believe there’s a will at the federal and provincial level to expanding rapid transit in the GTA and the subway is a part of it.”

The Star also reported Mayor David Miller’s comments that the temporary bus-only route is “an important priority because it will significantly enhance transit in the northwest quadrant of the city at a very frugal price.” He added that “obviously, a busway isn’t as good as a subway, but you get rapid transit – because the buses don’t run in mixed traffic – and it’s affordable and it will link the 905 bus systems right to Downsview subway.” Miller said he had formally signed the $1-billion, five-year funding agreement for transit expansion between the city, province and federal government, announced last spring, and called it a harbinger of better things to come. But he said there was no money to build subways right now. “We can’t put a shovel in the ground until we have enough money to operate what we have, which we don’t,” Miller said.

If, in two years’ time, subway construction is underway, a bus-only road will be constructed on the York campus, said the Star. If no subway construction is imminent, Spence said the University would try to force the city to expand Keele St. instead of building a road on its campus.

The Toronto Sun led its coverage by saying “the TTC stepped on the gas and pulled the emergency brake at the same time…in its bid for a speedy $40-million bus-only route to York University.” The newspaper reported that the TTC decided to push forward with its preferred route for dedicated bus lanes on the university campus and not on Keele Street. The TTC agreed to tear up the road in 10 years, whether there’s a subway extension to the campus or not, the Sun said, but the paper noted that after the meeting, “TTC chairman Howard Moscoe said that, once the road is paved, it would be hard to remove it.”

The Globe and Mail’s John Barber wrote a column about the political aspects of the subway issue in an effort to explain the University’s position on the proposed bus-only route and its linking of an agreement to the start of subway construction. Barber wrote that the TTC “politely declined to accept either demand, sticking with its planned route and making fine-sounding noises – but no guarantees – about the imminence of the subway.” 

Horváth defends modern MBA

Dezsö J. Horváth, dean of York’s Schulich School of Business, said critics of MBA programs are living in the past and need to look at new leading-edge programs such as those offered by Schulich. Horváth was a guest panellist on a special MBA edition of the “Michael Vaughan Live” viewer call-in show on Report on Business Television, which aired on Dec. 9. The Academy of International Business’s 2004 Dean of the Year, Horváth was joined on the panel by Professor Henry Mintzberg, of the Faculty of Management at McGill University, and William Blake, associate dean of MBA programs at the Queen’s School of Business. Mintzberg, an internationally renowned critic of MBA programs and author of Managers, Not MBAs, lauded several aspects of Schulich’s graduate business program, including its emphasis on real-world learning in the classroom.

Horváth highlighted some of the key features of Schulich’s MBA program, including its Strategy Field Study course, which requires teams of Schulich MBAs to prepare a comprehensive strategic consulting report for a real-world organization. In response to a question about the value of an MBA degree, Horváth pointed out that Schulich was ranked number one in the world by the Financial Times of London in the category of “value for money”, and number two in the world among two-year MBA programs by Forbes magazine in a similar category. Visit the ROB-TV Web site to view an archived recording of the “Michael Vaughan Live” show from Dec. 9, 2004.

Argos owners make 2004 list of Top 25 in sports

Toronto Argonauts owners Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon made The Globe and Mail’s list of Top 25 Sports Personalities of 2004 published in the Dec. 16 edition. The two men were ranked eighth on a list headed by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and given credit for taking the Canadian Football League team “off the critical list”. The Argos’ success, the story noted, included a new stadium deal at York University.

On Air

  • Fred Fletcher, professor of political science and mass communications in York’s Faculty of Arts, participated in a listener call-in program about same-sex marriage for the “Bill Good Show” on Vancouver’s CKNW radio on Dec. 15.
  • Andrea O’Reilly, professor of women’s studies and director of York’s Centre for Research on Mothering, spoke about reality TV shows’ portrayal of motherhood on CBC Radio’s Toronto show “Here and Now” Dec. 15.