Subway to York good for whole region

“The debate about a dedicated busway versus a subway extension to York University is too narrowly focused,” wrote Gordon Chong, GO Transit Chair and former vice-chair of the Toronto Transit Commission, in a Jan. 11 opinion piece in the Toronto Star. “The transit controversy is not about York University. It is about providing a commuting alternative to the thousands of people who now travel daily to Toronto from not only York Region, but from as far away as Barrie.” Since Premier Bill Davis killed the Spadina Expressway in the 1970s, no adequate transit alternative was provided to channel traffic into Toronto from the northwest, argued Chong. “In the intervening years, York University has grown exponentially and become the largest and busiest transit hub in York Region. GO Transit and York University recently celebrated our one millionth rider on the wildly successful Highway 407 GO Express Bus service. GO also recognized York’s importance a few years ago by adding a train station nearby. However, even though York University’s Keele campus is the largest post-secondary campus in Canada and more than 1,000 public transit buses serve the university every day, it remains the largest transit hub in the GTA without a subway access.

“Ultimately, the only permanent solution to traffic woes is the TTC subway extension to York University (and eventually beyond York University) with a link to the GO system,” wrote Chong. “In the overall transit scheme (scheming?) for the GTA, the subway extension to York University is an integral component. It is not a question of ‘if,’ it is a question of ‘when.’ Considered in this context, York University’s insistence that the Bus Rapid Transit solution be deemed an interim one is not unreasonable.”

Argos not moving until 2007

The Toronto Argonauts are now looking at moving into their new stadium at York University in 2007 – a year later than planned, reported the Toronto Star Jan. 11 in a story picked up by Canadian Press. Team co-owner David Cynamon said while “95 per cent of the i’s have been dotted and t’s crossed,” he figures the first shovel won’t go into the ground until May or June. That means the original target of starting the 2006 season in the stadium is no longer realistic. Cynamon blamed the collapsed deal with the University of Toronto for pushing back the start of construction on the new stadium, which is expected to seat around 25,000-26,000. “Things are coming along well,” said Cynamon. “The stadium could be finished in 2006, but when [during the year] isn’t something we can predict. It will absolutely be ready for 2007.”

All eyes will be on Drabinsky’s case, says prof

Prosecutors have opened their case against Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb, the Livent Inc. co-founders who are accused of bilking investors and creditors of the theatre-production company out of more than $500 million, reported the Toronto Star Jan. 11. “Everybody’s eyes will be on this,” said Robert Fothergill, a theatre history professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts. “When Livent crashed, a great many careers were disrupted, although I don’t think there’s a great deal of schadenfreude in our world about Garth’s situation.”

Student develops all-in-one points card

It starts with one Air Miles card, and before you know it your wallet is filled with a multitude of points cards taking up valuable space. Now an amazingly simple card promises to unite them all, reported Metro Jan. 11. The Una-Card, The Universal Points Card allows the consumer to combine information from four different point cards onto a single card. Michael Sefcik, 21, a third-year York sociology student, developed the concept after working part-time in various retail stores. “People would be shuffling through points cards…instead of shuffling through 10 million cards why not just use one card,” said Sefcik. While the cashier must manually punch in the numbers of the pointr card instead of swiping a magnetic strip, Sefcik nevertheless maintains his product saves valuable time. “It’s much easier…to punch the numbers in than wait for them to search through their purse for their points card,” said Sefcik.