Life in the fast lane delayed for York students

York University students who thought they would be getting a shorter trip to school this fall won’t be able to hit the snooze button after all, wrote the Toronto Star Aug. 27.

A new express lane for buses that was supposed to shave seven minutes off the typical 20-minute rush-hour trip to campus from the Downsview subway won’t open in September as was promised.

And a policy that would allow students and staff to use the same ticket for York Region Viva or TTC bus service from Downsview is also being delayed until January.

The TTC’s Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which also represents Viva drivers, had some concerns and transit officials have agreed to delay the integrated service, said TTC spokesperson Brad Ross.

He would not discuss the nature of those concerns.

The TTC says a key stretch of the new busway along the Finch hydro corridor won’t be ready until November because of engineering issues around the TransCanada pipeline below the hydro corridor.

A small portion of the bus route onto campus will be complete in September.

The $38-million project was originally slated to be finished last year but was held up by delays in environmental assessments and funding approvals from senior governments.

Toronto is paying about half the cost, with Queen’s Park and Ottawa each contributing $9.7 million.

The TTC came up with the idea of the 6-kilometre busway before the Spadina subway expansion was announced, said Bud Purves, president of the York University Development Corp. “We’re focusing on the subway and this is just an interim solution,” he said.

The subway isn’t expected to reach York until 2015.

  • York University students hoping for a quicker commute this fall will have to wait – construction delays mean the much-anticipated York University Busway won’t be ready until November, wrote The Toronto Sun Aug. 27.

“We ask for York U students’ patience and understanding,” TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said yesterday. “We want to do this in a way that is cost-effective and efficient and that’s what we’re doing.”

Work on the dedicated busway, which is expected to cut the trip from Downsview subway station to the campus [almost] in half, was to have been completed for the first week in September.

However, Ross said crews have found that a pipeline under the roadbed, which carries gas and oil to nearby refineries, is not where original surveys said it would be. That set the $38-million project back until Nov. 2.

“We could have accelerated the work to have it done by September but it would have been at a premium,” Ross said.

And the busway itself is just a stopgap until work on extending the Spadina subway line is finished in 2015.

  • CBC Radio also reported on the construction delays.

Toronto song winner beats out 500 entries

Love to Live in Toronto, written by George Axon (BA ’76, BFA Spec. Hons. ’78) and Aidan Mason, was named the winner of the Toronto Song Contest on Aug. 21, at the Canadian National Exhibition, wrote The Parkdale-Liberty Villager Aug. 26.

Axon, who lives in Mississauga, grew up in Etobicoke. He studied music in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts and works primarily as a jingle writer/producer.

Axon and Mason took home the grand prize of $5,000, a prize pack sponsored by the North by Northeast Music & Film Festival and Conference and the Songwriters Association of Canada along with a professional recording of their winning song.

York grad Robinson receives 2009 Grant Allen Award

Yorkshire-born Canadian author Peter Robinson (PhD ’84) was presented with the Grant Allen Award for contribution to Canadian crime writing at Wolfe Island’s 9th annual Scene of the Crime Festival, wrote The Frontenac Gazette EMC Aug. 27.

His crime novels featuring Chief Inspector Alan Banks are set in a fictional town in Yorkshire and now number 19 with the next always eagerly [anticpated].

The Grant Allen Award, individually created in the form of a kaleidoscope by local artist Linda Sutherland, is designed to have particular significance to the winner. This year’s award, embellished with Inspector Banks’ badge, was inside a box that once contained a bottle of Robinson’s favourite Scotch and was presented by festival board member Rev. Canon Chris Carr.

York kinesiology grad is team’s first qualified trainer/therapist

Athletic therapist Jason Kitzan (BA Spec. Hons. ’08), 38, comes to Merritt, BC, from Thunder Bay by way of Toronto and Alberta, wrote the Merritt Herald Aug. 25 in a story about the new managers of the Merritt Centennials British Columbia Hockey League Tier II Junior A team.

Raised on the shores of Lake Superior, Kitzan attended York University’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health, to acquire a physical education degree with a specialization in athletic therapy. Last year, he was the trainer for the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and for the Calgary Vipers of the Golden Baseball League. Kitzan is the first fully qualified trainer/athletic therapist that the Centennials have had in four seasons.

“We are very fortunate to have him,” says head coach Dylan Forsythe.

On air

  • Debra Pepler, Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology in York’s Faculty of Health and the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution, spoke about students’ renewed fears about bullying as they head back to school and one mother who gave her son martial arts training so he could retaliate, on CBC Radio Aug. 26.
  • Jamie McLean, graduate student in York’s Department of Geography, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about his upcoming study of how Muslims identify with Halifax, NS, on CBC Radio Halifax’s “Mainstreet” Aug. 26.
  • Paul Delaney, professor of physics & astronomy in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about yet another scrubbed launch of the space shuttle on CTV News Aug. 26.