Former pothole king Steeles Avenue is much improved – except near York

As of Thursday night, Steeles Avenue held the top spot in the Canadian Automobile Association’s new list of the best roads in the province, wrote the Toronto Star Aug. 13.

It’s a stark improvement for a road that’s been a perennial champion of the CAA’s rotten road list, ranking No. 1 three times since the survey began in 2003.

However, in a twist that shows not all is perfect in the north end of the city, Steeles currently also ranks 10th on the list of worst roads. The discrepancy likely lies in the fact that not all of the road is covered with new tar, said CAA spokesperson Faye Lyons.

Water main work has delayed road resurfacing near Bayview Avenue. Meanwhile, dents and ragged ribbons of asphalt remain on a strip near York University. The road there will be affected by “the [Spadina] subway extension going up into York Region, so we’re not going to resurface that part because it’s going to be torn up,” said Myles Currie, Toronto’s director of transportation services. “We don’t want to waste money doing that.”

Steeles – the dividing line between Toronto and York Region – has seen many years of disrepair. Patchwork repairs are common, partly because the municipalities had been trying to reach a cost-sharing agreement. With help from federal stimulus funding, the city was able to resurface most of Steeles, Currie said.

But the road isn’t in the good books yet. Drivers can vote on both the best and the worst roads until Sept. 30. The results will be released in October.

Seeking asylum around the world

After medical and security checks, anyone arriving in Canada may apply for refugee status, wrote the National Post Aug. 13, in a story that used statistics provided by Michele Millard, coordinator of the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University. The process takes anywhere from six months to 15 years.

A new law passed this year, Bill C-11, is expected to expedite applications and reduce the current wait-list of about 55,000 claimants. Canadian refugee claimants either stay with family or friends, at homeless shelters or, if the government considers them a security threat, in jail. The onus is on the claimant to prove that he or she faces persecution in the country of origin. Rejected applicants are deported, though many stay in Canada illegally.

The country is on track to receive about 20,000 refugee claims in 2010. Canada once accepted as much as 89 per cent of the applicant pool but now admits half that.