Mayor John Tory announced a ten-point plan to fight congestion and delays on the TTC at a press conference just before Toronto Council began its final debates on the 2018 budget.
Through the entire budget process, starting with Tory’s cohort on the TTC Board and continuing through the City Budget and Executive committees, transit has received passing, but certainly not enthusiastic support. The most expensive items in the Operating budget (the one that pays for service and maintenance) were the fare freeze for 2018, the introduction of the two-hour transfer in August 2018, and the extra subsidy required to operate the subway extension to York University and Vaughan.
As for actual service that would carry more riders, the TTC budget contained no provision for any until it reached the Executive committee where a paltry $1 million was added to fix the worst of the worst overcrowded bus routes. A further $3 million was suggested during the press conference, but it is not part of the ten-point plan.
What will Toronto get from Tory’s last-minute recognition that congestion is a big issue for transit riders?
Hidden (and not-so-hidden) design features shape how we experience the city. Some of these features are meant to improve accessibility, like the textured yellow line that warns of the edge of subway platforms on the TTC. Others are designed to exclude.
Defensive urban design, also known as hostile or unpleasant architecture, is a collection of design strategies that work to guide behaviour in urban space as a form of crime prevention or property protection. It targets the city’s most vulnerable, often through anti-loitering measures, by making spaces hostile for people that rely on them most. It works to remove targeted populations through the addition or removal of elements that are meant to mediate user behaviour. These “silent agents” eliminate the need for authorities to intervene, but are also permanent, inflexible, and non-negotiable.
Today, the Executive Committee met to approve the final version of the preliminary budget, which will make its way to council next week. Conveniently, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) also released its monthly roundup of GTA real estate stats. Included with the usual information — year-over-year changes in prices and sales —was a warning for Toronto city council. Keep reading: Why Toronto real-estate agents are sounding the alarm over the city’s budget