Bluffs Advocate

To the Editor

By Jack Howard

            It is a happy day for me when I find my copy of the Bluffs Advocate on my doorstep (thanks to your faithful team of door to door deliverers). I read it all. I love the layout of the paper. Nothing better for me than to sit with a cup of coffee brewed from beans locally roasted and enjoy reading the opinions expressed in the Bluffs Advocate.
           All the articles say something to me and get me excited. But some speak about things that interest me more than others: Why can’t we buy electricity from Quebec? Why doesn’t everyone have a share in Bullfrog Power? Looking forward, too, to electricity from the zoo: this kind of biogas has been used for years on rural farms in China and elsewhere to provide electricity for lighting and cooking. We’ve known for years that nuclear energy is costly in many ways and has the potential to cause major suffering- -look at Chernobyl, Fukushima, with their thousands of kilometers square no-man’s lands, whole livelihoods devastated for years and years.
           After having read the article by Hans Modlich “The Downtown Relief Line Exists,” I really want to say a few words about transportation, Every time I take the subway into the city centre, I look down at that rail line going along the side of the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) as the subway crosses the Don River and ask myself why don’t they use that for a commuter line? And it is not the only disused or freight-only line coming into the city’s core: several lines could have intersects with the subway and bus & streetcar grid. In my mind’s eye, I see a futuristic Bloor Viaduct subway station with elevators and escalators moving people between the GO (and sadly missed Ontario Northland) rail as well as the single track line Modlich writes about. These intersecting stations have the potential of relieving a lot of the pressure on Union Station and facilitating the commute for thousands.
           The Big Move document is worth a read, it has a vision. The line Modlich discusses is not mentioned from what I can see http:// . Still room for discussion, obviously. It says something about bicycles, but here too is room for discussion. Why not have a devoted bicycle subway car at the head of every subway train, for example? (Cf. http://sf.streetsblog. org/2011/06/16/danish-architect-jan-gehlon- good-cities-for-bicycling/) The Montreal Metro already has designated bicycle areas like this.
           The Toronto of the future--hopefully near future--must integrate and promote all forms of transit. Of course the automobile will have a part in this, but for commuting and short trips (done better on a bicycle or on foot) it is simply not an option. We can see that already: cars don’t work in a congested city. Shamefully, I gloat every time I pass on my bicycle the hundreds of cars moving slowly along Bloor Street waiting for a turn to access the DVP: at times the backup extends westward all the way to Avenue Road.
           I am a member of Ward 36 Cyclists (@Ward36Cyclists). I joined because I want to make bicycling safer and more enjoyable in Ward 36. One area of concern is what I call the Kingston Road Raceway.
           I have suggested to Councillor Crawford that the newly renovated road from Victoria Park to Birchmount should look something like Dundas Street (between Kingston Road and Broadview Ave.). This will slow down traffic because of the single lane for cars. And this will give bicycles a dedicated space, as well as offer car parking on the street. Businesses will do better, I am sure and coffee shops will appear, making Tom Grinnell, author of “Heart and Soul of the Community” happy. Just for the record, Fallingbrook Cafe, Fallingbrook and Kingston, serves coffee and has become a gathering place. Coffee shops are indeed appearing east of Victoria Park Avenue.
           I need a cup of coffee, then on my bike for a cool spin along the Waterfront Trail, dreaming of the day...
Jack Howard
Scarborough, ON