St. Clair’s streetcar transitway is neither a “boondoggle” or “disaster”.

It seems that Mayor Rob Ford and spokesbrother, Councillor Doug, have a hate-on for the St. Clair streetcar transitway.  Mayor Ford to City Council: “People hate the St. Clair.  They hate these streetcars.  They don’t want these damned streetcars blocking up our city.  You look at it, it’s a complete disaster.  It went over budget. Go out there and drive. People know, it’s a nightmare.”

Not true!  Having ridden the system twice in the last couple of days, and driven it several times, I’d say the transitway works extremely well – from skyscraper-rich Yonge Street to less dense neighbourhoods further west.  City Councillor Joe Mihevc to the TTC Commission:  “Often when the political spinning starts, the first casualty is the truth.  We need to find a way to get beyond the anecdotes.”

The streetcars and platforms are clean and graffiti-free; each has a bench; most have colourful graphics and plantings; some have capsule histories of the neighbourhood; streetcars arrive every 5-7 minutes; U-turns are permitted; there’s on-street parking in commercial areas; motorists seem to obey traffic signs and lights; no honking, etc.  What’s not to like?

There appears to be far less traffic – both pedestrian and automobile – on St. Clair Avenue than you’ll find on most downtown streets.  Danforth Avenue for instance, is jammed with pedestrians and cars, even with a subway underneath.  Take a ride on the 512, and see for yourself.  Maybe the Mayor could focus his attention elsewhere – just a thought.

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