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.