2016-01-29 Fri

Clear Thinking

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I have observed many large cities during the past ten years, and Toronto ranks as one of the highest nice-looking-car cities of my experience.

Stand on any street (downtown or suburban) and inspect the domestic vehicles that pass you by.

In Toronto 19 out of 20 will be shiny new-looking cars or SUVs or vans. That doesn’t mean that they are new, but that the owners take care of their cars and can afford to keep them in fine trim.

As opposed to the rust-buckets held together with fencing wire seen in Detroit and Flint, parts of Pennsylvania, New York State and Florida, to name but three.

Toronto roads are salted, with salt, during the ice/snow season, so you’d think we would have more rust-buckets than other cities.

But no. Torontonians seem to be able to afford to upgrade their private vehicles every five years or so.

The state of the private cars of the general public is but one measure of money, but it shows that there IS money in Toronto; citizens have enough money to buy a new car every five years and/or enough money to stuff into the bank accounts of leasing companies.

“There aren’t enough hours in the day” is a common complaint. Nonsense! There are 24 hours in every day; how you choose to spend your 24 hours is your concern.

Likewise there is plenty of money in Toronto. It’s up to the citizens to decide how to spend it.

And if they spend it on cars, they’ll have cruddy roads and dismal public transportation.

Postscript: The Saturday edition of The Toronto Star boasts TWO complete sections titled “Wheels”; that tells you something about the buying habits of Canada’s largest city!

Clear Thinking

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The Paris (France) bus system is well-known for its logical naming convention.

Buses whose 2-digit route numbers end in “8” congregate at Porte d’Orleans.

Buses whose 2-digit route numbers start with “9” source from Montparnasse.

Ends in “2”? Port St Cloud (rhymes with “two”)

And so on.

When I arrived in Toronto back in 1982 I learned that I had to learn the major East-West and North-South streets, because anywhere in Toronto was described by intersection: “They have moved to Jane-Finch” or “I’ll pick you up at Sheppard and Midland, OK?”.

Here is my crib for the east-west streets: “Quite Bright Students eat Liver With Skin-Fried Sausages”.

So why the kafuffle about naming subway stations from now on?

The subway stations will be built at major street intersections; name the subway stations with BOTH street names. In the example above where the station is built at the intersection of Lebovic OR Hakimi avenues with Eglinton Avenue, include two street names in the subway name.

Be logical.

You could use an alphabetic sequence (“Eglinton-Lebovic subway station” or “Eglinton-Hakimi subway station”) but me I’d use a geographic system, with the east-west street named first. So “Lebovic-Hakimi subway station”).

Toronto is wider east-west than taller north-south, so where a line runs along an east-west corridor, all the station names would be identified with the corridor name.

Think Bloor-Kipling, Bloor-Islington, Bloor-Royal York and so on.

Then visitors would feel encouraged to use our transit system.

As to whether to use “Hakimi” or “Lebovic”, toss a coin. Or make a guess as to which of two streets is likely to attract more passengers.

Side note: The Toronto Transit Commission’s naming of bus stops is confusing. For example the 49B Bloor West bus route from Kipling subway station passes through an intersection that is described as “Bloor-” traveling westbound and “Bloor-” when traveling eastbound. Same intersection; two names.

Why not, I ask, call the intersection “Bloor-” so partygoers can recognize their stop no matter which direction they use to arrive?