Posts Tagged ‘transit’

Is there anyone who doesn’t complain about driving in Toronto?
Does anyone have a solution that we can all agree on?
No.

Yesterday Toronto began an experiment on King Street. An experiment that CBC called a disaster on its first day.   This morning I went to check it out for myself.  It was mid-morning so there weren’t many cars.   Also, weekday drivers and Sunday drivers downtown are different.  On weekdays it’s the regulars who know the roads because they drive them all the time.   Does that make a difference? – I’m not sure.

below: At most intersections between Bathurst and Jarvis, traffic is not allowed to proceed straight through – you must turn right.  Streetcars and bicycles are the exceptions.  The traffic signals now have advanced green arrows to allow cars to turn right before the pedestrians cross the road.    Taxis are allowed to go through only between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.   You’ll notice that the left hand land has been painted with yellow stripes, i.e. no cars here!

white arrow painted on road directing traffic to turn right

below: Two more changes have appeared. First, the streetcar stops have been moved to after the intersection instead of before. Second, small barricades block the right hand lane after the intersection. These two changes have the effect of blocking cars who try to sneak through on King Street. If there is a streetcar, you’re stuck behind it. I did see a car try to pass a streetcar (on the left) but it was unsuccessful.

streetcar stopped to let on passengers, cars behind it on the street

Many cars were disobeying the new traffic signs, some out of confusion  and some blatantly flaunting the rules.   Cars would pull into the right turn lane but then go through the light anyhow.

below: I wasn’t the only ones watching the traffic.  Global TV was at King and Jarvis while CTV were stationed at King and Church.

Global TV car and truck parked on King street, street car about to pass them

below: CBC interviews people at King & Yonge as a black GMC goes through the intersection.

CBC reporter interviewing people on the sidewalk, traffic on King sreet, a black SUV making an illegal straight through the intersection,

below: The lighter traffic makes for easier illegal left turns!

a black car makes an illegal left turn at King and Church streets

below: Taking pictures of drivers doing illegal things was like shooting fish in a barrel. There were a couple of police cars around but so far there are few consequences to doing what you want. It’s early days yet, right? Apparently starting next week, the fine for illegally going straight through the intersection will be $100 and 2 demerit points.

traffic and street cars on King Street

I have one suggestion and that is to change the traffic lights so that the only green is a right turn arrow. The streetcars would have their own light – something like the ‘white line light’ that is used at King and Sumach as well as at Eglinton and Duplex. Having an ordinary green light is almost giving mixed signals to the drivers.

below:  Hey!  Mr. Bentley watch where you’re going!

two cars waiting for a red light. a white car and a grey Bentley, pedestrians crossing the intersection in front of them.

Take care out there!

Along a short stretch of Coxwell Avenue

Upgrades to Coxwell subway station include work on the north side of Strathmore Blvd.  Two murals were created to brighten the hoardings around the construction site.  Both murals are the work of a program called ‘City on the Move – Young Artists in Transit’.  If you use Coxwell subway station you can’t help but see these murals as they are right across the street from the entrance.

below: ‘Today Reassembling Yesterday’ shows people standing within a miniature old East York.  On both sides of the mural is a replica of a Hollinger Bus line ticket.  This bus company was founded in 1921 by John Hollinger and it serviced the growing neighbourhood of East York.  By the time the TTC took it over in 1954, Hollinger had 96 employees and a fleet of 56 buses that traveled twelve routes on such streets as Woodbine, O’Connor and Coxwell.

mural in front of a construction site, the tops of two brick houses are visible behind the fence, a large green crane is working at the site

below: In this mural, five panels are covered with wallpaper of pictures of the past.  Residents, the present day, peel back the layers of the past to reveal their visions and hopes for the future.  On the left, red barns and hay stacks make way for solar panels over fields with bird filled skies.  The next panel is also inspired by agriculture – healthy corn fields and other crops under a layer with horses and stables.  The middle panel puzzles me.  I’m note sure what the pictures on the brown paper represent but birds in a tree are under it.  The fourth panel suggests accessible public transit.  Lastly, cars and trucks make way for rivers to fish in.

A mural of kids peeling away layers of wallpaper with pictures on it.

‘New Revelation, at Coxwell’

a poem by George Elliott Clarke, Poet Laureate of Toronto 2012-15
to accompany the mural at Coxwell station

As wallpaper peels to windowpanes, spy
Grass, insurgent, urging all our future
Is Spring: Sunlight sparks sweat and dream; wind drives
Machines. Thrilled, birds wing and sing so sprightly,
Everyone delights. Blossoms float perfumes.
Branches brandish emerald bouquets. Our lungs
Flood with surging airs, clean as chlorophyll,
Mint-new, mint-tangy, so song is born,
Just by breathing. Wheels become our earthly
Wings, so infant and elder, builder and
Dreamer, can flit – transit – through the city
As public millions that public millions
Uphold, so that the lame, too, can take
The air and wheel down to creek, stream, and lake.
Suddenly glittering, afresh with fish.

The TTC also owns property on the southeast corner of Coxwell and Danforth.  Back in 1915 this facility was built as the Danforth carhouse for the streetcars that ran along the Danforth.  When the Bloor Danforth subway line opened in 1966, these streetcars were retired and the carhouse was converted to handle TTC buses instead.   In 2002 the Danforth carhouse (or Coxwell Barns) was shut down.  Some of the property has been sold off but the TTC still has a presence there.

below:  Along Coxwell Avenue, south of the Danforth, there is a fence that separates TTC property from the street.  It was a typically drab TTC concrete barrier.  Recently it was painted by a group of volunteers.  The word ‘transition’ now pops out at passersby from a colourful mural designed by Sean Martindale.

Transitions written in block letters in a large geometric mural that matches the grid of the concrete that makes up the fence

close up of the letter N and part of S in the Transitions mural on a TTC fence on Coxwell ave.

Transitions written in block letters in a large geometric mural that matches the grid of the concrete that makes up the fence

If you walk a few more blocks south on Coxwell, you will come to a fence where many butterflies have stopped to rest.

two wood butterfly shapes that have been hand painted by kids and then attached to a chain link fence around a school playground.

They share a fence with a few creative owls wisely made out of recycled materials.  Tin cans, CDs, buttons, bottle tops, corks, paper clips, sunglass lenses, clothes pegs, foil plates, and bits of plastic repurposed.

 

four owls made of recycled goods, foil pie plates, CDs, bottle tops, there feet are wrapped around twigs and they are attached to a chainlink fence

owls made of recycled goods, foil pie plates, CDs, bottle tops, there feet are wrapped around twigs and they are attached to a chainlink fence - two corks for horns

owls made of recycled goods, foil pie plates, CDs, bottle tops, there feet are wrapped around twigs and they are attached to a chainlink fence - also blue buttons for the nose

below: A little red fairy door, home of the Earl Haig gardener.  This past summer there was a project called  Danny’s Urban Fairies.  Fairy doors that were hand crafted by local artists started appearing in stores and parks along Danforth East  (from Jones to Westlake).  Some of the fairy doors remain but many were auctioned off in November to raise money to support the non-profit East End Music Project.

A little red screen door, fairy door, at the base of a tree with two little signs. One sign says Earl Haig gardener and the other says Do not litter.

below: No bows and arrows allowed!

old sign on the exterior wall of a school that says: Playing of golf, hardball, handball, bows and arrows prohibited