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Toronto Transit Activist Gets Blogging

An interesting new addition to the Canadian blogosphere is a website by Steve Munro. For those of you who don’t know, Steve Munro is a longtime transit activist who has fought for improved transit service for the City of Toronto. He is one of the people responsible for the fact that streetcars still ply the streets in my hometown, but he’s not one to kowtow to the TTC when it comes to how they do their job.

At times, he has been one of the TTC’s harshest critics, complaining about the cost and the design flaws of the Harbourfront LRT, and keeping tabs on how well the TTC is meeting its objectives set out in its Ridership Growth Strategy. For this reason, he has been a deserving recipient of the Jane Jacobs Prize for “contributing to the city’s vitality”.

His recent post on the proposed station makeovers is an example of the man’s tough love for the TTC.

Word of this seeped into the press as one of those grand public-spirited gestures. A foundation would raise money (tax deductible of course) and with this pool of loot would go forth and do good works. You can read about it at

There is a catch. There is always a catch.

The foundation only pays for about half of the project and the rest has to be raised by the TTC, the City, whoever. Seed money for the project (preliminary engineering, etc.) comes out of the TTC budget. You don’t believe me? Here’s the minute from the TTC’s November meeting:

While you’re waiting for the next streetcar to show up, or railing against the penny-pinching City Budget Advisory Committee, console yourself. You, yes you, shivering in the cold while all of those warm taxicabs pass you by, are doing your bit to make Toronto a Beautiful City. At least Adam Giambrone had the good sense to insist that the City only pay one quarter of the cost of this scheme. The original proposal from the Toronto Community Foundation was half-and-half.

Welcome aboard, Mr. Munro! Long may you blog!