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News Watch: Thursday, March 9

Here are some recent TTC news items, crossposted with Spacing’s Wire:

Battle of St. Clair Won. SOS Abandons Court Battle for Politics

As the window to appeal the superior court decision reinstating the St. Clair private right-of-way project closes, the opposition group Save Our St. Clair has admitted defeat and abandoned its court battle (the Toronto Star report is here). Construction on the project will resume as soon as tenders are adjusted — possibly May.

Instead, the people behind SOS are turning to politics, hoping to punish those councillors who have favoured this proposal. Councillor Joe Mihevc and Mayor David Miller are the main targets, but SOS suggests that it may bring forward a list of candidates their supporters could vote for.

Torontonians who supported this project, including the majority of the residents and businesses on St. Clair, may be looking forward to this list, as it will help them figure out which SOS-supporting candidate to vote against.

Ducharme to Province: Fix My System First, Then Talk Subways

It’s not that Rick Ducharme doesn’t appreciate the money that may have been promised to extend the Spadina subway to York University, it’s that the TTC has other needs that need attention first. John Barber talks to the TTC Chairman and compliments him on his prudent approach to managing the TTC’s priorities.

“The top priority is state-of-good-repair,” he said yesterday, repeating a phrase that has become a mantra at the TTC ever since a worn-out signalling system killed three people on the Spadina line 10 years ago. “Over the next four or five years I need about $700-million a year … and it’s not negotiable.”

After that, Ducharme wants $200 million per year to purchase more streetcars and buses to reduce the amount of time people across this city have to wait at a stop before a vehicle arrives. Then we can talk about subway expansion.

The province has not commented on Ducharme’s statements. They have not yet confirmed or denied that money is in the offing for the York University subway extension.

TTC Fans Challenge TTC Legal Department Over Anagram Map

I Heart the TTC

Sean Lerner, the man behind the TTC Rider Efficiency Guide is challenging the TTC’s Commissioners and its legal department over the contretemps regarding John Martz’s TTC subway anagram map. Arguing that the intellectual property of a public agency should be public domain, and suggesting that the cash-strapped TTC has better things to spend its money on, Sean has posted the original, copyright-infringing map on his website, and issued an open letter to TTC Chair Howard Moscoe demanding that the TTC revoke its cease and desist order and apologize to Martz.

This is the strongest reaction in a wave of negative publicity the TTC has encountered as a result of clamping down on the anagram map, but it remains to be seen if Sean can get this matter on the agenda of the next TTC Commissioners’ meeting, scheduled to take place at City Hall on March 22.

Spacing’s Wire has more details regarding Sean’s protest.