Darn. I was so hoping that one of the local dailies would run something about the TTC, specifically about the subway. There was only more complaining from St. Clair West (the concrete streetcar barriers are built, people! It’s done! Get over it!), something about Robert Prichard who’s supposed to be getting the Metrolinx program underway (trying to bring the TTC and all the regional transit systems under one roof), and some goof who got busted driving his riding mower drunk on one of the rural roads north-east of Toronto.
Haha! I know, that last one’s not transit. But I had to share. I spent enough time around that area to have seen inebriated lawnmower drivers, and let me tell you, it’s hi-freakin-larious. Under normal circumstances, these gentlemen wouldn’t think to drive an unbalanced buggy with sharp, high-velocity, metal blades underneath, up a very steep hill. But then they partake of a few. :D
I guess there was one thing kinda related to the subway, the Toronto Sun’s lament about the state of our highways. Mostly, they were talking about this:
This is the picturesque Don Valley Parkway. It’s picturesque because it’s late in the afternoon on Sunday. At almost any other time, it’s bumper to bumper, stop and go. If you’ve been on it, you know what I’m talkin’ about, right? How many years of your life have you lost on that road? And on some sections, you’ve got a foot between you, the concrete barrier, the car on the other side, and the car in front, and the jerk behind is honking his horn for you to get outta the way. That, buddy, is how that dipshit down in the valley down there crashed his car. That’s why we’re moving extra slow. That’s why you can kiss my flatulent ass you …
Gosh, even thinking about it gets me all worked up; that’s one angry road. The attached 401’s not much better, but that’s a whole different kinda rage; high-speed, low-brow, middle-finger. You can’t shout at those speeds once you achieve them.
Torontonians know what I’m talking about, right? Yeah! Grandma’s doing eighty in the fast lane with nothing in front of her, tapping the breaks a few times a meter. What the fuck is her problem?! HONK H-O-N-K *H-O-N-K* GODDAMMITYARR!! *smash smash smash* GAAAARRR!! Then black out. Wake up under a highway overpass somewhere by the airport with blood on your hands and a dead body in the trunk of your car. Evade police for weeks in a massive manhunt through rural southern Ontario. Eh? Yeah. What Torontonian hasn’t been there?
So to avoid that scene, and since there’s no way we’re biking in from the sticks every day, there’s public transit. But not the fru-fru, surface streetcar my spoiled butt takes every day. We’re talking about the city plumbing; the subway.
There’s been a lot of talk about putting new stuff into the city center, which is fine by me, but it seems like a lot of the outlying, underground stuff is being forgotten. Specifically, the Bloor-Danforth subway line. That’s not to say that the Yonge-University line isn’t need of bit of a facelift too:
Vintage. The tiles look nicotine-friendly, don’t you think? But, at least, in good condition.
However, in the stations, if you’re in a hurry, headphones in, reading email, you might not notice how rustic they’re getting.
Often, it’s not straight ahead; that’s just an attractive young blur. Sometimes you have to wait for the crowd to clear (as in Sunday), and then look up:
Or you have to be at the right end of the platform:
Right, not that right. The other right. Your right. Right :) And you’re right, it is unsightly. But I haven’t heard of any plans to take care of it. Has Scabby Row been foresaken? I did my teen years there and it was pretty grungy. I was back recently and Kennedy Station had an even more watch-your-back feel to it than I remembered.
I’m one of those incurably sunny people who think that one of the ways to deal with the problem is to make the place nicer. For being so busy, it’s a grim station. On one side, it’s got a raised road with a raised LRT train track under it (two storeys of concrete, basically) so it’s dark, and on the other the parking lot of a grey-slab of a community centre. Stabbing or shooting someone here doesn’t seem out of context.
So, change the context I say. I’m sure it’s been tried and tested somewhere. And I’m sure I didn’t come up with it; wouldn’t that be a sad world to live in? I’m just too lazy to find a link.
Spruce up the stations. Scrub off some of that water damage. Repair some of those broken chunks. Put a little more life in there.
That probably won’t come out of the downtown streetcar money, which itself is in question. And that infrastructure funding that was supposed to have paid for things like this turned out to be not so much. But there is the community.