Suddenly Transit’s A Big Issue Again (3)

This is the third and final installment of a commentary on many articles that appeared in other media over the past months on transit subjects.  You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

On July 23, the Star ran a long article by Paul Bedford, former Chief Planner of the City of Toronto, entitled We Want Change.  Bedford poured over hundreds of emails from Star readers and found that the electorate is far ahead of politicians in what they want and will accept to fix the problems of our city, including its transportation system.  One vital finding is that people don’t object to paying taxes provided that they actually see some return, some improvement in the services they use and depend on.  Politicians with a slavish devotion to lowering taxes, no matter what the cost, should take note. Continue reading

Where Did Cleveland’s Streetcars Go?

History Detectives on PBS will air a program next Monday, August 28 at 9:00 pm on the disappearance of Cleveland’s streetcar network and, by extension, the fate of urban transit systems in the USA.  I have not seen the program and cannot give an advance review, but you can link to the program’s website here.  PBS (WNED Buffalo) airs on cable 61 in Toronto.

The railfans among us will know that Toronto operated ex-Cleveland PCC cars in trains on the Bloor-Danforth line along with ex-Louisville cars that hardly ever ran in that city before Cleveland bought them.

The systematic dismantling of streetcar networks all over North America is a long, sad story tied inevitably to the rise of the automobile.  Toronto was lucky to keep its streetcars — a healthy, growing downtown made for a much different transit environment — but we almost lost them to subway mania in 1972.  Alas, the LRT network that might have grown from our original system is still mostly a dream while politicians compete for their own subway lines.

Another Stratford Visit

Last weekend took me to Stratford again for four productions:  Fanny Kemble, The Glass Menagerie, The Liar and Don Juan. 

The first three are reviewed below, while Don Juan is in a separate following post comparing it to the opera Don Giovanni.  A friend of mine saw Twelfth Night which I reviewed a while back, and I have some comments to add on that play at the end. Continue reading