One Year

On January 31, 2006, Steve Munro’s Web Site went on the air.  The first post was a collection of my Toronto Film Festival reviews partly as a test posting and partly for many friends who are always after me about what I’ve written over the years.

Looking back at all of the posts, I’ve covered a lot of transit issues.  Funding.  Service.  Wasteful subway projects.  LRT everywhere.  Even Swan Boats!

Through all of this, I’ve seen a growing audience of readers both by comments and email, and the number of links to this site from others is gratifying.  When I started writing, I expected a fairly small community of transit fans and advocates would be interested in the technical stuff, but that community grew to include a wide variety of readers, some from very far away.

Many thanks to all of you who read and contribute to debates here.  Yes, there are times I just copy a comment into my archives and don’t post it.  There’s only so many times one can cover the same ground and, after all, it is my site.

Thanks to my friend Trevor whose system hosts this site.  Those of you who know that I’m an old IBM mainframer from the dark ages of computing, and that professionally I work in an environent overrun with Windows machines, will be amused to know this site lives on a Mac.  Trevor’s a Mac bigot, what can I say, and WordPress (the software that runs the site) works very well here.

Special thanks to my dear friend Sarah who puts up with that distracted look when she knows her conversation is time-sharing my brain with a post that’s writing itself behind my eyes.  She was co-author of the Swan Boats epic and co-conspirator in its creation.

Finally thanks to everyone else who runs a site dedicated to urban affairs of one kind or another, and to the journalists from whom I’ve had many encouraging words.  Keeping people well-informed about how their city works is important, and all of us contribute to that in many ways.  Feeling that I’m part of that community, both amateur and professional, is very rewarding.

The next years will be vital for transit in our city and region.  Either we stop pretending that we can be transit oriented without serious investment in operations, vehicles and facilities, a real network of services, not a few baubles to get politicians re-elected, or we will slide into the car-oriented city that “Stop Spadina” and its era were supposed to prevent.

10 thoughts on “One Year

  1. Hi Steve, I link to your site also from

    I was quickly reading the Sun this morning and you were highlighted in “Best of the Blogs” or something like that. The paper is at home. I read the Star later at lunch so I get both sides of things.

    Congrats on this site and this is going to be an amazing time to rally the average person to get them to care about where they live and how they move around.


  2. Happy First Anniversary Steve… congratulations on a site that has blossomed in just a year! Also, thanks for the many interesting, sometimes obscure and often entertaining insights into the TTC and transit in Toronto and the GTA!


  3. Steve,

    I am a daily reader of your site, and I cannot describe how much I look forward to your sometimes quirky, sometimes opinionated, but always informative articles.  As a close follower of transit and the TTC from the perspectives of a rider and engineering student, I rely on your writing to give balance to what the TTC, the City, and the politicians say.  In fact, I would say that your coverage of transit in Toronto far surpasses that of the mainstream media, not only in quantity but in quality as well – that’s why I’m so glad to have watched this blog take off in popularity over the past year.

    As you said in your post, the next years will be crucial ones for transit and, if I may add my opinion, for the urban form of our city as well.  There are two ways that we can go from here; the “better way”, which is the way of concrete, sustainable action, will only be taken when the public (and by extension, the government) heeds its call.

    Thanks for helping to make that happen.


    Dave Fisher


  4. Congrats on the one year anniversary! I know that this site has made me more knowledgeable about transit and made me care much more about it and the important issues surrounding public transportation and urban planning.


  5. Congratulations, Steve. Your comments about the future of transit in this city are always informative and always on point. Crucial reading for anyone who cares about how this city will look in five, ten, fifteen, etc. years.


  6. Thank you Steve. I’ve learned so much about the intricacies, idiosyncrasies, and idiocies of the TTC.

    Plus I’ve learned about Belgian cuisine, supreme cinema and other great parts of Toronto.


  7. Steve,

    Congratulations on your 1st year, from over here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    Your website has been an invaluable resource for me. It has allowed me to keep myself informed about public transit in Toronto while I am over here working.

    It is a dream of mine to become a public transit planner, and share the value of public transit with others. I want to be a planner who has an interest in real, effective transit for the people who actually use it. Your work, and this website, have become a source of inspiration for me.

    Steve, if you ever decide to teach courses about public transit, I promise you I will be sitting in the front row.

    Sincerely, Moaz


  8. Steve,

    Has it been a year? I’ve been busy. Whenever a transit issue crosses my desk (or it doesn’t cross my desk, but should have) I think about it a bit then go to your site to test that thinking. Given that I mostly read reports from the civil service these days, I have mentally categorized your site as the proceedings of “the People’s Independant Commission on Transit” with you presiding as Chair, of course.

    Thank you,

    Gord Perks


  9. Hi Steve:-

    I’ve only started reading your site this month of March 2007 and am very impressed by the breath of freah air that it brings and that it too anchors many of my own perceived realities.

    Having been a streetcar fan for most of my life, with a bit of an interest in subways and only a marginal interest in the value of busses I have spent times in my life when I’ve keenly pursued and discussed transit topics and other times when I’ve let other interests take my time. Glad to see you taking a good portion of your life to fight and reason with the sometimes unreasonable on my behalf. It is much appreciated.

    One comment that I’d like to make and I’m not sure if this is the best spot in your site to make it, but I do recall chatting with a very respected Transit Planner from the TTC (No Oxymoron intended, he really was good at his job) cautioned me to give an extra think when in my neophyte (read teen) years as an amatuer transit fan/critic I had mentioned to him that ‘wouldn’t it be better if Toronto had more subways and therefore less surface congestion?’ His response was that that maybe true but at what cost? He didn’t mean monetary, he meant security for the rider and the city, as the more people on streetcars (definitely the preferred surface mode) the better safety for the rider, particularly single women travelling at night and the city where the cars pass too; for those on the sidewalk can see in to the cars thus giving extra sets of eyes on the goings on on board the vehicle, but also the rider with the extra sets of eyes for the shops and pedestrians the cars pass. Win win all around for that cannot be the case with a train in the confines of a tunnel.

    Money too was a consideration, but the discussion went one step further in that he reminded me that a full streetcar system rather than merely widely separated trunk routes would have a much better chance to divert cars when problems, civic improvements and or parades, etc. required the traffic to change course but still ultimately reach its intended rider and destination.

    Thanks again Steve. Keep up the good fight. In the long run it will be worth the blood, sweat and tears. Mind you, after the success of Streetcars for Toronto, you know that to be true already.


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