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Old December 29th, 2010, 02:33 AM   #1
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Why a TTC Transit Shelter is Hard to Get

Toronto Star article:

The Fixer: Why a Transit Shelter is Hard to Get

Jack Lakey
December 27, 2010

Everybody wants a transit shelter at their TTC stop, but deciding which stops get one is no simple matter.

Frigid weather has settled in, making every one of Toronto’s 6,000 transit shelters a value-added facility. When the next bus is 15 minutes away, a glass shelter seems absolutely cozy.

We often hear from readers who don’t have a shelter at their transit stop, or had one that was taken away and not replaced. They’re easier to fix; when a shelter is removed, there’s usually a plan to install another.

But when someone asks for a shelter at a stop that has never had one, like a recent plea from Priscila Kalevar, it’s a long shot at best.

The southeast corner of Vaughan Rd. and Arlington Ave. “is very much used by area residents waiting for the TTC bus,” said Kalevar. “However, there is no bus shelter.

“Would-be passengers take cover at a store while waiting, but the proprietor does not want that. He has a sign asking people not to stand at the entrance to his store.”

The city’s street furniture division decides which stops that don’t have a shelter will get one, but the considerations range from available space to how many riders use the stop.

There are upwards of 10,000 TTC stops, which means about one-third are without a shelter, said Kyp Perikleous, who’s in charge of street furniture.

Under the city’s contract with Astral Media to provide street furniture, 1,000 shelters are to be located at stops that don’t have one over the 20-year life of the deal, which is in its fourth year, he said.

At most, 40 to 50 stops without a shelter are chosen each year, a process that starts by considering requests made to the city, the TTC and the offices of city councillors, said Perikleous.

Those requests are directed to the street furniture office, which initiates a process to decide which stops may be candidates for a shelter, and which ones can be ruled out.

A key consideration is how many riders use a stop on a daily basis, which involves a count of people getting on and off a bus or streetcar and working out an average, said Perikleous.

If hundreds of people use the stop daily — which can increase from previous counts if local demographics change — it moves up the list.

The location will then be checked out to see if there’s enough space to accommodate a shelter, which can only be placed on city property, either on a boulevard or municipal right-of-way on the other side of a sidewalk.

If there’s insufficient space on the boulevard or right-of-way, the stop is no longer a candidate for a shelter, said Perikleous, adding it’s one of the main reasons why many stops have never had one.

In some places, a small portion of a shelter can encroach onto the sidewalk, but if it reduces the walkway enough to impede pedestrian traffic or squeeze a wheelchair or motorized scooter, it will be ruled out.

When a potential location passes those tests, it becomes a candidate for a shelter, but it could still be years before it is finally placed, he said.

Other factors including the number of stops in wards that have had at least its share of new shelters, said Perikleous, which is squared against need in other parts of the city.

If enough high priority locations are added to the list of stops eligible for a shelter, the city may choose to roll out more at its own expense, but it’s an unlikely scenario, he said.

Another option is a “dollar swap,” where Astral provides less of another type of street furniture under the contract and replaces it with more shelters.

No matter how it is added up, if a new shelter isn’t already high up on the list of locations to get one, it won’t be coming this winter, and probably not for a few more years.

What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. To email us, go to www.thestar.com/thefixer and click on the submit a problem link. Or call us at 416-869-4823.

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Old December 30th, 2010, 07:27 AM   #2
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You think if we email them and ask them to fix up their ugly ass building they will?
Rob Ford October 8th 2010- ‘I will assure you that services will not be cut, guaranteed’
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Old December 30th, 2010, 10:35 PM   #3
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Maybe there aren't enough riders per stop to justify bus shelters. The buses are so frequent in the city you rarely have more then a few persons waiting for a bus at one time. Personally I haven't seen a need for TTC shelters, when in the city. If there is a need maybe have some pictures sent illustrating which stop its at and maybe some will get built.
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Old December 31st, 2010, 10:25 PM   #4
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Some shelters are little more then urinals for homeless men.
Rob Ford October 8th 2010- ‘I will assure you that services will not be cut, guaranteed’
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