There are about 12,000 transit stops in Toronto. 4,000 or so have transit shelters. Whenever someone contacts me about a lack of weather protection at a stop, I’m not sure where to direct them for help.
Elizabeth Muir of North Toronto reports that every corner at Davisville Ave. and Mt. Pleasant Rd. has a shelter — except one. She writes, “Those waiting for buses on the southwest corner of Davisville have to put up with the weather no matter what. Within the last two years a condo was built on this corner and seems to leave little space for a shelter — but I’m sure something could be worked out. There are many seniors in this area, as well as disabled people who take the bus to Sunnybrook Hospital.”
One might expect the TTC to be responsible for this, but almost all shelters belong to the City of Toronto.
My advice is to start with your local councillor — but don’t get your hopes up. In 2008 only 30 shelter-less locations are to get new ones, and the list is now closed. About 40 stops will be added in 2009.
Under a 20-year contract signed last year, the city expects Astral Media to
build about 5,000 new shelters across Toronto. 300 are due in 2008 and 400 the
next year, and almost all of these will replace older huts that have structural problems, says Kyp Perikleous of Transportation Services.
City staff do feasibility studies upon request, conferring with the TTC on how many riders use the stop daily. He says many locations don’t have enough traffic to warrant a shelter, or there is no room on public property to erect one. The city won’t build on private land.
In my opinion, this is where your councillor comes in. If there is any possibility that nearby property owners can assist in sheltering transit passengers — whether for civic-minded or commercial reasons — then municipal representatives are the ones to make it happen.
It’s also up to city council to ensure a maximum number of shelters are added to weather-prone stops, as soon as genuinely defective huts are dealt with.
Astral Media is committed to keeping all shelters clean and repaired, says the firm’s Luc Beaulieu — no matter when they were built. Call 1-866-8-ASTRAL any time to report problems. The shelter number and exact location will help.
When I mentioned to Beaulieu and Perikleous that some older structures are not marked with nearby street names, I was told this would be addressed.
If you’re interested in the design of Toronto’s newest shelters, as well as street benches and garbage bins, toronto.ca/streetfurniture has lots of information.