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Thousands of new shelters set to hit the streets

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I’ll try to let you know how you can have your say, to make sure the structures serve riders well.





Riders on the TTC will be able to wait for their bus or streetcar inside thousands of new transit shelters once a 20-year contract is approved by Toronto city council.





Many readers, especially those in suburban areas, write me about standing in the cold or rain at stops that offer no protection.





Yesterday the city’s powerful executive committee voted to move ahead with a massive contract to install shelters, garbage cans, public washroom stalls and benches across 416.





The major benefit for transit riders would be the 2,000 shelters to be built at stops that right now have none. 3,000 existing older huts would eventually be replaced, while 1,000 more recent models would remain. Over the life of the contract 6,000 of roughly 10,000 TTC stops would have some kind of weather protection.





Asked if the priority would be installing shelters at brand new locations instead of replacing older ones first, senior transportation manager Andy Koropeski said those details had not been decided yet.





Mayor David Miller told In Transit he personally agreed that equipping shelter-less stops is a higher priority.





As part of the deal, the private firm Astral Media Outdoor would have full responsibility for erecting, maintaining and cleaning thousands of pieces of “street furniture” in return for exclusive rights to advertising on shelters and new “information pillars.” CBS Outdoor, which bid unsuccessfully for the huge contract, is currently responsible for the city’s existing bus shelters.





That deal would end in August 2007, and requires that just seven new structures be put up this year. CBS also maintains shelters in other GTA municipalities.





According to Koropeski, citizens will be able to comment on the new shelter design during the next year or so. I’ll try to let you know how you can have your say, to make sure the structures serve riders well.





For example, does the current design shield a patron from the wind as much as possible? Will there be sufficient lighting or a place for proposed monitors that indicate when the next transit vehicle is expected?





The deal with Astral Media is to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to the city, although critics charge that Toronto’s streets will be too full of advertising. A majority of shelters would feature large posters as part of the design, similar to the newest glass structures already in place at TTC stops.





Koropeski says that as many as 4,100 could include advertisements but he says that based on past trends, only about half would.



transit@eddrass.com

 
 
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