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06/22/2010

Summit leaves road wide open

It’s sardine city on the TTC most days. But Toronto Star staffers are reporting the luxury of exhaling on the city’s streetcars this week as the summit drives away traffic and transit riders — although the TTC says it doesn’t have the numbers proving ridership is down this week.

The eastbound Queen car, which normally takes 12 to 15 minutes to travel from Niagara St. to University Ave., took seven minutes Tuesday around 9:25 a.m.

“The streetcar just hurtled on because there was reduced traffic on Queen St.,” according to reporter Raveena Aulakh.

Debra Black made a similar report on the Spadina car.

Reduced traffic may be the summit’s silver lining.

“I’m loving this G20 stuff … made it in 15 minutes from Pape and Danforth to city hall, despite the rain. Even fewer cars on the road this morning, not many delivery trucks,” wrote Vanessa Lu.

Nancy White said she saved money as well as a little time. Lighter traffic got her to work five minutes faster than usual from the Beach along Queen East to Queens Quay.

The parking lot north of the Star building at 1 Yonge St., was charging $10 instead of the usual $12 summer rate.

“I guess they know people are staying away,” she said.

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Decreased ridership might be convenient for the few who benefit from it, but it's not good for our system as a city. There are thousands of extra people in the city this week, yet ridership is going down due to barriers, fences and a militarized downtown core. That's nothing to celebrate.

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