November 27, 2014
While the new makeup of council under mayor-elect Mayor John Tory has its work cut out for it on city-wide issues, St. Paul’s councillor Josh Matlow will also have a full plate when it comes to issues within his own ward.
One of his top priorities will be to boost transit options in the city to ease congestion on the Yonge subway line, as riders in his ward often have to wait two or three trains just to find a subway that is not packed to the brim during rush hours.
“I’ll be continuing my advocacy for relieving the Yonge subway line overcrowding in every way,” he said, adding he does not see the much-ballyhooed Downtown Relief Line proposal and Tory’s SmartTrack plan as an either/or proposition.
“We need both a downtown relief line and electrified rail moving forward.”
The Ward 22 councillor also places a high priority on traffic safety. During his last term, he pushed for city staff to look into reducing speed limits on residential streets from 40 to 30km/hr. That motion goes along with ongoing efforts to install speed deterrents such as speed humps and bollards on local streets.
“I want to incent drivers to stay on the main streets and not going onto neighbourhood streets,” he said, adding that reducing speeds will save lives.
Matlow will also continue his battle to free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board, pointing to projects in his own ward that have been pushed through at the board, against the wishes of local residents.
“Developers seem to get carte blanche at the OMB, and that impacts the city’s ability to ensure the infrastructure is in place to support these buildings,” he said. “At Broadway and Redpath, two 38-storey buildings were just approved and that goes against good neighbourhood planning.”
That ties into another of Matlow’s priorities: the need for good design and public realm investment. He hopes to see more than just block after block of homogenous, bland skyscrapers.
“There’s a place for glass and steel, but I want to see buildings that are inspiring,” he said. “I want to see architecture that contributes to our quality of life.”
Finally, Matlow vows to continue working to improve parks and green spaces throughout St. Paul’s.
“At Northern Secondary School, I’ve invested in the Northern Landscape Project to improve the blah-looking green space by the school,” he said. “I’ve offered funds to Davisville and Eglinton (public schools) for their own schoolyard improvements.”
The second-term councillor was known for being one of the city’s most active during his first four years in office. Based on his list of priorities, the next four years will see more of the same.
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