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Pitfield would extend subway

Oct. 18, 2006. 10:23 PM

With the election less than a month away, both Toronto Mayor David Miller and challenger Jane Pitfield were out Wednesday morning making policy announcements.

With a huge mural as his backdrop, Toronto Mayor David Miller promised to spend $17.6 million over the next four years to make Toronto’s public spaces cleaner and more beautiful if he’s re-elected.

That money would translate into $100,000 in each ward of the city per year, to carry out projects such as a recently completed mural on a Highway 401 retaining wall at Bathurst St. and Wilson Ave.

The five-week project cost $1,500 and relied on donated paint and supplies to create a scene of sailboats, swimmers, picnickers and playing dogs on what was a gray concrete wall running along the rear of a small park on the southeast corner.

The mural is 400 feet long and 25 feet high, and wasn’t the easiest project, said mural artist Ian Leventhal.

“At this particular location, you get runoff from the highway on rainy days and it pools at the base of the wall,” Leventhal said. “We got stuck a few times on our lift, in the mud. It adds to the challenge of the painting.”

Meanwhile, mayoral candidate Jane Pitfield said Toronto should build two kilometres of subway line and open a new station every year for the next 25 years.

But Pitfield was vague on explaining how she’ll pay for the new subway service, which she estimated would have a yearly price tag of $250 million.

Questioned afterward, she said she’d investigate having private funding cover part of the cost - perhaps selling naming rights to subway stations to corporations.

While Pitfield urged more spending on transit as part of a multi-pronged transportation strategy, she acknowledged she rarely uses public transit herself.

“I will admit I don’t ride the TTC as often as I would like to,” she said. That means once or twice a month normally - but less now that she’s running for mayor.

“I am all over the city these days, and the TTC doesn’t even go where I need to be,” she told reporters.

“If I relied on the TTC, I would get nowhere on time.”