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Commuters seek reprieve from aerial bombardment

Feb 06, 2008 04:30 AM
Jack Lakey
Staff Reporter

Nobody likes to be dumped on, but it is particularly galling when it’s done by a pigeon in a subway station.

Like most TTC stations, Lawrence West is looking threadbare and neglected. The aging process accelerated when the provincial operating subsidy was eliminated in the 1990s, forcing the TTC to pay its bills almost entirely from the fare box.

Since then, the decline in the maintenance and appearance of stations has been shocking to long-time riders, many of whom recall when TTC facilities were considered the gold standard for North American public transit.

At Lawrence West yesterday, we noticed that the escalator to the subway wasn’t working, open areas were strewn with litter, the windows above the subway platform were caked with grime and the lower area smelled faintly like a gas station washroom in need of cleaning.

The reason for our visit was an email from Aiden O’Leary, who said the platform “is covered in such huge amounts of pigeon poop that entering or exiting a train becomes a hazard.

“The overhead light fixtures provide a roosting place for birds and allow them to dump with impunity in the path of passengers. I use this station regularly and am getting tired of having to dodge this mess. Not only is it unsightly and unpleasant, it is also a health hazard.”

It was worst at the south end of the platform, near the opening for trains to enter and leave the station. Pigeons swoop in and land atop the florescent lighting, which is thoroughly streaked with droppings.

In other parts of the station, sharp metal spikes have been installed overhead to prevent pigeons from landing. But in areas without spikes, pigeons cooed contentedly while roosting, splattering the platform below. Pigeons seem to be the scourge of the area. Gail Matthews emailed to say that at Lawrence Ave. and Weston Rd., not far from the subway, low-flying pigeons are buzzing children and seniors and pooping all over the place.

STATUS: Danny Nicolson, who deals with media for the TTC, said he’d check to see what plans - if any - the transit agency has to cut down on the overhead assault. But don’t hold your breath. On second thought, maybe you should.




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