With additional reporting by Scott Anderson and Kim Edwards
It was the fifth day in a row of smog warnings, and the public health department asked residents to take transit, walk or cycle. But some public officials took the car anyway. We jumped them in their exclusive parking area underneath City Hall Tuesday at 8 am. Here are the culprits we snapped before City Hall security kicked us out. By Tooker Gomberg with additional reporting by Scott Anderson and Kim Edwards
Councillor Ward 2, Etobicoke North
ADDRESS: Rexdale Boulevard
SUGGESTED TTC ROUTE: Take Islington 37A bus to Islington station, take subway east to Yonge, then south to Queen.
WHY DID HE DRIVE? "The bus takes approximately an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes. I'd have to get up by 5 in the morning, and I want to spend time with my kids."
DOES HE FEEL GUILTY DRIVING ON A SMOG ALERT DAY? "If I lived downtown I would walk, believe me."MICHAEL WALKER
Councillor Ward 22, St. Paul's
ADDRESS: Carey Road
SUGGESTED TTC ROUTE: Walk south on Carey to Tullis, walk one block west to Glebe and Yonge, walk two blocks south on Yonge to Davisville, take subway south to Queen.
WHY DID HE DRIVE? "I take my wife to work and drop her off. It's just a matter of that plus the convenience."
DOES HE FEEL GUILTY DRIVING ON A SMOG ALERT DAY? "No, I don't. I guess I should. I think the major contributing factors are power plants and industrial polluters."
WHY DOESN'T HE JUST HOP ON THE YONGE LINE? "It's about a 10-minute walk to the subway, and then about a 20- to 25-minute ride down. But in the morning it takes me 10 or 12 minutes in the car. I'll sometimes get nearly get all the way down without hitting a red light."MICHAEL PRUE
Councillor Ward 31, Beaches-East York
ADDRESS: Parkview Hill Crescent
SUGGESTED TTC ROUTE: Walk south on Parkview Hill to Hackberry, catch 91A Woodbine bus to Woodbine station, take subway west to Yonge, then south to Queen.
WHY DID HE DRIVE? "It's my wife's one pleasure that I get to drive her to the subway in the morning. It's oftentimes the only time we get to speak all day."
DOES HE FEEL GUILTY DRIVING ON A SMOG ALERT DAY? "Probably, yeah. I probably do. The only days I don't drive are the days my wife doesn't work. I don't take the chauffeur-driven limousines when I have meetings at Metro Hall, I take the TTC." CASE OOTES
Deputy mayor and councillor Ward 29, Toronto-Danforth,
ADDRESS: Hale Court
SUGGESTED TTC ROUTE: Walk to Markham, walk north on Markham to Kingston Road, take a 102 Kingston Road bus to Warden station, take subway west to Yonge, then south to Queen.
WHY DID HE DRIVE? "I get here at 7 am and I don't know what time I'm going to be leaving. And it's a matter of getting to work in 15 minutes instead of an hour."
DOES HE FEEL GUILTY DRIVING ON A SMOG ALERT DAY? "No, but I wish it were more convenient to take the TTC."JOE HALSTEAD
Commissioner of Parks and Recreation
ADDRESS: Cheeseman Drive, Markham
SUGGESTED TTC ROUTE: Walk to Steeles, catch a 53 Steeles bus west to Finch subway station, take the subway south to Queen.
WHY DID HE DRIVE? "I can take the Go Train, but there are only two trains, and this council meeting's going to 7:30 pm, possibly later. I have no means of easily getting home."
Number of smog alert days so far this year: 14 Number in 2000: 3
Effects of smog: worsens symptoms of heart disease, asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis; decreases lung capacity; reduces respiratory system's ability to fight infections
T.O. smog toll: 1,000 deaths a year, 5,500 hospital admissions
Smog costs Canada: $630 million in health care, $566 million in economic losses from sick days