ROAD TOLLS : D
Mayor Miller has relaxed his opposition to tolls, but he's waiting for the province to move first. Good luck. At least he's warmer to tolls than to London-style congestion fees, where drivers face a daytime charge of $20 to enter the core. Still, we love the mayor's idea of putting toll cash toward a transit fund. Now make it so.
ANTI-IDLING : D
Well, la-di-da, Toronto has an anti-idling bylaw. Too bad it's barely enforced (only 21 tickets issued so far this year) and lets cars off the hook if temperatures go above 27¡, precisely the days we experience smog alerts! We need to follow in Montreal's footsteps by giving cops the power to ticket idlers instead of leaning on a tiny number of bylaw officers.
BIKE PLAN : D
After years of pedal-dragging, the city's vowing to boost our bike lanes and paths from a piddly 300 to 1,000 kilometres over the next five years. Call us when pigs cycle, will ya? Better yet, hire those bike activists who've been painting makeshift lanes they'll get the job done.
LEAF BLOWER BAN : C
Council voted down a leaf blower ban in 2002, but it looks like there's finally some light at the end of the smog, however dim. T.O.'s climate plan calls for a report on "potentially" banning leaf blowers and lawn mowers with two-stroke engines by 2010. Let's hope they're not just blowing papers around: those two-strokes emit more pollution per hour than cars.
TRANSIT : A-
Sardines of the city, celebrate! After years of ramming too many of us onto too few buses and streetcars, T-Dot's deft lobbying has paid off. The province's $23 billion plan for 902 kilometres of new or improved rapid transit lines would get T.O. moving again. The hitch? You have to vote McGuinty back into power to get it, and that still doesn't guarantee the $6 bil the preem wants from the feds.
RIGHT-TO-KNOW : C-
Oh, fairy airmother, if only the city talked less and acted more on filling us in on what pollutants are being pumped into the air (not to mention water and land). Good news is that the Board of Health just endorsed this; now we just have to wait for council to give it the thumbs-up next spring.
TREE PLANTING : B
Come this fall $1 million worth of new trees should be planted, hooray. Tree activists worry not enough cash will be allotted to making sure they stay alive. Hopefully, the $350,000 tree study will push the city to plant trees where they can be nurtured: backyards.
GREEN ROOFS : B-
The city helped fund 16 green roofs last year (including NOW's), plus it's greened five of its own roofs. Nice, but at this rate (and with a budget of just $200,000 a year), getting plant life, solar panels and other eco roofing on 10 per cent of T.O. buildings by 2020 will be next to impossible.
ECO TAXIS : C+
While New York's revved to convert its entire 13,000-cab fleet to hybrids over the next five years, Toronto's sputtering toward greening ours by 2015. In the meantime, we should at least follow in BC's footsteps and only hand out new licences for hybrids or highly efficient cars.
GREEN FLEET : B-
To date, the city has added 13 Smart Cars, 24 Honda Civic Hybrids and 29 idle-free trucks to its vehicle fleet, but it still has to ban idling in all contracted vehicles. In the works are hydraulic hybrid garbage packers that will run on 100 per cent biodiesel.
HYBRID COP CARS : F
Did our boys in blue really need to blow their budget on painting their vehicles to look like Crest-mobiles when they could have put that cash toward a hybrid fleet? Some British forces have turned in their old gas guzzlers for snazzy Lexus hybrids. (Not sure they're the greatest pick, but still.)
LIGHTING : A
What a bright idea! Energy-saving LED lighting was recently announced for parks, parking garages, the CN Tower and more. Forty per cent of traffic lights have already been converted to LEDs. Once all 1,900 are done, the new lights will save more than $1.8 million in hydro bills and 5 million kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions.
CONSERVATION : A-
Council vowed to slash 300 mega-watts of power use by 2010, and just endorsed the climate plan's $42 million Energy Conservation Fund for institutional building retrofits. Plus, the city's also planning an automated system for dimming lights and AC during peak demand.
RENEWABLE ENERGY : B-
The city's new climate plan might make us the "renewable energy capital of Canada," but the proposed $20 mil to bring green power to residential and commercial buildings is really just a loan program. Helpful, yes, but cash subsidies (like the green roofers get) would have rocked.
PLUGGED IN : A
The mayor's edgy Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle Pilot Project aims to convert the city's hybrids to electric plug-ins in hopes of seeing cars turn into backup generators for homeowners (starting with 10 cars and aiming for 200 by 2008). This is just the kind of nutty out-of-the-box thinking that revs our engines.