Who is Kirk Russell?



Kirk Russell is running for ward 18. COURTESY PHOTO


Kirk Russell says he is a man who is running for the community and no one else.

In a closed interview at his campaign headquarters on 1602 Dundas St. W, the prospective council member shared his concerns and wishes for the Ward with the Bloordale Press.

As a Davenport resident since 2001 and as a Toronto-based construction company, Russell said he has seen the negative impact of municipal governance as a resident and a businessman. He spoke emotionally about the public’s inaudible voice and believes that special interest groups have actually muted the public’s true interest.

“I’m running as an independent, someone who cares about Davenport, “ said Russell, “ I have no affiliation with any political party and I don’t think at the municipal level that you should be running for any party, you should be running for the community.”

The narrowing of Lansdowne Avenue in 2007 that created a blip is a memorable example Russell explained.

“When the narrowing took place there were signs everywhere, Giambrone please do not narrow our streets. The people in the community didn’t want it, but it was done anyways,” said Russell.  “You have to do things that are good for the neighborhood.”

That being said he believes that the right approach in that case and in all cases is to include the people. Russell has made that his priority.

Russell believes the people on Dundas Street West have been “excluded” from city hall talks and a main pillar of his team is to request compensation for profit losses of business owners along the strip. Due to water main construction and a 42 per cent reduction of parking many businesses are suffering according to Russell and he said the problem was a lack of communication between the people and city hall.

“What I will change here is I will give these people a voice. Dundas Street West was mistreated and misinformed,” said Russell.

Russell also spoke with vigilance about the acquainted issue of traffic in Davenport.

“Complete streets” , explained Russell, is a proposed solution to accommodate all means of transportation and ease traffic flow, but the term has been misused in ward 18. Russell says that the streets are only 20 meters wide in some areas in the ward, where in others they are 36.

“We are going with the term ‘livable streets’ which mean we come back to the community and we will put bike lanes on streets that can accommodate them, we will have street cars, or busses that can accommodate them, whatever the community needs are,” said Russell. “We don’t have 36 meters; we have to look at it logistically.”

Russell’s transit proposal includes the adding a subway line through the heart of downtown, ending in Ward 18 where it would connect with electrified GO service.  Russell calls this the “Downtown Relief Line” and explains this has been desperately been needed for years. He said it will address the crowding on the 504 king streetcar and brings many suburban routes closer to rapid transit.

For more info on Kirk Russell’s campaign his website can be found at www.voteforkirk.ca


4 responses to “Who is Kirk Russell?

  1. Vic

    The Downtown Relief Line idea is nothing new, and has been around since at least 1985. I hope he’s not taking credit for it. The Province / Metrolinx and the TTC are both proposing it and planning for it already.



  2. yes, i suppose it is kind of wishy-washy in the context. Sorry.

  3. @Vic:
    The Downtown Relief Line goes back farther than the 1980s, it actually goes back a century. It is the oldest and best subway Toronto never built. Before 1985, it was typically known as the Queen Subway, but they are effectively the same line. Past proposals have shown the Queen Subway extending as far as Don Mills and Eglinton, too. That’s an “L”-shaped line just like the Downtown Relief Line.

    In both the 1985 and the 2008 proposals, the Downtown Relief Line has been shown to run to the existing Dundas West Subway Station at the west end of the line. For around 3km, the proposal has been to run it along the Georgetown Corridor. In 1985, when rail service was light, this made sense, as it could run subways at grade, but now there is no room and would have to be underground for the Downtown Relief Line to use that route today. Electrifying GO service, however, would allow those roughly 3km of subway to become unnecessary, by adding a station along the electrified Georgetown GO line around Dufferin and Queen.

    Nobody’s taking credit for the Downtown Relief Line, I’m just advancing approaches to improving transit and saving tax dollars.

    To clarify, Metrolinx had been planning for it only in the 25-year time frame. They should have put it in the 15-year time frame. Only since City Council passed a motion in January, 2009 during Yonge Subway Extension debate (and Mayor Miller voted against prioritizing the Relief Line ahead of Yonge) did the Downtown Relief Line enter into current assessments at the TTC.

    For more clarification, look at my website:

  4. Great article. Makes local politics sound good! lol. Let’s get some opinion columns up here!

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