In July 2007, I called for the cancellation of the University Renaissance project, a boondoggle engineered by bagmen from a foundation nobody had ever heard of that induced the TTC to spend at least $2.1 million “modernizing” three stations – Museum, Osgoode, and St. Patrick – that didn’t need it. (That sum included $500,000 directly handed to Diamond & Schmitt Architects without a tender.) The “modernized” stations will be tarted up with some kind of theme – initially, an Egyptian theme at Museum – but won’t be structurally upgraded. After all that money is spent, the three stations still won’t be wheelchair-accessible.
I filed my call for cancellation with the TTC on 2007.07.09. A mere two months later, I received a mysterious E-mail from TTC Customer Service. Attached was a scanned image saved as a PDF. The image represented a signed letter from Adam Giambrone on TTC letterhead and stated:
Your letter of July 9, 2007 which called for cancellation of the Museum Station Renaissance Project has been considered by staff as directed by the Commission at its meeting of July 11, 2007.
The Commission does not support your call to cancel the Museum Station Renaissance Project and redirect TTC's share of the project costs into signage and wayfinding research. In fact this Project is well under construction at this time and scheduled for completion before the end of 2007. The Museum Station design complies with TTC design standards, including the Master Modules and Specifications Manual.
Once completed, the Project will not only achieve a state of good repair but will also provide an enhanced environment for transit patrons.
Of course that was the expected response. What is rather remarkable is that the TTC chose to send that response in almost the least accessible electronic format – a scanned-image PDF attachment with no text equivalent. And they sent this near-worst-case scenario to an expert in Web accessibility who wrote the definitive article on PDF accessibility and who works on the PDF/Universal Access Committee.
As ever, even when they know they’re being watched they screw up.