Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

Life Imitates Art


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A Preventable Accident

The problem with sharrows is that impatient drivers will try to share the lane anyway. And when they do, the results can be horrible:

A female cyclist is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after she was struck by and became pinned under a float trailer that was being hauled by a large truck Wednesday morning, Toronto police say.

Police said the woman came into contact with the right side of the trailer as she cycled in Spadina Avenue’s northbound lanes, just south of Dundas Street West, at about 7:15 a.m. The woman was riding in the curb lane, where there is a sharrow lane for cyclists, with shared lane markings.

After making contact with the side of the trailer, the woman was caught by its rear wheels and dragged a short distance, police said. The northbound truck, also travelling in the curb lane, came to a stop while the woman was under the trailer.

Part of the problem with sharrows is that traffic engineers don’t even know where to put them. The sharrows on Spandina appear to be off in the gutter.

Accident scene

Accident scene

Google Streetview of intersection

Google Streetview of intersection

Google streetview of sharrow striping

Google streetview of sharrow striping

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Toronto streetcars keep getting stuck in traffic. An obvious solution: making King St. car-free, at least during rush hours. This has infuriated the Mayor:

Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Councillor Doug Ford condemned the idea of closing downtown King St. to car traffic on their radio show Sunday.

“You cannot shut down King St. for streetcars. We need to phase out streetcars,” said Mayor Ford, who would replace them with buses.

Councillor Karen Stintz, who chairs the TTC board, is to move a motion there Monday, asking staff to look into the feasibility of banning cars from King St. in rush hour during the 2015 Pan Am Games.

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Canada High

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Worst Mayor Ever

Oh, my. Never thought my opinion of Mayor Ford could sink any lower:

On Christmas Day 2011, police came to his Etobicoke home after Ford’s in-laws called 911 to report the mayor had been drinking and was taking the children to the airport. The incident was filed as a domestic dispute and no charges were laid. Doug Ford later told the Toronto Sun that Ford had not been drinking and that the incident was “blown out of proportion … a minor disagreement and some misunderstandings.”

Sources close to Ford explained the mayor’s behaviour by citing say the stress of budget discussions and the subway debate.

Then on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, Ford and a small entourage including at least two staff headed to a private room before midnight in the Bier Markt on the Esplanade.

On the way to the bar a fellow reveler, Jennifer Gordon, said she saw Ford “stumbling down the street” and she walked up to him.

“He was inebriated and sweaty but in a jovial way,” Gordon recalled shortly after the incident. “Me being me, I said: ‘You’re the worst mayor ever.’”

She said Ford walked over, kissed her on the forehead, and said: “I know, but I try.”

What happened next sounded alarm bells for Ford’s staff. The following morning, senior Ford staff interviewed junior staff who were with Ford at the Bier Markt and asked tough questions about the mayor’s behaviour and whether he had driven drunk. Senior staff were assured Ford did not drive.

Inside the Bier Markt, according to restaurant staff and a Ford staffer, Ford and his small group went into a private room. They appeared intoxicated and were rambunctious. The restaurant staffer told the Star Ford was “incoherent” and “hammered.” Bier Markt owner Robert Medal said this was untrue and called Ford “an exemplary guest.”

At one point, Ford ventured onto the dance floor. The DJ who worked that night told the Dean Blundell radio show the mayor was fighting and carrying on “like an idiot.” He was then escorted out by security. Restaurant staff say he was asked to leave after “storming the dance floor.”

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GO Crazy on Parking

It is nice to know that the US is not the only North American country with dysfunctional station-area planning. Toronto “GO” is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into its rail stations — mostly for parking garages:

GO Transit is in the process of erecting four massive parking structures in the GTA [Greater Toronto Area] – in addition to six that are already in use at Oakville, Aldershot, Burlington, Whitby, Centennial and Aurora rail stations – to add more than 6,100 spaces. These public infrastructure projects will bring the number of parking spaces at GTA GO Stations to more than 61,000.

“Since 2003, we’ve added more than 20,000 parking spaces [covered and open air] across the system.”

10 new parking garages, costing anywhere from $40-70 million apiece. But don’t worry — as “mock” Leed Certified structures they are environmentally sustainable:

Because they are open-air structures, the garages could not formally be certified as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings. “But we still wanted to go for a mock LEED rating and call it sustainable. So we used all the sustainable initiatives that we would need if the building could be certified,” Mr. Hunter said.

Here is an aerial view of the Ajax station, which is getting a 6-level 1,300 parking space garage:

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You would think that even a big fat idiot like Mayor Ford knows streetcars take cars off the street, freeing up space for the drivers:

Just in case you had any doubt Mayor Rob Ford is no fan of streetcars you should hear his Newstalk 1010 traffic promo.

The promo Ford recorded for the radio station, which also carries his weekly Sunday radio show, has been played around half a dozen times in the last few months during the Jim Richards Show, according to Newstalk 1010 officials.

“Hi, I’m Rob Ford, that traffic report would have been a lot better without streetcars,” Ford says in the promo.

The TTC wouldn’t comment on the promo Wednesday.

However, TTC Chair Karen Stintz had a great response:

“My only comment is that the TTC daily ridership on streetcars alone is greater than GO Transit’s entire daily ridership on all its vehicles … over 250,000 riders per day,” Stintz said.


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Mayor Ford’s Personal Road Paving Crew

I’m sure he was just doing it out of concern that bicyclists might hit a pothole:

Mayor Rob Ford called senior staff to his office this summer to request unscheduled road improvements outside his family-owned business in time for its 50th anniversary bash. The job, completed before the August celebration at the Etobicoke headquarters of the Ford family’s Deco Labels and Tags, cost the city between $7,000 and $10,000, staff estimate.

The official, Peter Noehammer, told The Globe in an interview Thursday that he did not know the mayor had made the request himself.

Mr. Noehammer is the director of transportation responsible for the Scarborough district and he was filling in for Mr. Mende when The Star made its first call in August, he said. In his 16 years in the city’s transportation department, Mr. Noehammer said he had never had an elected official ask him or his colleagues to expedite road work on personal or business property.

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You Voted For Him Toronto

So I check Google News to see if Toronto Mayor Ford had done anything embarrassing lately, and the answer is Yes:

The head of the TTC union alleges Mayor Rob Ford drove past the open doors of a Toronto streetcar on Wednesday and then got into a confrontation with the driver.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 president Bob Kinnear said the driver did not know it was the mayor when he got up from his seat to confront him. TTC spokesperson Brad Ross later confirmed the driver left his seat, adding that he should not have done so. Failing to stop behind the open doors of a streetcar is a violation of the Highway Traffic Act and carries a fine of $109. The mayor was not charged and Ross told the Toronto Star the matter was closed.


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Toronto’s Lunatic Mayor

We are so fortunate in America not to have to deal with angry right-wing lunatics:

Moments after my phone died, the Mayor appeared, wearing a white campaign t-shirt, at the sole entrance and exit to the parcel of property; he had walked around from the front of his house. He appeared extremely agitated.

“Hey buddy,” he yelled. “What are you doing? Are you spying on me? Are you spying on me? Are you spying on me?”

I shouted, astonished, that I was not – that I was writing about his attempt to buy TRCA land. He began to approach me at a brisk walk, asking again, at an escalating volume, if I was spying. I continued to plead that I was writing about the land.

At some point, perhaps 10 or 15 seconds into the encounter, he cocked his fist near his head and began charging at me at a full run. I began pleading with him, as loud as I could, with my hands up, for him to stop. I yelled, at the top of my lungs, something like, “Mayor Ford, I’m writing about the land! I’m just looking at the land! You’re trying to buy the TRCA land!” Instinctually, I also reached into my pocket to grab my dead phone. I then fiddled with my voice recorder, trying fruitlessly to turn it on so that I would have a recording of any physical violence.

At some point, perhaps two metres away from me, the mayor did stop moving toward me, but his face remained menacing, and he continued to cock his fist and shake it. “Drop your phone!” he demanded, shouting louder than I have ever heard him. “Drop your phone! Drop your phone now!”

Every time I tried to sidestep him to escape, he moved with me and yelled at me again to drop my phone. I became more frightened than I can remember; after two or three attempts to dart away, I threw my phone and my recorder down on the grass, yelled that he could take them, and ran.


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