Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

rob_fordToronto has two systems of justice. One for normal folk, and another for crack-smoking drunk-driving Mayors:

Toronto police officers helped Rob Ford on “multiple occasions” after stopping his vehicle while he was still mayor, rather than charge him with driving impaired, his former chief of staff says.

The allegation emerged Saturday in an excerpt from a soon to-be-released book by Mark Towhey titled Mayor Rob Ford: Uncontrollable. “Two senior members of the Toronto Police Service had told me officers had pulled over the mayor’s car late at night on multiple occasions and driven him home rather than charging him for driving under the influence.”

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The cost for a one-way trip on the new Pearson airport express train service (UPX) is a whopping $27.50. At that price, few are interested in riding, so the trains are practically empty. You would think with all that available space, Metrolinx might at least allow bicyclists to ride, but noooo:

It’s got Wi-Fi, luggage storage and plush seating. One thing Toronto’s new airport train doesn’t have is bike racks. Gary Dienesch found that out at the end of a 10-hour flight following a 1,000-km bike tour of England and Scotland. At the UPX terminal at Pearson, however, they were told that they couldn’t board unless the bikes were boxed in the same way airlines require.

“I know you can take your bike on the GO and the subway. You just hold your bike. It’s not a long trip (from the airport) to downtown so we would just hold our bikes like we would on the subway,” said Dienesch. He doesn’t think bike racks on the UPX are necessary, particularly when the trains aren’t crowded. “I’ve seen it done everywhere else. It’s not a big thing to do. I pay taxes, I’m paying for this. There should be a very good reason for me not to be able to use it and there isn’t a good reason because they’re doing it everywhere else.”

“Unlike GO trains, there is no dedicated or appropriate space to store and secure an unpacked bicycle,” said Alex Burke of Metrolinx, the provincial agency that operates the UPX.

Metrolinx ordered the same crappy DMU rolling stock for UPX that SMART plans to use. So that gives you an idea of the level of dimwittedness.


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The Toothbrush Shoplifting Incident

In this episode of the Rob Ford saga:

Rob’s sister (Kathy) is caught shoplifting a toothbrush, her ex-boyfriend is assaulted in jail, and the Mayor loans his Cadillac to a mysterious intoxicated woman. You just can’t make this shit up.

Kathy Ford was in court last week to set a trial date for missing a court date in relation to a 2012 toothbrush shoplifting incident.

She had been ordered to complete 25 hours of community service by May 2013 — which she claims she served, but police say she did not. She also skipped out on a court date on Feb. 13 when she was to provide proof of the community service. A bench warrant was subsequently issued.

She was arrested on Feb. 23 and released the following day on $500 bail. She will be back in court June 23 to deal with the missed court date and the matter of her completing the community service.

She refused to answer questions as she left the courthouse about whether the mayor smoked drugs in her basement last month, or about the mayor’s ongoing progress in rehab.

“Just leave me alone,” she said, as she kept her head down and jumped into a waiting cab.

Also this year, her convicted drug-dealing ex-boyfriend Scott MacIntyre alleged in a lawsuit that Rob Ford utilized his contacts to arrange for a jailhouse beating. MacIntyre was attacked in a Toronto jail in 2012 – leaving him with a broken leg, broken teeth and other injuries – after he was sent there in relation to an incident in January 2012 where he burst into the mayor’s home and later threatened to kill the mayor. He was sentenced to 10 months behind bars.

Sources say police are also interested to help connect the dots on the relationship between members of the Ford family and Lee Anne McRobb, the Muskoka woman who was given permission to borrow the mayor’s Cadillac Escalade and then was charged with impaired driving while operating the vehicle.




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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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