Infographic No. 1 – CFL Stadium Footprints

As part of a little project I have assigned myself regarding the Argos dormant search for a new, CFL-sized stadium, I have compiled the sizes of all current CFL stadiums (and Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa) as a tool to help me determine which potential stadium sites in Toronto could actually work.

Recently I have gained an interest in infographics; if correctly designed, they can effectively replace a page full of text, or a bland spreadsheet list. I do not claim to be a designer, so my first infographic may be a little rough around the edges, but I do welcome your critical comments.

This infographic was made using Bing’s aerial maps. I zoomed in on each stadium at the same scale, took a screenshot, and from there used Photoshop to outline the building footprint and convert it into a solid colour (loosely corresponding to the team’s colours). The measured area of each stadium was also determined through Bing maps; I believe it to be accurate to +/- 0.5 ha. The infographic was somewhat inspired by this one.

Click the thumbnail below to see a larger image.

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Joe Warmington is angry

In an article published today, September 1, Joe Warmington gets worked up about a 2.5 km bus bypass lane on the Don Valley Parkway. I mean really worked up.

Normally, I don’t mind a bit when a columnist has a strong opinion. Usually they are honest, fact-driven and more often than not, help me reflect on my own opinion of the issue. However, when the column is so full of falsities, needless slander and misrepresentations of facts, I have a huge problem.

First, some background. Back in May, the City’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee looked at the proposed GO bus bypass lane, which would run, north and south, from the Lawrence Ave. interchange to approximately 450 m north of the York Mills Rd. interchange. The lane, as proposed, would be on both sides of the road, and help make GO bus trips during rush hour a little faster.

I think it is a pretty widely accepted notion that transit systems should have priority over private automobiles where possible. Riders are decreasing the environmental cost their travel puts on the city’s air, and are also helping to decrease congestion by not using their own private automobile.

However, Mr Warmington seems to have missed this completely. Instead of a cost-effective way to decrease travel time and harmful emissions, he sees the lane as “another fishing hole” for Toronto’s police to exploit, and another battle in the fictitious “war on the car”. This is because there is an $85 fine for mis-use of the lane. What Mr Warmington ignores is the fact that previous to being a bus bypass lane, this piece of highway was a shoulder– not to be used by motorists except in emergency situations– which remains the case today. Even before the lanes were painted on, any motorist who decided to travel on the shoulder would have been subjected to a fine. Or is he suggesting that the shoulder should not exist?

Next, Mr Warmington attacks the cost of these lanes. $120 000, he infers, is just another example of council wasting your hard-earned money. He says that cost is paid by you–the Toronto taxpayer– and you should be outraged. However, he contradicts his own newspaper, which in a May article, says the cost will be “funded entirely by Metrolinx”. Now I suppose I am splitting hairs a little bit here, because Metrolinx is a provincial agency, and Torontonians pay tax to the provincial government. But the cost is ultimately borne by all of Ontario.

Mr Warmington goes on to say that “all this really does is make your life harder”. I assume when he is talking about “your life” it is about you, the motorist who so bravely and valiantly tackles the DVP every day. However, he is wrong again. This will make your life no harder. This lane didn’t exist before, so it’s not being taken away from motorists. Instead, you, the driver, won’t get stuck behind that slow, stinky GO bus. Not to mention the fact that it will make life easier for the people that take one of those buses (kudos to Mr Warmington, who actually makes this point).

Really, this article was an opportunity Mr Warmington saw to slay some of the demons that have been bothering him in recent months. First he refers to the “bicycle-socialists” that have dreamed this up “to help pay for some new environmentally-friendly bunny suits”, a reference to an incident of alleged misspending by a councillor on rabbit mascot suits. Then, he pities the poor, “ostracized motorist” that “no one seems to care about”, all the while having “20 minutes stolen from the north Toronto commuter on Jarvis St. thanks to the new bike lanes built for Councillor Kyle Rae’s 100 cycling friends”. Nevermind that those quotes are contained in one, run-on sentence, the supposed facts contained in the thought are just plain wrong. The City has not tested the traffic impact of the new bike lanes yet (because it’s summer) but they are projected to cause a maximum of 2 minutes to be added to an automobile commute. Meanwhile, bikes are not taking up an entire lane, and everyone is safer.

Is the motorist in Toronto really “ostracized”? In some parts of the city, it is more difficult to drive than it is to walk or cycle. In other parts, mostly the inner suburbs, it is downright dangerous to walk or cycle because the automobile so dominates. Sure, prices are going up for gas, for insurance, for cars themselves, and traffic is always getting worse, so I can see how Mr Warmington can get confused. But drivers are far from “ostracized”. If anything, the cyclist and transit rider are ostracized by Mr Warmington, who is suggesting that cyclists should only travel on routes that already have bike lanes, and bus passengers should have to suffer equally with single-driver automobiles stuck in traffic.

What really grinds my gears is when Mr Warmington refers to “regular people”– the mythical group of Canadian politics. The beauty of using this term is that it refers to anyone the reader wants it to– or anything the writer wants it to. In this case, “regular people” are hard-working, law-abiding, overtaxed motorists. Not hard-working, law-abiding, overtaxed transit riders. No, you see, they are being “protected and serviced by public sector service workers making close to or more than six figures”, surely another one of Mr Warmington’s City Demons.

He once again forgets that so-called “struggling families” (only those that drive cars, remember) can avoid this new $85 fine simply by not driving on the shoulder, just as they have been.

Really, there are so many generalizations, misrepresentations and undeserved slaggings in this article that I could have written three more posts about it. But Mr Warmington is right about one more thing: “The truth is there really is no war at all”. No war. No spending controversy. Just an efficient use of taxpayer dollars that will make a real difference for GO bus passengers.

Waterloo LRT more than justified

This weekend, I came upon an editorial written by the Globe and Mail for Monday’s Simcoe Day paper. I have read it a few times, and each time I am angered by the blissful ignorance and misrepresentation of facts contained within the editorial. Here is the editorial; below I aim to set the record straight.

This week it was Michael Ignatieff’s turn to drop by. In an effort to court local favour, the federal Liberal Leader threw his support behind the region’s $800-million light rail transit commuter proposal. “I am a passionate believer in light rail,” he said, promising to “make this happen.” For an area with such a reputation for intelligence and education, however, the region’s train plan is a surprisingly poor idea. And an issue of national significance.

This may be the paragraph that introduces us to the editorial’s true purpose: illustrating Mr Ignatieff’s perceived naivety and pandering. While I have not heard him speak of light rail before, there are numerous reasons for Mr Ignatieff to believe in LRT, such as increased mobility, increased transportation choice, and possible economic benefits. But the Globe manages to slander both Mr Ignatieff as well as the entire Region of Waterloo for being so smart, yet “surprisingly” so stupid.

While Mr. Ignatieff’s passion may be commendable in general, there’s little to recommend this plan in particular. Light rail transit makes great sense for large urban centres with dense commuter traffic travelling to a downtown employment core or other significant destination. This is not the case in Waterloo Region, which lacks a recognizable downtown and has a population of just 500,000. As it stands now, the train would run from a shopping mall in Waterloo to a shopping mall in Kitchener. Most area jobs are distributed throughout the suburbs, and few commuters use existing bus services. Building a train track will not change this reality.

Oh wait, so they’re not slandering Mr Ignatieff for taking a stand. The Globe is simply endeavouring to educate their readers on where LRT really should be. They tell us that it should be in large urban centres (like Toronto I guess?) and should travel to a “significant destination” or “downtown employment core”.  This would not be news to planners at the Region, who know this full well and planned accordingly. What will be news to them, however, is that the Region of Waterloo “lacks a recognisable downtown”. I spent a few minutes thinking about this statement and how it could be justified, but I cannot wrap my head around it. The Region has not one, but three recognisable downtowns, those being Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge. Certainly they are not the sort of Central Business Districts associated with slightly larger cities such as Hamilton or Quebec City, but they do contain some large offices (insurance companies in particular). The fact that this commercial activity is spread across three downtowns is an even greater cause to rope them together with an advanced LRT system.

The Globe also implies that at 500 000, the Region’s population is simply too small for LRT to be justified. They are conveniently ignoring the example of Edmonton, which had a mere 450 000 people when the city started building the currently successful LRT (for the 1978 Commonwealth Games). And population is the least scientific of measures that can be used to determine if LRT would be viable.

Given equivalent fiscal constraints at the federal level, the inappropriateness of Waterloo Region’s $800-million rail project assumes national importance. That money would be better applied to other, more pressing transportation needs. And for those wishing to dream big, high-speed rail among major urban centres, such as Toronto-Montreal or Calgary-Edmonton makes more sense in the long run. The Waterloo LRT is one train Ottawa would be wise to miss.

In the last three paragraphs of the editorial, the Globe attempts to make the Waterloo LRT a national issue by mixing transportation planning in politics. They tell us that numerous ridings in the Region were narrowly won by Conservatives, and so any MP wanting to hold on to his seat would presumably support and fight for funding for the LRT. That would seem to imply that residents are in favour of the project, suprising given that the Globe calls it a “surprisingly poor idea”.

Furthermore, the editorial ventures into the territory of creating dangerous misconceptions. In the final paragraph, it is called an $800M project, and that “…that money would be better applied to other, more pressing transportation needs.” But in the previous paragraph, it was mentioned that the Ontario government has already committed $300M, making it, at most, a $500M contribution by the federal government (and it won’t likely be that high). And by suggesting that the money could go to more pressing transportation needs, but not suggesting any such needs for consideration, the reader is left hanging.

Finally, while I am an advocate of high speed rail in this country, throwing the “dream” of HSR into this editorial makes no sense. $800M would likely get you from Waterloo to Guelph on a truly high-speed rail, but that is not what the Globe is advocating.

Seriously, this kind of paint-by-numbers and ignorant editorial has become more and more common amongst newspapers in this country. The Globe really hit one out of the park this time.

Scarborough’s Metrolinx news

Scarborough Big Move

Yesterday was a newsworthy day when it comes to Scarborough’s share of Metrolinx’s (significantly toned down) “Big Move”. Metrolinx had their second board meeting in as many months, and two items pertaining to Scarborough were discussed, which I will in turn discuss below:

Durham-Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit Benefits Case Analysis

For those unfamiliar with Metrolinx’s processes, a Benefits Case Analysis (BCA herein) is essentially a modified version of a traditional transportation cost-benefit analysis. The process aims to measure not just the “transportation user and financial impacts” of each scenario, but also the “long-term economic, environmental and social impacts”. While the process certainly has its critics and significant inconsistencies, it is an important first step in the process of determining what project best fits a community and its users.

The Durham-Scarborough BRT was included in the Big Move as a 36-km rapid transit corridor, connecting Oshawa’s downtown in the east to Scarborough’s central transit station. Along the route, it connects with three Urban Growth Centres (Oshawa, Pickering and Scarborough), two significant town centres (Whitby and Ajax), and one university, UTSC (with UOIT moving much of its non-engineering facilities to downtown Oshawa, soon there will be two significant campuses on the BRT).

Three options are considered for the route, and these options are completed unrelated to the routing itself (that is to be considered through further planning study by stakeholders– especially through Scarborough). The three options  are essentially Full BRT, Half BRT, and the third option being something that I would not call BRT.

Graphical representation of the three BRT options.

Indeed, the results of the BCA indicate that the third option has higher costs than actual benefits, due to the lack of real improvements in the rider experience (i.e. time savings) as well as creating the least amount of short- and long-term jobs. The only situations in which I see the third option being the chosen one is a) Metrolinx via the provincial government abandons its long-term outlook on this and other projects or b) politicians get involved, and another option gets filed down so extensively that it is essentially the third option.

Fairly obviously, the Full BRT option comes out of the BCA process as a winner. The environmental, economic and user benefit factors are higher than the other two options. However, it also involves the highest capital outlay, at $500M currently (will be significantly more whenever the BRT is actually built).

Benefits Case Analysis results.

Keep in mind that this BCA is really early in the entire project’s process. The associated documents and presentations make it clear that the planning for the project is lagging for the Scarborough portion of the route, which is potentially the most controversial in terms of community impacts. From the beginning, Highway 2 (Kingston Road) has been a clear candidate for a Durham transit corridor, with its (mostly) wide right-of-way, established GO and DRT bus service, and numerous important community connections (shopping malls, urban cores, and significant retail activity). Through Scarborough it gets a bit muddled. Kingston Road bends to the south, away from Scarborough Centre, so Ellesmere Road and the Highway 401 become prime candidates for the route. As the BCA identifies, the Ellesmere corridor east of UTSC becomes mostly residential, and sensitive to BRT impacts.

In my mind however, the Ellesmere route provides the best benefit to the community overall. Diverting the BRT onto the 401 brings in all sorts of issues, such as heavy peak period traffic, and poor connections to important institutions (UTSC, Centenary Hospital).  In addition, much of the Ellesmere corridor is a 4-lane road with a right-of-way wide enough for at least two extra lanes. If I were a lead on this project, I would certainly be making the case for the Ellesmere corridor, even in the face of community concerns east of UTSC, as the overall community benefits outweigh the costs and concerns.

My guess is that Option 2 will eventually be chosen, as the money or the political gumption just do not seem to be there for a Full BRT system in east Scarborough and Durham Region (though more so in Durham, as they hope for a future LRT and really want just about anything better than the current situation).

Extension of the Sheppard East LRT to UTSC

This particular item was pushed on to Metrolinx’s agenda after the province’s much-maligned cuts and “re-phasing” exercise earlier this year (one of the most important of which was the SRT rehab being pushed back to begin after the Pan Am Games– TTC could not be sure they could finish it in time for 2015). With Sheppard East one of the only Transit City lines even getting started before the Games, it has grown much more important to Transit City as well as the Pan-Ams.

So why is the UTSC extension important? The Pan-Am Aquatic Centre is being built on the campus of UTSC, which will attract thousands of spectators and athletes to the east Scarborough landmark. While the athletes will likely be bussed in from their East Bayfront Athlete’s Village, spectators from across the GTA may have little choice but to drive or endure a long and transfer-full transit ride.

That changes with the proposed extension– what they are calling the “Morningside Hook”– at least for small amount of the populace. The memo that was presented at the Metrolinx is right to state that

It is difficult to justify extension of the LRT for the primary purpose of providing
rapid transit service to a major venue of the Pan-Am games. This is due to the
cost of the extension, the short-lived nature of the event, and the fact that the LRT
extension will likely serve a minority of spectators going to UTSC.

So while the Morningside Hook would provide a one-seat ride to the Aquatic Centre for the few that are served by the LRT and wish to head to the venue, such a short event and limited ridership are no reason to build the Hook. However, as the memo notes, it does provide some kind of impetus to construct the project.

There are other benefits of course. The proposed Hook runs south on Morningside Avenue, following the same route that the Scarborough-Malvern LRT would follow as proposed. The Scarborough-Malvern LRT is not to be built for close to twenty years, so constructing this piece would be a win for the community. In addition, UTSC and the adjoining Centennial College campus are expected to grow substantially; the campuses will serve as a strong anchor for the Sheppard East LRT, in addition to connecting the line to the Durham-Scarborough BRT and other important bus routes.

The EA and UTSC master plan conflict

There is still much work to be done on this file. For one, the funding does not yet exist, but the hope is that the city will find the cash (somewhere upwards of $100M) for the extension. Secondly, the Environmental Assessment for the Scarborough-Malvern alignment conflicts with the UTSC master plan, which has driven up the cost of the Hook by about 10%. Lastly, opponents will quite easily be able to say that the Hook is only being built for the Pan-Ams with little justification; and that similar service could be provided simply by having express buses run between the Sheppard East LRT (sans hook) and the campuses.

As  an advocate for transit in my community, I must say that I find few negatives with the Hook proposal. While there certainly are some issues to resolve, with the provincial election coming up, some in the transit community are prepared to accept just about any rails they can get in the ground, warts and all.

Metrolinx Investment Strategy needed now

As the Transit City “phasing” or “cuts” debate continues, it has moved from a calm debate about funding priorities to a full-on rhetorical donnybrook. Parties on both sides of the argument are seemingly at each other’s throats, with mayor Miller publicly and angrily stating that he never agreed to Metrolinx “cuts” and Transport minister Kathleen Wynne offering an inferred threat that Transit City may be cut altogether if the mayor continues to be uncooperative.

The reason for such debate is the paring back of the original provincial commitment to Transit City. Miller is angered, and rightly so, that the funding for a number of routes has been substantially postponed, and some routes, like the Eglinton Crosstown, are proposed to be stubs of their former selves. The official provincial line is that the government is still building everything—it’s just going to take a few years longer. There is some truth to this but to say there are no cuts is a stretch.

Glen Murray, newly minted MPP for Toronto Centre, urbanist, and former mayor of Winnipeg, should understand these battles, as well as the importance of transit to cities. And he does—very often tweeting things such as, “Lets get on with building a transit/active transit centred region. That is why I ran for office.” Sounds very positive and determined. However, Mr Murray isn’t the transport minister, and so what he says about Transit City is disconnected from the official line at the transport ministry. Mr Murray actively discusses alternative financing to get Transit City rolling with his Twitter followers, suggesting that the federal government needs to get more involved financially, that the City should put forward more money, and that the City needs to explore alternative financial resources under the City of Toronto Act. Yet, none of these elements are being (publicly) suggested by the transport minister herself.

Certainly, these things should be on the table, and hopefully they are. But Metrolinx still insists on waiting until 2013 to release their investment strategy. Why the delay? Certainly they are doing a lot of work at 20 Bay, but the delayed release of the Investment Strategy was seen by many as a weakness of the original Regional Transportation Plan, and today we see why. In a political vacuum, it would have been appropriate to discuss financial strategies after a few projects had been built. Yet, here we are today, no “Big Move” projects are completed, Mr Murray is talking about, literally, “investment strategies,” but Metrolinx isn’t. We are certainly not in a political vacuum.

While personally disappointed with the proposed Transit City delays, having worked in the industry I appreciate the pressures that Metrolinx and other agencies operate under. That being said, in these recession-laced times, proposals for new transit-dedicated funds supported through road tolls, gas taxes, and other user fees absolutely must be on the table right now. Candidates for Toronto’s mayor are lukewarm at best in their support of Transit City, and one has to wonder if the Liberals will survive the next provincial election. Given this political climate, if these alternate funding arrangements are not on the table, the GTA truly risks losing the largest investment in public transit in a half-century.

Deconstructing Bob Hepburn

Today, Toronto Star editorial columnist Bob Hepburn wrote an article vilifying the recently announced (and yet to be approved) University Avenue bike lane trial this summer, calling it “nuts”. So infuriated was I by his poorly framed argument, I decided to deconstruct his article.

Hepburn begins:

Coming to work during Wednesday’s morning’s rush hour, I drove across Wellesley St., then went south on Sherbourne all the way to the waterfront, then headed west along Queens Quay to Yonge St.

I saw only 15 bicyclists during the entire commute, even though all these roads have bike lanes and the weather was perfect for riding.

At work, I counted a total of just 17 bicycles locked up in the bike racks in our building’s parking garage, despite the fact that nearly 2,000 people work in the 24-storey office tower that houses the Toronto Star, a Canada Post sorting facility, LCBO finance offices and other companies.

Well, good for you Bob, you can count. However, you have just decided to base your entire argument on an unscientific survey of bicyclists using bike lanes in the city. So you only counted 15 from your moving automobile eh? I’ll let it go that you were completely distracted for the duration of your 5-kilometre joyride. Still, I just have to say, traffic counts are never done from a moving vehicle. Mostly because you’re moving, meaning there are no time or area constraints for your little study. It would have been more revealing, scientific, and you could have actually credibly based your argument on it if you studied the number of cyclists travelling, for example, along Wellesley between Queen’s Park Circle and Sherbourne from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Perhaps you lack the fortitude to wake up that early.

Oh, and about that bike rack count–that would have been scientific if you included all the other bike racks surrounding your building. Maybe some of those cyclists aren’t aware of that bike rack in your parking garage? Maybe, since it was a nice day, many decided to park outside? Again, one is left to wonder.

Hepburn continues:

Given how few cyclists I saw and how few are actually using the existing bikes lanes, it seems that mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi may be right when he calls the University Ave. plan “sheer madness.”

So, from what we have learned from your study of bike lanes in your 5-km, 10 minute sojourn behind the wheel, we conclude that “few cyclists” use “the existing bike lanes”. You don’t specify which bike lanes you’re talking about, but given your general line of argument, I can only suspect you are targeting pretty much all of the bike lanes in our fine burg.

If it is true that so few cyclists use existing lanes, is that a valid argument against constructing new ones? No. If that were true, the 401, the DVP, the Bloor-Danforth subway, all would not have been built. Sometimes you have to do things in advance to build the city you want. And don’t feed me the Rossi line that it is an “insult to democracy” to build these before the election is decided.

By quoting that beacon of even-keeled rhetoric Rossi, who so eloquently stated that this pilot project is “sheer madness”, you aren’t helping your cause any. Hell, that’s like me quoting Yvonne Bambrick of the Toronto Cyclist’s Union to support my case. Of course Rossi is going to speak against a bike lane– that’s the main plank of his platform.

Oh, and given that Rossi isn’t a transportation planner and has no experience as an elected politician, his quote is an insult to hard-working, well-educated city professionals who actually know what they are talking about. God help him if that’s how he hopes to work as mayor.

More from Bob:

Indeed, the move to convert two lanes of University Ave., a major arterial street travelled by thousands of motorists every day, to bike lanes is the latest sign that the small, but highly vocal, pro-bike lobby in the city and at city hall is stepping up — and winning — the city’s “war on cars.”

If anything, the pro-bike crowd at city hall is being deliberately mischievous and provocative by pushing for the controversial bike lanes in the midst of the current mayoral election. Rossi, who opposes bike lanes on major streets such as Jarvis, Bloor and University, has made the issue a hot campaign topic, winning huge applause from motorists and infuriating cycling activists.

Ah yes, the “war on cars”. I don’t know where that term began, but I can only suspect it was shot from the hip of some right-leaning city councillor, or perhaps another newspaper columnist. Whatever the case, it does not exist. Cyclists have just as much right to the road as an automobile under provincial law. Bob, are you starting a war on cyclists?

Oh, that ever-powerful cyclists’ lobby at city hall. One of many powerful lobbies I am sure. Who will stand up for the thousands of motorists? There is almost nowhere to drive in this town. I mean, the 401 only has 16 lanes for God’s sake! I guess Rossi is the saviour autophiles have been waiting for.

Bob again:

While more bike lanes are a good idea, putting them on major roads is ridiculous. They should be placed on less-busy routes.

Well, if I didn’t think it before, now I know for certain– you have an early copy of Rossi’s platform book. Come on Bob, you are copying and pasting Rossi’s speaking points from his last power point. What about the cyclists that need to get somewhere on University? Should they dismount as soon as they arrive at the intersection of their delegated “less-busy route” and University?

Bob comes to the climax of his argument:

The city staff report claims the impact on University Ave. traffic would be negligible. “Traffic capacity analysis indicates that University Ave. could operate with three travel lanes in each direction in the peak periods with little impact on the current levels of service,” the report says.

That’s just nuts!

Anyone who has been stuck in rush-hour traffic on University Ave. knows that’s not true.

University Ave. is meant to carry lots of cars and truck and removing one lane will likely make it more dangerous by pushing cars into fewer lanes and creating even more congestion, thus producing even more air pollution.

City staff are just nuts! Who are they to be waving their well-founded data in my face! I DROVE EXISTING ROUTES THIS MORNING! I only saw 15 cyclists! FIFTEEN!

Once again, Bob insults the professional city staffers who have actually conducted scientific studies on this idea. But, “anyone” who has been “stuck” in University at rush hour knows its not true. Giorgio Mammolitti knows about the effectiveness of youth curfews on crime.

Despite what staff say from their well-founded study of traffic patterns and road capacity, resident expert Bob Hepburn has his own point of view on road capacity. In fact, Bob says that University Avenue is meant to carry “lots of cars” (that’s from a previous study he did). God knows we can never change roads from their original intent! Wait a minute– the 401 was once four lanes through Toronto. Hmm. Bob continues to pulpiteer  that eliminating one lane will result in DANGER from who knows what, CONGESTION because of all those cars already, and as a result, SMOG! That’s just nuts!

Bob’s just about to wrap it up here:

Like it or not, the University Ave. bike lane trial will go ahead. There’s no way the current council will oppose it.

That’s why it will be critical that the pilot project be conducted openly and honestly.

The evidence can’t just be anecdotal, with cyclists yelling “Yippee, this is great” and producing highly questionable statistics about the number of bikers actually using the lanes.

Before this pilot project is put in place, everyone needs to know how it will be evaluated, what does the city hope to achieve, what will be involved in the evaluation, how will the city know if it is a success or failure, and who will be involved in the evaluation.

Yipee! Finally something reasonable put from brain to laptop. Let’s use real numbers to evaluate this pilot project, and have a sound evaluation process. Good job Bob.

This is my favourite part:

All of this must be determined in advance, otherwise it won’t be a true scientific study.

OHHH, a true scientific study! I was wondering when you were going to bring that up. It almost seems like you know what a scientific study entails. I was beginning to doubt you Bob! Forgive me.

Bob finishes up:

The staff report claims “key stakeholders” along University Ave., including hospitals, the fire department “and the cycling community” will be consulted about the plan and how it is evaluated.

I didn’t see any reference to consulting drivers.

Clearly, they are the losers once again.

Oh, you mean cars didn’t get mentioned ONCE in the staff report? That must sting both you and Rocco. Pity they put the fire department and hospitals above you motorists. I cannot believe the nerve of those city staffers, after all the nice things you said about them, would do that to you! Where do they get off?

I’m sure it’s not personal. I am also quite certain that drivers are not “the losers” once again. This pilot project will go ahead, you and Rocco will be frustrated and pontificate from your editorial page, but the world will not end. The city staff even say so. You do trust them, don’t you?

Hepburn’s article can be found here.

Hurricane Hazel under attack

The National Post reports that prominent Mississauga city councillor Carolyn Parrish has chastised mayor Hazel McCallion for remarks she made at a joint federal-provincial funding announcement last week.

The announcement, in which the two levels of government pledged more than $130M for roads and bridges, was attended by McCallion, who was critical of the funding (or lack thereof). McCallion says that the funding amounts to a “drop in a big bucket”, calling attention to Mississauga’s rather large (and increasing by the day) infrastructure deficit.

Critical remarks, especially in the presence of members of higher-order governments, is nothing new for McCallion. It has been her reputation since she took office decades ago, and it is why Premier McGuinty likes to call her “the most powerful politician in Canada” with a gleeful smirk. Yet Parrish was “embarrassed and ashamed” by the mayor’s remarks, saying she appeared “ungrateful, ungracious and downright rude”.

One unfamiliar with the ins and outs of Mississauga politics may be forgiven for thinking perhaps Councillor Parrish is right in criticizing the mayor. However, this is just one more chapter in the ongoing rivalry between McCallion and Parrish, who is often seen as a contender for mayor in the future. While most of council generally follows the same line of thinking as McCallion on a regular basis, Parrish is by her very nature a contrarion. Those with a long memory of Canadian federal politics will remember her character well from prominent outbursts: from stomping on a doll of then-US President George W. Bush; being caught by a boom microphone saying “Damn Americans, I hate those bastards”; and calling those in favour of North American missile defence as a “coalition of idiots”. As another Mississauga councillor put it, “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

McCallion was right to criticize the upper levels of government, who for the last two decades have systematically downloaded services and responsibilities to municipalities without the funding to support them. One thing is for certain, McCallion will not be changing her demeanour and her general opinions at this stage in her tenure as mayor. Come October, when the city holds its election, you can expect more of the same from both McCallion, who will be almost uncontested for mayor, and Parrish, who will likely be re-elected.