Death By Carcentricity

December 12, 2013

There’s a building at the top of the street. It’s a nice building, mostly office, I think. I’ve never been inside. thumbsup2My guess is, it’s a converted warehouse or maybe light industrial something something.

It gives off a good vibe as a place I’d be happy going to and working in everyday. Easy to get to too. A couple streetcar route stops within a two minute walk, another maybe four minutes. There’s a subway stop about fifteen minutes by foot in one direction and a second, I don’t know, twenty minutes the other way?

A downtown elitist’s dream location.

Earlier this fall, the tiny front piece of land underwent what I assumed to be some landscaping work. The yard was dug up, a pile of bricky flagstone material brought in. Gussying up the curb appeal, I imagined.

Well, wouldn’t you know it. Instead what the place got was a parking pad. A parking pad where a Range Rover now sits, no less. Pushed aside, now unusable in its current position is a 6 bike parking stand that used to be where the car’s now parked. uponblocksMaybe there’s another spot planned for it but it certainly isn’t going to be sharing the space with an SUV.

I don’t know why this bugs me as much as it does – Oh! Did I tell you? There are also two pay parking lots, one outside and the other underground, just steps from the building? No wait. I do know why it bugs me.

Who the fuck would do this, aside from some jag off Range Rover driver. Oh yeah. I forgot. There’s another street level parking lot a minute’s walk behind the building.

But no. Somebody’s got to have parking right in front of the building. Just hillybillying up the streetscape. Why? Because car. If you own one, drive one, it is an inalienable right to park it as close to where you’re going as possible. Otherwise, you might as well be taking public transit.

It all just comes on the heels of the news that the city’s at a 10 year high for pedestrian fatalities, currently sitting at 38, I think it still is. deathrace2000(42 if you throw in the 4 dead cyclists.) And according to Christopher Hume, 70% of the pedestrians were in the right when they were run over and killed.

The first impulse always, of course, is to blame the weather, the change of seasons, not enough brightly coloured apparel. As our mayor once said back in his councillor days when talking about cyclists being killed, at the end of day, well, swimming with sharks, yaddie, yaddie, yaddie. The roads were meant for cars.

This overweening sense of entitlement continues, I’d hazard a guess, at least in part because of this administration’s victimization of car drivers and its embrace of the fanciful notion of some War on the Car. Yeah! We’re tired of being told we have to share the roads! You heard the mayor. As a matter of fact, we do own the road.

A walk along College Street yesterday, at 3 intersections, I’m finding myself either having to stop or speed up my pace because cars turning right or left have just pushed aggressively into my space at a perfectly legal crossing. asamatteroffactMove it! Move it! Move it! I’ve got places to go!

“The lights are just not adjusted for seniors,” says 92 year old Howard Cable. “They’re adjusted for traffic.”

Sorry, Mr. Cable. Our roads (and front yards), our entire transportation system is adjusted for vehicular traffic. Until we change that priority, we all just have to accept the risks of venturing outside if you’re not behind the wheel of a car. Sometimes you’ll make it safely across the street. Sometimes you won’t.

But remember, even the hardest of hearts will bleed for you if you don’t.

mournfully submitted by Cityslikr


A War On A War On

November 1, 2011

To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.

From the great orator, Winston Churchill, to President Eisenhower at the White House in 1954 after a snout full of brandy one must presume. Really, Winston? This from the man who said such things as, “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.” And this, “The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.” And this, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

I guess the occasional lacklustre quote polishes the sheen of the better one that much brighter. Still, the point is taken. War only as a last resort when all other options have been explored and found wanting. “ It is better to talk jaw to jaw than to have war,” as the quote was later cleaned up to sound more Churchillian.

War is a declaration of defeat for all the values we as a civilization allegedly hold dear. Reason. Discourse. Consensus. This is especially true when we speak of the metaphorical wars that are proclaimed regularly.

The War on Drugs. A denial of the socio-economic and genetic causes that can lead to horrific personal outcomes. Not to mention that drug use isn’t all inherently bad. Just a blanket criminalized prohibition of something you don’t approve of, easily wished away by three simple words: Just Say No.

The War on Terror. We were attacked! Let’s not stop for a minute to try and understand why it happened and just lash out at all our perceived enemies. They hate us for our freedom, people. Bombs away!

More locally, how about our War on Cars? Traffic sucks. I’m spending more and more time in my car. It must be because downtown elites hate cars and anyone who drives them. What other answer could there be? Let’s end the War on Cars.

And this one just in: I Hate the War on Mayor Rob Ford. It seems some of the mayor’s ardent supporters have seen his falling approval ratings, looked around to discover the reasons for the decline and decided that it’s just because people don’t like him and have declared a war upon his administration. Or in their own words:

You may not like him. You may have voted against him. But LIKE this page if you’re sick and tired of the non-stop character assassination by the media and special-interest groups against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who is simply trying to do the job he was elected to do with a mandate from over 50% of Toronto voters!

Now first, a minor quibble. Mayor Rob Ford was not elected “… with a mandate from over 50% of Toronto voters!” Actually, he clocked in at about 47%. Big deal, you say. What’s 3%? Well the ‘over 50%’ claim suggests that a majority of Torontonians voted for Rob Ford which simply isn’t true. And to base some sort of movement on a factual inaccuracy kind of undercuts the entire enterprise, doesn’t it? But, as is often the case, a lie serves as a springboard to war.

More significantly, the people behind I Hate the War on Mayor Rob Ford and their growing legion of Likers want us to believe that the mayor has been laid siege to based solely on ‘non-stop character assassination by the media and special-interest groups’. You see, it has nothing to do with the fact that Mayor Ford has systematically pulled one plank after another out from his campaign platform. The election platform that enticed 47.114% (not ‘over 50%) of voters to vote for Rob Ford last October.

Those who believed that Rob Ford could cut wasteful spending (i.e. The Gravy Train) without cutting services. Guaranteed. Those who believed Rob Ford when he said that the city had a spending problem not a revenue problem. That who believed Rob Ford would bring a new era of openness and transparency to City Hall but now watch as he fundraises for legal fees to fight off a Compliance Audit Committee request for a closer look at his campaign finances.

No. Those now declaring war on The War on Mayor Rob Ford see only spite based criticisms of him based purely on sore-losing and consisting of name calling and other types of ‘non-stop character assassination.’ It is a convenient way of avoiding answering more substantive questions about how spectacularly and quickly the mayor has jettisoned the most basic of his campaign promises. Fiscal responsibility and accountability.

Instead, they are attempting to wrap him up in a cozy blanket of victimhood. (A disturbingly frequent habit of conservative bully boys when faced with mounting opposition.) Any criticism is seen as some sort of personal attack or motivated by nothing more than self-interest, so not worthy of a rational, civil response. They don’t have to engage because they’ve determined that we’ve declared war on the mayor. We’re the irrational ones not them.

How else do you explain the ‘home invasion’ last week by This Hour Has Twenty-Two Minutes’ Marg Delahunty aka Mary Walsh? A bit she’s been doing to politicians now for, I don’t know, 60 years and suddenly it’s become a felony? Never mind that many of the mayor’s detractors agreed with him that the appearance at his home crossed the line and that the story basically grew legs and ran because, for some reason, he saw fit to call 9-1-1 not once, not twice but three times when the police didn’t immediately appear for what was, clearly to everyone but the mayor, a non-emergency situation.

When you’re at war a silly little set-to becomes a ‘home invasion’ as part of some grand conspiracy orchestrated by our ‘state-run broadcaster’. The rhetoric is pitched. The reasoning reduced to nothing more than us-versus-them simplicity. You don’t have to justify or explain yourself to the enemy. That’s something you do in times of peace not war. And in case you haven’t heard, there’s a war going on. A War on Mayor Rob Ford.

peaceably submitted by Cityslikr