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New data available through bike-sharing

An interesting study came out of Europe on how people use bicycles during their commutes. I wonder if our very own Bixi Toronto will be equipped to provide us with similar data that might help inform city-planning right here in TO?

Posted: December 13th, 2010
Filed under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Nice jacket Mr. Cherry

Don Cherry, the bulldog speaks; it must be true! Like Rob Ford, he speaks forcefully and with great certainty, so he must surely be imparting wise truths on us. Funny thing about the truth, is that someone in a flashy jacket with a few well-placed strong words, can appeal massively to the masses, even while saying nothing.

So what is a pinko anyway? Does anybody born after 1960 even relate to that? Interestingly, a lot of the “pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything,” work in the downtown core, which is rife with such capitalist industries as finance and banking, which doesn’t immediately sound like a band of internationale-singing commies, does it? But, you saw it and heard it folks; Don Cherry wore pink – it must be so!

That’s alright though, Mr. Cherry probably didn’t think through his pinko comment. It just makes a good sound byte. Besides, being an old-timer, he isn’t as invested as some of us are in keeping our air clean. What does he care if we are all wearing masks outside as they do in China, ten or twenty years from now?

Interestingly this week, while Rob Ford and the Pink Panther were playing games at Toronto’s city hall, Mississauga’s Hazel MacCallion was shrewdly trying to move in on funding ear-marked for our city. If there ever was a mayor running her city hall lean on gravy, it’s mayor Hazel and now that our new mayor has opted to scrap Toronto’s LRT, Hazel is trying to convince the Provincial Government that her own city’s transit plans are shovel-ready, while ours are stamped with the anti-gravy-train-seal of Rob Ford’s boot print. Have we noticed yet that Rob Ford’s subway costs three times as much as the previously approved LRT, or do we still believe that because Ford speaks forcefully, he must be right?

Personally, while I may be disappointed with a porky-pig look alike sitting at city hall, I’m not really so worried about our city in the long run. Sure Mr. Ford may feel that he has both named and ended the so-called “war on cars.” But, here’s the thing. If the cycling citizens have failed to unite and promote a single, feasible message to convince the rest of the city that safe cycling leads to healthier cities and healthier citizens, I remain convinced that rising rates of respiratory disease, and the very finite space we have for cars will eventually wage a very different war on cars. And this one won’t be waged by pinkos. The front lines for this war will be in the lungs of children and the elderly. (Hopefully by that time, more of the city’s cyclists will have learned how to obey traffic signals and I won’t have to take the flak for some idiot who cut in front of a right turning car at the last minute, only to give the driver a near heart attack. But I digress.)

It isn’t that I feel that Rob Ford in city hall is the end of all that is good and wonderful in the city of Toronto. It is that I used to have higher esteem for the citizens of Toronto. I used to think we were forward-looking people who would prefer to meet challenges before they explode in our faces. I used to think we preferred working together to pinko-name-calling. I used to think we preferred to listen to scientists, (or my word, city planners!) and examine facts over passively believing the loud message of an entertainer.

Don’t get me wrong, Don Cherry and his pink jacket look great on hockey night in Canada. But what kind of expertise does he bring to a ceremony at city hall? Why does anyone especially care what he has to say about how to run a city? If the best he can do during his address is call people who ride bikes, pinkos, maybe he is wasting our time. He gets the microphone plenty during hockey games. Let’s keep him, his snappy jacket and bulldog mouth to verbally abusing NHL players and Ron MacLean, in between periods.

But one more thing, while we are talking about the jacket, Mr. Cherry, where did you find that stunning thing? My hope is to get one by springtime, when it will go just great with a pair of hot pink pedal pushers.

Posted: December 8th, 2010
Filed under: Uncategorized | 10 Comments »