Wednesday, June 24, 2015



I believe that in another few years, our politicians will come to their senses and ban bikes from major roads.
Instead they content themselves with lowering speed limits when things would work a helluvalot better if we could actually move at the old speed limits.
I thought we had got rid of the lower speed limits when we eliminated the horse. Trouble is, we didn't eliminate the horses' asses, especially at their home stable at City Hall. 
It seems nonsensical that we spend fortunes on roads and signalized intersections and parking lots and then handicap the effort to move most Torontonians who travel in private vehicles by mixing in a few cyclists.
Just as we don't allow bikes on the super roads like the Gardiner and 401, we shouldn't allow them on major arteries like Eglinton and Yonge, at least during the rush hours.
After all, why ban parking during those hours, when motorists pay a fortune in taxes and fees, and then cyclists, who pay not a damn for those expensive services, are encouraged to screw up the same inner space.
There used to be an argument about the cost of on-street parking. Some transportation experts and politicians said that it was economic madness to build roads that were four lanes across and then allow two of the four lanes to be used most of the time for parking.
 After all, the roads cost a lot more to construct than parking lots. And to give the freeloaders part of that road access seems contorted urbanology.
But that's a sermon for another day, even though I was contemplating the wording for it the other day as I observed a large young man sprawled with his bike and huge back pack across a subway aisle and a couple of seats.
At least he wasn't up above on Bloor St, where only a few bikes cause three times the impact of the same number of cars, yet we are supposed to scorn the cars because most have only one person. In this country, unlike in Asia where you can have a family on a bike, the cyclist is the ultimate in selfish transportation.
This chap on the subway was certainly an obstacle as passengers tried to squeeze by all his parts and corners.
As luck would have it, he lurched to his feet at my Royal York station and then pushed his way to the door, his progress being handicapped by the flimsy flip flops that he was almost wearing on his feet.
Now flips flops are for the beach or a pool, not for city streets. They may be cool and there's a nice onomatopoeia to them -- their sound is in their name - but they really are dumb things to wear if you care about fast footing.
Outside the train Flip Flop Boy was a great moving mass towards the escalator which caused various people to get out of his way much as you would shy from a mad dog.
Nothing like riding an escalator with a bike banging off the walls and your pack gouging the person behind.
Out the special gate he went that the TTC has for strollers etc.  Left it open of course.
Flip Flop Boy then mounted, got off to collect a flip flop, then mounted again, and sped down the sidewalk through the crowd.
I don't know whether people got out of his way or he blew them out of the way.
Got into my car parked behind the Shoppers - by some miracle all the cabs had left a few legal spaces - and drove along the one-way lane.
Unbelievable! Flip Flop Boy reappeared hurtling down the lane the wrong way. I screeched to a stop and delivered a shout of curses which I had to end to warn an old lady who was limping into his path.
Flip Flop Boy appeared oblivious to the chaos in his wake. It may have be an act but judging from the behaviour of some cyclists, their IQ is lower than the number of their gears. (I exempt my sons and grandsons of course.)
Later, I was making a slow right-turn at The Queensway and Royal York where the traffic lights have a timing set by the Devil. Miss your green and you wonder about getting a motel.
Suddenly, in front of me, came a very old and very feeble man who didn't bother looking in any direction. I wondered why he was moving so slowly but then thought he may be blind because he leaned on a cane and had an unfocussed expression.
Then I saw one reason why. He was almost wearing flip flops. I wondered why he didn't trip over the tiny sandals as he shuffled.
I thought later that I should have taken his picture. After all, I had just seen how Flip Flop Boy was going to look in 50 or 60 years....if he lives that long.


Monday, June 1, 2015



It was 3 p.m. on the subway heading west from St. George when there was an announcement over the loudspeaker system which probably cost millions considering how transit and City Hall routinely spend fortunes on comparatively simple things.
I could give you the date but it really doesn't matter. This seems to happen most days on the subway.
I couldn't give you what was said. That remains a mystery, probably even to the guy making the announcement.
Then there were a few more pronouncements but we all looked at each other and shrugged. ' If you had mined the minds of everyone on the train and promised $100 for each word of the message,  no one would have collected.
Why the hell do we accept this nonsense from an outfit that spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year and can't even broadcast a few clear words into a subway car?
It remains as big a mystery as City Hall allowing the Gardiner and the Don Valley parking lot to be closed to vehicles for charity events. As someone who has at various times biked down the middle of super roads before they opened for business, let me tell you there is no special zing. It might as well be a wide sidewalk.
So it is just plain stupid to snarl Sunday afternoon traffic like what happened exactly 24 hours before my incomprehensible subway announcements, because the DVP was closed, and 401, Victoria Park, Sheppard and other escape routes were wrapped in construction bandages and slippery with rain.
If charities want to keep this nonsense up, we should campaign for donors to send their dollars to organizations that have more common sense.
There have been complaints for years about this and many better alternative routes suggested. But then of course the charity doesn't get its name in all the stories about the traffic closing.
People also have been exasperated for decades about muddled announcements in the transit system. It is a given that most of the time you have no idea what was said. It could be a real emergency or just the end of the world and another fare increase.
Doesn't fill me with confidence about how the transit workers do routine tasks despite the sweetheart union deals!