This would not be a good protest

I’ve been wondering about the effects of Lansdowne traffic on Lakeside Avenue, a tiny little side street that is being used as a route for shuttle buses (about 500 of them). The residents of Lakeside are the one group of people who looked to be really put-out by the transportation plan, and it appears they were.

And they might have started fighting back.

Shuttle bus drivers complained that after the second RedBlacks home game, people on Lakeside were shining flashlights at them. If true, it’s a very stupid, dangerous and likely illegal form of protest.

One Lakeside resident, however, said it didn’t happen:

Gardam said she and some fans were the only people on the sidewalk post-game. Some neighbours were on a porch counting the buses, she said, but the only lighting was from porch and street lights.

Gardam said the street’s incline and speed bumps can cause car headlights to shine a bit higher, which could be the source of the complaint. She said Lakeside residents wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize safety, and in no way want to interfere with fans using the shuttle buses.

I hope that’s correct, but even without the flashlights, residents had some other forms of protest, slowly crossing the street in front of shuttles and parking their cars to force the buses to slow down. These are perfectly acceptable forms of civil disobedience.

The traffic plan will be re-examined at the end of August. Hopefully, the residents will get at least some relief.

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One more reason for a safe injection site in Ottawa

A recent study was released by Simon Fraser University about the benefits of a safe injection site for the city of Ottawa. This isn’t the first time such a report has been released. We have seen numerous reports note the various benefits of these sites. They help reduce mortality, overdoses and crime. They help to clean up neighbourhoods cluttered with needles and drug paraphernalia.

So far, Ottawa has been too timid to act. Our Chief of Police doesn’t believe the evidence and our mayor either doesn’t have the inclination or the political courage to help a large number of vulnerable residents. It’s quite a disgrace.

The most recent study, though, may finally sway some people*, because now, we’re talking about saving the city some money:

In his peer-reviewed paper, Simon Fraser University’s Ehsan Jozaghi suggests health-care savings of $5 million — a number associated with the prevention of an estimated nine HIV infections and 88 hepatitis C infections from dirty needles — would more than make up for the $4-million cost of operating two Ottawa clinics. In fact, he argues, the savings would probably be higher because the clinics would also reduce other infection rates and overdose deaths.

 

It is becoming incredibly difficult to argue against a safe injection site from any perspective other than malice. Can you imagine how much contempt you must have for someone that you would turn down $1 million instead of helping them?

*That’s really just wishful thinking. I doubt many will be swayed or will even pay attention.

Our cops don’t know the rules of the road

As happens on the internet, a bit of a cyber-squirmish broke out today. In response to this petition for Ottawa politicians to “create a safe and protected bicycle lane networks throughout the city“, one resident suggested we tell cyclists to stay on the right hand side of one-way streets. From there, Deputy Jill Skinner stepped in:

Deputy Skinner’s interjection was 100% incorrect. Here’s the actual law, as found on the city’s website:

Cyclists are required to ride as close as practicable (ie no closer than 1.0 metre) to the right curb of the roadway, except when…Preparing to make a left turn, passing another vehicle, or using a one-way street (in which case riding alongside the left curb is permitted)

Perhaps a whole new petition is in order.

Re-re-visiting Lansdowne: Credit to OSEG

The transportation plan for the first RedBlacks game went off quite smoothly (at least in the Glebe), which is why it was so absurd when an OSEG representative said that, based on the previous success, they were thinking of opening up more streets for on-street parking.

It seems they may have reconsidered, as this morning city workers were out putting up No Parking signs along Bank Street (no parking between 3:30 to 11:30, the brunch crowd is still safe). This is good news. I haven’t finished my morning coffee, yet, so I haven’t been out and I don’t know if I they have restricted parking on any other streets.

Re-visiting Lansdowne

It’s been two weeks since the inaugural RedBlacks home game, and with the second home game coming up tomorrow, I thought I’d go through my impressions of transit to and from the game. I had planned to give an elegant little review, but that never happened, so let’s just go through this bullet-point style. And to warn you, this will be focused the Glebe, since that’s where I live.

Pre-Game:

  • Things worked well. Bank Street wasn’t plugged up, and cars, vehicles and bikes were able to move along pretty freely. I got home form work around 5:00 pm, taking Fifth Avenue to Bank (and then quickly turning left off of Bank). It was easy to turn onto Bank, change lanes and turn at left without the aid of stop light.
  • Buses were running smoothly. They didn’t seem to be blocking other traffic at all.
  • This is primarily because there was no parking, so no need to make non-stop lane changes. Sadly, it seems like we’ll be saddled with parking tomorrow.
  • It was loud, but not too loud along Bank, though the KISS FM tent was obnoxiously loud. Pedestrians moved along quickly, and generally didn’t get in the way.
  • Some pedestrians would cross the street willy-nilly without looking or caring that they were cutting people off.
  • It really was a marvelous carnival atmosphere. This is the sort of thing we need to do more of in the city.
  • Bank Street emptied quickly right before kick-off. There was no mad rush, honking or anything. All of a sudden, there just wasn’t anyone there. This would be a testament to the planning of OSEG.
  • Apparently, they ticketed 51 cars and towed 8. I only saw one person get a ticket, it was around 8:00 and she had popped into Kardish to pick up a few things.
  • There bike cops everywhere, seemingly.

Post-Game:

  • After the game, I quickly headed to a local bar. Lansdowne emptied relatively quickly, and for a brief while it got a little loud. Still, it wasn’t that bad. Really, it was about what you’d expect for a central neighbourhood during a special event.
  • Within about 20 to 40 minutes, everyone seemed to have left or arrived at their destination, as Bank became relatively empty again (though bars were quite busy).
  • The bike cops were still patrolling.
  • There was an ice cream truck that parked illegally (with some irritating music playing). The cops told him to move. He got huffy, but moved anyway… to another illegal spot. They made him move again and he seemed to just give up and leave.
  • I didn’t see a ton of trash on the streets. There was some, sure, but again, downtown event; what would you expect?

So that’s about it. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. It’s a weekend, so that may altar travel patterns. It might rain, so that might put a damper on things. The biggest worry, though, is the parking situation. The city and OSEG admitted there was ample parking for the game, but, still, they want more for tomorrow. If enough people hear that and think it means oh, I can drive to this game, they’ll have screwed themselves and the neighbourhood.

Mayoral candidate Darren Wood seems well-intentioned… [Updated]

Mayoral candidate Darren Wood seems like an engaged politician, which is certainly a point in his favour. He’ll get into drawn-out twitter discussions, and is becoming a rather active blogger. Recently, he wrote on the matter of what sets him apart from other mayoral candidates. A worthy topic, no doubt.

I’m not going to get into everything he wrote, just yet, nor am I going to do a Mike-Maguire-esque fisking of his entire platform. I do, however, want to bring up one part:

This is a very good question that was asked of me during an interview today. Despite having done a half dozen interviews already in the last week or so, this was the first time anyone had asked me what the difference between myself and other candidates was. In this case she was comparing me to Mike Maquire who apparently has an almost identical campaign platform to mine. To that I would say, maybe he read my website and tweets that were coming out long before he started up his campaign. I’m not saying he gleamed his idea’s from me, I’m suggesting it’s possible is all.

At first, I thought he was just being a tad cheeky (something I can respect), but that final line is just a tad too earnest. Darren Wood is unequivocally wrong that Maguire took his platform from Wood. Maguire ran for mayor four years ago on an incredibly similar platform. It’s ridiculous to suggest that Maguire is just following in Wood’s shadow.

If you go to Maguire’s site, you will see that he has a pretty robust platform. He doesn’t just list a few key points, he has a lot of in-depth information. Wood doesn’t have a platform on his site. He has a list of nine bullet-points that he wants to accomplish in his first term.

If Wood really wants to come off as the best option to Watson, he needs flesh out his ideas, release a full platform and get a better handle on the other candidates. Merely claiming to be the lead dog actually diminishes his credibility.

On the other hand, I support his use of gratuitous profanity.

Update: See, this is how engaged he is, within moments of me tweeting about this post, he responded:

I hereby rescind my criticism (though I’m still looking forward to his full platform).