The Scarborough Subway Fiasco

Political agendas given priority. Planning and policy, contaminated by false/tweaked data, changing costs, and ever-changing opinions. Expert advice, best practices, and even approved funding – cancelled and/or ignored.

This is Toronto – namely the TTC, the planners, and the politicians, today.

A $2-3 billion price tag, perhaps even more, for a 1-stop subway extension, that almost nobody sees of value, carrying passengers with LRT density levels, at best.

The world has a right to laugh. Even when we’re handed a silver platter of funds/plans/partners, to get transit right, we screw it up.

Metrolinx, please take over, end this political circus – and get us moving!

Steve Munro

For the benefit of out-of-town readers who may not follow the moment-to-moment upheavals in Toronto politics, the lastest news about the Scarborough Subway is that it will cost $900 million more than originally forecast, and the Eglinton East LRT line has gone up by $600 million.

Updated 10:45pm June 17: The increase in the Eglinton LRT line’s cost may only be $100m, not $600m. Awaiting further details to confirm this.

No details of the components of these increases have been published yet, but here are the current (as of 6:45 pm on June 17) media reports:

  • The Star: Mayor John Tory accused of ‘political posturing’ as Scarborough transit plans balloon by $1 billion
  • The Globe & Mail: Scarborough subway cost rises by $900-million
  • Torontoist: The Bad Decision on the Scarborough Subway Extension Gets Worse

Earlier this year, the much-touted “optimized” plan for Scarborough changed the subway scheme…

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A Winter Hike at Erindale Park

Another day of wonderful winter weather, another hike, this time with a focus one particular hill! Explore my friends wonderful blog for photos and rich detail on this adventure! ‪
#‎sledding‬ ‪#‎wetandcold‬ ‪#‎worthit‬

I really hope I get to see such winter weather again this month! Get and enjoy the beauty of nature, whatever the season and weather is for you – it’s the best stress-reliever and idea-generator there is! ‪
#‎naturepower‬ ‪#getoutside #‎winterlove‬

A dose of science a day keeps the apathy away, so check out this research from the U.S. on changing snowfall!
http://www.climatecentral.org/…/winters-becoming-more-rainy… (Great site for climate news!)

I hope Canada, as we revive our scientific leadership, unmuzzle scientists, restore funding and unleash the potential of our researchers, will add more perspective on our changing climate here, too – particularly in the Arctic.
#endangered #season

Dreams and Illusions

A soft blanket of white covered the land, glistening under the sun’s rays. The snow looked thick  but crumbled easily under our feet as my cousin and I trudged through to meet our fellow hiker. Our fellow hiker, Rahul Mehta, was very knowledgable about the area. He informed us that the Erindale Park, through which we were now strolling, was once a landfill that had been repurposed into a park after the closing of the landfill. The tobogganing hill to which we were headed was the last cap over the landfill. The tobogganing hill was surrounded by pine trees frosted with snow, and some straggling and bare deciduous trees. The view from the top was spectacular!

20160217_111737

Rahul pulled out his cardboard while my cousin and I prepared our plastic bags to sail down the hill. The feeling of drifting down was great even though the ride was slow. But our luck was about to…

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Thanks for liking, but let’s talk!

With a campaign like #BellLetsTalk, you might wonder – so what? Why does it matter?

Having a conversation can go a long way – especially when it comes to mental health – you don’t need to look much further than social media to see it working, or not.

Consider Twitter, for example, it’s success is not so much it’s structure, a character limit, attached images and hashtags – these can be found on every blog, comment and posting forum that exists. Instead, it is those features combined with the ability to tag, the “@”, which can be used at a pace impossible in email and far more user-friendly. The world, more connected than ever, is hungry for conversation, and Twitter processes millions of thoughts, every single day. There’s great power and responsibility behind each tweet, use it but don’t abuse it!

Then, consider Facebook – have you noticed in recent years how there are fewer and fewer wall-to-wall messages, fewer comments, even fewer statuses, and ALOT more likes? I have, and it’s troubling. Facebook is a place where conversation can either thrive or die (loneliness by a thousand likes, as I call it) through the “wisdom of the crowd”. Essentially, we can each be creative, expressing our thoughts, debating, and sharing ideas. Or, we can all fall in line, liking, just like the previous person, and racking up counts, with little emotional attachment or impact for the receiver in the long-run. Is there a solution? YES! A simple message, a status (perhaps a question, challenge or hope?), a comment instead of a like, expressing your true feelings, can be powerful, as long as we’re respectful. I see it every day, and you probably do, too. Want more engagement on Facebook? Speak up! A picture is worth a 1000 words, so maybe we can do more than just 1000 likes? It’s good for everyone’s health to talk, but especially about an issue as silent as mental health.

So, do a lot of listening, but don’t be afraid to speak up! Conversations build community…they can save lives, too.

I hope this short “talk” can add to the conversation we need to be having so much more. :]

Lanktree: Suburban communities need dense cores, too

Finding a balance between the development of a city and a suburb, with greenbelt in-between – lots of parallels to the Greater Toronto Area, and other large city agglomerates around the world!

Within the context of Ontario, places such as Ottawa and the surrounding region have yet to be considered in detail under Places to Grow…maybe that will be the next Growth Plan?

More details on that plan, here: https://www.placestogrow.ca/index.php

What kind of policy shapes growth and development in your community?

Ottawa Citizen

Planning a city, as a forum of democracy, happens at different levels of scale. While it is important to hear and understand the immediate community when creating a new Community Design Plan (CDP), it is also important to consider the place of that community in the larger city and region.

When creating a new CDP for Stittsville Main Street, the local community was consulted and its unique character was studied. Its place in Ottawa and the Province of Ontario was also considered. In the end, the CDP needs to be in conformity with the City’s Official Plan (OP) and Provincial Policy Statement to determine that the public good can be achieved throughout all levels of the planning framework.

The question regarding the Stittsville Main Street CDP is whether this balance has been struck or some more limited interest has prevailed. When we look at the demographics of Stittsville, we see…

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Learning, exploring, keeping nature at heart.

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