Thursday, April 17, 2014

Getting to the Danforth Reconstruction Open House Experience - and experiencing it :)

Off the top I should declare that before I lived at Jones and Dundas in Ward 30 - I lived at Main and Lumsden; my family still lives there, I visit them often. I commuted to work from Main and Lumsden, usually to College and Bay for several years - by bicycle. I know this neighbourhood. Like the back of my hand.

I took the Felstead route from Jones and Dundas. Neat that I took the planned Multi Use Paths through the near Oakvale neighbourhood area - right across the frozen grass ... just to see if the route was possible.

Came up to Danforth before East Lynne Park and rode the Danforth just after 6:00pm. Cars were parked already so I took the right lane in the primary position during what was essentially still rush hour.

No issues.

I got to Main and Danforth bout 6:20 pm and found the door with the notice on it - and actually held it open for a couple coming in. A few minutes later - as I was sitting on  rotting stack off 4X4's surrounding a struggling plant and chugging back a litre of water - a couple I had passed earlier on the Danforth walked in looking for the same *Brand* keywords on the door sign - and noting they did not exist -  were different than the key words Consultation had posted on the sign as they did in the press releases (not the first time this, not-walking-the-process has resulted in this --- in my recent experience).

Chilled out for another few minutes by going to Tim Horton's for a large double-double; then hit the phalanx..

At the door they asked me to write my personal information on a sheet that would be seen by at least ten other people who came in after me. I noted this to the scribe there and they grunted as usual. (note: this a pointer about process to staff). The grunt loaded me up with a bunch of maps and stuff - an pointd my attention to little coloured pull-off glued circle-tabs that I was to post on the display inside, in order to indicate my vote for benches and/or bike parking ring and posts.



Got inside the room and saw that there were no tables to set down all the stuff I had been handed ... so I went out the back door into the 'ally' (actually a planned pedestrian-way amoungst the building-scape - that architects from the 70's (bad architects from the 70's - badly-focused architects from the 70's) laid-in there) where when you lay down your planning flotsam-and-jetsam, light up a cigarette, sip your double-double and cross your legs sitting on a pile of shipping flats you found in a corner out of the effects of a wind tunnel 60kph wind the 16 story buildings there create - residents passing you by look at you like you are a drug dealer, a mark, a hustle - and avert their children's gaze away from your direction and hurry to their concrete media cubicles.


Beck - Loser

Beck - Loser from Alvaro Molina on Vimeo.

So ...talked to BIA photog 'Graham' first - ran our narrative by him (probably the best narrative I gave all night). He's a cyclist - and I picked up on that immediately - he asked great questions that prepared me for what was to come. Thanks Graham.

I asked him to point out BIA people, and Planners. My goal was to lay the vision on the planners and present the thing to the BIA people - and let the Councillors (who already knew we were coming) know we were there.

The Tragically Hip - Poets

First I looked for Tags-around-the-shoulders - and meet Pam (I think - sorry :/) - from Public Consultation. After miss-phrasing my concern; and greeting the professional snear that said you don't belong here, I was able to get to the critical question,

'So what is Consultation's role in all this?'

That brightened things up - and we had a great talk that included how Transportation Cycling Infrastructure and Programs Unit (CIP) hadn't responded to the call to participate in this consultation process.

Let's be clear here, we are at a time where politically - on Avenues - Bike Lanes are not going to happen.. As a result - for those trying to complete the Cities' transportation network in a multi-modal fashion - money for bike infrastructure (which hasn't been cut) is evolving to Trails and On-Street & Informal Connections (re: contra-flow lanes on residential one-ways for example; and the Filtered-Accesses like on Felstead Ave - which Ward 30 Bikes is championing ... and like I've been lobbying for since 2010 at Biking Toronto - at the Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki - With a very limited budget and capacity, CIP has to prioritize.

The Process Revealed - Notes:

Well, I tired. Hope you liked the music.

Here's the notes (will write them up properly, later soon):

Eglinton Avenue reconstruction based cross-section drawings - base on field measurements near Toronto Tool Library - Saturday April 12th 2014:

My notes - written 2014-04-16



  1. Great blog; gives a feel to the city, kind of gritty, need to be gritty to survive with psyche intact, or as intact as it can be in this 'modern' f.u. world.

  2. Hey Thanks for posting Murray.

    Enjoyed meeting you at the #RegionalRelief event at Riverdale C.I. the other night! The Terms of Reference ones are always the best. :)

    Yeah gritty.

    It's a function of bad city building there (and the highway just to the north called Danforth) - not the people who live there - or the neighbourhood. Lots of great spaces around there - like Taylor Creek Park 3 minutes north by bike.

    I published this the night of when emotions are still primed.

    Whenever I self-identify has a cyclist at thes meetings all kinds of weird neurosis kick-in broadcast on the faces of the people I'm talking to. Even $200 Oxfords a trimmed beard and the look of a wise ancient can't get past it. But as soon as you are allowed to build your narrative and present the complex Complete Streets understandings in an applied manner - they recognize a fading ideas from school ... and cheer right up!


    For me though it's just another mile post on the road to more delays and borrowing 'moments' of New Urbanism that look really good on paper, and play well at celebrations like this one - but don't actually make neighbourhoods Livable.

  3. Writing-up those NOTES - from the image in the piece above:

    So this emotion piece was about going to the very last phase of a consultation process that has been on-going for about a year. Ward 32 Spokes talked with Mary-Margaret McMahon and plan to meet to discuss.

    We were there to make our pitch that bike lanes can be done on Danforth and we hope that they will be soon. This project won't be where that happens because as Councillor Janet Davis told me she wants an EA before Bike Lanes go in on Danforth - to get it right - and because if you don't do it right, you end up creating passionate nay-sayers which a proper process, likely turn into supporters.

    She also mentioned that the left turn lanes along along there narrow the usable street at many intersections. I was told by someone from Transportation that Transportation's Cycling Infrastructure and Programs Unit did not engage in this process because this road is not on the 2001 Bike Plan - and because they are at capacity with On-street Connections and Informal Route 'enablement'. Like the Felstead Avenue Filtered-Access that Ward 30 Bikes is working with CIP and Councillor Paula Fletcher on right now.

    I agree with all of the above - we need a proper EA and Bike Lanes on Bloor/Danforth from High Park to Vic Park in 2015.