I love the idea of the Rail Deck Park, a plan to deck over the railway corridor from Blue Jays Way to Bathurst and build a park on it. At 21 acres it would be the largest new park to open in Toronto since Downsview Park in 1999 and a vital infusion of green space in the already under-parked and ever intensifying Downtown Toronto. But when you look into its impact on other parks, how to pay for it, and how the idea originated, the lustre on the Rail Deck Park starts to fade.
The moment of inception for capital projects is usually not hard to trace; a report identifying a need, a milestone reached and the need to make a decision, etc. Not so with Rail Deck. One day it was nothing, the next day John Tory announced it; a fait accompli. But before work started on the park proposal there was the condo proposal.
Continue reading Concerns About the Rail Deck Park
A fine, as a means of dissuading anti-social behaviour, is a pretty blunt instrument. It is hamstrung by one overarching factor that renders it useless to a large proportion of the population: marginal ability to pay.
In short, if you are rich the impact of a $150 fine for parking in a bike lane may be minimal, whereas if you are poor it could mean very real sacrifices in order to pay the fine. What is needed is a way to factor the fine by ones ability to pay in order to equally dissuade anti-social behaviour.
Continue reading Flat Fines Don’t Work, Make Them Variable
The title of this post needs to become the mantra of all those that value civilization and all that it brings us.
An alarming majority of people use services that are provided for by means of taxes and don’t even realize it. They are often small government, fiscal conservative types. A 2008 Cornell study found that 57% of Americans claimed they never used services funded by taxes but when asked if they had availed themselves of 21 programs 94% had made use of at least one with the average being four.
Continue reading Tax Cuts Cost You More
Before John Tory started his campaign to get cars moving faster under the guise of congestion relief there was a mutual understanding — through ignorance mind you — that pedestrians could cross intersections despite the countdown clock. As long as they were out of the roadway when the countdown reached zero few motorists would complain. In his various press appearances on the matter Tory has decisively punctured that ignorance, arming aggressive motorists with yet another tool to use against pedestrians and cyclists.
If Tory’s agenda in puncturing that veil of ignorance was to ensure that all road users — motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike — were equally aware of their respective responsibilities and to abide by them, he’s unquestioningly failed. In framing the issue as one of how to reduce congestion — read how to speed up automobile travel — he has given license to motorists to blame all congestion related issues on pedestrians and cyclists, absolving themselves of their role.
Continue reading Stop with Congestion Relief, Focus on Throughput