Opinion Piece – Letter to the Editor


Back From The Hack

I don’t know how I was hacked or why, but after many exchanges with my host provider, the site is back. Not that there are many of you looking in the first place.

If only finding a new job was as quick.

Reduced Speed is Not the Answer

Yesterday on talk radio, some research body, suggested 30 km/h speed limits within the city. Standard limit is 50 km/h and 40 km/h at school zones normally. Some streets suggest 30km/h (often labelled with Turtles) to protect young children in the area.

One caller indicated that 30km/h is a high rev. level of first gear, before it gears up to 2nd. This means the engine is working harder than when it advances to 2nd at a lower rev. So going slower will increase engine wear and fuel consumption. Ah, but that’s not the argument, the argument is to save lives, which I cannot disagree with, because every life is worth saving, (perhaps not mass murderers, but you know what I mean) and being hit by a car doing 30km/h will hurt less than one doing 50km/h presumably.

Research also indicates that most collisions by car, with other cars, bikes, motorcyles, or pedestrians, is not through speeding, but by distraction. Distraction from two parties multiplies this probability. Pedestrians are more often than motorists staring at a smart(dumb)phone. This means they are not aware of their surroundings beyond a peripheral observance. They will very infrequently look up if they hear something or bump into a person or object. Bumping into a moving vehicle, of any size will do more than grab their attention, and too late. Yes, many motorists do the same, staring at their crotch more than their windshield or mirrors, and thus not seeing other vehicles or pedestrians as their eyes are pointed down.

Let’s call a spade a spade here, distraction is impairment. Alcohol, Fatigue, Phones, other devices, weather, and sunlight can all be impairment. We have MADD for inebriated motorists despite calling them drunk drivers, that term should never exist. A driver is never drunk, a motorist can be. Driver implies skill, and being impaired negates that skill, so they are not driving, and they are not drivers. There is a Fatigue impairment PSA on the radio from time to time. There are many anti-phone awareness ads and announcements on TV, radio, and print, but weather is never ever considered. I’ll ask the question, would you feel more comfortable with a clean car and a person staring at you from that car, than a rolling snowbank with a hand swipe  on the window for them to see out of? If I told you the second car was sober, and the first was drunk, would your answer change?

If you drive east in the morning and west in the evening, and the sun is shining directly at you, how many cars could you completely identify by colour, make, and plate? How many did you see before they applied the brakes? How many were actually intelligent enough to put lights on, so you wouldn’t hit them? Light does two things, it illuminates, and it obscures, and obscuring is a distraction because you cannot see well enough to know how close a person or vehicle is if all you see is light and shadows. Having your lights on increases the ability to see you, which has the benefit of being hit with a far lesser likelihood. Real drivers use lights 24/7/365.25. Motorists never locate the switch.

Back to speed. Most speeds are determined by the traffic around you, and the width of the lanes. Traveling south on Hwy 400 with wide lanes is often 120km/h or more in light traffic, whereas Hwy 401 with narrower lanes through Toronto is often just barely above 100 km/h. Regional roads with four lanes tend to average at 80 km/h and two lane roads are often 50-60 km/h despite the expected rule of 50km/h without signs posted. Obviously in heavier traffic the speeds will decrease. Most news reports of multi-car collisions never happen when traffic is flowing, but often when it was slowed, as a faster car, distracted, fails to see ahead in time. You know you witness it, and you know you’ve been narrowly missed by motorists that ignore the situation.  Every night heading home on Hwy400 those so called merge lanes, which are really termination lanes, that end immediately after the exit you went by, need to be abolished. Lanes should exit or continue, period. Allowing motorists the choice of an empty lane to nowhere, vs. staying in line in the lane that goes somewhere, and a motorist will always to the wrong thing by diving down that lane. This could gain them 2-10 spots in traffic if somebody lets them get away with it. As long as that person exists, they will continue to abuse that opportunity. You see it between Dufferin and Keele on the Hwy 401 west, and many other Hwys and Black Creek south at Jane Street. Those lanes are “designed” by planners and engineers, people you think should plan cities, and they create chaos. As an architectural professional and “driver” I would never plan anything that poorly. The best highways are two lane roads where everybody knows where they need to be. The more you build, the less they move.

We also need to stop putting blame on rubber-necking for reducing speed. Rubber-necking saves more lives than speeding by the incident, as it makes those involved less likely to be hit by cars at higher speed.

Knowing your lane matters, too often I see people speed up the left lane to cross four lanes right to exit. This can be cars, and even commercial trucks, but it is a regular occurrence.

Even in heavy traffic, many motorists weave, most do not signal, ever, and of those that don’t, many smoke left handed out the window. This is not a generalization, this is what I’ve observed in over twenty years of commuting through the GTA, that most people who refuse to signal, are smokers. Their left hand is too busy giving them cancer, to obey the rules of the road. As a driver you learn to trust nobody, and expect anything and everything, because it will probably happen. Signals save lives, they’d save more if they were used.

My opinion, and yes it is an opinion, I am not calling it fact, as much as I believe it to be one, speed doesn’t kill, bad motorists kill. Re-testing at all license renewals would go a long way to improve those motorists faults, and add revenue to the coffers to build better roads and transit to avoid them.

Toronto Mayor Debate #1 2014

It seemed pretty clear to me, my family, and anybody I talked to at work the morning after, that Rob Ford won the debate hands down.

He stuck to his lines, he saved $1 billion. He has a proven track record, everything they want to do, he has already done.

All of the other four “front-runner” candidates merely claimed he was lying, without any proof that he was. He said his numbers came from CFO and City Manager, so they are accusing them of lying.

Olivia Chow needs her facts straight on the TTC, and needs to wake up to Scarborough getting a subway. Tory, Stintz, and Ford all agreed her facts were wrong. Please explain what Women and Children First means. To many it means, you are against Men, as they would be Last in that analogy.

Stintz needs public speaking lessons, her constant pauses made her speech sound like an Obama performance, or Captain Kirk’s. She fumbled a few words and forgot her math on three things, throwing four or five in.

Tory needs to take the gloves off. He was far too laid back, and his message is being missed. Clearly Chow and Ford are ahead, but they shouldn’t be. He needs to reel them in and give the public what it needs to hear. Even for man on radio for four years, his speaking was less than stellar.

Soknacki needs to also get off the LRT going back bandwagon with Chow. Facts are that while the subway EXTENSION is under construction the SRT can run. This will not be possible with LRT, as first the SRT has to be removed, and shuttle buses used to compensate. Those buses will not be needed while building the subway, as the SRT will come down after it is complete, provided it has that many years left. He needs to distinguish himself from Miller, because that is killing his chances.

The fringe group, criminal lawyer Ari Goldkind, Sarah Thompson, Richard Underhill, Norm Gardner, are the lead group of the next 40 or so candidates. Both Goldkind and Thompson want road tolls on DVP, Thomspon wants them on Gardiner, but not for the people that live here, the commuters, people like me from Vaughan who already take 105 minutes to get to work using the DVP, that will easily climb to 120 to avoid it, and twice that in a snowstorm. I’m all for raising Toronto and region property tax, as that is INCOME BASED and fairer than gasoline tax and road tolls which are just going to make everything else cost more, the trucks delivering goods will be affected too. Property taxes will not add to your grocery bill.

I’ve emailed many of these people, the usual response is to help them support the campaign or donate to it, only Ari actually answered anything I asked (before I saw his toll idea).  I’m still waiting for responses to my DRL advice. Don Mills is the wrong location, it will easily cost as much as Scarborough extension for one bridge on it. There are more viable locations, but it will not serve anybody but Yonge street. The city needs GRIDS of N-S and E-W and plenty of them, if the have to be loops, stop making the loop have so many twists and turns that it takes years longer to build.

North South expandable options are as follows:

Islington from Lake Shore West to Steeles at least, possible expansion to Vaughan/Kleinburg

Dufferin from Kirby down to the Exhibition Place

Bathurst from Teston/Elgin Mills to Billy Bishop Airport

Victoria Park from Steeles to Queen or Warden from Stouffville to Kingston Road

Whites Road from North of Finch to Lawrence East

East West Options as follows:

Lake Shore East and Lake Shore West (avoiding Indy circuit)

Queensway and Queen to Kingston Road

St. Clair East with O’Connor


Dixon and Lawrence

Wilson-York Mills-Ellesmere

Finch all across

Castlemore-Rutherford-Carville-16th Ave. (Major MacKenzie alternate (will have 2 hospitals))

Teston-Elgin Mills

Downtown Relief Line despite multiple configurations  has normally been suggested as follows:

Sheppard down Don Mills to Overlea

Overlea to Millwood (major bridge rebuild or new build)

Pape down to Danforth line.

From Pape there are many other scenarios

Pape and Carlaw to Eastern and Front (Union)

Pape Gerard and Queen and King to St Andrew

Pape Gerard and Queen to Osgoode

From University side of Yonge/University Line:

Front to Go Rail Corridor  (at Bathurst) to Dundas West

King to Roncessvalles to Dundas West

Queen to Go Rail Corridor (at Dufferin) to Dundas West

Rarely concieved beyond Dundas West but could do as follows:

Up Go Rail Corridor and paralleling Weston

From Dundas West along Dundas to Scarlett to Dixon

It’s common sense that these proposed DRL locations would cost billions more than running under any of the E-W and N-S suggestions, which would serve more of Toronto than the core. They could all be LRTs if necessary but when another icestorm hits there will be no transit. 3rd rail underground or above is superior to overhead LRT, you get what you pay for.

Everybody is entitled to an opinion, and we will probably disagree, but these are my opinions, not lies, not fabrications, not untruths, opinion is not defined that way. As my city election means more to me than this one, this will probably be the last I mention of this Mayor race, which affects me as a worker and commuter but not as a resident. If workers were allowed to vote, my opinion would carry more weight. Sadly it will probably continue unnoticed.




Newstalk 1010 Loses John Tory

People in Toronto have listened to John Tory and his Live Drive radio show on 1010 for just over 4 years. Many guests of political nature have engaged discussion and answered questions willingly, and some less willingly. The whole side show aspect of Rob Ford has turned John Tory into the next best choice for Mayor. So he gave up the radio show and is now running for Mayor. He’s tried before, and lost to David Miller, though he was briefly leader of Provincial PC party, he lost a chance to be premier to Dalton McGuinty. So why is he running?

Clearly he has improved ratings on 1010, as it used to squander in 10th place. Source article here: http://www.pugetsoundradio.com/cgi-bin/forum/Blah.pl?m-1253631722/

This has helped engage him with the public, as many as he could get on the phones, about transit, jobs, efficiencies, and the like. This has made him more well known, than he was a business CEO. I wish him luck, though I disagree on his major campaign promise. He wants the downtown relief line, which I will not deny is needed, but the location needs to be rethought. Don Mills is not the right location, it has far too many hills, valleys and turns to work. Though it is further east (too far perhaps) Warden is the straightest road they could find in the north south direction. That is a more fiscally responsible location, as it will cost far less than Don Mills, and will the Millwood bridge be re-engineered to hold a subway? I don’t think so. The relief we need is north south routes to East and West of Yonge and Spadina. Islington and Warden, approaching both termini of the Bloor Danforth are the most logical locations to me.

I am not a fan of Metrolinx’s current lack of detailed information, if you want to know what they are planning you find it by Wikepedia and the defunct Transit City proposal that Miller claims had shovels in. LRTs may work in a less congested zone, I think it is a mistake for Eglinton, though most of it will be underground anyway. I don’t know why elevated trains (L-train) are not considered, certainly they work in New York City and Chicago, and they eliminate a need to tunnel and disrupt traffic. If we don’t want cars on the Gardiner, replace it with an L-train. My commute from Wonderland to Leslieville is because transit will not get me there faster. Lake Shore needs service, but do not wreck the west end at Exhibition as you will lose the Indy race. Any plans you find on Metrolinx website  account to no better than a napkin drawing, they are merely arrows and have no critical information.

If John wins as Mayor, he needs to set their agenda in a logical manner. Their priorities are not in line with what the city needs done first.

Good Luck to John Tory, and whoever his radio replacement may be, I may even find that worth a try. Is the right person reading this?

Formula 1 Racing 2014, return to Turbos, and a new era of Hybrid V6 engines

I’ve followed Formula for practically every race and many test event weeks since early 1983. Most drivers in the sport now were not yet born then. I’ve attended three races live: 1989 in Montreal for Boutsen spin and win in the rain, 1996 at Silverstone where Jacques Villeneuve took the win, and the inaugural 2012 Austin GP in Texas where Lewis Hamilton prevailed over Sebastian Vettel.

In the later 80’s Turbos were the new norm, most notably a McLaren Honda team having a success rate that remains unequaled winning 15 of 16 races. Honda is expected to reunite with McLaren for 2015. Currently though, they are running Mercedes power, and based on first week of winter testing, Mercedes is the engine to beat, with all Mercedes powered teams running more laps without issues, than any other engine. Renault which had powered Red Bull to 4 successive titles from 2010-2013, seems to have gotten the engine formula very wrong. Barely any Renault teams collected enough laps to figure anything out. Cooling is a major issue, and apparently some parts are too hard to fit precisely, often being installed the wrong way. Blame has been thrown at the teams and Renault, and they should probably share it.

The new ERS (Energy Recovery System) is a step up from the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) of the past few years. KERS generated a battery charge under braking which could be utilized for cornering speed or passing maneuvers. ERS also takes energy from Turbo exhaust, and that also powers up their Energy Store.

The cars are heavier, slightly slower, and thanks to odd rules on nose cone heights, extremely difficult to love aesthetically. All manner of different appendages have been attached to each team’s cars, some have even been compared to sex toys, due to shapes of those appendages. The noses have been lowered to prevent cars from launching over top another when they hit a back tire. The lower noses however have the potential to send the cars under the tire and body instead. That may not be as safe as going over. They could adapt the IRL solution with their DW2012 cars, where bodywork bumpers protect the rear wheels from nose cone impacts and thus also preventing launches of cars over or under the tires. The nose limitations are meant to reduce downforce as well, thus in order to gain maximum downforce, teams have opted for narrow noses of varying degrees of not very attractive. Mercedes works team and Ferrari works team have opted for a large wide elephant trunk looking nose, while Williams and Sauber have a more bird beak like appearance. Lotus have only hinted at their design of a double tusk, as they will not test until Bahrain. Marussia and Red Bull have chosen to disguise their odd nose shapes with black paint, while black paint cannot disguise the protruding appendage of the Force India.

I think between now and the Bahrain winter tests later this month and into March, Red Bull and the other Renault teams will be reworking how their cars fit the engines, while Mercedes and Ferrari powered teams will be happy to have the jump on them for reliability and speed.

Money, periods of unemployment, and timing prevented me from ever reaching Formula 1. This was not the case for Kamui Kobayashi who is driving for the Caterham team after a fundraising effort by his fans since he left F1 for 2013 season. Perhaps I should try that to drive in the Indy 500, as that is literally open to anybody who can get a team together.

It’s too hard to predict who will be the team to beat, Red Bull have not always been at the front, but often return to the front to win the season. McLaren has so far proved to be the fastest, but this is early testing, which may not be an accurate gauge.

The F1 world will be happy to note that Michael Schumacher is slowly being woken from a coma state, that he was induced into for a brain injury from a skiing accident in late December of 2013. It may be many days or weeks, but I understand from official sources that he appears to be responding well. Please don’t take my word, all official info comes from his manager Sabine Khem.

My Opinion on the BIG MOVE is varied

I have continued to work on what Metrolinx is actually planning, and that is difficult at best to locate.My latest confirmations of BIG MOVE and KWC’s transit expansion, and GO expansion in this latest Dropbox folder here:  THIS IS UPDATED OFTEN AS NEW INFO BECOMES AVAILABLE





It also contains suggestions by me, by some other organizations (Hamilton BLAST) (KWC), alternative websites regarding transit (www.feeling congested.ca among many), and a budget comparison between Metrolinx numbers for BRT,LRT, and Subway, and Government of Canada numbers for same. If LRTs can cross perpendicular, all tunnel costs I budgeted for crossing may be eliminated. I know Streetcars can cross perpendicular, you can see this at Bathurst and Spadina in Toronto.

As a commuter that has had to deal with the multiple areas of congestion of Toronto and York region, I know first-hand where transit is needed to fix the issues. As an architectural draftsman, I can create drawings and sketches faster than nearly any other designer/engineer can create them. Will this get me hired? Unlikely. Telling the Growth Secretariat Ministry what was wrong with Places to Grow and Provincial Policy, didn’t get me a job with them either. Honesty means something to the public, it is time employers, especially employers working for the government, listened to what we have to say. Metrolinx probably won’t grant me an interview, because they will be reading this post.

The post below was my earlier considerations of transit in the GTA, the Dropbox link above incorporates all of Metrolinx’s planned tasks (current and future), with better suggestions, including somebody’s GT Trains concept. Check that link instead of reading the post below.




You may have heard of Metrolinx (www.metrolinx.com) and THE BIG MOVE (www.thebigmove.ca).

You may also have heard them and Toronto Board of Trade suggestions for REVENUE TOOLS to allow us to spend $50 billion to fund this.

You can check their webpages for those lists, but suffice it to say, it will come from your pockets.

The TTC is known for starting projects and abandoning them, either due to city or provincial politics or just plain lack of interest.

There are tunnels under Queen Station, meant for streetcars but going nowhere, yet full of garbage nonetheless. There are tunnels under Eglinton West station, as there was originally going to be an Eglinton subway which combined with City amalgamation and Mike Harris government was cancelled to focus on Sheppard subway, more dear to Mel Lastman than Eglinton was. Bay station is actually stacked, original service used both stations at Bay for a bizarre loop system when service ran from Eglinton to St George via Union, and a bizarre track switch via Museum and Bay.

We currently have 4 boring machines creating the Spadina  extension from Downsview to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. I dare ask, where are they headed when this line is complete? They had better be boring more subways we need. Also the lack of forethought of Metrolinx, City of Vaughan and TTC in general to add a commuter parking lot at VMC which is directly beside a Future Shop and Home Sense and a skip and jump away from a Walmart, both with large parking lots, certain to be filled by commuters, even if they go the Yorkdale route by putting up barricades until 9am to prevent them. Your first Vaughan parking for commuters on the subway is at 407 and Jane. If anyone from Vaughan drives to 407 to park, they are more likely to stay on the highway.

I quickly drew up my own plan, not to any scale because I do not know the scaled dimensions of the subway stations, but a schematic representation of what I think we need, and what will ultimately get me out of my car for most of my trips. This image may be unclear because it is pdf version. As I live in Vaughan I added what I think Vaughan needs, as well as what I think Toronto needs. Some items are already started. Some are wishes of a sort. I’ll break down what I have added.

1. Continue Spadina loop to Yonge from VMC back to Finch as far north as Teston. This allows connection to Vaughan Mills mall, Wonderland, the future hospital, and more importantly for me, my Curling club in Richmond Hill. (www.richmondhillcurlingclub.ca)

2. Major Mackenzie line, I may have missed a few stop ideas, like adding Richmond Hill hospital, but City Hall Vaughan is necessary along this proposed line idea.

3. Hwy 7, though I have not seen dedicated bus plan in full, this is my idea for it. Much of it is under construction now.

4. Eglinton line, you need a higher cross town option, currently this is under construction as a dedicated Streetcar.

5. Downtown relief line, I keep hearing about it, without knowing where they want it, so this is where I want it, looping around Bloor from St. Clair to College, from Bathurst to Castle Frank. That keeps it west of the DVP.

6. Queen line. Yes there are streetcars now, yes an idea for underground was started and abandoned, I would prefer it go under and this is my suggested connection to Bloor Danforth line from High Park to Victoria Park.

7. Sheppard line extension and loop with Eglinton, because it should.

8. Lake Shore line, which could be streetcar or subway, likely being that close to water will prevent subway, but many have talked of burying Gardiner, which is another topic in the news today. Pay $500,000,000 to fix it and leave it and maintain it, or take some of it down, or take all of it down, and replace it with a tunnel. If you intend to tunnel the cars, tunnel a subway, and connect it to the Queen line, and Kipling on the Bloor Danforth line.

All station names on new lines are just suggestions, no doubt they would change if they ever built them. I do think Spadina should be renamed Annex on Bloor Line though.

This dream concept, would easily remove an hour off of my commute. Civic Action (http://your32.com/) insists that Metrolinx’s THE BIG MOVE will only gain you 32 minutes. It relies more on GO trains and streetcars than actual subway connections. I really doubt the GO trains will alter that much.

What will it cost? Honestly I do not have an answer, but if the BIG MOVE is $50,000,000,000, this could be double that, especially if it is all subways.

Would it make Toronto a world class transit oriented city? I think it would.

I may not have the planning credentials of my cousin who is in the board of directors of Metrolinx in THE BIG MOVE document, and part of Civic Action, and professor emeritus at both Ryerson and Uof T for Regional Planning. I am however a commuter from Vaughan near Wonderland to downtown Leslieville of Toronto, a less than 45km trip which should by rights take 45 minutes regardless of time of day. It is normally well over 1 1/2 hours daily, and far more in bad weather. I am also a draftsman for a contractor and have been in construction field for over 24 years, close to 16 with my current employer. I am a ratepayer executive for my community, and chair of our traffic calming committee, which saw several speed reduction elements implemented into our neighbourhood, and are expecting a few more.

I expect this subject to get some feedback, but wait, nobody visits my site so nobody will see it, unless they are willing to read what I have suggested.

I have a GREAT revenue tool. Remove over 40,000 of the $100,000 plus salaries the Ontario government pays for and BAM, $2 billion is available, realistically over $4 billion. I’m certain that Board of Trade and Metrolinx and Ontario Government never suggested that option. Jerry Agar did. ( www.newstalk1010.com) I’m with Jerry on that.

Now if only people will read this.MYBIGGERMOVETRANSIT




Newest Books

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Harvey The Happy Helmet's Road Sign Guide for the Directionally Deficit Disordered

The pen name is derived from Wentworth, the street I grew up on in Hamilton, and Vaughan (missing the a) where I actually live now.

Current novel is Young Adult Sci-fi and Humour.

Yet Another Kid That Must Miraculously Save The World From Destruction By Presumably Evil Alien Forces.

find it here




Yet Another Kid That Must Miraculously Save The World From Destruction By Presumably Evil Alien Forces

Traffic Congestion

Green lightAmber(yellow) lightRed light

Want to understand how traffic doesn’t move?

This pure display of stupidity, lack of geometry skill, and serious inability to comprehend anything beyond themselves.

Traffic moves in more than one direction from your ego

Green DOES NOT mean GO, it never has


Does this look clear to you? Does the twenty foot car fit on 4” of white paint?

Of course not, its not rocket science its Grade 1 level geometry

A 5 year old could do it

The motorists in these pics are clearly incapable of being as smart as a 5 year old.


New Books At Lulu

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A Harvey the Happy Helmet sequel has been added, full colour road sign guide, colour makes it pricey, but it is ineffective without it.

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When a Stand Up Guy Meets a Sold Out Girl

Three Forces of Evil (Comedy Shorts)

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