2016-02-10 Wed

Observations

Last Monday I wrote about cops and their bullying attitude.

Not all cops are bullies; but all cops share the same culture and attitude.

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Yesterday I walked up Yonge Street to past St Clair Avenue, and an hour or so later I walked back down again.

There were three construction sites that boasted a cop standing around directing traffic.

The cop shown here was, I think, in the Crescent/Davenport area.

Note the gun visible on the hip.

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Note the young students walking around, walking past, basically walking between the third-party schools to the north of here, and the Toronto reference Library and Toronto Transit Commission entrance to the south of here.

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Now you might think like me and think that there is no real need for every-day cops to carry guns.

Or you might be normal.

You might, like me, think that a band of cops are far to ready to take out their guns and send the mentally ill to that Great Hospital In The Sky

Or you might be normal.

But here’s what I think:-

Suppose, just suppose, that there is the possibility that a gun might be needed in the course of everyday traffic duties (also known as “standing around while everyone does something useful, like go to school, or go to the library ...).

Then why does the gun have to be on the outside of the jacket?

Is it for bravado (“Look at me! I’ve got a GUN!! I’m more powerful than you!!!)

Is it because Toronto’s streets are full of gun-toting drivers (Fed Ex and UPS vans, taxis, grandmas going to have lunch with daughters and grandkids) and pedestrians (grumpy old pensioners walking to, and walking back from the free lunchtime concert at Yorkminster Park Baptist)?

Or is it because Toronto’s gun-crazy cops feel that it is a vital part of their duties that they be able to pull and shoot their gun with the minimal delay.

And note that minimal delay would include assessing the situation, creating space, encouraging dialogue, and all those other human-like activities

I get the feeling that the mindset is “be prepared to draw your gun the second that any sort of trouble arises”.

Otherwise, what’s wrong with strapping the gun on, but leaving it under the coat?

Metrolinx

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Metrolinx is the name given to the non-authority that is theoretically making a collection of transit sub-systems work together across a chunk of Southern Ontario.

Metrolinx is also the name given to the non-authority that is from time to time reported to be unable to do anything about controlling planning at GO Transit, is apparently unable to light a fire under the Toronto Transit Commission, and has left Bradford to implement its own transit card system, absolutely distinct from the Presto Card that every other sub-system in the region is using, except for the Toronto Transit Commission which has begun to roll out its implementation (after dragging its heels for years) but can’t be said to have Presto available until every bus, streetcar and subway station entrance is equipped with the reader devices.

But I digress.

Note the large “GO” logo at the lower-right-hand corner of the formal notice reproduced above.

Note the large “Metrolinx” logo at the upper-left-hand corner of the formal notice reproduced above.

Could they be further apart?

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The corridors to be electrified are not “The GO Train corridors” but are “Five of the seven current GO Train corridors”. The busy Milton lines and the Richmond Hill lines, both of which could be used to funnel near-suburban traffic (such as Mississauga) into Toronto are not in this plan.

I would not call this a seamless, convenient and integrated plan when two lines are left out of the plan. (Think some diesel GO trains that can’t be run on the electrified lines, and some electric GO trains that can’t be run on the diesel lines. Think two sets of spare parts, two sets of engineers, two sets of maintenance staff, two sets of training, two expenses ...

Note that “15-minute service” is to be enabled. Not implemented. And furthermore, I see no specification that it is to be a two-way service.

I assume that the intention is to run trains like the RER in the Île de France, roughly 6am to midnight, every 15 minutes, in both directions. Rather like a “super subway” if you like.

But right now, GO operates by sucking a set of trains into Toronto in the morning, parking them all day lone, and then blowing them outwards in the late afternoon so they can be parked at the termini of the five radial lines. The Lakeshore corridor is an exception; there trains shuttle back and forth all day long at 30-minute intervals.

Except they don’t have enough steam to get as far as Hamilton, a rather large city off to the west of Toronto.

They do get as far as Aldershot, and I think that there is a Tim Horton’s coffee shop there.

Note too that a 2010 study is mentioned, that’s six years back, and you can bet a monthly pass on the Toronto Transit Commission that that wasn’t the first stuffy, and that the 2010 study has been able to spawn another study, this time on the environment.

But we already now that bringing a transit system up to third-world standards will result in noise and dirt and occasional fuel spills. And the neighbours will object. And a few rabbit burrows will be smothered.

The study is said to include six corridors, but I see only five, which makes me wonder just a little bit more about Metrolinx and its ability to plan, or at least to proofread.

Speaking of proof-reading, I meant to write “worry” there, not “wonder”. Sorry!

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There are, of course, public meetings at which Outraged Citizens will stand up clutching a sheaf of notes and say things.

I live in downtown Toronto and might have reason to want to ravel to, say, Stouffville to visit and care for my Uncle Herbert or to Innisfil to visit and care for my Aunt Martha.

What do you think my chances are of traveling by public transit, let alone GO Transit, to get to one of those meetings in Stouffville or Innisfil? Will there be a taxi-service from the non-existent GO train stations or GO Bus stops?

And what are my chances of getting home at night after the meeting?