2016-05-11 Wed

Clear Thinking

Christopher Greaves Home_DSCN4042.JPG

Toronto, like all cities, always has a funding excuse up its sleeve as a convenient scapegoat for inaction.

“We just don’t have the money to do it” is the daily lament.

Gerrard Street East has been being dug up for the past two weeks. New water mains or new sewage mains or something like that; one- and two-foot diameter plastic pipes, turquoise.

Dump trucks, back-hoes, orange pylons (otherwise how would we know we were in Toronto?), off-duty $98,000 cops earning a bit of extra cash for grocery money, or gun-holster polish.

And now the news that once the roadway has been dug up and put back again, the entire street will be repaved. Closing the street for an entire year.

Disrupting local and through traffic for a year.

I walk through this street twice each day, 6 days a week, to collect a free copy of the Toronto Star from Ryerson University.

Work goes on about eight hours a day. That’s one-third of the twenty-four hours in a week.

Five days of the week.

Here, I’ll do the arithmetic for you: Out of 168 hours in a week, work proceeds for only 40 hours, or 24%.

168

Hours

4

weeks

40

80

120

24%

48%

71%

2.00

1.33

weeks

56

112

168

33%

67%

100%

2.86

1.43

0.95

weeks

If we had two work crews and they each worked an eight-hour shift, we would be using 48% of the available hours. In theory the water-mains job would be finished in half the time.

Three shifts, working around the clock, would probably disrupt the sleep of anyone within a hundred yards of the site, but the job would be finished in one-third the time. That is, instead of having grit, dust, noise, honking traffic and so on for four weeks, it would all be over and done with in about nine days instead of an entire month.

Likewise, if work crews put in seven days a week (of course, they would be rotating in and out) and worked around the clock, the job would take less than a week to complete.

Arguments about “time and a half” and “double time on Sundays” are futile. We negotiate a blended rate for the span of the job (and/or other similar jobs like this) and just buckle down and get the job done.

There is no call for any worker to put in a sixteen-hour day, or a seven-day week. You work five days and then take two days off, or you stagger your days.

And yes, I know that on some jobs it is necessary to wait for the cake, cookies, or bread to cool before proceeding to the next step, but wait! There’s more!!

All that heavy equipment from bulldozers and backhoes down to air-compressors is sitting idle for 76% of the time.

That means that Toronto’s capital is sunk into equipment that sits idle 76% of its life.

That means that Toronto’s precious capital (see “We just don’t have the money to do it” above) is sitting idle for 76% of its working life.

The word is “stupid”. Apply it where you will.