Tag Archive | Cities

Snow Shoveling Snobbery

by Jimsey

An article from the Chicago Tribune prompted this. In short, The Active Transportation Alliance (note: I’m doing this from memory since their website is down), a pro bike/foot/bus/train organization is encouraging residents to post a flyer on neighbor’s doors of those who shovel snow or who do not. I don’t need to lecture anyone here on the issues involving uncleared sidewalks, but I definitely grumble and I definitely remember those who don’t shovel. As an active jogger and car independent person, I constantly rely on sidewalks, and more importantly, clear sidewalks for my livelihood.

Now since I cover a lot of sidewalk in my average week, I do certainly notice the routine offendors who don’t shovel. Instead of a flier approach that Active Transportation takes, I do a few things:

1) If I’m out jogging/walking and I actively see somebody shoveling, I say “thanks for shoveling!” in passing.

2) Businesses that do not shovel will never, ever see a dollar of my business. For example, Niko’s Gyros will never see me as a customer, in winter or any season. Resurrection Health, St. Elizabeth Hospital’s  physician offices on Western Ave will never see me  pay a visit (oddly, the actual hospital’s campus was fine).

3) When it comes to residents who don’t shovel, there’s really only one thing I do: dump my cigarette buts in your treelawn. Two doors down from me is a newer 2-unit condo building. I have seen the residents, they both appear young and able, thus no excuses to clear the sidewalks. Lights are also constantly on, so I know they’re around. I hope they enjoy the tens of hundreds of cigarette butts they find in their tree-lawn come the spring thaw.

Am I little out of line on this? Perhaps, its still littering at the heart of it, but my small little social deviation brings me a smug sense of satisfaction.

More Mapping Fun

Jimsey Made This!

Previously I blogged about the Chicago Police Department’s CLEARmap website. Now I want to give a shout-out to a website that ties in a few more sources.

Today’s topic is EveryBlock. Currently available in 15 US cities (sorry Canada).

While the Chicago PD site incorporated crime and reporting data wonderfully, EveryBlock attempts to pull quite a few more sources together. EveryBlock themselves divides this information primarily into four sections: Civic, News & Blogs, Fun from the Web (Craig’s, Yelp, Flickr, etc.) & Announcements.

Information is gathered and grouped on the usual suspect levels: Address (radius based), Zip or Neighborhood.  If you’ll observe the attached screenshot of the drop down, you’ll see quite a few areas that information can appear in. You can mainly view the information in a day-by-day log, or click “overview” to fetch the latest tidbits for all the categories. Personally this guy with two thumbs prefers the overview.

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Use your beaver to score heroin

Vancouver’s east side is notorious (by Canadian standards) for prostitution, drugs and crime.  I had the chance to check it out last fall and even I was surprised that it more or less lived up to the hype…or maybe lived down to the hype?

In any case, a Vancouver radio host decided to highlight the rampant problems of east side Vancouver by donning a beaver costume and trying to score some heroin by holding a sign saying, well, “I want to buy heroin.”  FYI, this is an old news story (early June), but it’s new to me, so there.  And the Globe is just reporting it, so I’m at least up there (down there?) with them.

Anyway, long story short, the stunt worked, the beaver got hooked up with the junk, and the Vancouver police showed up to relieve the beaver of said junk.

Juvenile prank or funny attempt to highlight the problems on Vancouver’s east side?  Considering the radio station appears to be Fox-owned, I’d opt for the former, but the fact that a guy in a beaver costume can buy heroin does highlight some serious social problems.  You be the judge.

MyTTC does what theirTTC can’t

Transit users in Toronto have been lamenting for years over the lack of a coherent trip planner on the TTCs God awful website.  A recent beta release of the TTCs new and improved website only hinted at a trip planner in the works, and even that reference appears to have been removed (oh, and FYI, TTC website guys, the new site looks better than the old site – which is akin to saying dirt tastes great compared to feces.)

So, what is a poor, confused transit rider to do?  Why, go to MyTTC and get your route mapped for you there.  MyTTC was developed by a couple of transitphiles who were, like most transit riders, tired of waiting around for the TTC to get their act together.  So, after hours spent organizing the mess of transit data into something coherent, the developers produced a little gem of a trip planner.

As the developers note, this is a work in progress and they stress that they need users to help them make it better.  When I mapped a route yesterday from my house to one of my favorite bars I noticed that it had you walking a little further and taking a bus you didn’t really need to take when leaving my place.  So, like a good user I sent some feedback and lo and behold, Kieran, one of the developers, had gotten back to me last night and said that they were still adjusting the weight given to walking and that it might be a bit high.  Now that’s service.

So, for those of you in the GTA, use MyTTC, provide feedback, support great homegrown work!

Much delayed Toronto subway extension a go

It appears that the federal government has finally gotten their house in order and is getting much needed funding to the Province of Ontario after 2 years of stalling by the Harper government. The feds are chipping in their $697-million share of the $2-billion dollar Spadina subway extension, according to the Toronto Star.

Any subway extension is good news in my book (even the poorly conceived and pointless Sheppard line, but barely), but this stretch is especially important to Toronto. Take a look at the proposed extension below (for the full view, check out my subway map here):

Image courtesy of Spadina Subway Extension Project

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Oh baby!

You know what really tweaks my nipples?  Babies…more specifically, babies with parents who feel that somehow their decision to reproduce makes them entitled to special treatment anywhere they go.

I have saved a special space in my to-be-built-dungeon for these uber-lazy parents.  You know, the ones who push little Mercedes or Trevor around in one of those enormous tanks disguised as a stroller.  I see them on the subway during rush hour, taking up the space of 5 people, I see them in narrow groceries stores, I see them forcing people off the side walk…and the worst part of the deal, there’s always a baby inside them, pooping and peeing and generally carrying on.  It seems lazy to me…not only are you forcing your spawn upon everyone, but you’re taking up precious urban space while doing it and making sure your kids starts out life in a fat promoting position, preparing it for a life of obesity.

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Jazzin’ on Jefferson

Just wanted to give a little blog love for an upcoming event in downtown Detroit this weekend: Jazzin’ on Jefferson.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the event (you poor souls, you), Jazzin’ on Jefferson is a two-day musical extravaganza that takes place on Detroit’s east side along Jefferson Ave. The event is produced by the Jefferson East Business Association and draws big jazz acts and a wide range of artists every year. Jazzin’ provides a chance for the community to celebrate its rich heritage and show all it has to offer to visitors.

This years acts include the Rayse Biggs Band, Jesse Palter Quartet, and the The Scott Gwinell Jazz Orchestra. New to Jazzin’ this year is the Artist Gallery tent, which will bring the works of local artists and crafts-persons together to exhibit and sell their creations.

If you’re in the Detroit metro area this weekend be sure to stop by Jazzin’ on Jefferson. If you’re really lucky you’ll get to meet me…and honestly that’s worth visiting all by itself.

If you can’t make it, check out JEBA and all the great work they do in the area. If you are Uncle Moneybags, look at supporting them.

Oh yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, my brother, Josh Elling, is the Executive Director of JEBA, but I was neither coerced nor bribed into doing this. If someone were to offer me an icy cold beer, however, I would not decline.

From the “Dumbshit” File

Just a little absurdity to lighten your day. It seems some residents of Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood are up in arms because a city work crew began tearing up grass yesterday at a local park to build…

Here are some options to choose from. Which are the protesters upset over?

A) A nuclear waste storage facility

B) Cap’n ‘Splosion’s Terrorist Training Camp

C) A Wal Mart

D) Krazy Bob’s Handgun n’ Rocket Launcher Emporium

E) A swing set

So, clearly, A – D are worth raising a stink over, but if you guessed E you’d be correct!

A handful of residents organized a flash protest when a city crew peeled back some grass to begin installing a swing set at the park. A SWING SET. According to local residents Robert Arnold and Peter Manek, swing sets equal crime magnets:

The swings would take up the last bit of open green space, said Arnold and Manek, who argued it would offer criminals an excuse to hang around the area and engage in drug deals.

Yes, I can see it now:

Thug 1: “Hey, can you give me a push on this swing before I go sling my crack?”

Thug 2: “Okay, but be careful, I don’t want you going too high!”

What do you do with something like this but mock? Anyway, check out the full story here.

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