Archive for April, 2007

ALLDERBLOB to Allderdice: “You’re Fired!” “He’s just too boring” –Blobby

Saturday, April 28th, 2007


In a post entitled “Danforth Peninsula–Fact or Fabulation,” the ALLDERBLOB’s urban design “expert” Jacob Allderdice let loose with a winding, breathy and ultimately (we think–we never reached the end) pointless screed. Pointless? Well, maybe not. Frankly, we suspect he’s just trying to impress someone. Who? We don’t know. Surely not his loyal readers. Is he trying to find work at Queen’s University’s History dept.? Is he trying to land a job at U. Winnipeg’s Institute for Urban Studies? Or is he vying for head of Urban Design at Pratt Institute?

Whatever. Wake us when he gets there.

Fact is, the ALLDERBLOB is not a “launching pad” for anyone’s career, and will not be used as such. We have no room and no time for folks trying to prove their “seriousness” as urban designers, or as anything else.

We reject seriousness. For that matter, we reject rejecting seriousness. There’s just no winning with us. We like it like that.

Wait–can we take that back? Winning at the ALLDERBLOB means writing well, with original ideas and clear expression.

Our other writers here, namely Blobb, Blobby, Blobbish and Blog (always one person who thinks they’re special) were unanimous in decrying Allderdice’s latest piece: “He’s boring,” to be precise.

“It happens every time he tries to write about urban design.”

“Make him go away!”

Sadly, we are in agreement. Much as it pains us to do so, we are showing Sr. Allderdice the door.

No shame, really. Legion is the number not seen as fit to writhe on our pages. To Allderdice, we bid adieu and bon chance. Maybe try one of the car advertisers?

Oh–and if someone else out there wants to risk the rough treatment writing for us on “questions of urban design,” contact us at the usual location.


Danforth Peninsula: fact or fabulation?

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Urban design is an imprecise science. Mostly, when it works, it’s because it succeeds in naming the “obvious.” No one ever accused Jane Jacobs, for example, of doing anything more than that (although it didn’t always seem obvious until she named it). Urban design is therefore antithetically opposed to Traffic Engineering, which depends in its entirety on denying that which is evident to the senses. Urban designers know that more roads don’t “fix” congestion, for example, while traffic engineers (and the ideologues at “Reason”) hold the opposite as a central tenet of their so-called profession.

Like traffic engineers, the geniuses at Ontario Power Generation are unable to envision a world where there could be less energy expenditure. Their plan for the future has no word save “more” to describe projected energy needs. At the same time, they share the traffic engineer’s fatal flaw, which is to segregate the world into zoned parcels that require massive arterials, arteries that simultaneously link and divide the zones. For the power brokers, this means huge power generation plants with massive tentacles of E.M.F-emitting “hydro corridors” that carve the landscape. Sometimes the hydro corridors parallel the very arterials that the traffic engineers have imposed; other times they swing overhead on pylons high above the ground. In the latter case the landscape is denuded however; no trees must be allowed to grow and potentially interfere with the overhead wires.

All of this connects, quite literally, to the Portlands Energy Centre–a 550-megawatt electrical generating plant that Ontario’s liberal government is placing, in its wisdom, in the middle of the empty landscape of Toronto’s waterfront south of Lakeshore boulevard, east of the Don River: the so-called “Port Lands” of Toronto.

port lands view toward t.o.
Port Lands View of Toronto
click for larger image

For those of you “from away” who are still with us at this point, the situation in the Port Lands is an ugly and awkward ball of wax that no one really has a handle on. It’s a massive disused piece of land, built on a landfilled marsh at the outfall of the Don River. According to Wikipedia, the area was formed when “Ashbridges Bay was filled in …[from] Cherry St to Leslie St… in the early 1900s. The bay was filled in partly due to concerns about public health – locals had disposed of sewage, farm animal carcasses and household waste in the bay for years.” the newly created land, being “east,” was found to be ideal for all kinds of toxin-spewing industry. Today, while some of the industry has moved away, the port lands still hold industry’s toxic residue. While the western half of the Portlands is being planned as a new and vital waterfront (see for example the recent competition finalists whose work was on public display this past week and which is described in some detail by our friends at spacing wire and the bricoleurbanist), the eastern half of the Portlands maintains a business-as-usual zoning as a employment lands, including the “concrete campus” (headquarters for the cement manufacturers) and the aforementioned Portlands Emissions Centre.

Sorry–did someone say “emissions?”

Problem is, that’s just what all this amounts to–a huge dinosaur of 20th-century thinking that the current government is hypocritically foisting on future generations.

Balls of wax tend to have bits and pieces of imbedded stuff from their process of formation, and Toronto’s Port Lands is no exception. Jutting out is a puzzle piece from the previous (“Progressive Conservative“) Ontario government: the forced amalgamation of Toronto’s six separate civic governments into one “Megacity.” Thus, while the land is itself entirely within the city limits of the preamalgamated city of Toronto, it is actually a part of a unique entity within the city: a peninsula reaching from Scarborough in the east toward Toronto proper: a peninsula with Danforth Avenue running along its central spine from east to west, and bounded by deep ravines and valleys to the north and west, and the great Lake Ontario to the South.

All peninsulas have isthmuses, and the Danforth Peninsula is no exception: its constriction comes where Taylor creek ravine reaches within a kilometer or so of Lake Ontario, a constriction made all the more intense for its crushing together of numerous lines of flight: the major roads of the Danforth and Highway 2 to Kingston, crunched in with the eastward-linking CN, VIA and GO railway lines, and TTC subway line.

The Danforth Peninsula, while existing absolutely as a fact of geography, has never been recognized politically [um, care to rephrase that? –ed.].

That is to say, prior to amalgamation, the peninsula’s government was divided between Toronto, which ignored the region then as now (that lot can’t see anything east of the Don River until you reach Montreal), and the Borough of East York.

map of the former “Borough of East York,” Toronto
Borough of East York click for larger image

East York loudly claimed “status” as “Canada’s Only Borough,” but had its own mayor and councillors. Problem was, East York was geographically split down the seams. One third was the northern half of the Danforth Peninsula, one third was a chunk of land north of the Taylor Creek Ravine (where the ALLDERBLOB’s evil twin, counts the days until retirement on a car-restricted cul-de-sac) and the last third was Leaside and Thorncliffe Park, north of the Don Valley (where Jane Pitfield once worked). While it’s doubtful anything could have stopped the scheming juggarnaut that cobbled together the megacity, there’s no doubt that a Danforth Peninsula so divided had any chance.

Our colleague at the East York Mirror and Car Advertiser, Joe Cooper, has on occasion written about the ills of amalgamation. One gets the distinct impression, reading him, that he holds out hope still, ten years on, for folks to band together and de-amalgamate.

Lisa Queen photo: Donna-Lynn McCallum
Donna-Lynn McCallum still has the signage at her East York home from her days as an anti-amalgamation advocate. A proud East Yorker, she says the community has suffered since the megacity merger. click for larger image

But deamalgamation to the status of “borough” for East York would have no purpose. And returning the disconnected lands north of the geographical peninsula that is the Danforth to government at the peninsula’s centre, near Coxwell and Danforth, would do no good for Leaside or Scarborough.

No, if the Megacity is to be deamalgamated, a close examination of the real geographical boundaries of the Danforth Peninsula must be acknowledged.

Unfortunately, this will never happen.

For one thing, the orphaned “Governor’s Bridge” section of the former borough would have no one to call daddy.

So this crazybikerchick walks in on a sausage party…

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007


Ever since we heard the one about the late, great ‘zine, “Chicks United for Non-noxious Transportation” in which the father of one of the writers, a father who happened, as we understood it, to have a very Christian bearing and outlook on life, espied the magazine where it lay in a pile in the writer’s living room, we have cringed a little less at hearing the word “chick” applied to a woman. The story goes that the father’s only remark at seeing the acronym splayed [um–please rephrase –ed.] across the magazine cover was “I thought the word ‘chick’ was derogatory.”

Well, so did we. But for Crazybikerchick, a.k.a. Tanya Quinn, it’s a self-chosen moniker. And some would argue the words “crazy” or “biker” are just as loaded as “chick,” if not more so.

In person, Tanya doesn’t seem like a confrontational sort. She seems the soul of diplomacy and tact. She seems really nice, if you want to know the truth. She knits, for chrissakes. We tried to introduce her to the blobber who calls himself “crazyguyonabike” (but it turned out he’s hitched, alas).

But there she was the other day, pinioned on a barstool on the stage at the NOW lounge, surrounded by six leering men.

Okay, the guys were pinioned too, and maybe it was the klieglamps that made them look as if they were leering. One thing the lights definitely did was highlight [ahem! –ed.] the shiny pates of the male panelists.

The occasion, of course, was NOW magazine and Car Advertiser‘s inaugural “Town Hall Meeting” to discuss the question: “Where is Toronto on the Road to Total Bikeability?” The venue was the NOW Lounge, where about a hundred people crowded the stage or the bar as was their wont.

Our man Blobby was there and sends this report.

At the far right [there you go, name-calling again –ed.] was a balding and/or crewcut Adamn Giambrone, Toronto city councillor and former head of the Toronto City Cycling Committee (TCC). Today he is head of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). If he is to be believed however, his true calling is to lead the Tooker Gomberg bikelane project (TTT). Where will this migration of T’s and C’s lead? Read on.

Just to the left of Giambrone, the svelte form of Danm Egan [typo? please check spelling of “svelte” before publication. –ed.], his balding pate gleaming, balanced his own stool in a stiff vertical.

Next over was Wayne Scott, with as shiny a dome as anyone could hope for, sticking out of a black leather biker (there’s that word again) jacket. Wayne’s a former member of Toronto’s Pedestrian Committee and the founder of the organization THC-3, or “Toronto Hoof and Cycle Courier Coalition.” He’s famous for a persistent and ultimately fruitful battle with Canada Revenue agency, which won the rights for human-powered couriers, on foot or bicycle, to claim a part of their daily food expense as “fuel costs.”

Au Centre was the panel moderator, NOW magazine and Walmart advertiser‘s Mike Smith. Poor guy. Hair on his head was thick and lustrous, although short. But we won’t dally with Mike. Suffice to say he was no Misha Glouberman, although he had a nice line about Tanya being the only female at a “sausage party.” We don’t understand it, but we think we’ll use that…

Tanya was beside Mike. Bald? Hardly. Woolly? That’s more like it.

Next over was Darren Stehr, well known as a NOW magazine and Walmart Advertiser photographer, who tonight was speaking as a member of Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists. We liked what he had to say, but out of fairness we must mention that his head was even shinier than that of Wayne Scott. If we could find one we’d post an image of him but he’s careful which end of a camera he finds himself. One of these will have to do.

Finally, and lucky for him closest to the microphone, was the man who would be king (of ward 29 anyway), pun meister extraordinaire, TCC member, TTC rider and driver of the TTT (Tooker Gomberg Memorial Bikelane) project, Hamish Wilson. Also balding. Did we mention that?

Mike Smith started out by telling the assembled masses that Adamn Giambrone would be leaving early (due to a cross-commitment, not a lack of commitment, Mike was certain). Coming on the heels of the TTC’s public meeting a couple weeks back, where Giambrone, titular head of the TTC, “left early” without hearing the questions and concerns of the TTC riders he’d invited, this news was met with nary a grumble. After all, if the guy can’t be bothered to stick around to hear folks commentiing on stuff he’s actually responsible for, why should we expect him to stick around when he’s already crawled off the sinking ship? That is to say, he’s no longer the head of the shambled cycling committee. As you read here last week, it’s AA Heaps [no, not that AA, this AA –ed.] who’s to be TCC head. Where was Heaps on the august occasion of NOW magazine’s “first town hall” on cycling in Toronto? We don’t know. Perhaps he was “waiting for his appointment to be finalized” Perhaps he was stuck in traffic.

So unfortunately, as Adamn Giambrone spoke, there was a decided chill in the air among the assembled cyclists. At the table in front of us, Angela Bischoff took calls on her cell phone, while beside us, Marty Collier muttered to his neighbour. Was there a hush in the room? Nah. the odd chuckle, certainly.

Ears did perk up momentarily when Giambrone said he would be happy to repaint the stretch of Bloor Street West that crosses his ward with bikelanes, as the first installment of the TakeTheTooker bikelane project. But soon he was droning on with an excuse about why he could not, in fact, “just do it.”

It may have been a result of the lack of interest in what Councillor Giambrone had to say that his speaking style adopted the clipped, “take no prisoners” rhetorical style made famous by the beleagered U.S. politician and former war czar, Donald Rumsfeld. Or it may be that’s what Giambrone really sounds like. We don’t know. In any case, it bored us.

We were relieved when he came to the end of his spiel and said “Have you heard enough from the optimist on the panel? You have. Will you be hearing from the pessimists now? Yes, you will.”

Or words to that effect. What a pain in the patootie.

Danmiel Egan spoke second. It bears mentioning that both Danm and Adamn were fully suited in jacket and tie, but except for that and their shiny domes and the strange resonance in their names, the similarity ends.

Because Danm is a manm who gets things donm [Hey! You drop a jelly blob onm the keyboard or what? –ed.]. He rides a bike, he doesn’t just talk the talk.

He’s also refreshingly frank, on occasion. This was one of those occasions. He told us the bike plan is a 15-round fight, not a 5-round fight–which is lucky, because “we’ve lost the first five rounds.” The good news is, the bike and ped. sections of the transportation dept. have just hired four new full-time staff members.

It may be that in the ten rounds to come we will see more cycling infrastructure built in Toronto.

Wayne Scott took the floor. His main argument was that while the city views cycling as a summertime recreational activity, cyclists are on the roads 365 days a year. But cyclists, according to Wayne, are not a voting block. Advocating for cyclists is not a vote-getter.

Somewhere in the room, Dave Meslin smiled to himself. Things will change…

Tanya had the floor. It’s worth mentioning that Tanya’s famous for one screed in particular at her blog, her “open letter to motorists,” which according to NOW magazine and Car Advertiser has been “translated into several languages and distributed around the world.”

Tanya’s argument is that Toronto is a great city for cycling despite itself, and there are “ever-increasing numbers of cyclists” on the streets despite the pitiful infrastructure. “Everyone knows the car is the worst way to travel in the downtown core” (a message held up again most recently in NOW’s “commuter challenge” published last week). Tanya said it’s the suburbs that need help. This is a view many hold, of course, not least those who actually have cause to ride a bike out there. Finally, Tanya repeated the oft-said truth that in order to improve conditions for cyclists, things must change for car drivers. “Toronto’s streets need a radical redesign, to favour transit over the private automobile.”

Darren Stehr spoke fifth. He alone read from a prepared statement, subsequently republished at Martino’s Bikelane Diary. Unfortunately, nothing we remember him saying is on the published transcript, which raises doubts about anything else we report here. What were we drinking? Steam Whistle. “It’s an Accsheptable Brew(tm) .”

What we remember Darren saying is that if anything is making things better for cyclists in Toronto, it’s not the city leading the way. Mostly, when it happens, it’s the city getting out of the way: of advocacy groups like ARC, Streets for People, the Bike Pirates, and the mythical BEAST (Bike EAST (Everyday Access to Saner Travel)) (formerly Dundas EAST).

To Darren also goes the honour of the most telling comment of the night: he asked “Where is our champion? Cyclists need a champion on city council. Since the death of Dan Leckie, and departure of Jack Layton to the federal stage, there has been a vacuum in local government regarding the needs of cyclists. Where is our champion?”

Shortly after this Adam Giambrone excused himself and departed for his other engagement. A busy man. Close the door on your way out, would ya?

Finally, Hamish grabbed the mike. It remained in his hands for the rest of the evening. “Amanglemated Motoropolis,” “Carrupt” politicians, “tilting at windshields,” and numerous other bon mots fell from Hamish’s practiced lips, encouraged by titters of laughter from the depths of the room. He did not go on about the Gardiner Expressway extension at great length, perhaps because he’d had the satisfaction of a letter in print at the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser on the subject that very day. According to his letter, the interest alone on the money now set aside for the so-called Front Street Extension” could pay for the entire length of the Tooker Gomberg Memorial bikelane (aka “Take the Tooker). At one point he referred to “traffic corridors,” and our notes tell us he missed the opportunity to pun with “CAR-ridders” or the like. He will be hearing from our readers, we are sure.

The floor opened to questions, and we dutifully put up our hand. Unfortunately, Mike Smith recognized ours as the voice who had challenged Adam Giambrone earlier, calling out from the crowd “how about trying narrower streetcars” when the councillor had said there would be no room on Eglinton for bikelanes if there is also to be a dedicated streetcar R.O.W. According to Giambrone, there are no narrower streetcars to be found in all of the modern world, a claim that we loudly doubted. We were also shunned by Mike Smith, perhaps, for our having pointed out that for Adamn, “bicycle” and “transportation” cannot truly be formed into a rational sentence.

Instead, Smith called on Angela Bischoff, who was channeling her pal Jean in Montreal by cellphone. Pretty important stuff: he wanted very badly to tell everyone to go to the Toronto Pubic Space meeting the next day. Some other important questions came up. Many of them could most usefully have been answered by Adam Giambrone, but sadly, he was well and truly gone.

After the meeting, we mingled in the crush at the bar, where we found ourselves in the realm of advice from Dan Egan.

“Don’t alienate Adam Giambrone,” he hinted darkly. “He’s a powerful man. He’s single-handedly turned around the TTC.”

We laughed. “He also single-handedly did nothing with the bikeplan.”

Giambrone, powerful? Sorry, Dan, it’s we who are powerful. We have blobs, after all. What’s Adamn going to do, cut off our computer or

Toronto Bicycle Gabfests Report

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Gabfests are always fun, if you have the time for them.

We like it when we see the same people again and again. We call that “making friends” and suspect they think of it the same way [it’s your tact and diplomacy that’s winning you new friends everyday –ed.].

Last week’s gabfest called for cycloid input into the planned Lake Ontario Park (LOP). We heard about it through a personally-directed email, but it was also announced to the publick at Martin Koob’s Biketoronto blob. Our new friend Tovi Heilbronn, a bicycle-faced road racer who is accustomed to riding time trials on a loop where the new park is to be located, organized it. Then there was the cheerful Tammy Thorne, who was informed that she is not, in fact, a “roadie.” What Tammy is, of course, is a utilitarian cyclist, as well as a cycling advocate who happens to post regular blob notes at Spacing Wire (roadies are bicycle racers who ride “road bikes,” which differentiates them from time trialists, and track bike riders, among others. Who knew?). Two others rounded out the gabfest: a couple ladies from George Brown College who held up last week’s NOW magazine and car advertiser with an announcement of the “bike chain,” a U. of Toronto bike repair clinic that was supposed to be taking place. They left when the conversation got, shall we say, technical.

What we mean is, they left when the gossip turned to people they hadn’t heard of.

Because we really didn’t talk about Lake Ontario Park, did we Tammy and Tovi. Seems Tovi was actually okay with the park as designed. It looks like it’s still going to let him ride in circles. He really didn’t get the fuss about linking LOP to the city at Leslie Street, which was our big concern. Tammy, at least, understood the need to tie the city’s on-street bike network to the carfree park, but as a west-ender needed to be reminded that in fact the “Leslie Street Spit” gets its name from an actual “Leslie Street” that links residential neighbourhoods to the north across Lakeshore Boulevard.

Otherwise, LOP will be lopped.

Nah. This gabfest turned to gossip: like, did you know the head of the Toronto City Cycling Committee (TCCCCC) is to be new Toronto councillor A.A. (Adrian) Heaps? Well, it’s so, and you heard it here first. Seems he responded to the email inviting him to the LOP discussion with the statement he doesn’t want to do anything until his “position” is made official.

We wonder if he gives adamn about bikes–or is he just another Adamn, moving on to more important things.

Gossip. What everyone knows is that Mez is working on a launch of a new group, a “Toronto Cyclist Union” [note: job opportunity –ed.], complete with a membership fee and a magazine, and an agenda to do for cyclists what the dreaded Canadian Automobile Association does for motorists.

While the CAA stands for all that’s evil and banal in the world, TCU will be its opposite. You know: “Replace Capitalism with something nice.” Launch date is sometime in 2008, which will nevertheless give it two years to destroy the power structure of Toronto City Hall as we know it, before the 2010 elections. Tammy is working on the magazine. Others, including Martino and Herb, are to have advisory status.

You read it here first.

Tovi wanted to be involved too, and regaled us with tales of the old Mez he used to know, the Mez who was camp counsellor to Tovi back in the day. Seems Mez’s youthful enterprise as a t-shirt decorator had as its first client Tovi’s summer camp [Now that would be a collector’s item! –ed.].

Could Tovi’s knowledge of Mez’s dark past have anything to do with the fact that Mez won’t return Tovi’s emails?

Allderblob readers want to know.

On our return home the night of the LOP gabfest we heard the news reported here that Ward 30 councillor Paula Fletcher has pulled back from the brink with her Eastern Avenue Bikelane proposal. It seems, strangely enough, she has realized working with her neighbouring councillor, Sandra Bussin (ward 32), would make sense. We are hopeful that if and when the Eastern Avenue Bikelanes get painted, the paint will extend east across Leslie, over to the north-south link proposed for Knox Ave. Knox leads to the “gold-plated” bikelanes on Lakeshore, and would loop back to connect to the Leslie Street Spit in reasonable order.

Of course, we still hold out hope that Leslie itself will be tamed, and one day the family and friends of Isaac Morkel will be able to remember his life on a safer bike ride to grocery stores and to the Leslie Street Spit.

Who’s still with us. Tammy, you there? Tovi? Mom?

For our loyal readers, the main event in the bicycle Gabfests report would have to be Wednesday night at the NOW lounge, where the inaugural “Town Hall” offered for Toronto’s delectation the question: “Where is Toronto on the road to total bikeability?”

If you want the facts of this gabfest you’d be wise to look here or here. But if you want gossip and innuendo, you’ve come to the right place.

‘Cause Allderblob readers want to know.

But you’ll have to wait. Tovi and Tammy, Mez and Adamn. Hang on a while. All this blobbing has tired us out. We’ll get back to you. Promise.

Feeling Lucky (4)

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Some of you may have heard of the illustrious Lancet Medical Journal. Google has. It records 4.6 million hits for those three words.

Now, about three weeks ago we wrote about the Lancet’s ground-breaking study of drugs, licit and otherwise, with the suggestion that “the car” could be examined with the same lens they apply to, for example, tobacco (and heroin). Did it strike a nerve somewhere? Today we’re at 14 on the list of 4.6 million.

Are we proud? Yes we’re proud. Fact is, we’re just this side of falling (in love with ourselves).

But there’s a bigger consideration to be made.

Over a year ago we read of the work of a U.S. police organization, LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) whose sole mandate was to legalize illicit drugs. We read of their work in the Seattle Times and Car Advertiser, in an opinion piece by a 34-year veteran (retired) cop Norm Stamper. Stamper spent his last six years on the force as Seattle’s chief of police. Some time later, Toronto’s NOW Magazine and Car Advertiser picked up the story, in a piece by Gwynne Dyer. [Dyer missed the point about 9/11, and he missed the point about LEAP too, in our opinion–ed.] A google search will find it has not died in the interim.

The critical thing we remember from the Seattle Times and Car Advertiser story was the specific limit put on the freedoms the policing organization proposed: legalize, don’t advertise.

How would “regulated legalization” work? It would:

• Permit private companies to compete for licenses to cultivate, harvest, manufacture, package and peddle drugs.

• Create a new federal regulatory agency (with no apologies to libertarians or paleo-conservatives).

• Set and enforce standards of sanitation, potency and purity.

• Ban advertising.

• Impose (with congressional approval) taxes, fees and fines to be used for drug-abuse prevention and treatment and to cover the costs of administering the new regulatory agency.

• Police the industry much as alcoholic-beverage-control agencies keep a watch on bars and liquor stores at the state level. Such reforms would in no way excuse drug users who commit crimes: driving while impaired, providing drugs to minors, stealing an iPod, assaulting one’s spouse, abusing one’s child. The message is simple. Get loaded, commit a crime, do the time.

Sorry, could someone check that again: we seem to have a bone caught in our paragraph.

What in the world could the banning of advertisements have to do with the control of a legalized commodity?

Calling the Seattle Times and Car Advertiser! As shown by the Lancet Medical Journal, the car is the baddest of the bad drugs out there. Isn’t it really time to ban car ads?

Eastern Avenue motorcycle lanes report

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Here at the blob of blobs, all-der-blob, all de time, we are known to speak sophistry and carry a bigs tick. When we’s peak, you’s lissen.

Lissen. Lissen good.

This sort of arrogance does not go unnoticed, needles to sashay.

For example, in our blobbering about Eastern Avenue and its problematic proposal for cyclists-as-speed-bumps, two weeks ago, we happened to mention the existence of a so-called “Hell’s Angel’s” motorcycle gang club-house on that street. We pointed this out by way of suggesting that “motorcycle lanes” might be more appropriate road improvements on Eastern, since no self-propelled cycloid we knew had any reason to ride the street.

Unfortunately, in our naive posting on the Hell’s Angel’s, we linked to their website.

Immediately, we noticed two things: one was a surge in the number of spam messages to the ol’ blob. We went from 30 messages a day to 150 or more. The other was a significant lowering of the tenor of said messages: the proportion of tramadol-type offers dropped; that of tranny-doll-type ones went stratospheric.

Unfortunately for the biker-types, the attention brought to them by our acknowledgment of their existence was their undoing. A couple days ago the Ontario Provincial Police pounced on them, knocking a hole through the washroom wall by way of finding entrance and removing their lovely skull-pture to be sold to the highest bidder on Craigslist.

Watch for it.

The good news is our spam messages have sunk back to normal.

The bad news is Walmart is going to take the removal of the Hell’s Angels from Eastern as an invitation for their own form of “gang-related activity.”

And finally, speaking of people who need to lissen, lissen good, we note that Toronto Councillor Paula Fletcher (ward 30) has pulled back from the brink with her original Eastern Avenue bikelane proposal. Word is she has gone to the neighbouring councillor, Sandra Bussin (ward 32), asking for cooperation. She wants to extend the proposed bikelanes across the dreaded Leslie Street to the East, where it would link with proposed bikelanes on Knox, leading south to Lakeshore bikelanes and north to the bikelanes proposed for Greenwood.

Toronto Star and Car Advertiser “Wheels” section: it’s not just for “motors” anymore

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

If there’s one thing that can be said to bother us here at the ALLDERBLOB, it’s the underlying assumptions that permeate society and the media.

Take the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser [please. –ed.]. Each week, in addition to the plethora of full-page ads for global-warming machinery spread throughout the paper, it wraps its Saturday issue in a forty-page celebration of all that’s wrong and ugly in the world: the so-called “Wheels” section.

“So-called?” Of course–because while a lot of things have wheels in this world, you’ll never read about one in this section unless it also has a motor.

Why not call it “Motors?” Guess we’ll never know, now.

Because this past Saturday someone slipped a fast one past the editor. They published a Washington Post and Car Advertiser story about a bicycle rental program in the French cities of Paris and Lyon that included such nuggets as:

A recent study analyzed different trips in the city “with a car, bike, taxi and walking, and the bikes were always the fastest.”

Our friends in the International Bicycle Conspiracy say more than wheels are going to be rolling at the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser in the wake of this scandalous slip-up. Perhaps Jacob Richler, formerly of Toronto’s National Post and Car Advertiser, could find himself a cushy new job once current “Wheels” editor Mark Richardson is “dealt with.”