Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, disaster, government, Life, news, Parenting, politics, school, Toronto, travel, ttc

Can This Eglinton LRT Be Built Any Sooner?!?


Apparently the Eglinton Light Rapid Transit (LRT) aka should have been a subway, can be built faster, but in doing so, it’s found an even newer way to inconvenience the residents who live so close to it.

Forgetting the fact that they started this thing in 1971, okay, it started in summer of 2013, and that residents near the construction have been besieged by dust, noise, a significant increase in street traffic and near death experiences trying to drive, or walk in the community, but the roads themselves are falling apart.  Not only are the roads full of potholes, and one-way streets, speed limits and stop signs all “optional”, but as a resident, trying to get out to Eglinton Avenue or Bathurst Street has become nearly impossible.

Well, now that’s going to get even better!

This morning I received this lovely email letting me know that Bathurst Street north of Eglinton is going to be closed for 7-months!!!

GASP… Or is that GULP.

You see, the Cedervale community and to some extent, the Forest Hill community, have very few options when it comes to getting to Bathurst Street or even Eglinton Avenue.  For the past 5-years, we have given up on getting to Allen Road, because that is a 20 minute endeavor in stress and frustration.

The only street going north which has a traffic light, Glen Cedar Avenue, is backed up all the time and doesn’t allow cars to go straight or left in morning or evening rush hour.  Even if that changed, Eglinton Avenue heading towards Allen Road cannot handle all the cars so Glen Cedar would become a parking lot.

The other street that heads north is Hilltop road, which is steep, narrow, and when the Kings and Queens in the community stop to get their Starbucks and leave their vehicles on the road, it renders that road undriveable.

Not that getting out to Bathurst and waiting in that traffic is a boatload of fun either, but it means all the cars who can’t go north on Bathurst will swoop into Cedarvale and race through this community ignoring all traffic laws and the fact that there are a LOT of children walking to and from school.

This closure could start next week.

SIGH.

I can’t wait until it’s completed, to be so perfectly honest.

I’ve have 7 flat tires, lost 2 rims, and the traffic delays have brought in “people” who stand where the traffic crawls to go car to car seeking handouts.

I just hope at the end of the day it’s worth it, and that traffic on Eglinton doesn’t suffer the way it does on St.Clair Avenue (one major intersection south) which is impossible to drive.

Here is the email:

 Bathurst Street Closure

Beginning in Mid-December 2018, Bathurst Street will be closed for one block between Eglinton Avenue West and Wembley Road to accelerate construction of Forest Hill Station.

By closing Bathurst Street for seven months, the duration of the construction in the roadway is nearly cut in half. The intersection will be back to normal by June 2019.

You’re invited to an upcoming Open House at Forest Hill United Church. Come out to speak with experts about station progress, construction methodology, and ask questions about the upcoming road closure.

When: 

Tuesday December 11, 2018
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Where: 

Forest Hill United Church
2 Wembley Road, Toronto

 

Parking available at Hilltop Road Green P. 

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Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, disaster, family, Linus, news, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Terror in Toronto – April 23rd, 2018.


Dbg_PgeWAAES_ggYesterday was a very sad day in the City of Toronto.  My hometown.  My City.  The 5th largest city in North America, and it happened on Yonge Street, the longest street in the world which connect Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe.

The section of Yonge Street that this occurred on was from Finch Avenue to Sheppard Avenue.  I grew up, and lived at Yonge and Finch for almost 29-years.  I worked just north of Yonge and Sheppard for the Canada Revenue Agency for almost 11-years, and my mother and sister both live at Yonge and Sheppard – my sister works on Yonge Street as well.  This area I know very, very well.  It currently is predominately a hotspot for Korean and Persian residents and businesses.

Yesterday, for whatever reason, a 25-year-old male from North of Toronto, decided to rent a cube van and drive on the sidewalk down Yonge Street running over innocent people, as well as mailboxes, fire hydrants, lamp posts and anything else that was in his way.

As of the time I am writing this, 10 innocent Torontonians have lost their lives, and another 10-15 are in hospital fighting for their lives / receiving treatment.

If you have seen the video of the arrest of the driver of the van, you will understand what makes Toronto so amazing, and why our police are the best.  The unknown officer approached the driver, who whipped out his cell phone as if it were a gun and pointed it at the officer.  The officer did not flinch, but kept approaching the driver.

The officer yelled to the driver, “Get down”.

The driver yelled to the officer, “Shoot me.  Kill me.  I have a gun in my pocket.”

The officer kept approaching the driver, slowly, gun drawn and yelling, “Get down.  You’re going to get shot. Get down.”

The driver dropped his phone and was arrested.

He did not have a gun.  Guns are not allowed in Canada.

Amazing, caught on video footage of an incredibly brave officer!  Toronto Proud!

What else made me very proud of this city, and the people who live here is the countless stories of people rushing to the aid of the victims within seconds of the incident (which occurred over a period of 25-minutes) and administering CPR, and comforting the people as they lay in the streets badly wounded or dying.

Residents handed out water, supported each other, hugged those who needed to be held, and helped others to safety.

Any amazing reaction by an amazing community in an amazing city.  It brings tears to my eyes to know that in a time of crisis and unknown that people from all walks of life, of all ethnic backgrounds, of all ages, sexes, and from all races, religions, etc., realized that Canadians are special people and we need to support each other.

That is what makes Canada great.

That is what makes Toronto great.

Growing up in such a multi-cultural city is a blessing as it allows you the opportunity to look at people for what they are… people.  They are your neighbours, your friends, your colleagues, and your community.

Our city was under siege and our citizens reacted.

First responders, hospital staff, and police were incredible as usual, and everyone held their breath expecting news of this attack being a terrorist attack which would be adding to a horrific event, but it appears it was not terrorism.

News unfolding today reveals a man who was uncomfortable around women, who needed extra help in school and was unable to adjust to life as an adult.  Without confirmation, it tells a story of a man who was rejected by women and who felt the best way to deal with it was not to get help, but to inflict terror on innocent people.

I’m sick.

Words cannot express the sadness I am feeling for the families of the 10-people who will not be coming home from work today, or from their stroll on a beautiful sunny day.  Their lives will be changed forever as will the witnesses, the first responders and anyone who saw the footage on TV or the Net.

How do we prevent these from happening again?

I don’t know.

I feel that this man’s parents should have gotten him help.

I feel like they should have known he was dealing with these issues and they should have worked with professionals to address his feelings, his anger issues, and his rage.

Canada has socialized medicine.  It’s not like it would have costs the family a lot of money in appointments or medication…

Parents, it’s our responsibility, is it not, to help our children develop and contribute to society, not destroy it?

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims, and to those in hospital, we wish a speedy recovery.

Yesterday my city was under attack, and the people of this city made me so proud to be a Torontonian!

UPDATE: The drive has been charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Posted in Community, family, government, news, politics, Toronto, ttc, urbandaddyblog

How The Eglinton Avenue Re-Development Message Got Lost: It’s NOT About You!


This was a very troubling week for The Urban Daddy and our community.  An apparent sudden decision by the municipal government here in Toronto had thrust our neighbourhood into chaos and as citizens moved into action our efforts to seek the truth were suddenly derailed by the actions of one man – whom I will not mention by name, nor show his picture – who feels his 15 minutes of fame are far more important than the residents and taxpayers in this area.

It all started with a news report on CP24 alerting residents in Toronto that Toronto City Council was going to vote on the narrowing of Eglinton Avenue from Allen Road to Bathurst Street from 5 lanes, to just 2 lanes, so that the sidewalks could be widened, trees and artwork placed on the strip and bike lanes added.

All of this seems very nice, and very practical, and as a resident in Toronto, specifically someone who lives in between those streets and who is already impacted by the Eglinton Crosstown LRT / subway, this information came as quite a shock to me, and apparently to many of my neighbours.

This strip as it currently stands is terrible – construction aside – as a result of many one-way streets, and the absolute lack of traffic on the strip.  At night-time, the street is aglow with “MASSAGE” signs and very few people walk in this area at night because, frankly, there is nothing to walk to.  If the goal was to make this strip feel more “European”, then maybe Toronto City Council might want to think about the 3 months a year in which weather would comply with this drastic transformation.

In addition with St. Clair Avenue already being down to one lane in parts as a result of the transit right-of-way, doing the same to Eglinton Avenue, the next major road north, makes even less sense.  Eglinton is the end of Allen Road, an “expressway” of sorts which helps traffic flow north and south from Wilson Avenue without traffic lights, but with a lot of traffic.  People use Allen Road to head north to the 401 highway, and the delays have always been long and frustrating with or without construction, one could imagine it would only get much worse.

Let me at this point identify that I am pro every method of transportation.  Cars, bikes, walking, public transit are all great.  If I could take public transit everyone in Toronto, I would, where it makes financial sense.  If I could bike safely, I would, and my kids would too.  But we are not there yet, and don’t appear to be for quite a long time, so in the meantime, doing anything to slow down traffic does not make sense at all.  But that is my opinion…

So where is traffic going to go, if it cannot move along Eglinton Avenue, or St. Clair?  Well the side streets, of course.  We are already seeing a huge increase in traffic as a result of the construction, and in front of my house, for example, there is a stop street which very few cars actually stop at, some do not even try, and they fly through without even braking.  The “30km” traffic limit is always ignored, and speed bumps only cause a momentary delay as cars race off after passing them.  Even one-way streets are ignored, and it’s going to get worse.

But what about the kids?

This community, Cedarvale, which lies just north of Forest Hill, has a ton of children, and these children cannot safely walk in this community as it already stands.  Is Toronto city Council’s shortsighted view of the war on cars overlooking or ignoring the impact this re-development will have on the children in the community who are already scared to cross streets because vehicles travel very fast and do not follow the street signs when using Cedarvale as a short-cut to avoid the delays on Eglinton?

It would appear so.

When Toronto Mayor Rob Ford came to speak to the community about this issue, a couple of says after his return from rehab, I met some community members who lived on the other side of Eglinton Avenue in the next phase of this narrowing of Eglinton were just as shocked as I was, and who had put together a traffic study, which can be found right here; (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjP4HWMeieo&feature=youtu.be)

Adding to this frustration is that we learned that the City Planner had approved high density building along this strip with the widening of the laneways behind these buildings (which would require residential houses to be removed) to accommodate the traffic from these buildings.

More construction.

More traffic chaos.

Has the city planner, or city council ever been to these neighbourhoods?  $700K bungalows, and $1.5 million houses are common place in Cedarvale, much higher south and east of here, and a lot of families reside here who are certainly not going to need the extra sidewalk to walk to a massage parlour, a Whole Foods maybe, but clearly no one asked the residents what they want or need.  To look at the map of the area and declare it ripe for additional density of short-sighted.  This is not the right community for that.

Mayor Ford came to speak to us, and his message was lost, because of the actions of man who ran across the street, through frustrated traffic, so he could take off his shirt, pull out signs from his garbage bag and stop the community from hearing the Mayor’s views on this proposal, or to allow us to ask questions of the Mayor about what he knows about this plan.

The media at the event helped even less, but asking questions of the Mayor with disdain, like “How is it that you don’t know about this vote?  Is it not your job to do so?” when members of the community also knew nothing about this proposal, and then by diverting the attention to the few who took off their shirts for their own 15-minutes of fame.

If you watched any of the footage on TV, you probably heard me, and several others yelling for these 3 protestors to “shut up” and “let the Mayor talk” and while we did get a very short moment of quiet from them, it was when the guy yelling “resign” over and over again elbowed the Mayor’s campaign leader in the head while trying to get right behind the Mayor with his sign.

To his credit, the Mayor’s staffers did not respond or get as annoyed as the members of the community did, although, the police stepped in which this protestor yelled “don’t assault me” to the Mayor’s staff after apparently being kicked (I did not see this – I was recording the events) but the police decided to not charge either person, and the protestor was allowed to return and annoy the mayor and the residents.

The result of his actions were that the message of this proposal got lost.  The community were livid, the Mayor frustrated and the only person who got any attention was the guy with the sign, who proceeded to tell his story to everyone and anyone about how the Mayor lied, and how he works in a flexible position where he can follow the Mayor around and yell at him.

I waited after almost everyone left, and listened to his story evolve and change.  It was not about Eglinton Avenue and the residents or about traffic, but about someone who wanted to talk about how his was kicked, and assaulted, and how much support he has.

“Me Me Me”.

But it’s not about him.

It never was about him.

I looked at my video and saw a different unfolding of events which threw some key details of his story into dispute, and I shared that with the media and with the other Mayoral candidates teams so that they can be aware of the true intent of this individual.  He’s taking a very serious situation of an unwell person struggling with an addiction problem, who took the time to enter rehab and is now back trying to do his job, and he made it about him.

At the end of the day, we all lose.

As for the proposal along Eglinton….  I have no idea.

My message to Toronto City Council, Councillor Joe Mihevc, and the guy with the signs who likes to take off his shirt and disrupt important discussions impacting people their families and their community, is this:  It’s not about you.  It’s not about your legacy or your vision.  Leave Eglinton alone.  Don’t force another St. Clair on us because you want to be on TV.

Toronto City Council, don’t waste your time looking to spend money you do not have.  Clean up the area instead.  Fix the sidewalks, make sure the lighting is working, that dogs are on leash near schools, that the intersections are clearly marked and are safe (Ava and Strathern, for example), step up safety in the area and PLEASE, get rid of the raccoons!

Make the area safe and people will use it.

But Leave Eglinton Avenue alone.

And if you have a problem with the Mayor, address it the way everyone else does… At the ballot box.