Friday, June 25, 2010

Exclusive: Eliminator-RC saved from Disreaeli expropriation

Re: 120 Higgins Ave wpg mb


I got conformation today that the city has adjusted their design and will not need to expropriate me from 120 Higgins Ave.

They will only need a piece of my property .

Thanks to the hard work from Sam Katz , Glen Laubenstein and Alex Robinson.

Mike Gobeil

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Consultants" forgot to bring surveys, Parking Authority forgot to show up: Osborne Biz open house reveals Roslyn Road next target of bike lobby

From: Kim the Traffic Reporter

On June 23rd an open house for the Osborne St. parking study was held at 103-B Osborne, in the courtyard area of the Osborne Biz. Though if you didn't know where you were going, it was a little difficult to find.

The open house ran from 4-7 PM with three consultants in attendance as well as the member from the Osborne Biz. Attendance for this event was abysmal with approximately 10 to 12 people attending.

Not one person from the Winnipeg Parking Authority was in attendance to answer any parking questions, nor to explain any of the parking issues. The consultants at the open house were unable to answer any of those questions and in fact I ended up answering parking questions which were asked.
I was told that the Parking Authority would likely not be in attendance at the open house planned for July 1st.

* This study is a neighbourhood study on parking issues in the Osborne Village area with the cost of the study being shared by both the Osborne Biz and the Winnipeg Parking Authority. The consulting firm handling the study, including the online survey is MMM Group.

According to David Patman, the project manager with MMM Group, the purpose of this study is to get feedback from the community on parking issues in the Osborne area. Mr. Patman indicated that approximately 480 people have filled out the online survey. Some of the comments from the survey did indicate that there were problems with the survey as well as some being happy about the study on parking.

* I noted that none of the consultants actually had the survey with them. In fact there were no printed copies available for people to fill out. I spoke with a number of people all of whom indicated they had not seen the survey and in fact for some they didn't have internet access.

I asked Patman why there weren't any printed copies, the response was "I didn't think of it", also indicating that in retrospect they should have printed some copies of the survey. However, Patman took people's names and address down to mail them a copy of the survey to fill out. Patman did say that for the open house on July 1 they would have the surveys available. One of the other consultants also indicated that perhaps they could have had a laptop with wireless service available for people to fill out the survey online at the open house.

* One concept which is being considered for the area by the Parking Authority are meters or paid parking, Patman did say that it's not definite to put in meters, but are there to get feedback from the public, though he has been hearing from people they don't want on-street paid parking.

* One person attending the open house was Gareth from Bike to the Future who, according to the City website, sits on the Active Transportation Advisory Committee and of course as per usual bike lanes came up.

The issue of Roslyn Road was raised by one person Jean Hirt who is very upset about parking being removed from Roslyn.

Gareth said that this would be good for the area as it would prevent cut through traffic and the area would be calmed. However, Ms. Hirt disagreed particularly as a new condo development is to take place in the area and that parking would become a significant issue. One thought which was put forward was to extend the sidewalks to make a multi-use path, however, land would be required from the residents in the area, meaning expropriation. This however, is just an idea and no plans at this point in time are in effect to make this happen.

Ms. Hirt
had written a letter to Mayor Katz regarding the proposed changes to Roslyn Rd and the lack of consultation saying she "didn't know there had been open houses for bike lanes". Mayor Katz's office sent back a letter indicating the Mayor was looking into the issue. The letter had been CC'ed to Jenny Gerbasi. As well, Ms. Hirt had sent an email to Kevin Nixon the city's Active Transportation Coordinator several weeks ago, but has yet to hear back from him.

* I asked the Osborne Biz if there were paid parking would the Biz allow the Parking Authority to extend the hours and hike the rates such as what had occurred at the Health Sciences Centre, the answer was a very firm NO and that "we would fight that tooth and nail".

* Paper was laid out for people to indicate their wishes for the area, yet with such a small attendance, one has to ask why? Even the consultants indicated that this open house at this time was not needed, however, Dave Hill of the Winnipeg Parking Authority wanted it.

As per usual with open houses dealing with civic issues has been a complete and utter failure. With the attendance at about 10 people, the question must be asked, how can this be representative of the community? Even the consultants have to agree on that issue.

It will be interesting to see what response this study will receive on Canada Day where they will be set up at the corner of Stradbrook and Osborne in the City lot. As I was informed, there should be paper copies of the survey and perhaps a computer for the online version.

We shall see if the Parking Authority actually sends a person in to answer any parking questions or if I once again shall have to do their job for them.


Kim's Thoughts:

1) Putting paid parking into this area is not going to resolve any issues. This area is a high density residential community. All anyone needs to do is pay $25.00/year to get a residential permit, then those people can sit at a meter for as long as they wish, which is huge flaw in the Parking Authorities residential permit program. Also, if someone plugs the meter all day, pays by phone or has a meter permit, again, a vehicle can sit for the day. How then is turnover achieved? It's not.

So with people sitting all day at a meter, the parking situation has not been alleviated, but instead they will rake in money and still have a problem.

2) Another thing that troubled me is the by-laws. Because there was no representation from the Parking Authority, ideas were put forth that simply aren't legal (though that's never stopped Dave Hill in the past), but the point is, nobody was there to provide answers. All the ideas in the world won't matter if they violate the laws, which must be applied fairly and equally to all everywhere in the City.

3) This open house was a waste. I ended up spending most of my time chatting with the consultants on a variety of subjects. Even the consultants had to admit that mail outs were a waste of time. That this method doesn't work. Yet does the survey really work? Only about 480 people have taken the survey, now does this include repeats? But it would appear that getting the message out for this open house was as effective as that of the Active Transportation open houses, which is to say, not very.

5) Of course, Bike to the Future has to put it's two cents into the picture. How can we get people out of their cars. Well as one consultant admitted, people don't buy without a car which is why some malls and big box stores have such big parking lots in the middle of nowhere and poor transit service.

Doesn't matter that residents on say Roslyn Rd were out of the loop about this whole bike lane, what about Nassau? Heck residents won't even be able to take a direct route home anymore. But that's ok because it's going to cut down on cut through traffic.

Oh wait, we can increase bike riders by expropriating residents yards so we can have a multi-use pathway..isn't that great?

Doesn't matter that the Osborne area has a large percentage of seniors who can't ride a bike. I have to ask, how are some of these seniors going to be picked up by handi-transit, family members etc to go out? What about home care workers, meals on wheels for shut-ins. Oh wait, those meals can be carried in from another street.

Of course what has this to do with the parking issues in the Osborne area? Good question. It doesn't at this point. And at least one of the consultants was able to bring the conversation back on track.

6) Is there any one solution that will ease the parking issues in this area? No. Is a parkade necessary. I think yes. Should it be run by the Parking Authority, well I'm guessing anyone who has heard my reports can guess the answer to that one ... NO.

7) Will there be a larger turnout for Canada Day. Well yes. Thousands of people will be on Osborne so that's not really a fair representation of the community as there will be many who are there only for the celebrations. But again, if the Parking Authority doesn't at least provide someone who has at least a rudimentary knowledge of parking for the event, then how are questions supposed to be answered?

Again I have to say this, the event was a monumental waste of time and resources and three hours of my life I'll never get back again.

See you Canada Day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Parking Authority cash grab - majority of parking meters improperly collecting weekend fees

An audit of pay stations in the Exchange, Downtown and Health Sciences areas has found that a clear majority are taking payment from parkers outside of legally prescribed times - this despite repeated assurances of the award-winning Winnipeg Parking Authority that their vaunted technology prevents such after-hours fee charging from happening.

Kim the Traffic Reporter found:

* Payments are being accepted outside of the legal hours the WPA can charge for parking,
including taking payment on Sundays, such as the 300 block of Ross Avenue, which Coun. Jeff Browaty was told months ago was a glitch and would be fixed. Not only was it not fixed, the number of machines that did so steadily increased.

* Contradictory signage is resulting in confused WPA officers writing up parking tickets for "no receipt" after 3.30 on Saturdays,
when parking ought to be free. Many of the victims of that cash-grab are visitors to the Women's Pavilion on Notre Dame Avenue, who only buy time until 3.30 PM as instructed by the street signs and are swooped down upon by the patrol within 15 minutes.

* The restrictions placed upon the WPA by the street signs, such as 'paid parking until 3.30 PM', are being illegally over-ridden by the WPA trick on motorsists. Miniscule stickers on the front of the pay station no one reads, listing a later time ie "17.30" (5.30 PM), is being used to justify tickets being issued.

* Over half a dozen areas have signs issues so those streets are unenforceable.

* In May, the WPA began programming pay stations and designating Exchange District streets such as Adelaide as 12 hour parking areas, requiring payment of up to $8.00, just like 300 block Ross Avenue. These were also set-up to REQUIRE payment before 9 AM and after 5.30 PM contrary to the city bylaw.

However within a week, all these machines were reverted to their previous 2 hour limit state, with city crews scrambling to change the street signage back again after having just changed it to read "12H'.

Kim the Traffic reporter reports:

Improper programming- the Sunday rip-off:
Here is the tally of meters I checked on 3 separate Sundays to see if they would issue tickets:
114 total of meters checked.
68 either issued receipts or was willing to accept payment = 60%
36 meters said "no charge" when payment was attempted
10 meters were broken 8.5%

All meters checked were located in the Exchange, East/West and West Alexander areas. The meters checked were a random sampling where more than one meter per street existed.

Improper programming- the Saturday rip-off
The total count of meters checked regarding the rush hour zones on Saturdays accepting payment after 3:30 was:
30 paystations in the downtown area.
6 meters around the HSC area .
3 machines out of order

For a grand total of 36 meters accepting payment after 3:30PM on Saturdays.

Saturday sign conflicts making pay stations unenforceable:

* I have checked every rush hour street in the downtown and exchange area. Again, this is a random sampling of machines, however, I checked multiple machines on the same streets.
All the signs read: paid parking 09:00-15:30 Mon-Sat.

This is unenforceable as the traffic devise (signage) allows paid parking ONLY until 3:30 on Saturdays.

* On Balmoral next to the U of W has interesting signage.
In the morning from 7 to 9 and the afternoons from 3:30 to 5:30 Mon-Fri, this street becomes on long loading zone. From 9 to 3:30 it is paid parking, the signage reads paid parking 09:00-15:30 Mon-Sat.
On the meters a tiny sticker indicates paid parking from 9-17:30 (5.30 PM) on Saturdays. Again in conflict with the signage.
Confusing I know. First I saw these signs, I was confused.

None of the above meters either on Balmoral or in any rush hour zone after 3:30pm on a Saturday are enforceable. The traffic devices trump any signs on the paystations. Says so in the Highway Traffic Act. (can provide the act section and wording if needed).

Some of the trouble spots I came across in all my travels include:

- On Ellen between Alexander and Pacific I came across a paystation with NO signage. A few weeks after first checking that paystation I checked again, there was still no signage.

- On Pacific from Lily to Martha there is conflicting signage, one sign saying paid parking until 17:30 (5:30pm) the other sign states paid parking until 15:30 (3:30pm). I also came across the same signage issues on Pacific from Paulin to Ellen. Conflicting signage, one sign reads monday to friday, the other sign reads monday to saturday. Both these locations are unenforceable due to the conflict.

- Additional signage issues include Waterfront from James to Pacific. One sign indicates unpaid time restricted parking. A previous check had the same area with two such signs, upon a return trip noted that one sign now reads paid parking, while the other sign is still a time restricted unpaid zone. Unenforceable.

- On Galt the entire street has been shut down to parking with temporary no stopping signs put into place due to street construction on Duncan. The meters which SHOULD be hooded are not.
The machines are still accepting payment. This was on a Sunday when I checked, so if they are accepting on a Sunday, they will accept during the week. The only ticket that can be issued is a no stopping tag.

- I found 4 streets with paystation signage but no meters. The meters were located either across the street or on a completely different street, such as:

James at the corner of Amy, the signage is there, but no paystation. Rupert between King and Princess has the same issue as does Notre Dame between Albert and Arthur. ALL UNENFORCEABLE, as the WPA cannot force anyone to cross a street to buy a parking receipt.

- A further troublesome spot is on the north side of Logan between King and Princess.

One of the paystation signs still remains, however I was told that an accident had taken out the signage and the meter had been removed. This area is troublesome because of the vehicles or rather the size of the vehicles that travel in this area.

The large vehicles such as tractor trailer units, buses and most importantly, Fire Trucks cannot make the turn off King onto Logan if there are vehicles parked near the corner. Which is why there is normally such a long no stopping section in this location. I have been told by people in the area that buses are having a very difficult time making the turn and at times must back-up to try to make that turn.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Exclusive: Bike lobby "counts" for Sherbrook exaggerated by 300%

The TGCTS bike count, conducted by Kim the Traffic Reporter from Monday June 14 - Friday June 18, was planned as a 4.5 hour per day rush hour count, or 22.5 total hours. (7-9 AM, 3-5.30 PM)

There were 50 minutes of afternoon time missed due to an interview, and 30 minutes not counted one morning due to heavy rain, so it's a net of 21 hours total for the week of data collection by TGCTS.

By comparison, according to City AT Co-ordinator Kevin Nixon, the bike lobby counted 2 hours per day, a grand total of 10 hours in a week, and their methodology, unaudited or unverified by Nixon or anyone at city hall, involved multiplying their 2 hour count by 5, for a 10 hour daily estimate.

BTTF claimed 1000 ("2000 per day on Sherbrook and Maryland Streets") in their petition to the City Centre Community Committee, or an average of 100 per hour, each and every hour, for 10 hours.

TGCTS did more than twice as many hours of weekly bike count data collection compared to BTTF.

AM PM Rush hour totals
Bikes on the road: 241 112 353
Bikes on the sidewalk: 92 168 260
Total amount of bikes: 333 280 613
Total amount of vehicles: 12 243 11 101 23 344

* In our count, Sherbrook Street averaged only 70 cyclists on the road -- for the approx 4.5 hour daily of rush hour.

* If we multiplied our results by 2.4 ( to get a 10 hour estimate of daily users, to match the BTTF methodology) , our daily estimate would be 168, or 17 per hour.

And as we only found an average of 17 road cyclists per hour in rush hours, it is very unlikely the rush hour pace would be continued in the off-hours.

100 riders per hour (BTTF) vs. 17 in the TGCTS count.
"1000" riders per day (BTTF) vs 168 in the TGCTS count.

What is wrong with that picture?

If we were to add in the sidewalk riders, which apparently BTTF did not even count, that would be another 260, or 52 per day. Multiplied by 2.4 would give us a 10 hour daily count of sidewalk users is = 125 per day. Many of them were children or area residents who would never use the roadway due to age or infirmity.

Even if we add the 168 road riders with all the 125 sidewalk riders, the total would only be 293 bikes per day, or 703 cyclists less than the bike lobby claim of 1000 bike users on Sherbrook.

It is that claimed figure of 1000 users, a 341% exaggeration, which city officials seem to be relying on to justify spending $228,000 to satisfy the "demand" for a bike lane on Sherbrook.

This is proceeding after failing to consult area businesses, landlords, or residents, or the city bothering to have an accurate bike count to ensure there is a true demand for the service and value for the tax dollars expended.

70 cyclists per day in rush hours, compared to 4670 vehicles in the same time period, means the city wants to take away parking for taxpaying residents and businesses for 1.5% of the road users of Sherbrook, regardless of how it will affect area businesses and hundreds of tenants and residents.

MMM consultants told Belinda Squance of the Ellice Cafe at a special meeting on Friday that the bike counts did not matter. But Mayor Katz told TGCTS that the numbers had to justify the conversion of busy traffic lanes.

The question for Mayor Katz and city council is, even if the user numbers double as a result of adding the bike lane, is it good public policy to disrupt and inconvenience the West End for what would then be 3% of road users --who are commuters and do not spend any significant time or money in the neighborhood?

As I sat at Sherbrook and Ellice by the Ellice Cafe, I noted that the vast majority of those riding on the sidewalks were area residents. Though some commuters did use those sidewalks. In the afternoons, many of the riders on the sidewalks were kids.

On Wednesday, I finally saw a couple of cyclists stop at the Ellice Cafe, I even watched them handcuff their bikes to a tree, yup it was the Police. The only cyclists (other than residents) I've seen stop in at the Cafe.

I also took note that on everyday including the inclement weather on Friday, there were FAR more cyclists on Ellice travelling in both directions than had been on Sherbrook. Though I did not do a count, I can say that I saw cyclists, commuter as well as residents more often than I did on Sherbrook.

Each morning there is a group of 2 to 4 gentlemen who get together for breakfast, none of these people live in the West End, in fact one of the men with whom I spoke (he has a mint condition 1955 Studebaker) said he had been coming to the Ellice Cafe since it first opened
. I did not see ANY of the commuter cyclists either during the morning or afternoon stop in at the Cafe or any of the local businesses. It would also appear that the Ellice Cafe is a very safe place to be at about 8:30 in the morning, the Police were there every morning I did my counts.

This study was done in 5 minute increments, breakdowns are available for time as well as which side of the street/sidewalk was travelled by the bike riders.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thirty years later, the story of my first match

Today is the 30th anniversary of my first professional wrestling bout. The following article was originally published online in 2001 when I lived in Los Angeles. Since that time I have had many other excellent adventures involving the wrestling industry, including producing events in LA and Vancouver such as the book launch for One Ring Circus; reviving the Canada Day Rough House Rasslin' shows in Winnipeg; and producing the Kerry Brown memorial event last fall.

Let it be said, I love what is now my hobby, but for most of my adult life was my passion.

In the last 9 years I have also met and/or worked with and/or interviewed stars such as Dan 'The Beast' Severn, AJ Styles, Bryan Danielson, Kenny Omega, Steve Corino, Samoa Joe, Nick Bockwinkel, Dutch Savage, Jim Brunzell and Canada's Greatest Athlete, Gene Kiniski. I was also lucky enough to appear on CBC TV's Dragons Den in October 2007 and set a record audience of 670,000 with Dirty Money Shaun Myall and Notorious T.I.D. pitching our Power Pro Wresting TV series.

I consider myself very lucky to have had these opportunities and adventures. My deep
Publish Post
est thanks to all my brothers and sisters in the wrestling industry. And may God bless the memory of Adam Firestorm Dykes, whom I miss every single day.

My First Match
by Marty Goldstein on 2001-06-13

June 18th is the anniversary of my first match. Boy, 21 years flies by when you have spent it on ice roads, fighting corrupt commissions, bailing your buddies out of jams, and generally tilting at windmills.

My life had been tossed upside down after my father died 2 months after I graduated high school. I ducked out of going to university for a year, and then further enraged my poor mother by going to little U. of Winnipeg, a liberal arts haven for the directionless, instead of the U. of Manitoba, which had both a law and medical faculty.

Worse yet, I got into a bad car wreck (my first of 10 broken beaks) with the Catholic girl I ended up marrying , and so by May of 1980 I was broke, engaged, estranged from my family and looking for work as a sportscaster. Enter Walter Shefchyk.

The Outlaw Promoter

I was introduced to Walter by Vince De Luca. Vince was my mom's hairstylist, and if you think that's funny, he wasn't the only Italian hairstylist/pro wrestler in Winnipeg. But his old friend, Tony Condello, had pretty much given up on running his West Four Wrestling Alliance (WFWA) against Verne Gagne's monolith AWA. Vince, who as a young competitor had worked with stars such as Bobo Brazil, was now a mainstay of New Brand Wrestling, which was getting a show on local cable and needed a host.

Now, in those days, there was no such thing as "competition", it was "opposition", and to an American like Verne, a local bunch that drew maybe 400 on a good day was a big threat. Verne had carefully cultivated the image of pro wrestling in his likeness, and was a master at inviting small regional stars to his TV and then having them not just squashed but stretched beyond recognition. Ask Joe Palardi.

That way, a poster headlining say Bobby Jones and his son Larry would be viewed by the average fan as a low-level knock off. After all, how good could a show be if the main event had an Arena opening match loser and his son was best known for lying about being a 76 Canadian Olympian who was beaten so badly in a TV match by Billy Robinson that Rodger Kent was screaming for the ref to stop the bout.

Walter, who had started in 1977 for Al Tomko when Al did tours of rural Manitoba out of his BC All Star wrestling base, had split from Condello, and with Chris Pepper had built a following by doing 3 things. One, the bouts were long (35 minutes) and competitive. Two, he promoted them as shoot/amateur bouts, (he didn't pay the boys, therefore it was not professional wrestling, it was 'pro-style' wrestling), a subtle and clever difference ensuring the very corrupt Manitoba Boxing and Wrestling Commission could not easily intervene, despite Gagne's whining. Thirdly, his guys were hard workers who were not readily identified as jobbers for Verne's TV.

"Uncle Vince" was one of his stars, although he was not really that skilled or a tough guy. He got Walter to call me and based on my stint on college radio, I was invited to a meeting one night at New Brand's home base, the Chalmers Rec Centre. Walter was getting a 5 week tryout on cable and needed the show to stick, as in that era cable was very basic, there was only 12 broadcast channels, and only 3 local.

I Was Easily Led

For myself, I needed to use this to get a real media job. No one was getting rich working at this level. I was reasonably athletic and certainly knowledgable about pro wrestling for that era of sports fan, and Walter really wanted me to wrestle (for the record, he never discussed a training fee at all). However,my ambition was to become a broadcaster, not the next Salvatore Martino (then a big star for Tomko's TV, later more famous as Salvatore Bellomo) as Walter suggested.

However, he suggested hatching a storyline thru the 5 weeks that would include a confrontation and lead to a wrestler vs. announcer match. I sold the editor of the Winnipeg Tribune Donna Harvey for a first person on my entree into this weird world and immediately launched into a program with the promoter and top heel, who was 6'4", light on his feet and rather strong. I was 5'6" and maybe 155 lbs. My family was not amused.

I watched episode 5, "the angle" with my grandparents, and thankfully my Baba and Zaida, mild fans at best, didn't think it was awful. I hit the ring when the ref went down, took a bump from a crazed Soulman John Shaw, did a hot, ok, lukewarm interview, daring the frontman promoter to sign a match, and read in the local promo story that I was in for a "bloody holocaust". My family was again not amused.

The crew, which included my career long friend Caveman Broda, Scotty Lightfoot, the aforementioned Jones family, and Ladies' Choice favorite Maritime jobber, Chris "The Warlord" Pepper, were rather bemused by this idea, which was unusual in those days of kayfabe and closed shop. But we were the outlaws, thumbing our noses at convention and authority and trying to get a break.

Getting Stretched in Front of Friends and Strangers

After a bit of rudimentary training, I took a night off from rehearsals for Rainbow Stage's production of Guys and Dolls (my cross-over into a carny form of entertainment was viewed rather dimly by the arts crowd in Winnipeg back then, but the owner Jack Shapira thought it was a great opportunity) and made my in-ring debut on June 19, 1980.

Everyone, like Don Greene and Bill Murdoch and Larry Anson, snuck up from the dressing room to watch. Walter laid out a simple match. I was to duck under twice, hook up finally, get backed into the corner, duck a slap, hook up, back Walter to the corner and slap him. That part worked fine. Then he took over. From his perspective, that worked fine too. However, I soon found out that 10 Lars Anderson Brainbuster suplexes and being slammed on the floor so hard I peed blood for a week was not so fine. The crowd loved it. I understood then that Walter wanted to ensure my story did not include the word "fake". No problem.

I was winded and beat on, but still following the call. At the 10 minute mark I got in a babyface comeback- OK, 3 weak punches- and whipped Walt to the corner. To my shock, the top turnbuckle came flying off. This was certainly not in the plan and I had actually never seen that happen before. I charged the corner but stopped and as I stared at the buckle on the canvas, Walter rolled past me and nailed a hardway nutshot. This guaranteed my hitting the deck, and he went home as planned, clamping on the Figure Four leg lock. I grabbed the ropes, sold like my life depended on it, which I was sure it did, and he was DQ'd. Pepper helped me out of the ring and told me I did great.

Now That My Future was Pre-ruined...

My childhood wrestling fan friends who were there, like Hartley Zelcer, whose family owned the Polo Park Inn that the AWA stayed at in Winnipeg, told my soon-to-be wife she should be proud of me. She was not, prefering the theatrical stage to the ring for my future, and my involvement in the wrestling industry definately helped grease the skids of the marriage.

I would also add that the Trib folded on Black Wednesday, August 27, 1980, 2 days after my wedding, 3 days before my story was to run.

So for the record, I won my first match. It took awhile, June 29,1988, to have my second match, which also involves Walter and a kid who came up to me at an AWA taping in 1983 and recognized me as the voice of New Brand Wrestling, (by then on CKY-TV).The kid grew up to be Chi Chi Cruz.

So thanks you, Walter, I guess ... seriously, thanks. I've traveled places I never would have seen thanks to being involved in the business, and not all were godforsaken Indian reserves or dirty Mexican waystations. I'm in LA for now, and it all started 21 years ago.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

False excuses abound after Parking Authority hand caught in bylaw cookie jar by CJOB

From: Kim the Traffic Reporter


On Wednesday June 16/10, Dave Hill appeared on the Richard Cloutier Reports on CJOB in regards to the issue of the WPA ticketing vehicles for a by-law ( signs advertising "car for sale") that hasn't been enforced in the past, and for which Dave Hill and the Parking Authority have no authority to enforce today.

Cloutier had found two monetary tickets on parked vehicles with 'For Sale' signs and asked Dave Hill :

"so are you folks now enforcing this big time?"

Dave Hill's response was

"not enforcing big time, it's something we have to do as part of the streets by-law."

I'm afraid I must disagree.

* Even when enforcement had been under the Police, this by-law had never been enforced, this was confirmed by someone who had almost 20 years of experience as a by-law enforcement officer.

* City Hall knows this particular offense is NOT a parking issue.

Dave Hill is authorized to deal with parking, a for sale sign in the widow of a legally parked vehicle has nothing at all to do with parking. There are parts of the Traffic by-law which the Parking Authority, a Special Operating Agency, cannot enforce.

* Dave Hill further went on to say that what had caused all of this was changing the wording in the computer systems. Mr. Hill said

"In our computer system we changed the wording a little bit, we used to call that improper parking for the purpose of advertising a vehicle and we just changed it to the current wording."

I'm afraid once again I must disagree.

1). Improperly parked had not been in the computer system until sometime in 2008 I believe. This wording replaced the previous words which was offense #14 "parked left side to curb". When the improperly parked wording was put in place, in the comments box the issuing officer would indicate "parked left side to curb".

2). Never have the words "...for the purpose of advertising a vehicle...", those words never appeared in the system.

I can say with absolute assurance that I have never seen those words, that this offense was never used and in fact never existed. Improperly parked was used for offenses such as parked left side to curb.

3). As the Parking Authority is using the offense of Improperly Parked, would someone please explain to me HOW the vehicle is improperly parked? If the sign is the offender, then how is the vehicle incorrectly parked?

Marty this "excuse" is wafer thin and borders on deception. This situation does not involve a parking issue. The vehicles are legally parked, but violate an obscure by-law (not about where or how or when a vehicle is parked, but rather, 'what it looks like') which has never been enforced.

If a ticket were to be issued, the proper issuing body would be the Streets Constables.

* As this does not involve parking, then the Parking Authority has no jurisdiction.

It almost appears as though Dave Hill is inventing a history which did not exist, in order to justify getting his hand caught in the cookie jar.

* Dave Hill would not commit to having any of the tickets stayed, saying they (Parking Authority) could ask the Crown, but basically saying the Parking Authority didn't have any say in the matter. This also is not quite accurate.

All the Parking Authority has to do is make the request of the Crown and send it to the Court. The Crown has never to my knowledge sent an order back saying they wouldn't stay the charges.

* Dave Hill has made it clear he wants to expand the role of the Parking Authority with regards to enforcing by-laws other than parking.

- We've already seen the Parking Authority abuse that authority by issuing illegal tickets.
- We've seen paystations turn up in neighbourhoods where it makes no sense to have paid parking.
- We've seen the Parking Authority ticket and tow vehicles they deemed to be abandoned or derelict when in fact they could not enforce the applicable by-law.

We've often seen the cover your rear attitude, with this controversy being a case in point.

* Dave Hill trots out a by-law he can't enforce and doesn't even have a actual offense to rely on, but somehow says the wording was changed.

Well, wording was added, so yes I guess, by technicality, there really was a "change". But can Mayor Katz and city councillors accept that as an "excuse" for trying to pick people's pockets?

(Later I'll have more to report about how this started, with Cloutier's interview with another WPA official Tuesday, and how they tried to weasel out of the jam RCR put him in.)

* Dave Hill may have experience with private lots, but from what I can gather, has no on-street enforcement experience. He doesn't seem to get the idea he can't do whatever he pleases, that there are actually rules he has to follow.

Perhaps it's time Mr. Hill began to obey the very laws he is charged with upholding instead of finding sneaky ways to try getting around those laws.

Maybe then, the Parking Authority wouldn't be in a mess they currently face, that politicians are trying to avoid taking responsibility for.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

NDP whistling past the graveyard of 400 dead kids in care

The Greg Selinger government fell over itself last week trying to act more concerned about endangered children in government care, than about the fate of embattled Family Services minister Gord Mackintosh.

The media coverage started inauspiciously in a little noticed story in the Wednesday, June 2nd Free Press. Opposition critics voiced concern that a permanent replacement for on-leave Children's Advocate Billie Schibler was not a priority for the NDP.

"Gerald Hawranik (Lac du Bonnet), a Conservative MLA who sits on the Legislative Assembly Management Committee (LMAC),... said while (acting CA Bonnie) Kocsis is "very competent" and may apply to be the permanent Children's Advocate, it's a disadvantage to keep someone in an acting position for too long. Much of the Children's Advocate's role is to develop long-term solutions to problems affecting children, Hawranik said. "I don't think that a child's advocate who is there in an acting capacity would make those changes. They would probably try to keep the status quo."

The second, red flag part of the story was about Hickes smacking down Liberal MLA Kevin Lamoureux, who had tried to expose a damning report Schibler filed with LMAC by tabling it during Question Period.

"Hickes said it was not a public document and contained "sensitive" personal information. Lamoureux defended his action outside the House, saying "our children are much more important than something that happens beyond closed doors."

A week later, acting speaker Marilyn Brick was forced to allow debate about the report after it was leaked to select media. The public came to see both critics as 100% correct and Hickes as having confused the public interest with that of covering up for his colleague, Gord Mackintosh.

But the NDP deflection campaign forged on, citing the extra funding poured into the system and ongoing reforms. An NDP spin doctor blamed the Tories for tying up commitee business with 1999 NDP Election fraud questions, which somehow prevented finding a replacement for Schibler. In Question Period, the opposition cited concerns about supports for social workers handling 8600 files and for foster parents, insisting Selinger call an emergency public commitee meeting to allow MLA's to ask questions of Kocsic.

Unreported by the mainstream media, 15 consecutive times Selinger side-stepped the demand -
until the very next day, when government House leader Bill Blaikie announced that Kocsis, with provincial ombudsman Irene Hamilton and Manitoba auditor Carol Bellringer have agreed to appear before MLA's. Macintosh also smugly announced a new bill would pass within a week, to compel an annual appearance by the CA on Broadway, which had suddenly become a good idea, and an NDP one, at that.

Reporters and commentators pilloried the NDP about Schibler's claim that the CFS system was in "a state of chaos" on their watch, and echoed opposition calls for Mackintosh to be replaced. Finally it fell to Kocsis to save Mackintosh's hide.

She told the Free Press that the report information was taken out of context and that the systemic "chaos" is not resulting in a child care "crisis". She also asserted "the Office of the Children's Advocate (OCA) fully supports the devolution of child welfare services to better serve the specific cultural needs of aboriginal families in our province."

* Devolution is at the root of the murders of Phoenix Sinclair in March 2006 and
Gage Guimond in July 2007.

* Add the 145 who died before Sinclair after the devolution policy was begun in 2003, to the 284 reported deaths since 2008, and the total number of deaths of children in contact with the various CFS agencies under the NDP stands at 429 (at least).

* Of the 106 cases referred from the Medical Examiner since 2008, 64 of those yet to even be assigned to a Children's Advocacy office investigator. That is in addition to another 64
cases they are mandated to still investigate.

That is the system Koscic now defends.
(Eerily presaged by Hawranik's comment cited above- ed.)

That is the system Schibler as her last act exposed and Koscic in desperation and probably under orders from her political masters is now feebly trying to defend.

She also inadvertently opened a new front for skeptics.

"She said when she prepared the report she knew she would be attending an April 27 meeting (of LMAC) to explain it."

But the FP had earlier reported that Schibler went on paid leave from her $120,000 position in the third week of April -- BEFORE the meeting with LMAC, and well after the report was written.

So who wrote the report, Schibler or her successor? This begs the question, why would Schibler leave the week before it was presented to MLA's? All a little bit too convenient, n’est pas?

[ An edited version of this post will appear this week in the Neighborhood Living newsletters, available at Robins, Smitty's, and other dining and retail establishments throughout Winnipeg ]

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bike Lobby presents no data, no comprehension of West End parking issues at Sherbrook Bike Lane hearing

From: Kim the Traffic Reporter

RE: Report on City Centre Community Committee meeting, Tuesday June 8th

The councillors in attendance were Harvey Smith, John Orlikow and Jenny Gerbasi, dealing with the Active Transportation proposed bike lane on Sherbrook from Ellice to Notre Dame.

There were several presenters against this bike lane including Belinda Squance from the Ellice Street Cafe as well as a representative from the West End Biz and an apartment owner on Sherbrook.

Also presenting were Mark Cohoe of Bike to the Future, Anders Swanson and Tim Hiebert who are in favour of this bike lane.

1) Belinda and Gloria (West End Biz) have requested more time to gather information regarding this bike lane. Both indicating that there has not been enough information for the residents and businesses in the area to have an informed opinion on this issue. Also stating that the consultation process has been somewhat lacking.

Though the West End Biz had been involved with putting up posters for the open houses, it was found that most people thought it was all about cycling and did not realize the impact it would have on their community. It wasn't until a second poster put out by the West End Biz was put up that the community realized what would happen to their neighbourhood.

Belinda said she spoke with community activist Nick Ternette who indicated he hadn't heard anything about this proposed lane or the effect it would have on the area residents and businesses.

Belinda asked if the city had done any bike counts or if there were numbers available of people from the Health Sciences Centre who had requested the bike lanes or number of people who would get out of their vehicles and onto a bike? Belinda further went on to say that even cyclists indicate that Winnipeg is a fairweather cycling city.

2) Time is being requested to look at other options and alternatives than to closing down the east side of Sherbrook, including perhaps using Furby or Langside as a possible route for the remaining two blocks to Cumberland. Another option being proposed is to use the east side as a bike lane during peak times instead of all day. More dialogue is being requested with the businesses of whom 25 would be affected by this change on Sherbrook, as well as with residents who were unaware of the impact this lane would have on their community.

3) Belinda stated that the Ellice Street Cafe doesn't stay open from just the community alone, but needs the people driving into the area from other parts of the city to fill up the Cafe. Belinda said "they come to the restaurant, go across the street to get their hair cut". So they are spending money in the area.

4) Belinda quoted from a radio broadcast an interview by Marty Gold on The Great Canadian Talk Show with Kevin Nixon the Active Transportation Coordinator for the City of Winnipeg. The interview aired on Feb. 1. The quote was Kevin Nixon saying he "wouldn't do anything in any councillors ward they weren't comfortable with".

Councillor Harvey Smith requested a repeat of the quote.

5) Gloria Cardwell-Hoeppner from the West End Biz is also requesting time to study this issue and the impact it will have on the community. Gloria did say that they (West End Biz) was not against a bike path nor against cyclists even planning to put in bike parking for the cyclists, but is asking to work with the bike groups to find a compromise.

6) Regarding parking, Gloria indicated that their own Biz patrol people can testify to the fact that parking on Sherbrook is full at any given time. Saying "if you remove one lane, where are the rest to go?" Gloria also indicated that other streets often have full volume now and wondered if it was really fair to the businesses and residents?

One option being presented is a rush hour commuter route for bikes, the rest of the day parking would be allowed. Or perhaps re-route commuter routes to quieter streets. Gloria indicated that when speaking with many cyclists, the cyclists wouldn't mind a quieter street as well. The West End Biz would like to work together to find something that works for the community, businesses, residents and cyclists.

Councillor Orlikow asked about the surface lots in the area, perhaps restaurants in the area who aren't open during the day, could look at using them. Gloria responded that the students attending the University of Winnipeg park on residential streets even with the restrictions and there isn't enough space for shared parking. Gloria further went on to say that the area is growing and more parking is going to be needed.

7) Another presenter, Leon Mueher who owns a 37 suite apartment building on Sherbrook stated that they "are the only apartment block that has any substantial parking". While this apartment building is not directly impacted, does impact other rental units in the area. Mr. Meuher informed the committee that there are 250 units in the area between Ellice and Sargent and that less than 15% of them have parking. That this area is one of the most densely populated areas. In the time Mueher has been on Sherbrook he had five cars in the lot, eight years later he has twenty. Mueher said "the neighbourhood is changing and already there is no parking" and that "don't take parking away from people".

8) Mark Cohoe of Bike to the Future bike lobby group (it is noted that Bike to the Future is well represented on the Active Transportation Advisory Committee) was a presenter in favour of the bike lane on Sherbrook. Cohoe did say that they want to "convince people to get out of their cars and onto a bike". One of the reasons why Bike to the Future is in favour of this lane is because it connects to other Active Transportation routes such as Alexander linking both Red River campuses, connecting to Bannatyne, McDermot as well as other routes leading out to St. James. Also connecting with the industial sections of Erin and Wall which according to Mark Cohoe bring lots of job opportunities.

Cohoe indicated that cyclists need to feel safe and comfortable on a bike route to use it as well as keeping the riders off the sidewalks. Also creating a route that is direct is important, to achieve this an exclusive space for cyclists where the riders are safe and that there are controlled crossings at intersections. Cohoe indicated that the budget for this project is $228 000.00, there is not enough money to add additional traffic devices if the project is moved to another location. Cohoe indicated that bike routes need to be direct in distance and time and that cyclists "can't be stopping, starting, stopping, starting, stopping and starting" meaning along these routes which does not allow for directness of travel.

9) Mark Cohoe provided traffic counts for a variety of locations regarding Sherbrook, though he did not indicate from where he received these counts. The counts are:

At Broadway and Sherbrook: 22 500
Sherbrook and Portage: 53 500
Sherbrook and Ellice: 18 800
Sargent west of Maryland: 17 700
Sargent east of Sherbrook: 12 300
Cumberland and Sherbrook: 15 000
Notre Dame and Sherbrook: 41 400
Notre Dame west of Maryland: 31 300
(please note I will discover other traffic numbers by the end of the report)

10) Cohoe did say that "parking is probably a significant issue", that there may be an ability for shared parking as there are lots of surface parking lots and perhaps an option of sharing nightime and daytime parking. Regarding the issue of loading zones in the bike lane Cohoe indicated one option is to restrict the hours for off loading which could be a short term solution and that a more long term solution may be pushing the loading zone into the boulevard which would only take out one immature tree.

11) Cohoe then contradicted himself, saying he didn't "feel there is much of a parking issue" and that "parking is available on side streets". Cohoe offered this option of perhaps having a cut through walkway from the side streets to Sherbrook. Cohoe said that "we put a priority on free parking in this city, there is not such thing as free parking whether it's in front of your house or parking in front of your business. It's paid for, there's a cost. Everybody ends up paying for parking whether they are using it or not". One alternative parking options Mark Cohoe put forth was shared parking. Cohoe indicated that many apartments tend to be empty during the day and that perhaps the spots could be shared.

12) Cohoe indicated that this bike lane would give an opportunity for people in other parts of the city to come into the Sherbrook area. Visiting the West End Cultural Centre, Ellice Cafe and safeway. Cohoe indicated that people would come into the community and spend money in the shops of the area. That making the bike lanes comfortable for people will give them the opportunity to live car free. Which will bring more money into the community as that income won't be spent on gas for their cars.

13) Councillor Harvey Smith asked "you talk about not having enough resources, there are other projects throughout the city, could savings from other projects be used?" Cohoe replied "there are 37 projects so there isn't flexibility to move from one project to another project".

14) Councillor Gerbasi suggested the idea during peak times the lane becomes a commuter lane. Cohoe indicated he'd had no chance to look at that option, that he has no numbers available and that Sherbrook is still an important commuter route for HSC.

15) Another presenter was Anders Swanson who is a member of Bike to the Future, the Active Transportation Advisory Committee, the Mayor's Environmental Advisory Committee and is with One Green City. Swanson was presenting on behalf of One Green City stating that this organization is a "volunteer project helps support any and all community organizations that agrees with the mandate which is to create a network of safe direct cycling routes throughout the city as soon as possible".

Swanson indicated that in 2008 it was pinpointed as to what kind of cycling infrastructure was needed in the West End area by the people in that area. Swanson did say he "feels strongly" that the network on Sherbrook should proceed and that it doesn't make any sense to move the planned bike path. One reason why moving the path would be a mistake is because of budgetary reasons.

16) Swanson stated that "in principle every road in Winnipeg is an Active Transportation route" Swanson wants people to very aware of that. According to Swanson, the idea is to make sure the cyclists can travel from place to place safely. The reasons for people travelling via bicycle even if they don't feel safe on the road, according to Swanson are for economic reasons, health reasons and ethical reasons. Swanson brought up the plight of the Polar Bears which have been inthe news recently and that the bears would be gone in 30 years. Swanson went on to say that the "simplest thing to do what we can to get people on bikes cause it's fun, it has benefits for the entire city including people who drive". Swanson said "certain compromises need to be made in order to implement cycling infrastructure".

Swanson also indicated that for the last 50 years infrastructure has been designed exclusively for cars and that it is "prohibitive" for people who want to travel under their own power. Swanson went on to indicate that only 25% of the road budget is used to maintain the road, 75% is used to build new roads, because of parking and transit corridors don't have a bicycle oriented culture.

17) Swanson did say that "any perceived or real threat to ones livelihood is to be taken seriously". Swanson did say he appreciated Belinda and Gloria are important to the community. That the West End has the highest load share in cycling and walking in the city and that there are job opportunities, theatre and commercial possibilities and that people can very easily not own a car which would save 17% of their income.

18) Swanson admitted that while about 50% of polls are inaccurate, he quoted one poll that said "70% of people in Canada are willing to cycle to work on dedicated cycling infrastructure that takes less than 30 minutes", this poll was done in 1998. Swanson also pointed out the cycling culture in such places as Copenhagen, Scandanavia, France and Germany and that you can "ask people whether they want to arrive at work with nice tight buns". Swanson also indicated that you can "arrive at work with a non-guilty conscience and can do it in a bike lane with a big smile on your face".

19) Regarding moving the bike lane to Furby, Swanson indicated that he uses this street a lot and understand why it is being presented as a possible option to Sherbrook, however according to Swanson, the cost could be $250 000.00 at every major intersection to get people through safely.

20) Swanson concluded his presentation by saying "certain compromises need to be made" and that he looks "forward to a solution coming forward that is local and that is cognizant of the fact we have to get people on bikes, have to get people on buses. This is very important to the West End". However, Swanson did indicate that it wouldn't be a good idea to motion to remove this section of the bike lane from Sherbrook, citing the loss of funding from the Federal Stimulus Package, saying it would "make a big jump forward as a city, that it's right to approve".

21) Katherine Thompson-Wieser was the next presenter who was also in favour of the bike lane on Sherbrook. Wieser who works at the Health Sciences Centre WRHA Capital Planning is an avid cyclist who is looking to dispose of her vehicle. However, Wieser indicates that she is not confident enough with the safety of the bike lanes to do so and would like to see the bike lane on Sherbrook and Maryland. Wieser indicates that she would like to cycle to Misericordia Hospital for meetings there, but doesn't feel safe on Sherbrook to do so. Wieser also indicated that she isn't "keen" on the idea of having to go around another two blocks and would prefer a more direct route.

22) Tim Hiebert also a presenter in favour of the bike lanes indicated that he has gotten rid of his vehicle and that he volunteers in the community at a co-op bike repair shop. Again, was very much in favour of the bike lane on Sherbrook.

23) Kevin Nixon the Active Transportation Coordinator for the City of Winnipeg was the next and final presenter.

Nixon briefly told the committee that the city made calls for direction changes in the last 10 years with Plan Winnipeg and Speak Up Winnipeg. Included was an Active Transportation study, increasing the load share of AT the goal being to increase the cycling and pedestrian population. Nixon did indicate that they were not trying to "replace the automobile", but instead wanted to give people the option if they want to use Active Transportation. Nixon indicated they had been working on this for the last three years.

Kevin Nixon stated that it "started with a comprehensive public consultation with people who were interested in cycling, trails, anyone else who would listen".

Nixon further went on to say that it had been "difficult to get the average person to pay attention".

24) Regarding Sherbrook/Maryland, Nixon told the committee that it was a key part of the network and that though they (AT) hadn't done a lot of actual bicycle counts, Bike to the Future has done a number of them. Nixon also pointed out the OTTO cycle program which put GPS units on cyclists which gave them an idea as to where the cyclists were going.

Nixon brought out a map that showed a variety of routes that had been covered by the OTTO cycle programs, showing Sherbrook/Maryland to have been a very busy route. The committee was told consultants agreed with the analysis of the bike activists and came to the same conclusion that IT HAD TO BE SHERBROOK/MARYLAND. Nixon indicated that Furby and Langside were not good candidates because of the traffic on the cross streets was too heavy.

25) Nixon further went on to say that "Sherbrook/Maryland is a key cog in the network". An analysis of Ellice determined this street was not a good candidate. Some of the reasons being parking issues as well as narrow streets and heavy traffic flow. This forced St. Matthews to be the next street in the network as it connected with Maryland which was needed to connect to the rest of the network throughout the city. The advisory committee is also looking at proposing a winter cycling network which would include Sherbrook/Maryland, Nixon stated indicated that it was shown to be needed.

26) Nixon told the committee that they had "done alot of public consultation on these projects, the amount of consultation is extensive, way beyond what any developer is forced to do". Nixon went on to say "it is in the same league as the Disraeli Bridge Project, those projects are $160 million, ours is $228 000.00, we're doing similar amounts of public consultation".

Nixon also said "obviously we don't have it done right yet".

Nixon indicated that he was encouraged by the compromises, but he "doesn't think there's any question it has to be these streets".

27) Councillor Gerbasi asked "what is the compromise you can support?" Nixon replied that a number of issues had been mentioned that he thought were "interesting".

28) Councillor Smith asked "why don't you like Furby or Langside, why those are ruled out?" Nixon's response was about the heavy traffic that would have to be crossed, such as at Portage, Ellice and Sargent. Because crossings aren't at those streets and it would create a problem with traffic flow to add additional lights or pedestrian corridors so close to Sherbrook, would disrupt the system.

29) Councillor Smith asked about compromises that Kevin could come up with, Nixon responded that he was interested in a couple, such as a bike lane for part of the day which according to Nixon could be done. Another option would be to allow loading zone parking in the bike lane or to have the loading zone into the curb, though Nixon indicated it would have to be looked at as they "wouldn't want to mess with the trees".

29) At this point time was short and the committee meeting had to come to a halt. It was decided that a decision would not be made this day but instead would pass over to another committee meeting. Brad Sacher the Director of Public Works attended this meeting, but was unable to present due to lack of time.

I spoke briefly with Councillor Smith on Wednesday June 9th, he indicated that time was being given to look at some of the compromises and that on June 29th at a Public Works meeting more would be discussed, potentially looking at removing this section from the Active Transportation network.


Kim's Thoughts:

I have many thoughts on this issue, some of which include parking. It was mentioned that there was plenty of parking available on the side there's not.

-- Even when the University of Winnipeg is not in session parking is still at a premium.

When the students return in the fall, parking becomes even worse well at least until they learn to move their cars. By forcing the residents and visitors on Sherbrook to park on these streets it's only going exacerbate an already over-crowded situation.

-- As for shared parking with apartment buildings in the area so most of the buildings are empty during the day..ok well unless for some reason you aren't out that day or are sick then what happens? Can't ticket the people in their paid for parking know the spot you pay in your rent? Where does the other vehicle park? Can't ticket them as private parking falls under an entirely different set of by-laws and the parking authority can't walk in to tag unless requested by the management of the building to do so. I see problems there.

-- I would really like to know where Mark Cohoe received his figures. The ones I came across don't quite match his. I looked at the 2008 average weekday daily traffic counts on regional streets, this is what I found:

Broadway at Sherbrook: 20 600 (between the Maryland bridge and Wolsely) the count is 22 000.
Headed down Broadway at Sherbrook the count is 19 900 (westbound)
Traffic going down Portage at Sherbrook is 50 200 (westbound)
Sherbrook at Ellice through to Sargent: 19 100
Sherbrook Sargent to Cumberland: 17 400
Westbound Sargent at Maryland: 16 900
Sherbrook north of Notre Dame: 16 400
Westbound Ellice at Sherbrook: 18 400
Westbound Sargent at Sherbrook: 12 800
Notre Dame at Sherbrook: 31 300
Westbound Notre Dame at Maryland: 41 400

Seems not all our numbers match and I found these numbers on a city webpage.

Yup let's lose a whole lane of parking for a few hundred cyclists versus a couple of thousand vehicles.

-- Mark Cohoe and Anders Swanson were quite clear on wanting everybody to get rid of their cars. Oh goody. I wonder if Mark and Anders have ever played hockey? I ask this because if they had kids who played and had to schlepp all that equipment on a bike, well I really wonder what they'd say then about getting rid of a car.

Really to tell people to get rid of their cars is rude as well as impractical. Ok bring up Cophenhagen or other places in Europe. First most people in Europe wouldn't travel 500 kilometers in a snow storm to see a hockey game..but we do. Am I going to do that on a bike..yeah that could happen. And when I see a sky blue pink with purple polkadot pig fly by my window then I'd change my tune. Not likely to happen. Oh wait secondly if I want to go to the beach I'd have to leave a couple of days early because well. .it's a big country with lots of long distances to travel. Will I do it by Greyhound Bus? NO!..Wait go back to the flying pig thing again.

-- Not everybody likes to cycle, not everybody can cycle. If we all got rid of our cars, who is going to take granny to the doctor? On a bike? Ok so all this is a little out there, but you get my point.

It's simply not going to happen and the bike lobbyists are just going to have to live with it.

Cars are here to stay, that's not going to change no matter how much they try to force the issue.

-- Personally I think it's selfish and greedy of the bike lobbyists to demand an entire neighbourhood should cave to their whims.

Close a business or two, ok, more people out of work. Like there isn't a recession now. Squeeze the folks parking on Furby and inconvenience hundreds on Sherbrook. Spend millions of tax dollars only the way they say. Good plan.

Well those are a few of my issues..have lots more but only so much room. Marty I'm quite sure you will raise plenty of issues. Guess we will have to wait and see what kind of compromises these groups can come up with and if the neighbourhood can live with them or will there be all-out rebellion?

Stay tuned for the answer, I know I will.