Monthly Archives: July 2011

Ride for Jarvis

I attended the Ride for Jarvis this week, organized by the Toronto Bike Union.  I enjoyed taking part, and I believe the cause is worthy.  We cyclists are not even asking for more, we’re just asking not to lose what we have.  We don’t want Toronto to be taking steps backwards.

We should be getting more, but that isn’t even the point right now.  Claiming we need more space for cars, the bike lanes are being removed in favour of returning the reversible lane.  However, studies have shown that adding more roads or more lanes just means more cars fill that space ( article which references a UToronto study).  Bike lanes might affect traffic, but you know what contributes even more to gridlock?  More cars.

The counterargument is that when the two cars at an intersection want to turn left and right, nobody can get through.  The fifth lane helped the busier direction by ensuring always at least one lane would flow.  Possible remedies: restrict left turns, or even right turns.  It would be nice if Toronto had more one-way streets, because then that happens automatically.  Anyway, the only reason this is even an issue is because Jarvis used to have that feature.  Driving on Yonge, or Queen, or College, you can often find the same problem.  Yes, it’s a nuisance, but that’s what driving downtown is like.

And for those who say Jarvis is “intended to” be a quick route downtown for those midtowners, via Mt. Pleasant, I say that the bigger traffic problems are on Mt. Pleasant itself.  The northbound afternoon rush is backed up from St. Clair all the way down to Roxborough (approx 1.7 km, with only one traffic light in that span).

I say “intended to” with quotation marks, because not only is that a debatable issue, but it seems ridiculous that roads are created for one specific purpose.  Shouldn’t they be multipurpose?  Connecting people and places, being an avenue for cars, streetcars, bikes and buses, being part of a neighbourhood or community or facilitating commerce, or just plain being beautiful (rather than barren).

This is an issue of fairness (we just want to share the road), and safety (bike lanes make streets safer for cyclists).  It just seems ridiculous to rescind what’s already been provided, at large cost in a year when the mayor is projecting a large shortfall (which is being used as a political tactic to push through right-wind ideology)

I wonder if it would be effective to organize similar events for lanes on Birchmount and Pharmacy.

More links:

Cycling as a women’s issue – Torontoist article

Toronto Bike Union – they organized the event


An adult among undergrads

In the short years since I’ve graduated from university, either I’ve forgotten a *lot* about what it’s like to be an undergrad, or this generation of students is really different.


Today I was in our lab section.  I brought the lab that’s due today, and started working on the next one (due next week).  I quickly realized, by looking around, that most students in the class hadn’t finished the one due today.  Of course, right?  They had a few hours before it was due.  But some weren’t even close to finishing.  Okay, so they’re procrastinators.  I’m still like that for many things myself.

The worst part of all might be how hopeless they are with the lab directions.  The directions were written for the previous version of the software, and some minor changes had been made since then.  But so many students could not, or would not, figure out how to proceed.  If something didn’t work out exactly like the directions said, they would just stop, put up their hand, and wait for the TA.  But there’s one TA, and forty students doing this.  So they wait 10 minutes each time.

I can’t wait for next week, so I can see how long it takes them to finish the lab that I completed in about an hour, after asking only one question (to a fellow classmate who was also on lab #2).


In lecture, it’s just as bad.  They ask the professor questions about the labs that they should either solve themselves, or at the least go to his office hour, instead of taking time away from actually learning the theory.  It’s also painful to hear the professor answer a question for the sixth time.


Am I wrong in thinking that while we had rude or helpless idiots when I was in school, they were either quieter or fewer in number?

How I feel right now:  Old, because of this perceived difference.  Mature, because I am much more capable than most of my classmates.  Stress-free, because clearly this class is not going to cause me any grief.  And sad, because of the number of students who are struggling in what a lot of them have called a “bird course”.


What if more large concerts had closing bands?  It sounds like a weird idea, and possibly taking away from the headliner, but really, it would be a great way to ensure better outflow (is that a word?) when a concert ends.  Might be a big improvement from 20,000 people leaving the venue all at once.

I wonder why it doesn’t happen more often.