Author Archives: thegtapatriot

Not everyone in Toronto dislikes the new HOV lanes


It’s it possible that we have actually found a “Keep It Simple” solution for Toronto (G.T.A) traffic woes? What would happen if we offered more GO Transit options using the existing HOV lanes, which now cross-cross the entire G.T.A? What if we leave the HOV lanes, as is, after the Pan Am Games and simply employ more transit bus drivers? What if we open things up to competition and allow other private bus (Greyhound, Coach Canada, etc…) companies to use the HOV lanes and compete for public riders in the outskirts of Toronto? It seems that we have a simple solution staring us in the face. I have talked to countless people who said “if there were more GO Bus service options and if they could know, with a guarantee, their travel time they would use it”. Knowing that you could grab a bus and zip across the city is just as good as any regional rail service. Think about it, other than fuel and paying drivers is it not a simple solution? I am sure if a bus was running every 10-15 minutes, or faster we may just leave the car at home; freeing up the roads and lowering traffic for others. We debate and politicians promise, but in the the end we just want to “keep it simple” and get to work, or home. It’s just a thought! What do you think?

TTC (Re)Announces Ten Minute Network


Steve Munro

On June 15, TTC Chair Josh Colle and Deputy CEO Chris Upfold held a press conference at Bathurst Station to announce the “Ten Minute Network”, one more step in restoring transit’s lustre after the Ford/Stintz regime of cutbacks.

The announcement trumpeted the change for more than it actually represents:

The improvements include all four subway lines, 10 streetcar routes and 37 bus routes and will be implemented through the end of 2015 and into 2016.

Of course the subway lines already run at better than a 10 minute headway, as do most streetcar lines most of the time. Colle talked about how people would not be waiting as long for their bus. Technically, that is true, provided that their bus is one that now runs less frequently. Changes are planned for subway services, but they are not included in this package (I suspect we will see those in the…

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The Hamburglar, Colonel Sanders, and the case for reviving the corporate mascot


The world is changing and brands are doing their best to keep up. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few years.

Google™ Strikes Bizarre Licensing Deal With Nestlé® To Name Next Android™ Kit Kat®


You have to give Google credit. As confusing as the image is it truly represents how they were able to offer something for everyone. Google has helped to both enhance and level the mobile technology playing field by offering an OS, which OEMs helped to push out to the market in droves of both high-end and low-end devices. It does not matter what you think about the quality of these devices. They have flooded the market, making Android ubiquitous. Question is how long will it last? Or will Android become the de facto Windows that Microsoft once was?

Link

Thinking about a Kia?


Thinking about a Kia?

The Geek Factor: The Rio has much to recommend it to geeks. It comes standard with a backup camera that displays on the dash with a guide to help you determine distance to objects, which greatly helped ease my mind when in reverse as the back of the car is high enough it’s hard to directly view anything below about four feet above the road surface. The stereo, at least in the model I tried, came with Sirius XM radio and HD radio included, and had a “jukebox” that could store MP3s for playback without a mobile device. If you, like me, never go anywhere without your iPhone (or similar device), you’ll love the Rio’s features, as it not only has a USB port that can charge your device and/or, if it’s compatible, allow you to browse your music library and play any track you like from the dashboard touchscreen.

Enjoy the rain, love the mud, who needs bus shelters in North Ajax anyway?


Well another year has gone by and the residents if North Ajax continue to enjoy the great outdoors. It amazes me that we want residents to take transit, yet don’t spend any money to encourage it. At least in Toronto there are proper shelters and some planning. With the taxes that are paid by North Ajax residents you would think they would be afforded the courtesy of a shelter and at least a bit of pavement to stand on. It actually fascinates me to see riders standing in a residents driveway, in the street or almost in a ditch on Westney and Tauton Rd. But let’s face it, urban sprawl has caused this, right? We cannot blame city planners. They assumed that we would just continue driving our cars and enjoy our large homes. Who needs the basics anyway? So as gas continues to rise and costs go up, be encouraged. You will continue to be taxed and enjoy the outdoor elements. So yes, while your waiting for that bus, in the rain, in your fancy new dress. When that car drives by and nearly takes you out. Or better yet on that wonderfully paved mud platform, enjoy. Smell the exhaust, and at least your not back in Toronto, right?

Link

A culture of fear at the Toronto District School Board


A culture of fear at the Toronto District School Board

“We thought it was a present from the union, you know, the union got a nice thing for me,” said the worker, who did not want his name used because he fears repercussions from his bosses.

The electrician said he bought a camera but most of the workers used their cards for home electronics.

The “One City” 30-year plan possibly 20-years too late?


English: "Transit City" billboard pr...

English: “Transit City” billboard promoting proposed LRT expansion in Toronto by the TTC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ford says “No”, and Karen says “Yes”! Most Torontonians know we need subways and better transit. We need a proper transit system in Toronto and transit is a smart investment. I was amazed to see how bad transit is in Toronto, when I attempted to make a simple trip on the roads the other day. To travel on Eglinton, from Wynford to Warden, took approximately 20-30 minutes, and I thought I was taking a short-cut. On another day I got off the 401 and got stuck on York Mills. I could not believe how many cars were on the road.  I understand why people are stressed. Drivers are upset in traffic, it makes sense. Trips that should take 10-15 minutes are now taking 45 minutes to an hour. There is not even a proper strategy for bicyclist downtown.

So what to do now? Well we have ‘another’ new 30-year transit plan. I have some news for our politicians, and I will keep it simple. We don’t have 30-years! I think we actually only have 10 years, max 15. We need shovels in the ground now and some out of the box ideas.

1. GO Transit has lines and tracks crossing through the city. Keep it simple! We need trains running on these lines in minimum 20-30 minute intervals; both ways, not in one direction downtown. Let’s utilize some of the infrastructure that exists and make it better.

2. Open up David Millers original Transit City plan and do more. Lets enhance that plan and fix what needs to be fixed. Get it done! No more long-term plans. Let’s get the maximum value out of the plans we have.

3. Let’s get a downtown “No Frills” relief line for Toronto. It does not have to be fancy. There are under-utilized CP/CN lines in the city. Put something on them and get people moving! In Ottawa they created a line on a single track, with track switching on certain portions of the line. It was not fancy, but they got it done.

4. Where are the BRT‘s and bike networks? Lets use our hydro corridors for BRT’s and a proper bike network.

5. Let’s get inventive and use Lake Ontario to move people to downtown Toronto, between Oshawa, Bowmanville, Hamilton and more.

6. Possibly re-visit Leslie as a relief to the Don Valley Parkway, maybe even using it for transit. We don’t need a massive change, but when we get to Eglinton somehow connect the road to the Bayview extension via a tunnel or via the valley in a creative fashion.

7. Merge transit across the city and lets get Presto implemented everywhere! Should Metrolinx be in charge of the entire transit system across the G.T.A?

We have to stop saying Torontonians, and G.T.A residents, cannot afford new taxes. I don’t like them either, but I don’t like to see people idling their cars. I don’t like stress. It’s pointless, if we know the solution to a better and healthier city. We do not need fancy, we just need to move! We know something must be done, so let’s get it done now; not 30 years down the road. It’s nice to have a plan, but we have had too many since the Liberal Peterson Government. We need transit in 10-15 years, not 30.

Is it too late for RIM?


English: Screenshot from the upcoming Bold 990...

English: Screenshot from the upcoming Bold 9900 / 9930 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RIM seems to be broken and customers in North America are leaving Blackberry for Google Android and Apple iPhones. There Playbook, albeit a great device, seems to be lost in a sea of tablets and obscurity. So what is RIM to do now? It seems that they are taking their time. Moving slowly towards a goal. BB10 will be a great OS and will provide Blackberry users with the update they need, however it seems that RIM is in slow motion; in an industry moving at lightning speed. We have already heard word that the first BB10 phone will not come with their signature keyboard, which some feel is suicide; a keyboard version not coming until 2013. We still don’t even have a release date. We want the best for RIM and they have a network, with software services, that other players covet. The only positive note is for RIM is the move by Microsoft to produce their own device; upsetting their OEM manufacturers. Google buying Motorola and potentially going it alone; now releasing updates about their Nexus 7. The question, is it too little too late for RIM?

Microsoft Surface Device Revealed


Looks nice! You know you want it!

Do we finally have some competition for Apple?

Link

Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet?


Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet?

Google has hinted at its own tablet since December. That’s when Eric Schmidt said the company would “market a tablet of the highest quality” within six months. Google later showed interest in competing with budget tablets such as Amazon‘s Kindle Fire.

Last month the Nexus tablet popped up on benchmarking site Rightware. According to the specs will use a quad-core NVidia Tegra 3 processor, and come with the Android 4.1 (“Jelly Bean”) operating system.

The omnibus bill – Canadians keeping their head in the sand literally for summer vacation


Colina do Parlamento / Parliament Hill

Colina do Parlamento / Parliament Hill (Photo credit: Marcio Cabral de Moura)

A voting marathon that could keep members of Parliament chained to their desks around the clock is set to unfold in the Commons as opposition parties try to thwart passage of the Conservatives’ massive budget bill.

Opposition MPs are challenging the Harper government’s parliamentary majority this week with hundreds of proposed amendments to Bill C-38, the 425-page budget implementation legislation that revises approximately 70 federal laws.

The far-reaching omnibus bill will touch on nearly every aspect of Canada’s public affairs, and the Liberals, NDP and Green Party say its size makes a mockery of MPs’ duties to vet legislation and hold the government accountable.

Read more from the Toronto Star