That’s the rapid clatter of chopping up Kothu Roti at Amma at the end of our street. You know that tasty spicy food is imminent when you hear that sound. I’m really pleased that Amma’s back under the original management. The other proprietors just didn’t care as much about their food.
Very little urban hum this morning (holiday), and the air conditioners really hadn’t started yet, so please be amused by the sounds of the garden (featuring mostly mockingbird): about quarter to nine. It does a passable seagull and also a red-tailed hawk. The vehicle reversing sound, though, is real.
(at least I don’t have a mockingbird problem.)
have had a nice BASIL basket on the back of my bike:
These Cycle-Safe lockers taper down to a narrow point, so basically anything other than a stripped-down bike won’t fit. The city says of the lockers:
The space inside of a locker is approximately: 1.2m (4 feet) high x 1.9m (6 feet, 5 inches) deep x 0.9m (3 feet) wide at the door and narrows toward the back of the locker. Most standard bicycles will fit inside. Longer bicycles such as tandem bikes or some recumbent bikes will not fit into the lockers.
“Most standard bicycles will fit inside”? Grah. If there’s something more standard that a Dutch bike with a basket on the back, I don’t know what it is. I have to go back to my makeshift solution — a too-tall basket lashed on with bungees — and deal with it biting my bum as I ride. Sigh.
As seen in Birkdale Ravine: wind and solar powered LED lighting in an area with heavy tree shading. Not just any wind turbines, VAWTs, no less. In the words of Modern Toss’s Drive by Abuser, “How’s that working out for you, yeah?”
City Hall is currently tearing itself apart over transit. You’d think that in a city with a downtown that’s pretty much gridlocked for three hours of the day, the answer to the transit question would be “More please everywhere”, but in this precious city, it’s less than that.
We have a mayor who is obsessed with subways because he thinks they’re fast and will keep the automobiles running. Unfortunately, Toronto is a big sprawly city with less than infinite cash, so we’re not going to get subways everywhere. Our last venture into subway building — the Sheppard line — has been a bit rubbish, running a stubby distance to nowhere in particular, and being quiet enough that you can always get a seat.
Though I live in Toronto, I’m originally from Glasgow. Glasgow has a subway; in fact, it’s one of the world’s oldest. It was opened in 1896, when Glasgow was at the height of its “Second City” fame. Glasgow made the ships and trains that maintained the empire, and trained the engineers of the world. We were pretty hot shit at the time, and we had a bunch of workers we needed to get around every day from the shipyards and offices of the city. Lots of people moving in to work. Ergo, subway!
Just one problem: cities change, subways don’t. Even though shipbuilding was never a hugely lucrative industry (according to my grandfather, who worked at John Brown’s, they never cleared more than 7% even at the best times), Glasgow and environs would probably have never thought that its industries would change and contract the way they did.
So what’s the subway that Glasgow’s been left with?
- The industry has gone, so has most of the ridership. There’s an awkward mix of residential stations and, well, nothing stations. I mean, West St? C’mon!
- Both of the major rail hubs that the subway serves — Buchanan St and St Enoch — are long gone. I just remember the shell of St Enoch station used as a car park in the very early 1970s, but no trains.
- Given that Scots were a bit squat in the 19th century, the subway’s not built for 21st century people. I could never stand up in the trains.
- Ridership is frankly pants; indeed, even Toronto’s Sheppard line carries more people every day than the Glasgow subway. Riders are pretty much now park ‘n ride office drones, students (bored [on the way to uni], drunk [doing the subcrawl; a pint at the pub nearest ever station] or daredevil [the subway challenge]) or huns.
Cities and cultures never know when they’re at their height. Glasgow had it going on when it built its subway, yet I’m sure the city planners never thought that the city would change the way it did. At least Glasgow made stuff that everyone needed; Toronto, what do you do that keeps you anchored here?
Black Walls’ new album Acedia is available for pre-release purchase.
I’d seen that the city had been working on the path over the train tracks at Lord Roberts Wood, but hadn’t seen the completed project. What was formerly a real slog to lift a bike (and especially a sensible bike) up these steps now can be ridden without dismounting. Yay Toronto!
(apologies for picture quality. My Blackberry is in perma soft-focus)
If you want to see how they looked last year, there are some automatic photos from my Canada Day post: sd790-20100701-161516, sd790-20100701-161535, and sd790-20100701-161614. A great improvement has been made.
If I must kvetch (and I must: cyclo, ergo kvetch), the turns in the ramp are just a little too narrow to navigate a bike round. I can make most of them if I crawl round it, but I usually have to dab a foot down.
There’s also no lighting. I’m not sure how welcoming this facility would be to use at night. Also, some of the handrails look as if they should either be welded or bolted in place, but are neither. Some have half-hearted tack welds, but they look as if they were done straight onto the zinc galvanizing so were destined to end badly.
Whee! I’ve done more than 100km on Bixi bikes! Dunno if the small addition of gentle exercise into my daily routine has made any real difference, but I feel the better for it.
Fausto Coppi I’m not. I poddle along at an average speed of just under 12 km/h; that’s slightly faster than a gentle ooze. Bixi only measures station to station distances, so I’ve probably gone a little faster and a little further
One thing, the Bixi mobile map at toronto.bixi.com/stations is utter pants on a Blackberry. I mean, this is the best I could get it to work:
After my solar course, I’ve been messing about with the UO SRML: Sun chart program. It shows sun angles and day lengths throughout the year.
Catherine alerted me that there were baby groundhogs behind the S. A. Armstrong factory on Ashtonbee.
I’ve been using BIXI every day, despite the rain. They’re slightly different from the test-ride bikes; the ex-Montreal ones had 8 gears, while Toronto flatlanders only get three. The brakes work better too; I’m expecting to get rear-ended any day at a stop sign, since I seem to be the only one who even tries to stop at these things.
I’ve worked out a nifty route down St George and Beverley across the lanes to Simcoe and Queen. Takes me 10 minutes down, 12 back up. Fun!
I noticed this in my twitter feed the other day:
windshare: ExPlace Turbine Shutdown for Service http://wp.me/p11wfW-8T
From what the linked news release said, it looks like the turbine has had a major mechanical component failure. The replacement part will take several months to arrive, then needs a crane to replace it. The turbine is structurally sound, and is even yawing to follow the wind, but can’t generate.
This is a shame, as the volunteers at WindShare had just got the turbine operating at very close to commercial availability. There are also a couple of usefully windy months before the summer for which co-op members will lose revenue.
Update: a very watered-down news release went up on April 3rd: Turbine Technology Update.
I’ve got a bike locker. You can have a bike locker too. It’s $10+tax a month.
The bike just fits in. It isn’t tall enough for my ill-fated bike mirror (which doesn’t fit in my own shed, so is likely soon to be removed). The locker tapers towards the back, so I’m not sure I can reach the nurse’s lock on the frame.
My locker hadn’t been used for a while, so I had to attack the mechanism with spray lube before it would reliably lock and unlock.