Pedestrians Finally Get an LFP Mention, but For What Purpose?


The Editor-in-Chief of London’s only daily newspaper had the unmitigated gall to include a “Point of View” editorial in today’s edition (‘Let’s put people ahead of cars ‘; Paul Berton; London Free Press; 2008/01/05) which suggests an appreciation for pedestrians. Just amazing!

2008/01/25 Correction: It seems that the location of Mr. Berton’s POV article on the LFP website has been changed; it can now be found HERE (but for how long I can’t promise).

Mr. Berton tells us that “the great streets of the world…they’re great because they’re attractive to pedestrians…let’s get rid of all one-way streets in London” and ends his article with this flourish: “it all boils down to what — or whom — we care about: cars or people.”

Great stuff, right?

Well, no actually. Because the main purpose of the article appears to be Mr. Berton’s political support for those downtown business owners who want to eliminate one-way streets and who want to see more on-street parking (“business leaders along Richmond have been requesting it for years”) so that “restaurants and shops” will do better (ie make more money).

So far at least, the LFP hasn’t seen fit to include this POV:editorial in it’s Interactive Letters section. Which may or may not mean that they’re not anxious to get any feedback to the article. It’s strange how most of Mr. Berton’s columns get listed there, but some don’t. And how the LFP conveys the appearance of wanting to be more ‘interactive’ in the face of increasing competition from ‘citizen journalists’ but won’t provide permalinks, basic formatting capability, etc. to it’s online readers. But, I digress…

In a recent Editor’s Blog post (‘Late-night News’; Paul Berton; 2008/01/03) the Editor asks us, “Why is the return of Leno and Letterman news?”

And so, never one to let an opportunity or a gift-horse pass me by, this submission…

 What is News?
 Greg Fowler (; 2008/01/05


 The return of celebrities to the airwaves after a very brief absence 
 may be topical, but is it important in the large scheme of things? 
 What's the difference between "hard news" and "soft news" and 
 "pop culture"?  What's the difference between the London Free Press 
 and Star Magazine?  How much more "dumbing down" can our modern 
 society withstand before it starts to crumble like our city's 

 Case in point.  You've ignored my proposal for a Pedestrian Committee 
 and the way that City Council handled it.  You've ignored my warnings 
 about the dangerous situation for pedestrians along Commissioners Road, 
 and in particular, the Commissioners/Pond Mills intersection which a 
 London Police report identified as dangerous to pedestrians and which 
 City Hall has ignored.  Now in today's paper, there's a column by you 
 extolling the virtues of pedestrian travel, without any mention of the 
 problems that face pedestrians in this city.

 "News" may be redefining itself, but it seems to me that we've lost 
 something important.  My only hope is that "citizen journalism" can 
 help to fill the void.

Updated 2008/01/15:
Well, it’s now been fully 10 days since I submitted my comment to the LFP Editor’s Blog. And although they did finally publish it several days later, there’s still been no response from Mr. Berton. Don’t you have to ask yourself (or Mr. Berton), why not?

2007/01/06 – FMBS: My Public Response to Paul Berton
2007/03/09 – FMBS: PlasTax
2007/04/18 – FMBS: Council Salaries
2007/06/25 – FMBS: London Free Press ‘Truth’
2007/09/10 – FMBS: Better Engineering Equals Increased Safety
2007/11/18 – FMBS: Citizen Journalism


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