Posts Tagged ‘service’

LTC: Equality and the Bus

September 10, 2008

Wheels on the Bus

Correction posted 2008/09/10 @ 6:15pm EDT. Please be advised that this article is not current. It was originally published on the author’s site in January of 2007. FMBS regrets the error and apologizes for it.

I take the LTC on a daily basis in this city, I use it go everywhere; work, school, play. There are days when I have good experiences, days when I have bad, but overall I like to think that the positives out-weigh the negatives. Today, on the other hand, a single negative was so overwhelming that it has clouded the vast amount of positives I know about the LTC.

I think it’s appropriate for me first to state that I am all for the public transit system here in London and in any city across the globe. I think it’s essential in a properly functioning city and it is one of the mandatory pieces of infrastructure that cities should not neglect. I believe that the bus system should be accessible to the entire population, regardless of age, sex, social status or any handicap that they may have. I believe that having a transit fleet that is fully accessible is essential and I think that London having 95 % (or so) of its buses this way is a step in the right direction.

When someone needs a seat because they are of an older generation, pregnant, with small children (strollers exempt from this example) or have some form of disability I will be the first one to get up out of my seat. I sit at work 90% of the day so I honestly don’t mind standing on the bus for a relatively short period of time. I have no problem with this what-so-ever.

What I do have a problem with is when I am kicked off of a city bus for no ‘good’ reason. This is where my anger lies today.

I hopped on the bus in the morning as I always do, catching it to go to work or school (in this case work). I made my single transfer and was on my second bus of the day (2 Dundas Route). I was standing up on the bus near the front where the accessible seating is located. The seats were folded up as they had just been in use and I don’t bother to put them down until someone needs them. Perhaps 20 minutes or so had passed and by this time it was packed with people, mainly students as I was heading to work. Suddenly as of out of nowhere I found myself standing on the curb with the bus driving away from me long before I had made it to my destination and long before I had intended on getting off the bus. What happened?

I had gotten on well before anyone else had, but the entire time I had been standing. As with many bus routes in London during the school year, the bus was full to the brim and had no more room. Everyone on the bus had moved to the back and we couldn’t fit another soul on the bus. The only time the bus would stop is if someone were to request a stop. With that said, the bus had no choice but to pass those people waiting at bus stops and leave them to catch the next bus going in the same direction

The bus driver had not made a single stop as no one had requested one, and then out of no-where he made a stop for a single person waiting at a bus stop.

This person was in a wheel chair.

(The fact that this person was in a wheel chair is not the issue here. The person could have been someone with a stroller, a pile of groceries, a Seeing Eye dog or a person of generous proportions; it’s the principal behind things that matters most here.)

I began to think to myself; “where is this person going to fit on the bus”, its was apparent to me that there was no room for anyone else to stand, let along a wheel chair and the space it takes up, but apparently there was a solution to this problem that I was not aware of. Not 2 minutes later I found myself standing on the curb with 6 other people, most of who were on the bus as long as I had been, and we were watching the bus drive away from us. We were nowhere near our destination and had to wait another 20 minutes for a bus.

What were the implications for me that day? I was 20 minutes late for all of my meetings and engagements for the remainder of the day but things are far more serious than how I was directly affected.

The rational, discretion and responsibility of the LTC in regards to this situation is apparently beyond my scope of comprehension. I honestly cannot understand how the LTC (or that particular driver) can justify kicking 6 people off the bus to fit a single person on the bus. The bus clearly had no more room and denied many people previously the chance at a bus ride (leaving them at their stops), so why was this person and this situation any different?

All people under Canadian law are equal regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, mental or physical disabilities, so I wonder how this situation is in any way above the law. Why should one person be given preference over 6 other people, why is one person more important and entitled to more services that those that live side by side in society with them?

Perhaps it is the fact that the LTC drivers use their discretion when they shouldn’t be using it at all or that this particular driver has some sort of hatred towards post-secondary students in the City of London. I don’t know and I don’t think writing pure speculation is productive in anyway.

If there was room for the wheel chair (or an extra person) from the beginning and it was simply a matter of people getting up out of their seats and standing than this would be a non-issue. It is the fact that the LTC made a poor decision and put out 6 people to accommodate a single individual. What right did the bus driver have to kick people off to accommodate one other person?

Needless to say I am not happy in anyway about this situation.

(Don’t even get me started on the topic of strollers as that’s an issue in itself)

Advertisements

Free Public Transit Is Gaining Credibility

May 23, 2008

Even though local politicians and media have mostly ignored my efforts to raise this topic so far, you know that it’s only a matter of time once the Toronto heavyweights start to latch on to it.

Have a gander at Is free transit the better way? in today’s Toronto Star. Then you might like to have a look at this recent post.

A Saturday Evening LTC Story

March 23, 2008

Let’s pick this story up as I leave the Chapters book store on Wellington Road S. I head over to the transit shelter to wait for the Wellington northbound and arrive there at 9:45 p.m.

There’s a bench in this shelter, which isn’t often the case, but it’s too cold to sit on. Standing wasn’t too much of a problem for the first 20 minutes, but then it started to rapidly take it’s toll on my bum knee. And I’d had to start shuffling to stay warm by this time, which didn’t help matters a lot.

The Wellington #242 finally arrived at 10:35 p.m., temporarily ending my agony. Receiving my transfer, and aware of the sad reality that there’s no Baseline service in the evenings, I asked for advice on how to best get the rest of the way home to Eagle Crescent in the shortest time.

“Where’s Eagle Crescent?” asked the operator. “East of Adelaide and north off Commissioners” I replied. “Well then,” says she, “you have to go downtown and transfer to the Westmount.”

I guess it’s a good thing that I wasn’t from out of town or newly moved here, but it seemed of no consolation at the time. “I know better than that. Try again,” says I.

After consulting with her dispatcher, the operator informed me that my best course of action would be to transfer to the #1 King Edward. So, off I hopped at Wellington/Raywood at 10:48 p.m., still chilled, and began another wait.

22 cold minutes later, the King Edward bus #467 finally arrived at 11:10 p.m., and my journey resumed. Over to Thompson Road, north on Pond Mills, and east to the terminal point where we arrived at 11:22 p.m.

Having grabbed himself a Timmie’s beverage and attended to whatever else he may have had to do, the driver returned and off we went at 11:31 p.m.

West along Commissioners to King Edward, where I exited at 11:34 p.m. Through the tunnel walkway to Eagle, necessary but uncomfortable after dusk, and up the hill to the my end of the street. Home at last, at 11:48 p.m.

Total time waiting for buses, 72 minutes. Total actual travelling time on the buses, 28 minutes. Time waiting for the driver to have his break, 9 minutes. Time walking from the bus stop to home, 14 minutes. Total trip time by LTC, 2 hours and 3 minutes. Total trip time by automobile, about 10 minutes.

After reading this and some of my previous LTC experiences, can you fault me for thinking that Larry Ducharme and John Ford ought to have their asses fired for incompetence?

Will London Get Local CBC Coverage?

February 8, 2008

add to del.icio.us  Add to Blinkslist  add to furl  Digg it  add to ma.gnolia  Stumble It!  add to simpy  seed the vine  Reddit  Fark  TailRank

The CBC wants to spend $50M to create 15 new radio stations across the country.

(more…)

Assault on LTC Driver

December 31, 2007

It’s been reported that after being asked to keep wet boots off of a bus seat early Saturday evening, a 25 y.o. male passenger “spat in the driver’s face…then punched through the front window of the bus, causing more than $2,000 in damage” and that the man’s 24 y.o. female companion “kicked the driver” (‘Couple arrested after bus driver assaulted‘; Daniela Simunac; London Free Press; 2007/12/31).

Public transit users who behave discourteously toward other passengers (feet on seats, occupying more than one seat, profanity, failure to surrender seats to elderly/disabled persons, etc) don’t deserve the priviledge of using the service and ought to be asked by the operator to cease such behaviour or disembark. In doing so, the operator helps to preserve the service for all of us. Any assault upon an LTC operator is an assault upon the entire community of users which public transit serves. It must be condemned loudly and by all of us.

Public Wi-Fi

December 4, 2007

add to del.icio.us  Add to Blinkslist  add to furl  Digg it  add to ma.gnolia  Stumble It!  add to simpy  seed the vine      TailRank

Spacing Toronto reports that the Toronto Public Library has been able to expand free Wi-Fi to 19 of it’s branches, thanks to a Citizenship and Immigration Canadadesignated high need areas” grant.

Links:
A Life Untold: Free Wi-Fi in London, Ontario
2007/11/28 – TPL: Toronto Public Library expands public Internet service

Council Salaries

April 18, 2007

Hot off the press (“Council salaries to be studied“; Joe Belanger; London Free Press; 2007/04/18), word that some recently-elected members of London City Council are unhappy with the amount that they’re being paid.

Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2007 06:56:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Council Salaries
To: letters@lfpress.com
CC: “Paul Berton”, “Joe Belanger”

Like the issue of plastic bags, Council salaries was one of my election campain platforms. Now that the election is over, and like plastic bags, recently elected politicians want to talk about their salaries.

What’s next? The Pedestrian Committee which I proposed and Council buried?

Perhaps if the London Free Press had not totally ignored my campaign, these discussions would have taken place when they should have.

Londoners who are interested can still view my platform at http://ca.geocities.com/fowgre.

Greg Fowler
2006 Ward One Municipal Candidate

Since 1998/03/02, there has been a City Council policy which automatically adjusts their salaries on Jan. 1 (never downwards) to match any increase which has taken place in the annual Ontario Consumer Price Index (or the Labour Index, if that’s higher, so long as it’s less than 1% more than the OCPI).

The annual salary of a London City Councillor is already $31,414, and 1/3 of that is tax-free (equivalent to $40,482 of fully-taxable income).

That’s a pretty cushy part-time gig if you ask me, especially when one considers that it’s traditionally been considered to be a labour of community service.

The auto-adjustment feature of the current City Council policy is logically sound, but it’s tied to the wrong index. As I’ve advocated for decades, and as expressed in my municipal campaign:

The salaries of politicians at all levels of government should be directly tied to the minimum wage or what those who are on welfare receive. Perhaps then, they would be more cognizant of the plight of those that they profess to serve, as opposed to their own “entitlements.”

Library Service Reduction

February 17, 2007

As I mentioned yesterday, the 2nd-floor central library’s entrance to the Galleria Mall has been arbitrarily closed to patrons.A significant convenience, it was deprived without the library’s customary fanfare and without any prior public consultation.

Here is the explanation which I have now received from Nancy Ward (Manager, Public Services) :

The Library is aware that the closure of the second floor entrance will be inconvenient for some of our customers. This was a tough decision and was based on an analysis of many factors. I will try to explain why we feel that this is a decision that will benefit our service.

Security: Security of patrons, collections and staff will be enhanced by having one service point on the main floor. This will enable our security staff to be able to monitor the entrance effectively and efficiently.

Main Floor Revitalization: The Library is in the process of major changes to our first floor. We envision more displays, popular collections and high demand items in this area. This will make a very inviting place to visit. In order to provide more assistance to customers on the first floor we are concentrating our staff resources at one entrance.

Service Efficiency: Holds, self check units and customer service staff will all be concentrated in one service area. This is a more efficient use of staff resources given the much lower usage of the second floor. In addition, it will provide more opportunity for staff to provide customer service at the desk.

I hope that this outline of our reasons for deciding to close the second floor service point will answer your question. The Library also hopes that you will find the new first floor area well worth visiting.

Click here if you wish to find out who is responsible for this service reduction and how to contact them.

London Transportation – My Public Response to Paul Berton

January 6, 2007

Hold onto your hats… this is a long post…

Mr. Berton,

To begin with, a note of appreciation for today’s “Back transit plan before it’s too late” editorial. Public transit is hugely important towards safe and healthy cities, and as I’ve written to you before and despite all of City Hall’s posturing, sadly ignored (as evidenced by per-capita mode share stats). Had it not been for significant transfer payments from the province and the feds in recent years, I hate to think what sad shape public transit in London would now be in.

LTC ridership was 18,761,000 in 1988. But thanks to the political pressure of the 0%-tax increase coalition, Council’s attitude toward increased support of public transit and other necessary services became very negative. The result was that LTC made a decision to increase user rates, the results were predictable. Ridership decreased year after year for the next 8 years! From a ridership level of only 11,905,000 in 1996, we are only now in 2006 finally getting back to that 1988 level.

But even that stat is deceiving, because the city has grown considerably since then. Whereas the 18,761,000 riders in 1988 represented a very modest mode share of 10%, the 18,276,000 riders which the service attracted in 2005 only represent a mode share of 7%. In order to match projected population growth and simply recapture the 10% share, the TDM estimates that ridership has to grow an average 600,000 additional rides per year, every year, until 2024.

Along with community centres (which I also strongly support), let’s not forget the importance that public transit plays in the lives of marginalized citizens (OW, ODSP, minimum-wage earners, disabled, etc), the increasing disparity between rich/poor in our society, and the resultant societal problems and huge health/policing costs that go along with those.

Perhaps if this initiative succeeds, more citizens will have access to Fanshawe Pioneer Village (as one example of a less accessible but important community resource) and it’s consequent improved finances will in turn reduce pressure on City Council at budget time.

To borrow a phrase from Arlene Kennedy, “Our city must become the centre for innovative and creative thinking.” Contrary to statements from the developer-backed naysayers on City Council, increased municipal investment in public transit would move us in that direction.

Might I suggest a follow-up article which examines the true cost of private automobile usage, not only including such things as purchase price, insurance, maintenance, license… but also things like municipal road widening, road extensions, public parking, police enforcement, bylaw enforcement, collisions, environmental degradation (pollution, loss of farmland, etc), increased infrastructure and emergency service costs resulting from urban sprawl … ?

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read Ryan McGreal’s “The High Cost of Free Parking.

I must admit though, that I’m somewhat at a loss to understand the failure of the LFP to address London’s record-setting year with respect to vehicle/pedestrian incidents, in any of your year-end recaps that I’ve read. Did I miss something?

On another transportation-related note. Many months ago, when I notified you about the proposal that I had put to City Council with respect to a Pedestrian Subcommittee for London, you replied that you had a special interest in pedestrian/bicyclist safety and that you wished to be kept informed. That being the case, you may be interested in the correspondence which is attached (below). In addition to the highly questionable manner in which the proposal was handled by City Council and “city administration”, I note that I haven’t had a single contact from any elected member about this.

Continuing with the same theme, and my efforts to extract a copy of the Commissioners/Pond Mills safety study from London Police Services. I’ve now succeeded in doing so but only with the assistance of the Ontario Privacy Commissioner.

The unsafe intersection of Commissioners and Pond Mills has been the sight of several horrific vehicle/pedestrian incidents and is one that I have focused on as part of my political action towards improved pedestrian safety in the city of London. It employs pedestrian islands and channelization (dangerously rounded corners so that drivers don’t have to stop or even slow down).

Excerpt from Constable Riley’s 2006/05/29 “Police Witness Statement” which I only obtained 2007/01/04 under FOI:
“I have met with FOWLER and monitored this intersection both with him present and on my own…The following are things that I have noted:
– very high traffic intersection both pedestrian and vehicle
– right hand turn, merge lanes for all directions of travel
– vehicles turning right generally come at a quicker rate of speed but are not speeding
– vehicles turning right, if they stop do so in such a place that they are generally in the crosswalk
– there are no indicators for vehicles making right turns that pedestrians are present or about to cross
– for pedestrians wanting to cross any of the intersections, they must first make it to the island on the opposite side of all the right hand turn lanes in order to push the button to cross the major part of the intersection
– once pedestrians are on the islands they are pretty much blind to vehicles and there is a safety risk that vehicle may not see them”

Excerpt from Constable Riley’s 2006/08/10 “Case Summary” which I only obtained 2007/01/04 under FOI:
“FOWLER was contacted…and a request was made to meet with him and go over this complaint in detail at the intersection in question. Intersection was monitored for a couple of days. Very high traffic both pedestrian and vehicles. Crosswalks are not very safe as pedestrians are forced to cross the path of the turning lane to enter on to an island in order to depress the pedestrian walk button.”

In an email to me dated 2006/08/11, Sgt. Thomas O’Brien wrote:
“Constable Riley’s report acknowledges that Commissioners and Pond Mills is a busy intersection for both vehicles and pedestrians. He doesn’t like the configuration of the merge turns and how it impacts pedestrians. He indicates that local MPP were notified of the concerns… I had conversation with Mr. Shane Maguire of the City Traffic. We discussed this intersection and the unusual requirements for pedestrians to cross merge lanes to get to an “island” to further cross. He is fully aware of the concerns. I asked him to look at other similar intersection configurations within the city to see if they’re experiencing similar problems.”

Correspondence re: Proposal for a London Pedestrian Subcommittee

—————————————————————————————————

Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 12:36:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Update – Pedestrian Safety
To: SMaguire@london.ca
CC: “Sandy White”

Mr. Maguire,

In appreciation of your past demonstrated willingness to meet with me and discuss these issues, please be advised,

In response to several complaints by me, Sgt. Tom O’Brien has assigned Const. Riley (661-5545) to investigate the issue of pedestrian safety at the intersection of Commissioners Road East and Pond Mills Road.

I met with Const. Riley at said intersection this morning and discussed the situation with him at length. My impression following the meeting is a good one.

Const. Riley appeared to be very receptive to the perception which I expressed with respect to multiple pedestrian safety issues, and seems to appreciate the dangers imposed by the physical configuration of this particular intersection.

I’ve been promised by Contst. Riley that he will continue to monitor this situation, and that he will endeavour to have Sgt. O’Brien visit the location with him in order to explain/discuss the problems further. He also suggested the possibility of involving MPP Ramal, and he indicated to me that there will be a report available following his investigation.

Also,

As a result of my efforts toward the establishment of a Pedestrian Charter and a Pedestrian Subcommittee for the City of London, I have been informed by the Secretary of the Environment and Transportion Committee that the matter has been referred to the Board of Control for it’s consideration and reply.

I encourage you to follow these developments, and invite you to contact me at any time should you wish to discuss them further.

Respectfully,

Greg Fowler, Candidate Ward One
962 Eagle Crescent
London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7
(519) 649-0500

Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2007 22:20:59 -0500 (EST)
From: Gregory Fowler
Subject: Fwd: RE: Your Letter
To: kbain@london.ca
CC: rcaranci@london.ca, hlysynsk@london.ca

Mr. Bain,

Thank you for your letter dated 2006/12/19 which summarizes how my proposal for a Pedestrian Subcommittee and a Pedestrian Charter was “handled”.

According to the material which you provided, civic administration’s “review” and “report” simply consisted of the single simple sentence that “Pedestrian safety would be a logical fit with the CSCP mandate and it is therefore recommended that … the CSCP’s duties be amended by adding thereto after the words ‘injury prevention’ the words ‘pedestrian safety’ in order to incorporate the area of pedestrian safety within the mandate of the CSCP.”

Was there any background study? Any consultation with other municipalities? Any consultation with London Police Services or members of the public? Why didn’t “civic administration” contact me? Is this what Mr. Fielding means when he talks about “accessibility”?

Why was the “report” submitted to the Striking Committee meeting? Given the fact that my proposal was referred by ETC to Board of Control, shouldn’t any “report” have gone back to Board of Control and even perhaps ETC, for public review and discussion?

Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 14:41:31 -0500 (EST)
From: Gregory Fowler
Subject: RE: Your Letter
To: “Stein, Brett”
CC: hlysynsk@london.ca, kbain@london.ca, rcaranci@london.ca
In-Reply-To:

Mr. Stein,

My apology. The letter originated from Mr. Bain, and I apparently did not exercise sufficient care in responding. Thank you for forwarding it to Ms Lysynski.

Greg Fowler

“Stein, Brett” wrote:

Mr. Fowler
I am unaware of any letter regarding pedestrian safety sent to CSCP in my name on December 5, 2006. I have taken the liberty of forwarding your email to Heather Lysynski, who after reading all the attached emails, seems to be your contact on this subject.

Brett Stein
Manager of Licensing and Elections
City of London
(519) 661-2500 x 5884
bstein@london.ca

From: Gregory Fowler [mailto:fowgre@yahoo.ca]
Sent: Monday, December 11, 2006 1:29 PM
To: Stein, Brett
Cc: Caranci, Roger
Subject: Your Letter

Mr. Stein,

Thank you for copying me your 2006/12/05 letter to CSCP which indicates that the issue of pedestrian safety has been incorporated within the mandate of that committee.

It strikes me as being highly inappropriate to have taken this action, given the fact that I’ve been awaiting a response to my proposal for a Pedestrian Committee since last May.

Has staff reported back to Board of Control? Has a decision been made with respect to my proposal?

Greg Fowler

Subject: RE: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 13:59:17 -0400
From: “Lysynski, Heather”
To: “Gregory Fowler”

My apologies, just what has been happening until this point.

Heather Lysynski
Committee Secretary
City Clerk’s Office
519-661-2500 x 4856

From: Gregory Fowler [mailto:fowgre@yahoo.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 1:40 PM
To: Lysynski, Heather
Subject: RE: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee

Ms Lysynski,

> Pedestrian safety issues continue to be addressed by the
> Community Safety and Crime Prevention Advisory Committee.

Is this the response to my proposal for a Pedestrian Committee that I’ve been waiting for, or simply an explanation of how things have been done up until now?

Greg Fowler, Candidate Ward One

Subject: RE: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 12:25:40 -0400
From: “Lysynski, Heather”
To: “Gregory Fowler”

Mr. Fowler,

In response to your inquiry, the Bicycle Advisory Committee was established with the mandate of assisting with the finalization of the Bicycle Master Plan, after which it would be integrated with the Transportation Advisory Committee. The Bicycle Master Plan has been completed, the Bicycle Advisory Committee has been disbanded and the terms of reference for the Transportation Advisory Committee have been amended to include representation from the cycling community. Pedestrian safety issues continue to be addressed by the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Advisory Committee.

Thank you,

Heather Lysynski
Committee Secretary
City Clerk’s Office
519-661-2500 x 4856

Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 00:20:10 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: ETC Comments
To: “W. J. Bud Polhill”

Bud,

With respect to your remarks during the last ETC that “maybe if it was safer more people would ride a bike” and “I can understand a bicycle on the road but they have to have their own space.”

Perhaps, if you’re as concerned about the safety of alternate modes of transportation as your comments would suggest, you’ll explain to me why my proposal for a Pedestrian Committe was sloughed off to BoC and from there
to staff? And why my inquiry about the Bicycle Committee was simply ignored?

Greg Fowler, Candidate Ward One.

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 23:25:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: RE: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee
To: “Lysynski, Heather”

Ms Lysynski,

I’m aware of the fact that BoC tossed my proposal for a Pedestrian Committee to staff like it was a hot potato, but can you explain to me why I’ve had no response to my inquiry about the disbandment of the Bicycle Committee?

Greg Fowler, Candidate Ward One.

Subject: RE: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2006 13:29:18 -0400
From: “Lysynski, Heather”
To: “Gregory Fowler”

Mr. Fowler:

Your communication was referred to the Board of Control for its consideration. The ETC report will be going to the Municipal Council meeting on Monday (June 12th).

Hope this helps.

Heather

Heather Lysynski
Committee Secretary
City Clerk’s Office
661-2500 x 4856

From: Gregory Fowler [mailto:fowgre@yahoo.ca]
Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 1:23 PM
To: Lysynski, Heather
Subject: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee

Ms Hlysynski,

Since I’ve had no response from anyone, and since the minutes of the 2006/05/29 ETC meeting are not yet online, perhaps you’d be kind enough to tell me how my communication (Agenda #9) was dealt with?

Respectfully,

Greg Fowler.

Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 15:45:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gregory Fowler
Subject: Inquiry
To: Hlysynski@london.ca
CC: Thomas O’Brien , lenlesser@hotmail.com,
pmcleod@thelondoner.ca, jsher@lfpress.com, garrison@cjbk.com,
newstalk1290today@cjbk.com, sewhite@london.ca, John.Wilsons@corusent.com,
jryan-lfp@rogers.com

Environment & Transportation Committee
City of London
c/o Heather Lysynski, Committee Secretary

May 17, 2006

Please be advised that I am interested in exploring the possibility of forming a pedestrian committee for the City of London , and the creation of a Pedestrian Charter, similar to those which already exist in the City of Toronto .

I understand from a recent agenda that the bicycle subcommittee has been disbanded. Might I receive some background information about what led to that decision, and whether it might negatively impact upon the creation of a pedestrian committee?

For more than a decade, I have been publicly active in advocating for things like increased police services, walkway lighting, etc. Pedestrian rights is simply the latest extension of that, and is driven by increased public environmental awareness, the city’s adoption of a Transportation Master Plan, the hiring of a TDM Co-ordinator (albeit with an insufficient budget), an aging population, and an alarming increase in the incidence of vehicle/pedestrian collisions.

I am attaching a recent communication to London Police Services which reflects that concern, and I ask that you give it your consideration and hopefully your support as well. I also note the excellent LFP May 16 column by Julie Ryan (“Give pedestrians ‘brake’ they deserve”) and I encourage you to read it if you have not already done so.

In the event that you might be receptive to the formation of a pedestrian committee, any recommendations from you would be very much appreciated.

Respectfully,

Mr. Gregory T. Fowler
962 Eagle Crescent
London , Ontario ; N5Z 3H7
(519) 649-0500

Date: Tue, 9 May 2006 14:08:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gregory Fowler
Subject: RE: Police Enforcement & Pedestrian Safety
To: Thomas O’Brien
CC: lenlesser@hotmail.com, pmcleod@thelondoner.ca, jsher@lfpress.com, garrison@cjbk.com, newstalk1290today@cjbk.com, sewhite@london.ca,
John.Wilsons@corusent.com

Sgt. O’Brien,

Thank you for your willingness to investigate my complaint.

I note with regret the article in today’s paper (“Cab hits senior in core”; Patrick Maloney; 2006/05/09), and I feel compelled to repeat the same warning that I’ve made many times before. London is headed too much in the same direction as Toronto and other large municipalities have gone, and vehicle/pedestrian incidents are inevitable unless we take aggressive measures to prevent it.

You are quoted as warning that “pedestrians need to be careful crossing city streets” and I have no problem with that. What bothers me is that you never seem to talk about the other side of the coin, and as a result I’m left with the impression that you have a bias against pedestrians.

Mr. Maloney attributes you as saying last month that “For the most part, pedestrians are at fault.”

I witness many incidents in which pedestrians behave in an unlawful and dangerous manner. I first started speaking out against that and other behaviours many years ago, when Chief Faulkner was still a Deputy. It’s one of the reasons that I publicly campaigned for an increased police budget so that more officers could be hired, something that even Chief Faulkner wasn’t doing.

But please. Let’s not try to pretend that drivers don’t share any responsibility for these incidents.

As I reminded you during our recent meeting at City Hall, walking is a natural right. Pedestrians don’t have to be licensed by the province, and the province can’t legislate against it.

Certainly, pedestrians are not at liberty to act with complete disregard. Hence, prohibitions such as R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 140 (4) with which I completely agree.

On the other hand, driving is not a right, it is a privilege (R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 31). And with that privilege, comes the legislated responsibility that drivers do everything possible to be in full control of their vehicles at all times, and those are so numerous that I feel it is unnecessary to cite them.

Until this city starts taking action to curb the seemingly insatiable selfish desire of people to use private automobiles to get to their destinations in the shortest possible time, and to curb our ever-increasing population, vehicle/pedestrian accidents will likely continue to increase. But London Police Services can try to keep it from becoming an epidemic.

I ask you again consider the possibility of conducting sting operations, similar to those which are employed by the Los Angeles Police Department (see: http://www.lapdonline.org/march_2002/news_view/22320).

Sincerely,

Greg Fowler, Ward One Municipal Candidate.

LTC Complaints System

February 22, 2006

With respect to the assertion that personel undertake to follow up “Letters to the Editor” when the authors are identifiable (2006/02/01 agenda), I was understandably curious as to why I have never been contacted.

This, from Joanna Kurowski (LTC Manager of Service Quality)…

“Attempts are made to follow up with authors of letters to the editor, where the content of the letter is related to a specific event and the LTC does not have on file a reference to the issue giving rise to the letter i.e. the author had not contacted the Commission. If the letter is “generic in nature” or “an opinion letter” no follow up is completed.”

LTC Complaints System

February 21, 2006

Why doesn’t the LTC make an effort to categorize/publish complaints on it’s website? If “the number of complaints increased only slightly” (2006/02/01 agenda) perhaps it’s because of a perception (and my own personal experience tends to support it) that complaining is a waste of time. Maybe it might also have something to do with the fact that calls are not accepted after 10pm on weekdays or after 4:40pm on weekends and holidays?

This, from Joanna Kurowski (LTC Manager of Service Quality)…

“Customer service information is prepared for Commission review in July and January of each year. The frequency is considered appropriate in terms of assessing system and service performance and tracking trends. It also reflects a balance in allocating constrained resources.”

LTC Complaints System

February 20, 2006

Staff Report #7 from the 2006/02/01 agenda refers to “Abandoned” Information Line Calls.

Twice this year already, I have been personally hung up on after calling the info line to register a complaint. Were those calls identified as being “abandoned”?

This, from Joanna Kurowski (LTC Manager of Service Quality)…

“Abandoned information line calls are those calls ended by the caller before the call was answered by customer service staff. The answered and abandoned call information is tracked automatically by the telephone system.”

Also, if “a public contact form is generated” when a complaint is registered, is each complaint assigned a unique identifier so that it can be referred to later and followed up upon to see how it was handled? In my experience, callers are never asked to identify themselves, and callers are never provided with identifiers.

Again, from Ms Kurowski…

“Customer contacts are prepared for compliments, complaints and service inquiries, whether they are by phone, written, or in person. Each contact is assigned an internal reference number for management and tracking purposes. Customer contacts are only created where sufficient information has been provided for follow up and assessment. The decision on caller identification is left up to the individual caller and is unique to the nature of the call, i.e. reason for or incident giving rise to the call.”

We Need the LTC to Adopt a Grid System

September 3, 2005

One of my criticisms about the LTC is the manner in which it services major arterial roads.

Why does the #16 Adelaide service Commissioners Road in the south end, from Adelaide Street east to Deveron and into the Pond Mills neighbourhood? And in the north end, why does it (the #16 Adelaide) service Fanshawe Park Road from Adelaide Street west to the Masonville Mall?

Buses which service major arteries should do simply that. They should not go into residential neighbourhoods. Leave that function to smaller shuttle buses.

And duplication. Why the hell is Dundas Street serviced by more than the #2 Dundas? Do we really need to have a #7 Wavell travel Dundas Street from Highbury Ave to Ridout Street? Does the #12 Wharncliffe need to travel Dundas Street as far east as Adelaide Street? Does the #20 Cherryhill have to service Dundas Street as far east as Quebec Street?

A Rate Hike for LTC?

September 2, 2005

Isn’t London’s public transit system in bad enough shape already?

According to an article in today’s newspaper (LTC ponders higher fares“; London Free Press; Hank Daniszewski and Megan O’Toole), the 2006 LTC budget “already suggested a fare hike of 6.1 per cent — a figure likely to rise, although Ducharme wouldn’t say by how much.”

Don’t our civic so-called “leaders” realize that increased fares only drive away riders which results in decreased revenues and subsequent service reductions which results in even fewer riders?

The LFP article misleads it’s readers into thinking that this is a healthy transit system, by stating that “Since 1998, the LTC has led the nation in ridership growth, with a 46-per-cent increase.” What the article ignores however, is that there were years of ridership decline preceeding that growth, and that really there was nowhere else for ridership to go.

But let’s not kid ourselves! That growth was more likely a result of desperation on the part of dependant citizens, and NOT a reflection of good service.

Anybody who thinks that London ratepayers receive good service from the LTC should read my previous comments on this subject.