"Research is showing that cyclists are good customers, that their numbers and economic impact increase with bike lanes and that merchants overestimate the share of drivers who currently shop at their business." From Economic Impacts of Bike Lanes by Daniel Arancibia
Dundas St. is lined with small businesses from downtown to the eastern edge of London. Considering the positive economic impacts of cycling, a two-way protected bike lane along it would be a major boost to those businesses.
Where to put it?
A parking lane could be replaced west of Highbury and the turning lane to the west of Highbury. This change would be easy and low cost. In fact the low impact of cycling on the pavement alone could possibly save the city enough money on road maintenance and upkeep to recover the costs of the change (over time).
Though I am in favor of the Grand Theatre expansion, I would prefer if the 3 small buildings and their business to the north of the Grand were not going to be taken out. It's not that the buildings are that historically looking, it's just that it takes all the daytime traffic out of that block. The only time that area will see people, is when the Grand is open at night. There must be away to expand more into the parking lot behind the theatre. Thoughts?
We should be using underutilized space and resources from below and on street level as well as above, on rooftop level, to sustain our city.
Below Ground – Septic: Our city could utilize a never-ending resource for energy and possibly make money and significantly lower, if not make our hydro bills disappear. We could be the energy makers rather than just the energy takers. Anaerobic digesters are a wonderful thing – and, if Harvest Power, London Hydro and Bullfrog Power can all learn from each other or possibly work together, I think living in London would be a lot less stressful and a little more suitable for life in general. London Hydro has been wanting money from the city to relocate… Why not send them to the city Wastewater Treatment Plant, and repurpose that site for a multifaceted public enterprise? Both Facilities could join forces to save citizens hundreds of dollars a month; corporate superheroes. As long as people are eating, why not harvest the abundant energy from the biological waste?
Ground Level- Compost: The food we ship off to the landfill could also be utilized to help power the city via anaerobic digestion, and after the energy creating gases are gone, all that’s left is the nutrients; a byproduct that can be sold for gardening/agricultural purposes. The Tri-City Region has an efficient and cost effective Green Bin program that London could not only adopt, but also make even more efficient and cost effective as well as even profitable.
Raise the Roof- Rooftop Greenhouses: a few Key words to be used here are food security, new jobs, and tourism attractions, winter oasis, education and mental health.
This would drastically boost up the local food production and security of London, specifically during winter months. Local farmers may want to invest, who knows, the times they are a-changin’.
These secure, multi-seasonal agricultural spaces could also be utilized for educational and mental health programs, as well as for growing, and then building hemp industries/businesses; this opens up so many manufacturing and textile possibilities. Hemp growers have to be licensed so there is no confusion or crossed hairs with Hemp’s cousin Mary Jane.
There has been a bit of talk about trying to improve London economy with the help of tourism, and some of these rooftop Greenhouses could be used to make London more appealing during the average winter. I imagine something kind of like Donovan Gardens in Calgary. Some businesses, restaurants and hotels could be connected with over-passing glass covered bridges. I definitely picture an oriental garden stylized restaurant with accents of blossoming fruit trees and butterflies, all protected from the blizzard that is visible beyond the protection of the greenhouse’s transparent walls. Maybe PenEquity can set their sites on something like this in the downtown core, or even on Dundas where that vacant McCormic building stands, rather than sprawling right over a wetland and woodlot.
Logistically, existing building would hopefully have proper load bearing capabilities for such projects. Any new flat roofed commercial buildings that are built within the city could have an addition to the building codes that ensures they have the load-bearing capacity for the potential to be host to a rooftop greenhouse.
Posted by Mike Sloan · March 08, 2014 11:48 PM
· 9 reactions
If downtown Peterborough, population 72,000, can sustain a Freshco and NoFrills for almost 40 years, London can do it. It's odd that people who live downtown likely have to get in their cars and drive to a grocery store. It would be great if both old and you could live without a car and live downtown. I know it happens now, but people have to pay premium prices. If a number of people call or email one of the stores, they'll do it.
Posted by Kevin Van Lierop · March 06, 2014 12:54 PM
· 15 reactions
From a large string of tweets:
Talking some 'direction' from the Wednesday Night Bike Rides (and the London Photo Walks): people simply show-up at the same day & time every week, rain or shine, and just walk. Friends comes, complete strangers are welcome, it becomes a casual social event.
A city-wide network of walking groups that are developed at the neighbourhood/street level could be created, but it doesn't need to.
This is something anyone can easily do where they live.
It doesn't/wouldn't require much investment, it's good for your mind, body and soul.
I have the domain walklondon.ca that I'm willing to offer-up to be re-purposed if someone wants to start a local movement (although I'd encourage you to look at 'londonwalks' as well as it has a more positive undertone to it.)
Posted by Kevin Van Lierop · March 06, 2014 9:32 AM
· 7 reactions
The new london.ca website serves a purpose.
With that said, trying to find the correct information on it is, at times, difficult even with the new 'search' feature.
In addition, while the website has lots of relevant information that pertains to citizens I'm not convinced that it has some of the most important answers to the questions being asked.
Last, trying to weed through some of the language used on the site can be difficult enough for some and when this is coupled with a structure for the information that isn't exactly intuitive or user-friendly london.ca can be a turn off for some, even those that are use to navigating information heavy website.
Is there a need for a Citizen Information Hub that provides answers to common questions in plain english?
What if citizens came together, pooled all of their questions that they've had about living in the city, and create answers for these questions in plain-citizen-language, then posted this someone online that would be accessible by all?
Questions could be regarding: garbage, child care, neighbourhoods, businesses, processes, procedures, general information, politics etc.
While answers to these questions may exists in various places what I've found is that they are all scattered about, contain unclear answers written in a voice that is often not citizen friendly, are hard to find or the answers to real citizen questions simply don't exist/aren't documented.
The idea here is to go the route Amsterdam has, where the City of London would deploy, own, and operate its own fibre optic network. This fibre optic network would then be used to bring 1Gbps (a.k.a. 1000Mbps) Internet connections to any home or business in the City.
Locales that have followed a similar model:
Tallahassee, TN, USA
Bristol, VA, USA
Australia (NBN - National Broadband Network)
The list of cities also wanting to deploy a municipal fibre optic network includes Wake Forest, NC and Los Angeles, CA. London would not be a trend setter here, but it could still be well ahead of the curve.
Potential benefits include:
Faster, more reliable internet access for businesses, schools, and government institutions
Net revenue generator for the City
Additional capability to foster a startup culture for high-tech businesses
When you consider Canada has an internet usage penetration rate of roughly 87%, the risks are few. If the City adopted an "open access" model, allowing companies like Teksavvy, Start, Primus, Distributel, and Acanac to sell services on top of the City's network (much like they resell access via Bell's and Roger's infrastructure now), it is extremely likely that this could quickly be a very good revenue generator for the City, while also alleviating it from having to deal with local incumbents for last-mile infrastructure.
There is a wealth of research online and multiple models to consider. The first step is to decide London, and the surrounding area, needs this and finds the will to fund its construction.
Municipal broadband deployments are broadband Internet access services provided either fully or partially by local governments. Common connection technologies include unlicensed wireless (Wi-Fi, wireless mesh networks), licensed wireless (such as WiMAX), and fiber-optic. Although many cities previously deployed Wi-Fi based solutions, municipal fiber-to-the-home networks are becoming more prominent due to increased demand for modern audio and video applications, which are increasing bandwidth requirements by 40% per annum.
It isn't new. (See Scott Maclean's previous post and a petition with 560 signatures, both on this site: http://www.betterlondon.ca/save_lorne_ave.) But it is urgent.
As you may already know, London faces the possibility of a school desert in its core with the TVDSB's plan to close Lorne Ave Public School, the last remaining non-specialized elementary public school serving Woodfield, the Old East Village, and the downtown.
No, it isn't new, and it isn't going to be easy, either, since the reasons aren't "common sense," but the result of broken funding formulae and a perverse drive to "get" the most available dollars for the region, even if it affects the city negatively.
Just FYI, Lorne Ave PS is already chock-full and operating as a vital community hub. The school board can pretend it's underutiized since its revenue comes from multiple programs and not exclusively from elementary education. Lorne Ave revenues go into the general coffers instead of to maintaining the school and senior administration has admitted on the record to years of neglect while they focus on trying to close the school.
The school board would ostensibly like to close Lorne Ave to rationalize two hoped-for new builds in currently unserviced and undeveloped areas in the north part of the city -- areas that are also, to date, unpopulated (http://www.lfpress.com/2013/11/21/if-granted-provincial-approval-the-elementary-schools-could-open-as-soon-as-september-2015). The board will also apply for $4M to renovate existing schools just outside the core and install portables to accommodate some of the displaced Lorne Avenue students. All of this development money comes from outside the school board budget -- score! right? -- but still from the public coffers, just like all the new builds province-wide that Londoners are also paying for. In addition, back at home, the board will incur bussing costs for virtually the entire displaced population of Lorne Ave PS since almost all kids will be faced with crossing a rail-yard deemed a hazard by Student Transportation Services.
This is unacceptably wasteful and contrary to city priorities and public health policy.
So, what's it going to take to keep a school operating at Lorne Avenue PS?
Saving the school is a citizen-driven initiative to be sure, but the City of London has recognized the importance of the school, voted "London's Favourite Little Gem" for its history of instilling self-worth in kids and families and its key role in core revitalization and intensification. The City has committed to leasing part of the space that the board declares surplus and taken the lead in finding partners to occupy the rest of that space. All citizens can assist by referring potential users to the City.
In addition, and simultaneously, citizens could lobby the Ministry of Education to turn down the board's request for capital expenditure funds. After all, whether it's part of the school board's budget or not, it's still your money: there may be multiple jurisdictions here, but you only have one wallet, right? School boards have become the biggest player in urban planning completely bypassing and confounding our accomplished city staff.
This site is usually devoted to great new ideas, to getting something we don't already have, rather than to saving a threatened resource, but keeping our key institutions is part of making a better London and fighting for a shared vision will also make us a better London.
The board says neighbourhoods don't need schools to thrive. Then why build where they think there will one day be a neighbourhood? We know the truth: schools make good neighbourhoods and good neighbourhoods make better cities.
The board is willing to risk that bussing to school has no adverse affect on pupils' outcomes. Then why not bus kids to Lorne from these soon-to-be-built suburban neighbourhoods? Is it only okay to bus away from the core?
The board feels that East London and downtown kids can spend their elementary years in portables despite having 1000s of empty desks elsewhere. This is just wrong. Let's say so.
The board feels it can victimize east London neighbourhoods with impunity because the rest of the city won't care. That's not true anymore, is it?
The Lorne Ave community is not interested in playing the victim here and is not asking for sympathy. We're ready and willing to demonstrate how saving Lorne Ave PS is vital to making a "better" London.
Please join us. With London on our side, we believe we can save Lorne Ave.
Posted by Kevin Van Lierop · March 02, 2014 6:52 AM
· 3 reactions
This may be a long shot, and it may already exist, but please bear with me.
Things like awesome London and London Soup are great. Citizens funding other citizens to do amazing things. When we invest in each other we invest in our city.
Arts and heritage grants, funds for the environment and investment for game changing social action help to shape our communities and broader society to ensure that tomorrow we’re in a better place today.
These types of investment channels are great but is there a segment of investment needs that isn’t being served?*
While small, short term investments are in the reach of most people wanting to make a difference in this city sometimes they aren’t enough, not even to get started.
Larger, fund based investment options have the ability to kick start and drive longer term, significant impact, but the application process and often overly specific use of the funds mean that they are often available to those choosing to serve only ‘major’ identified sectors: arts, heritage, environment, social etc.
What is a person or organization to do if they have an idea, one that has the ability to make this city a better place but is between the scope of investment options at the opposite ends of the spectrum?
While partnerships are a must in today’s society and can be the key to securing funding they sometimes lead to the initial idea being transformed into something to serve the purpose and outcomes of one specific organization.
What if there was a way for citizens to contribute to a fund that was managed by citizens themselves to help citizens to amazing things? What if we could collectively invest in the outcomes that other citizens want to see reached without having to navigate ‘red-tape’? What if we were organized enough to build something that could be ongoing to ensure that there’s always opportunities for people to develop ideas that make this city a better place, regardless of how large, small or in-between an idea may be?
there are organizations like 100womenlondon.com but once again, that’s very specific and the funds are only available to organizations that can issue tax receipts, thus being very limiting.
Posted by Kevin Van Lierop · March 01, 2014 7:51 PM
· 18 reactions
Most universities and colleges have a day or an entire week where they present students with all of the various clubs that they can join while at a given institutions. Sports, social, activist and fun, all groups or clubs are represented to give students the opportunity to choose as they please. Students are exposed to things that are aware of but more importantly are exposed to things that they may have never heard of or experienced before.
What if we took this model and applied it to the city as a whole.
What if we had a city wide clubs day to give Londoners a chance to get more involved in their city, regardless of how that might be?
We could have a city wide clubs day, held at the convention centre/western fair/city facility, where clubs, groups and organizations from across the city come in a a 'trade show/exhibitor' format to share with Londoners what they have to offer. Like the home or bridal show, Londoners could come, learn and experience all of the different offerings in the city.
I see this as something that could easily be supported by the City itself, the urban league or other funding organizations to make it happen BUt lead by a group of citizens that want to see it happen.
Posted by Kevin Van Lierop · March 01, 2014 7:46 PM
· 20 reactions
What if we could gather the 'leaders' from as many 'community' groups as possible in the same room? They could chat, learn, share and potentially collaborate.
There are many groups in the city doing similar, different and some overlapping things. What might the benefit be to gather all of the groups into one room to better understand what's going on in the city and see if we might be able, to collective, grow and develop as part of a larger community.
- how do we get as many groups represented as possible, including those who are not online?
- how do we make it a 'productive' session?
- what possibly could go wrong? seriously? no, really.
Candidates for municipal council are under a lot of pressure to know a lot about a broad spectrum of issues. They are queried and expected to be up to speed by community members and groups of all kinds.
There are many issues that are very important to our community like transit, tree cover, cycling, housing, talent retention, etc.
If information/training packages were prepared by groups in our community having expertise in each area, we would have a way of communicating the importance of these issues to would be decision-makers and they would likely be receptive as the demands to be knowledgeable in these areas is great.
Hopefully, once elected, the decision-makers would be a) already informed of the importance of each issue b) already convinced of the progressive steps needed to move the issue forward.
Times are tough! We all are feeling the pushes and pulls of money and rising costs of day to day living. As an avid couponer in this great city, my goal was to teach others how to save as well. I set up a website primarily to house documents, price matching lists, website links for where to find coupons and more at couponchristine.com. It is apparent from my growing fanpage on Facebook that the need is there! The need for people to save money whether it be using coupons or finding a way to budget.
London, I would love a dedicated place for those who already know how to coupon to drop off unwanted coupons to share with others who are starting out, a place to drop off donations for local charities/womens community spaces, etc. I would also like a place to teach and run workshops on a regular basis. A drop in centre would allow couponers a space to meet, help eachother and become a sense of community within our amazing community here in London.
Full time students at UWO pay $190.96 per year for a 12 month unlimited ridership LTC bus pass. I've been unable to find the price that full time Fanshawe students pay, but given that they have the same 12 month unlimited ridership pass, I'm assuming it's around the same.
The same pass for a regular citizen costs $972. I would like to see the cost for regular citizens lowered and offset by an increase in the annual student passes. While I appreciate that students are often on tight budgets, many people who rely on public transit are as well. Also, students often have access to OSAP, student loans, and parental funding.
I make this proposal as a former full time UWO student who was shocked at the huge difference in cost when I dropped down to part time status and had to buy a regular bus pass. It just doesn't seem sensible to have such a wide margin of difference between the pass types.
Posted by Kevin Van Lierop · February 26, 2014 9:03 PM
· 7 reactions
Complain about traffic? Ride the bus. You won't miss the stress of driving, trust me.
Complain about the crappy London roads? Ride the bus. You'll put less stress & strain on the city's infrastructure.
Complain about $2/hr parking in downtown London? Ride the bus. It's like a personal chauffeur and you don't have to worry about parking.
Then again, just stop complaining. If you can afford to pay thousands of dollars for a vehicle, plus the insurance, gas and maintenance surely you can afford the $2/hr for parking.
Complain about getting busted for drunk driving? Ride the bus. You can get as 'loaded' as you like and not have to worry about it.
Complain about not having enough time in the day to: read, write, think, relax, sleep? Ride the bus. Because you don't need to concentrate on driving you can focus on other things.
Yes, this is tongue and cheek, but it was meant to be.
I think far too often we think that ideas to improve the city and our lives need to be large, inspirational and institutional changes (that we expect others to do for us), but this isn't the case.
Take riding the bus as an example (I could have chosen anything else). It doesn't require research, volunteers, support from anyone else, money (or at least more than you're already spending on other modes of transportation), promotion or approval from anyone else. All it takes is, well, you.
Posted by Kevin Van Lierop · February 26, 2014 5:40 PM
· 4 reactions
We know our neighbourhoods best. We live, work and play in them. We host events, rally together in times of need and invest in the places we call home.
We do good work in our neighbourhoods but for all the work we do there’s always need for improvement.
Often times we try to re-create the wheel; we start from scratch either for a specific project, contacting the correct people or researching something that’s important to us. These things, plus many others, have been done before, but perhaps just not in our specific neighbourhood.
What if we shared the things we know a lot about and learn from others who also have knowledge to share? What if instead of recreating the wheel every time we have an idea for something that will improve our neighbourhood we had the connections, resources and knowledge of those who’ve been there before.
What if as citizens of London, from differeing and diverse neighbourhoods, we came together to share our knowledge, learn from one-another, become a stronger network and community of neighbourhoods and celebrated the city we call home.
Citizens from across the city, from various neighbourhoods, should come together to create a neighbourhood focused conference or day of workshops.
With support from the Urban League of London (and it’s members) and the City of London, citizens could envision, develop and lead a day of knowledge exchange, networking and celebration of neighbourhoods.
There could be workshops on things as simple as; planning a neighbourhood project, securing funding, setting up a functional newsletter/mailing list, easy ways to create usable and informative websites, sharing past failures and successes. The possibilities for such a day would be endless.
While this could be lead or directed by the Urban League or the City of London I think this is something that citizens are better off to lead; we know the places we live best and we have lots to share. While support (and knowledge) could come from various organizations (including the City of London itself) I think this would be an opportunity to build more civic pride, awareness and connectivity as a group of citizens taking the lead.
Posted by Kevin Van Lierop · February 26, 2014 5:04 PM
· 11 reactions
There are great people doing amazing things across the city of London but unless you’re their friend or neighbour you might not have heard of them.
While there is the ‘Mayor’s New Year’s Honour List’ that is announced every year, this may not reflect those that are actually having the greatest impact across the city, and it certainly isn’t possible to recognize everyone through this list.
Can we, the citizens of London, create some type of index or recognition system that highlights and documents Londoners doing great things? Can we interview, record, photograph or do something that let’s us share with the rest of the city the people who are making this place a better place to live?
Posted by Kevin Van Lierop · February 26, 2014 5:02 PM
· 4 reactions
How can we generate more pride and ownership within the city of London?
This city is where we live and we should be proud of that, but lately it seems that for one reason or another we've been 'down on ourselves' and we've let others walk over us, in one form or another.
What can we do to take more pride and ownership of our city?
While the 'Canada's London' campaign might have been one way to do this it seems that it may have missed the mark. There is something about a stuffed moose with 'Canada's London' printed on it's chest that I don't believe most Londoners would associate with.
Is there a way for us, as the citizens of this city, to come together to create a campaign that can celebrate the place we live, this city we call home? Can we contract some type of campaign to generate more pride and ownership of this city that is envisioned, developed and lead by the citizens?
A heat map that shows the amount of property taxes paid, either at the individual property level or at the level of a census dissemination area, would illustrate how the property tax burden is distributed within the city.
It would show which property classes are paying relatively higher taxes rates (multi-unit residential, commercial, industrial) compared to residential.
If the data were available for more than one year, a series of such heat maps would show how the property tax burden has shifted over time under recent tax policies. For example, it would show which properties / areas of the city paid more in property taxes during the "tax freeze," which paid the same, and which paid less.
Right now, there is no way to visualize these changes on a map of the city because the property tax data is not public. Making the data open will likely require advocacy at the provincial level, as the assessment data upon which property taxes are based is licensed from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.
Posted by Kevin Van Lierop · February 24, 2014 12:31 PM
· 3 reactions
note: this isn't my idea just one that's been brought up in conversations a few times.
Some people seem to have interest in a common coffee shop coffee card. You know those things where you buy 10 cups of coffee you get one free.
While I can see some of the major issues with this, and why some if not most coffee shops wouldn't want to get in on this, there might be merit in it.
I think someone has suggested it's been done in other cities, and if so, it might work here.
If someone is really interested in it they could do some research/investigation and put together a sound pitch to sell it to the different coffee shops in London. This obviously would only work with independent coffee shops but that might be enough.
Posted by Kevin Van Lierop · February 24, 2014 8:18 AM
· 7 reactions
When the ‘Canada’s London’ brand/slogan came out for the world figure skating championships there was a fair amount of uproar.
Some people were upset with the cost and others with the fact that our municipal council immediately became expert designers and ad-critics. More importantly though, many had issues that citizens may have not been consulted in a proper manner and that the brand didn’t reflect what the city is all about, regardless of it was to be used primarily for tourism purposes or not. (Let’s not even begin to touch on the ‘theme song’ that our mayor commissioned)
There have always been ongoing discussions about London’s title, “The Forest City” and how this is/is-not the actual case*. With recent developments around budget cuts, the city dealing with the Emerald Ash Borer and our rather low ‘tree cover/canopy’ coverage some question if this title is at all appropriate.
I wonder how the citizens of London see their city and what brand or title they associate with it.
If citizens from across the city were to come together and have meaningful, thoughtful and honest conversations about the city what might be revealed in terms of what the city is actually about.
Are we The Forest City, Canada’s London, some place between Detroit and Toronto or are we something else, something more representative to those who live here, the citizens who call London home. Questions that I often ask myself. I can’t be the only one.
What if Londoner’s were to get together, have adult conversations about what this city is and what it isn’t and see if there’s a better and more honest way we can be representing ourselves.
If we were given a blank slate and told to define this city based on today’s realities to make it an attractive place for people to live, work and play, what might we come up with.
We have the power to define who we are, for ourselves and for others looking in.
* most people are ignorant to, or simply ignore, the fact that we’re called “The Forest City” because London was founded & situated in a clearing surrounded by trees, but this is besides the point.
Posted by Kevin Van Lierop · February 23, 2014 2:23 PM
· 6 reactions
We all reside on some type of street and whether we live in an apartment, a detached house or town home we all have amazing people we call our neighbours. But when was the last time we got together with them simply to party?
The process of trying to plan a block party can be an onerous one. There are lots of things to take care of, and when time & energy aren’t in abundance there often isn’t an opportunity to plan a party when one might be needed most.
There are certain streets that have a dedicated day when they residents celebrate on the street but why isn’t it that every street does the same thing?
What if we, as citizens of London, came together to plan a day where the city was full of street parties, laughter, fun and celebrations? What if we collectively organized and scheduled street parties so that everyone, regardless of neighbourhood or socio-economic status had the opportunity to celebrate for just a single day.
If citizens came together to do this under one umbrella (perhaps the Urban League) the process could be made easier; it could be streamlined, resources could be pooled, streets could coordinate and work together to make the process easier.
Posted by Fraser McCrossan · February 21, 2014 3:31 PM
· 12 reactions
Roundabouts and mini-roundabouts have significantly fewer collisions than conventional intersections, the rules are simpler (just a "Yield" sign) and unlike 4-way stops and signalled intersections vehicles usually don't need to come to a full stop, saving fuel. I suggest that anywhere that a new 4-way stop would normally be used that a mini-roundabout be constructed instead. Existing 4-ways should be gradually replaced by mini-roundabouts. Mid-sized intersections should be roundabouts instead of traffic signals.
I have been following with interest the story about Toronto and the fact that the city is mulling extending the grace period for parking at expired meters to 10 minutes. (From the current five.) For the sake of fairness and to account for any time discrepancies on cellphones and watches, parking enforcement officers already give drivers that five-minute grace period before issuing tickets, This is something I think London should consider. As well, allowing time to get change to feed a meter might also be considered.
You are all fully aware that a lot of time and energy has been spent trying to revitalize our core. (With some success I might add.) I would suggest that a ticket might deter people from returning, and might be more aggravating if was issued only moments after the time expired and especially if one was to return shortly thereafter. I understand that this would involve a potential revenue loss at a time when they city needs all it can get, but the same could be said for Toronto who, citing fairness and empathy, is currently considering. Ideally this would also include privately held parking lots but I do appreciate that it might be difficult and/or impossible to institute. Clearly there would be further details that would have to be worked out but I ask only that you consider it. Take the important first step to make London a more welcoming and friendly place!
Ranked ballots are gaining in popularity in the US for municipal elections. London council should consider its merits and ask the provincial government to make the appropriate legislative changes to allow them in Ontario.
The town of Williams Lake is using a beet juice mixture to reduce its usage of salt and sand for road de-icing. Sounds promising. Details at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-town-uses-beet-juice-on-snowy-roads/article16274717/?cmpid=rss1
I think it is very hard to get from Point A to Point B on the buses in this city. Half of routes go towards downtown, a place that not everyone in the city wants to travel/transfer through. Routes that are named after streets do not often travel on such streets but divert into neighborhoods as an attempt to impress as much people as possible.
Some faults in the service, for example
Windermere "detours" through Doon Drive
Wharncliffe South goes through Norton Estates then back onto Wharncliffe
Oxford East (kind of a misnomer) diverting from Upper Queen Street/Nixon Avenue
Stoney Creek travels on Sunningdale Road East in separate sections
Kipps/Thompson crosses Waterloo 5 times and travels on Colborne twice, while looping around the Hospital (worse if it's southbound)
No bus service on the entirety of Egerton Street
Traveling along the majority of Southdale involves a long stop at White Oaks Mall
Highbury Avenue from Commissioners to Fanshawe is two separate routes
I would like to think LTC routing can be done in a grid form. The former Townships of London and Westminster have provided us with a grid with which we can place routes on straight lines. The most used corridors can be the basis for routes that run frequently. Express buses can be placed where merited in the future.
The link below is my attempt at a rethink for the LTC, it's not complete yet, but its my start, let me know what you think.
Does London have an annual Tree Planting Day, since it is the Forest City and all? If not, it could be a lighting of the lights type event. Or we could have a week-long Festival, featuring lots of eco-initiatives, green vendors, etc.
Local bike shops should coordinate to design and sell a 'London Cruiser'.
The London Cruiser would be a moderately priced, commuter quality bicycle. Designed and decorated with a Forest City theme and only available here.
The city could be involved if needed to coordinate. Local businesses are encouraged to provide sponsorship to keep costs low in exchange for suitable advertising on the bike or other marketing material.
Posted by Vikas Sharma · August 06, 2013 9:18 AM
· 15 reactions
With an engaged citizenry such as London Ontario. It would be even more engaging and I believe beneficial if the populace was allowed to vote or at least show interest in what the city council was going to vote on. I have always wanted to vote or at least show interest for certain items on the agenda and am sure a lot for people would like to do the same. At least this way the city council can see what the citizens want for their city. The city council do not have to follow it or pass the item it is just for them to gauge how many people are interested.
I would suggest posting the agenda online before hand perhaps the weekend and allow citizens to vote and see their interest. Also adding in what area of the city they are from if there are specific area items.
I hope this idea will allow a more engaged populace.
The best thing that would help downtown London would be for it to close Citi Plaza, and tear it down and in its place leave a parking plaza with multiple tiers for parking on the one side of King St. and on the other side build a reasonably priced grocery store (Fresh Co, No frills, Food Basics) and open up that stupid walk way so it's not so dark from Clarence to Wellington St.
There are four lanes of traffic on King St, why not close Dundas street from Wellington to Ridout and make traffic turn at Wellington, have it turn onto King St and make King St. from Ridout to Wellington two-way. This would increase the flow of traffic and move the traffic away from Dundas. Worst thing ever in London is that horrendous mall downtown.
The lack of Library Sunday hours in London is unfortunate. Especially as people struggle to beat the heat during extreme heat warnings. Those without air conditioning should have better alternatives than shopping malls, families with children should have better opportunities than shopping malls, those who work during the week should have more accessibility than just Saturdays.
Lets push Council to fund London's Library system adequately so that it can extend hours to include Sundays
Posted by Leah Pietersma · July 10, 2013 10:59 PM
· 16 reactions
I'd really love to see a Whole Foods come to London. I would appreciate having the option to make healthier purchases, and would even be willing to pay more for it. It has nothing to do with not being satisfied with what we have, but being optimistic about the potential. London is a growing city that can attract new families and businesses with attractive options such as this! No more having to drive to the GTA or the States to have variety.
Recently there have been many studies asserting that distracted drivers are more likely to get into accidents than drivers that aren't. It is rare that I've ridden in a taxi where the driver isn't pushing buttons for an extended period during the drive. Radio, communicating with dispatch, fare meter etc. My suggestion is some of those features are only available when the vehicle is in park.
Poker runs are events where every participant stops at checkpoints along a route and draws a random card. The person with the best poker hand at the end wins.
This would be a great format for non-competitive cyclists because even the person who arrives at each check point could win, while others compete with each other informally to see who can get to each checkpoint first.
I would like to see the route criss-cross the city to highlight some of the dedicated bike lanes, see some interesting locations to ride, and encourage safe riding.
Ideally this would be a free all ages event to encourage the maximum number of participants.
While we battle to maintain the green spaces we have, we also need to find a way to take back those lost to concrete or lawns. A project, ideally city funded, to a) identify useless concrete surface or lawns that serve only to require mowing and subsequently b) to rehabilitate these areas with native tree/bush plantings would help bring balance back to the structure of the city.
This would make keeping up with council easier for people who don't have time to read all the meeting minutes, but want more information than the stories controversial enough to make it into the London Free Press.
William is already a nice quiet street that runs north/south in the city but to keep it quiet the city has installed a curb to prevent through traffic at Cheapside.
I know for most cyclists the idea of cutting through the intersection on the sidewalk isin't a big deal, but the expense of two "cyclist exempted" signs and cutouts in the curb would go a long way to encourage cycling.
With shared office spaces being all the rage for start-up companies that are too big for the owner's house but too small to bear the expense of a dedicated office, why not start one for businesses that prepare food.
I know many individuals bake cakes and prepare meals for friends and families in their homes but making the leap to being able to (officially) make food products available for sale to the public, many homes wont pass the health regulations or have the capacity to serve enough customers for their enterprises to grow.
A shared kitchen would make clean, inspected, and commercial scale preparation facilities available for personal chefs, small caterers, bakers, and others interested in producing food products for sale.
There are already two similar kitchens operating in Toronto:
TAXI No flagging or yelling required! Use Uber to request and pay for a taxi, at standard taxi meter rates, plus a 20% gratuity automatically added for the driver by default.
Black Car Our classic black car option is the default. Choose this and either a high-end sedan or SUV will be curbside in minutes. Note: choosing “Black Car” and being picked up by an SUV will not charge you our SUV rates. Seats up to 4 people.*
SUV When you’re rolling with more than four people, request only SUVs, for a higher rate. Seats up to 6 people.*
It would be good to see the intersection of Richmond and Dundas (as well as other intersections) incorporate a Pedestrian Scramble (X crossing).
From Wikipedia - "London, Ontario had a Barne's Dance crosswalk in the 1960s at the intersection of Clarence and King streets."
"The pedestrian scramble only makes sense where large numbers of pedestrians are expected, and where they will also have enough space to gather on the sidewalks in larger numbers." - "Hall Monitor: A new way to cross the street – diagonally". National Post Toronto: Posted Toronto. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
The Middlesex London Health Unit piloted a project called Harvest Bucks that gave vouchers to Londoners who were missing fruits and vegetables in their diet. As outlined in this story in the London Community News, the pilot project has had good results.
I love this site, I love reading peoples ideas and seeing so many people wanting to do good in this city.
I have met vibrant and happy people my 8 years living in the city and I want to see better days for London ahead.
Before that happens I think as a city we need to have a talk. These ideas are great but has anyone noticed how there has never been a shortage of good ideas in this city? I've heard them for years. Plenty of Londoners have their own ideas for the bus system or how to bring life back to the Core.
So it's not a lack of ideas stopping us. It's also not a lack or resources or talent. 2 awesome schools pumping out more talent then we can even employ. I'm a graduate of Fanshawe into probably one of the only safe industries (IT). There are thousands of bright eyed students ready to work if you know how to talk to them.
So why is London still a mess? Why have we been one of the most unemployed and violent cities in the country? In my time I haven't been made to feel like a Londoner. The students aren't made to feel welcome. Sure they are assholes but both sides keep up that fight. The city hasn't shown an interest in working with them. More like keeping them in line. If you don't give someone an opportunity to care about a community then how can they? London does not extend any welcome to students so unsurprisingly they act like people who are unwelcome.
In fact a lot of people in this city feel unwelcomed. Go to the London Ontario reddit site and you will see that 16-30 crowd generally dislikes London and many are itching to leave. A huge number of Londoners hate London. We are proud of a few things of course but on the whole Londoners don't identify with "Londoners".
We need to say it. We need to fess up. London isn't doing well. We have to stop lying and saying that we don't need to change. London needs to change. London needs to make big changes to see big changes. If I had to look at a list of cities in Canada by their statistics and infer then what City needed to change the most London is right near the top.
Why does London need to change? Because the large businesses and municipalities in this city are corrupt. I'm not talking about a corruption that we even consider illegal right now. I'm talking about a corruption that has resulted not from sinister dealing and mastermind scheming. A corruption that has come about from apathy. The bureaucracy created apathy. The apathy left room for questionable dealings. The questionable dealings lead to more bureaucracy to cover the questionable dealings. Which etc etc. Until we have a political system that can be summarized as the longest running joke in recent history. Where in 2013 when we understand the human mind and the infinity of space collectively to an unfathomable degree, in this time we refer to our mayor as "His Worship Mayor Joe Fontana". I say this and no one laughs. It isn't funny because on Dundas street there are junkies dying because we don't have a system that understands in the slightest why those people would rather die in the street then not be high. We call them lazy and give them just enough rope so they can strangle themselves out of view of the JLC. Oh sorry Budweiser Gardens.
We have this city because right now we think London deserves this. That a few students should lose their entire future because a corrupt city mishandled student relations. That people who can't even carry their groceries home and resort to the humiliating display of pushing a cart down the street should be punished for being so unsightly. We don't want a better city we want a nicer appearing city. You don't get that until you learn to love yourselves again. And that means when ideas being submitted here stop being so damn egotistical. When you stop speaking for the class that can speak for itself. Your problems are easy to solve. These ideas can all be done by a few dozen people in a functioning city. Your ideas aren't happening because you are too concerned with your own day and how things appear.
I went through experiences that have left me questioning everything about myself. I have grown up in poverty a broken, confused and ignorant child. I've tried my hardest to not succumb to the depression that haunts me. To fight the rage I have at watching my family destroyed as social workers came by and did nothing. I made it out because despite our system people are awesome. Old women and concerned men. Motherly 40 somethings and farmers. None of these people were put in place to help me. They did it because they knew I was a child with no future and if maybe they gave me something to hold onto, If they spent just one afternoon I could have that, I could maybe hold on and do something with my life.
So everyday that we type out ideas and fight on facebook about sloppy joe there are thousands of children who could be pulled from the pits of poverty and given a future. I broke the socio economic barrier. I didn't do it with my boot straps, I only did it because someone cared.
I made it out of poverty. You don't know it's obvious but look at my writing. You have never read something like this. It seems both educated and ignorant all at the same time. It's because I was born in poverty and I can't possibly not think like a person who ate pig feed for a year. But I could write you a website in whatever language you'd like. I want to tell you please, please listen to me now because I'm going to say this until the day I die because you need to hear this. You are wrong, you are so well meaning but so so so so so wrong please stop killing them. Stop sentencing my impoverished brothers and sisters to a life of torture and misery. You are doing it and you don't know it. You have no idea what monsters you are being. And it's not because you are mean, it's not because you are terrible people. It's because you have grown up in luxury. You do not have perspective on our problems. That doesn't make it bad. The problem is that you refuse to listen to people like me. You think I have some agenda. That I'm some easily dismissed label. I'm a human and I hurt. I know pain that haunts me everyday. I fight with depression and suicide. Not because my life is terrible. But because I live in a world where a child can be beaten, tortured and abused day in and day out for 13 years, and any adult that saw the acting out decided the kid should be made an example of. I live in a world where a child can fail at committing suicide and not one damn adult even asks if something is wrong. I live in that world with the rest of you. Where your self absorption blinds you to the suffering around you.
Your ideas are not going to happen until Londoners tells London that there is a new deal going on. London is no longer a city of opportunity. London is a hurting city. We have been hurting each other and it's time to start mending that. The upper class needs to take a stroll down dundas and remember that those meth addicts are the result of meth addicts having kids. That if those meth addicts are not given more than they "deserve" then they will never get better. They have lost all hope and would rather waste out their time high. It's damn hard to come back from that but if I wanted to get off meth and I didn't think everyone in the city thought I was a piece of garbage it might help. The lower class needs to remember that the monstrosities the upper class has allowed to occur in this city is not their fault but the fault of the divide. They didn't understand. That doesn't bring back the lives but if you can't let go then they won't either. We make the past better by learning from it, not repaying. If you have to repay then you do but if it doesn't help the healing then you don't.
We need to come together to end the corruption. This city needs to work for London. I don't care if we never have a skating figure championship come here again. I don't care if every business leaves London. London is not its attractions, it's not its unemployment rate, it's not its businesses. London is its people and I want a London that works for the people of London. Your ideas will not happen until we heal.
With more and more Londoners cycling, and a related increase in bike thefts, it's apparent that the core lacks a safe and practical solution for people riding downtown to secure their bikes.
What London's core needs is a bike station, simillar to the one recently approved in Toronto. The bike station is a high capacity storage space where people can safely lock up their bikes. Prefferably, the station would also have a few shower units to promote bike commuting in to the core.
Having a safe lockup spot would go a good way to increasing those biking to the core instead of driving.
During the Skating Champions, on Oxford Street near the London Airport, flagposts were installed to display participating countries flags. Since then the flags have been removed but the poles remain. These could be utilized to advertise unique London businesses or to celebrate Londoners achievements and welcome visitors to London while showcasing what makes London great!
The poles could be rented out to businesses or other organizations.
"Inspired by food trucks, our bright and friendly mobile City Hall truck is about serving city residents where they live, work and play. City Hall To Go will visit Boston’s neighborhoods throughout the year and offer a select menu of city services directly to constituents. The truck may also be a feature at special events, block parties and street festivals, and provide seasonal services as resident needs shift throughout the year."
"Urban agriculture is the practice of growing food in or around a city. The Côte Saint-Luc Grown urban agriculture action plan announced at a press conference at City Hall includes the creation of a demonstration garden behind the City Hall/Library complex to teach gardening skills to adults and children, edible landscaping on city property, new community gardens, a farmers’ market, and the distribution of food boxes."
"Unlike other level of government, municipalities have ongoing and direct contact with their residents. That is a crucial distinction, and one which local leaders should leverage for the long-term benefit of all.
Berkley has a program for financing home improvements through the property tax assessment system. It came from the Renewable Appropriate Energy Laboratory.
It came out of the Berkeley FIRST program: "Berkeley FIRST is a program in development by the City of Berkeley. It is being designed to allow property owners (residential and commercial) to install electric and thermal solar systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their buildings and pay for the cost over 20 years through an annual special tax on their property tax bills. No property owner will pay the special tax unless they agree to have work done on their property as part of the program. Those who do have work done on their property will pay only for the cost of their project (including interest) and fees to administer the program. Individual property owners contract directly with qualified private solar installers and contractors for energy efficiency and solar projects on their building. The City provides the funding for the project through proceeds derived from the creation of a bond that is repaid from special taxes on participating property owners’ tax bills for 20 years."
Posted by Mike Sloan · April 04, 2013 10:44 PM
· 13 reactions
There are several grocery and department stores that let their carts run wild. They are at bus stops, in ditches, at apartment complexes, and on side walks. It's an eyesore, and makes otherwise lively and vibrant neighbourhoods look terrible. There is a solution. Mississauga and Markham are among two cities in Ontario that have passed by-laws to make sure that all stores have cart management systems (they lock after going past a certain point in the parking lot). This can and should be done here in London. Here are links to the by-laws mentioned.