Multiball for January 4, 2016 – the catchup edition

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(A collection of noteworthy stories, links, and commentary that is shareworthy. Multiball is a reference to my pinball hobby)

The Christmas week break gave me a chance to catch up on my bookmarks, some of the linked stories are from earlier in the year.

Snow in Bike Lanes

Randy Kay cycles across Hamilton and wants to do so year round, however, as he writes, the City makes it near impossible by not clearing bike lanes of snow.

Read his post: A little snow betrays transportation bias: bike lanes become snow storage

DC Vision Zero Website and Data

Calls for Hamilton City Council to implement Vision Zero are growing after a month of carnage on Hamilton's streets with three pedestrian/cyclists deaths and numerous more serious trauma injuries.

Washington DC's recently launched Vision Zero website shows how Vision Zero decision making is data driven. The site shows where collisions occur, where fatalities happen, and where enforcement will be targeted among numerous data points available. All the data is available as downloadable open data. Washington's goal is to have ZERO traffic related deaths by 2024.

You can follow DC's Vision Zero office on Twitter @DCVisionZero

Cambridge Votes to Become Ontario's First Municipality with a Living-Wage "Supporter" Policy

A follow up to the last Multiball post - Cambridge Council voted to become a Living-Wage "Supporter" level organization. This commits the City to paying all part-time employees the prevailing local living wage (currently $16.05 an hour) within a year. It does not require paying temporary, student or casual workers this rate.
More, including the estimated cost of the change, in The Waterloo Record.

 

TTC's Fare Balancing Act: Affordability versus Subsidy for the Well-Off

This Globe and Mail article is a very interesting read.

The TTC's success in attracting "choice riders" (riders who can afford to drive but choose transit as a better option) is causing a dilemma in setting fares. On one-hand, a lower fare is a subsidy to those who can afford a higher-cost to improve services, and the other, raising the fares is a burden upon those who can barely afford the pressure transit fares - mainly the working poor.

Adding to the dilemma, the wealthier riders tend to live close to the subways and enjoy much better service and value than Toronto's poorer neighbourhoods.

 

Port Colborne Enacting Reforms After Ombuds Report on Closed Meetings

Port Colborne's Council was subject to three closed meeting investigations by the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman. The Ombuds found Municipal Act rules for closed meetings were properly followed in two of the cases, and in a third case, the Ombuds founds that a information session on the City's insurance policy held in closed session was not properly declared and a series of discussions about economic planning and development were not covered by closed meeting exceptions.

In response, the Council initiated adoption of reforms recommended by the Acting Ontario Ombudsman Barbara Finlay.

In the City's press release, Mayor John Maloney states "Along with the rest of Council, I am aware that we are responsible for ensuring that we follow the Province’s closed meeting rules, City Council and Staff are committed to openness and transparency and will continue to apply best practices to our open and closed meetings of Council."

 

Where's the Snow Plow?

Snow plows, you don't want to clear your driveway minutes before it arrives and you want to know if the plow cleared the side streets you need to navigate after a storm passes.

In many cities, this is easy enough - with GPS technology and public sharing of the data. Some cities build their own apps, others share it as open data.

Ottawa just launched its our plow location app, but have yet to make the underlying data open. In Chicago, one of the first open data snow plow apps, Clear Streets just launched for the 2015/16 season with a few neat upgrade.

In Hamilton, the City will have supervisors out on the road following plows this year. At present, the City has no plans to fully implement a public facing application or open data.

 

Biking in Winter? In Ottawa?

Ottawa's planning to maintain approximately 40km of cycling routes this winter - an increase of 20km over last year's maintenance.

 

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