Friday, October 3 Commentary
This doesn't seem to be a problem in other cities but for some reason, the countdown signals in Toronto intersections are killing and maiming people and resulting in more crashes.
At least those are the observational findings of Doctor Andrew Howard and his team at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.
They've linked a 26 percent increase in the rate of collisions wo the countdown signals and a 50 percent increase in the number of pedestrians seriously injured or killed being hit by vehicles.
They have their theories including a couple of obvious ones: pedestrians are using the countdown, not as a suggestion that they not cross but rather to better time when to cross and they often let it count down to just seconds.
There is also a suspicion that more motorists are using the countdown clocks to speed up to get through intersections. Together it could be a deadly combination but the research team admits that have not yet examined driver behaviour at these intersections.
If I may offer this: city hall should spend money on better signage which simply says to pedestrians that it is illegal walk across the street when the countdown clock begins. Few pedestrians even know that you are not allowed to walk when the red hand is flashing. Even right here at Yonge and St. Clair you see people all the time...with just 2, 3, 4 seconds to go, decide to simply hurry up walking across.
What's odd is that cities such as San Francisco have measured significant reductions in intersection crashes and pedestrians struck with countdown signals. Some of that could be simply that Toronto has a lot more pedestrians.
Some are suggesting that a way to fix this here might be to end the countdown earlier....but I don't think that would work because pedestrians would get used to it and walk across after the clock reached zero, knowing they still had some time to get to the other side...while texting and listening to their iPods full volume.
It was just yesterday when we were talking about Blue Glass Bottling Company in Caledon. How Peel Region Health inspectors went in there July 18th...ordered the place closed because the water they were putting into their blue, green and clear glass bottles for distribution to restaurants...that water was heavily contaminated with bacteria.
This morning we hear from Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health that the company has been ignoring the Peel shutdown order and has been shipping water to restaurants and other establishments here in Toronto all along..right up until last week...meaning there could be contaminated water sitting in the fridges of restaurants about to be served to customers.
There is something amiss in the health business of this province. When Peel put the shutdown order down...they didn't bother to tell anyone...no public notice...no heads up to Toronto public health or Halton, or York, or Durham...not a thing about bacterial contamination. And the reason there was no notification...because to that point no one had reported any illnesses or death and therefore it was not required.
May I suggest to the Wynne government get on this immediately. Change the reporting requirement. I would have made the suggestion to Health Minister Deb Mathews but I heard her comments yesterday and it was clear she is out of the loop entirely.
Blah, blah, blah.
You know that 2-and-a-half billion dollar price tag on extending the Danforth subway line up to Sheppard Avenue? By the time its built, if you just tack inflation onto the tab...it'll be 3-billion-5-hundred-60-million dollars and that's not counting cost overruns, design changes or anything like that.
Those eye popping numbers are contained in a report for Toronto city council written by the CEO of the city, Joe Pennachetti.
You may recall that Mayor Rob Ford has green-lit the idea of raising property taxes to help pay for it...but he was talking about an increase of a quarter of a point a year. Pennachetti says it'll have to be more like half-a-point a year for 3 years...to raise the nearly one billion dollars for the city's portion.
The City manager has also thrown in a curve ball...suggesting that the added strain of passenger load from the extension may be too much for the existing system and that as a prerequisite, the much talked about downtown relief line might have to be built before the Scarborough line.
Rob Ford may still be shouting subways, subways, subways...but the Pennachetti report, I hope, will open a lot of eyes at city council....because if we go all in for Scaroborough to save the political skins of local, provincial and federal politicains....the rest of the city is going to be paying through the nose. Add on to that the expansion of transit throughout the GTA and the taxes and tolls Premier Kathleen Wynne is trying to push.....your pocket is going to be empty.
WALKING & BREAST CANCER
Post-menopausal women who go for a brisk walk for an hour a day can reduce their risk of breast cancer by 25 percent.
That's the bottom line of a study done by Doctor Alpa Patel at the American Cancer Society who says even a moderately paced walk, women can reduce the risk by 14 percent.
Doctor Patel says her research shows women do not have to be marathon runners to reduce the risk of breast cancer....just walk 7 hours a week.