My rules vs your rules

Yes, dealing with the City (and the BIA’s, the Community Associations, the Councilors, neighbours… you name it) can be frustrating. I persevere, joining traffic studies and public advisory committees because sometimes we “win”, ie speaking up effects a change or improvement in a project.

But it can be terribly frustrating. The City is an impenetrable maze of rules and standards for any occasion.

Too many times to count we are told “you can’t have that” because it violates some engineering code, or bylaw, or whatever. Only to turn around and see that violation employed somewhere else or to get the opposite of what we wanted.

For example, lane widths are sacred. We can’t have a substandard lane if we beg for it. But, shrug, the City cheerfully goes ahead and installs them, on a blind hill no less, and cheerfully tells us motorists “will have to get used to it”.

Rescue Bronson is currently at a bit of a standoff with the consulting engineers because they claim the exit lane from an intersection must align with the entry lane. Anyone can see dozens of “violations” of this rule any day. “Ah” they reply, “but those are existing conditions. You can’t put one of those in new…” Of course, a bit of searching will find that done somewhere else in the city because the engineers thought it convenient to do so when it suited their own interests.

The pic above shows the new pedestrian (-and-intrepid-cyclist) boardwalk under construction to bypass the hole about to dug in Somerset Street by the O-Train underpass, where a bike underpass is to be inserted. Notice that the safety railing for the road has been dismantled. Must have been convenient for the contractor.

I cannot convince you, gentle reader, because you would never believe me, how many hours of design committee meetings were spent on that %*^!! railing. It can’t be changed or modified, the City claimed, in dismissing what we wanted. It would be too expensive to change. Then, ah ha! almost a million buck budget line appears to install a new railing, because the City decides it wants it. Hours are spent consulting on the picket design, the aesthetics, whether to paint it black or leave it galvanized… only to find at the last minute that the budget was being cut, and the new railing is out, and old one back. And the things we wanted, but couldn’t get because the railing couldn’t be modified … well, they seem to be back on track to being installed, using the old railing.

The City can be amazingly flexible. When pushed. Persistence, polite persistence, pays off. Don’t give up, never let the bastards grind you down.

One thought on “My rules vs your rules

  1. Yup. Having sat on a half dozen or so City-led committees, I’m always amazed by how amorphous and arbitrary the City’s decision making process really is when you get right down to it. Which shouldn’t be surprising at all, since it’s the same thing you realize when you scratch the surface of any large organization: it’s all just people making stuff up as they go (and trying to cover their butts with a veneer of process and policy).

Comments are closed.