on third crossings and other mythical beasts

So – the other day I attended an information session about the Environmental Assessment to be conducted for the City of Kingston regarding spanning the ditch which separates eastern realms from the rest of KTown.   Truth be told, I was expecting perhaps a formal presentation with Q&A, however at this stage it turns out it was a little premature.  Of course that seems to the story of the oft sighted but rarely captured third crossing.

I am reliably informed by those who have lived in these parts that periodically over the last several years (decades?) various Lords Mayor and other worthies consider offering the denizens of Pittsburgh Township the opportunity to become fully realised citizens of the realm if only they would accept a bridge or some such crossing – or perhaps its the other way around, with the rebellious eastern citizenry clamouring to share with their western neighbours, the opportunity and delight of  having their shock absorbers destroyed amongst the potholes of Brock Street and the like.  Sadly, all of these previous efforts have come to naught; relegating the elusive beast to the realm of conjecture.   What seems to be lacking ( a singularly Kingstonian attribute it seems, regarding other ventures as well) is willpower.

XPosted at Kingstonist

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sound off – ontario highways, pay for use?

Hwy 401 at Montreal Rd circa 1965?  Notice how little traffic there is

Hwy 401 at Montreal Rd circa 1965? Notice how little traffic there is....

Anyone who has travelled the 400 series of highways in Ontario, will have noticed both the substantial rise in commercial truck traffic and the near simultaneous degradation of the highway infrastructure itself.  A while ago I hummed and hawed about whether it was time to consider usage charges or tolls on our highways.  Usage charges, sometimes known as congestion charges, provide  some significant benefits, (1) primarily by ensuring that those who use the roads the most pay for the wear and tear (2) it prices in what economists refer to as externalities into the total cost of ownership of the road, and (3) depending upon the structure of the charges, it can influence the conditions of use, particularly by encouraging certain types of traffic to use the road at periods of lower demand.   Two recent activities prompted me to revisit the idea – the ongoing widening of the 401 between Sydenham Road and Hwy 15 (and eventually to Joyceville Road), and a visit to Germany and the Netherlands. 

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around the world 35.3 (find of the day in nordlingen)

08 March 2009:

saurer_2dmEvery now and then you come across something worth a second look.  As I was rolling slowly down a side street in Nordlingen looking for a parking place, and ultimately a mid morning coffee and snack, I spotted this rather homely creature parked alongside the curb. 

Without knowing exactly what it was, I felt instinctively that it was no model of military utility truck that had been employed by western armies – but it did not look brutish enough to have been manufactured under duress from the east.  

Sure enough it was neither.  You can take a guess at what make and model it is, or cheat and look here, or here…..

in an ideal….

….and just world I would own one of these, but more likely in a fit of practicality I might instead drive the Volkswagen Passat R36 [“look dear, side impact air bags“].   passatr36What’s not to like?  It hauls family and it is sehr schnell as they say.  Sadly, unavailable in the land of maple syrup.

Meanwhile, I must placate myself with the Audi A4 rental wagon – a nice enough beast to tame the autobahn – but somewhat lacking in character. 

Enough with the rolling stock already- this could go on all day – rather the point is to ask – if money were no object and in an ideal world what would you…..?

around the world – part 32.1 (in which I help reverse the cooling trend and discover a thingplatz)


Dec 01 2008

Once again in Bavaria, and imagine my shock and horror to discover that it had snowed.  Clearly something was amiss.  I scratched my head in puzzelment attempting to sort through the flood of information I knew to be true.  According to the Goracle (respectful genuflections) snow could only be a figment of my imagination as it had been banished forever by the evil ways of western man, yet here, plain for all to see was a couple of inches of snow, with more (gasp!) on the way.  This was clearly not what I was expecting, lead to believe that the world was irrevocably headed towards becoming a burnt over desert,  I had only packed shorts and t-shirts – falsely believing that Germany in December would give the French Riviera a run for its money.  Who to blame?  Apparently all of those selfish North Americans, busy not driving their SUVs had spawned a freak cooling trend, one so unexpected that even the prophets could hardly acknowledge it.  And then it struck me – I had the divine duty to reverse this cooling trend, this affront to the gospel and so…..

I embarked on my very own warming crusade –  namely a needless, entirely gratuitious and deliciously delightful CO2 burning tour of the countryside.  Believe me, equipped with a Mercedes C220 and a handy autobahn I figure I have personally reversed the global cooling trend by about two or three hours.  You can thank me later….

img_0135And so this time my excursion took me towards Eichstatt in search of the ruins of an elusive ThingPlatz.  Inspired by recent timewasting sojourn on the interwebs thingy, I determined to find abandoned evidence of Germanys recent past.   Getting close to the ruined amphitheatre took almost no effort, however finding it did require a little more trouble – its not like there are signs pointing to relics of an embarrasing history.  

Just southwest of Winterhof, overlooking Eichstatt is the ruin – and what a creepy feeling to be standing on the site.  I tramped around the place taking a few photographs and the entire time I could not shake the feeling of horror.  I have no idea if the place was ever actually used for party functions, however that was clearly the intent.  At any rate the whole place carries an unsettled feeling…