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Starting on the ASME bike

The bike team has been busy trying to nail down the design of their ASME trike (Arbiter), and at the same time, they have been doing some materials testing.

Here is a preliminary rendering.

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Getting some carbon panels ready for materials testing.

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Measuring high speed rolling resistance.

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Bruce clowning around with the rear fork for Arbiter.

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The setup for impact testing.

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Inspecting a panel.

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Some nice suspension components from ICE.

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A rendering with paint job.

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First snow on ground 2017

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A few flurries this morning. Roads are clear though.

Gear for today:

warm and toasty

 

Cycle TO put out the word last night that the Bloor bike lanes were likely to be voted on today. I was able to attend the City Council meeting from after the lunch break, at 2 pm.

You can get a feel of what happened in the morning from Star transportation reporter Ben Spurr’s excellent twitter feed. (In fact if you just read his feed for the day, you’ll probably get a more coherent impression of the whole session than what I can provide from my sketchy notes to follow.)

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Cycle Toronto was well represented.

DSC01845The afternoon session started with quick consideration of some member motions.

MM34: TO as a nuclear free zone. Somewhat bizarrely, four councillors voted against this: Mammolitti, Colle, Burnside and Campbell.

After a few more quick motions, council returned to the discussion of the Bloor bike lanes.

Pasternak: has all the 800K allocated been spent? What is the incremental cost of making them permanent?

Jacquelyn Hayward-Gulati (JG): it depends on the nature of permanent features. Majority to be done as part of scheduled 2019 capital improvements.

Pasternak: How can we make bike funding to be more equitable.

JG: expanding to suburbs is a priority, but projects needed to be at a certain stage in order for the money to flow to it.

Shelley Carroll: clarified that the data was studied comprehensively. “We want to make sure that if we make a bike lane on a major arterial, that this would not justify removal of other bike lanes.”

Janet Davis: questions about the Danforth bike lane: original recommendation was to proceed with the major corridor study of the Danforth bike lane.  Should have taken place 2017-2019?

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JG: council made some changes in the plan.

JD: Danforth was removed from the major corridor studies

JG: only those studies that were under way went ahead and the others were deferred, not just Danforth

JD: can bike lanes be recommended in the context of the avenue study that is currently underway rather than waiting for a major corridor study?

JG: Recommendation could come back in spring 2018, prior to a major corridor study.?

Mammolitti:

Can this decision be reversed at any point in time? (Others mutter about Jarvis)

How much money would be spending if this was approved now until the next election?

Barbara Grey (BG): no addition money will be spent before the election, if there is no removal of the bike lanes.

GM: what about winter months?

BG: we didn’t do counts in winter on Bloor.

JG: council commended timing of Bloor study.

GM: talking about wanting the video. making the claim once again that counts were inflated by the same cyclists going in a circle, “just as their wheels do.”

Cut off by speaker

MMM: on to some serious questions, logical questions,

Do different jurisdictions use major corridor studies?

JG: provincial requirements for environment studies have changed.

MMM: no longer have to do EA?

JG: depends on the nature of the project. In this case, the corridor study was sufficient.

Jaye Robinson: raises the concern to the City manager: in her opinion, the two bodies that conducted the study were known to be biased towards bike lanes

Moneris: only deals with big retailers, not mom and pop shops

BG: Moneris has largest share of POS in Canada. 1/3 of businesses uses it along Bloor.

JR: some questions about sales levels. 70 businesses are against, and they pointed out: no surveys in Chinese, Arabic or Persian. Just English and some Korean.

JR: some polling was done, responses not all by owners.

JG: city made best efforts. TCAT, up to four attempts per business door to door.

JR: told yesterday that in the past few weeks: ridership has dropped by half according to business.

JG:  cyclist count at Bloor & Castle Frank 22% of summer volume during winter, somewhat larger fraction on Sherbourne.

JR: near miss collisions: near misses between cyclists and pedestrians.

JG: overall number went down, but that particular category went up.

JG: plans for accessible loading spaces. Will work further with the community to determine improvements.

J Mihevic: Asked some questions that reinforced validity of study

DMW: Are you attributing the spending increase (by customers of Bloor businesses to this project?

JG: there are many factors that can affect sales.

DMW: are you saying that the bike lanes didn’t affect business

JG: we saw some go up , some go down

DMW: so you are just putting this data out there, but it doesn’t mean anything. And are you aware that Moneris says that Moneris spending is going up 36% over the past 12 months.

BG: survey and Moneris data: bike lanes did not have a signficant impact.

DMW: 2/3 do not use Moneris:  these are the businesses that lost business.

DMW: wintertime: 75% fewer cyclists in winter, and more cars on the roads if the weather is cold.

JG: benefits of safety, and even with a 70% reduction, Bloor would be in the top ten of cyclist facilities in the city.

Fletcher: we don;’t have the money to initiate the Danforth Major corridor student right now?

JG: given the workplan, there is not enough staff for it to begin before the 2 year review of the 10 year cyclist plan (2019)  There is an early stage plan for Danforth. Coxwell to Victoria Park is Phase 1. Phase 2 is Coxwell to Broadview.

Stephen Holyday: What is the bike speed limit on MGT?

BG: 20 kph

SH: can we make the same cycling speed limit on Bloor?

BG: bike lanes subject to speed limit of roadway, can deal with speed through design, cites Roncy, and Wellesley

SH: Would you Call this pilot a success?

BG: yes

SH four criteria: pass on safety: 3% cyclists increase, is that a success? Would one additional cyclist would be a success?

BG: trend is increasing,

SH: car counts decreased. Is that a success?

BG: perception of safety

SH: delays times a success?

BG: in the context of the study

SH: parking is now maxed out. Is that a success?

SH: business owners: would you say given the concerns about not polling cash receipts, is this a success for business?

BG: heard both positive and negative at PWIC.  this is the most extensively studied bike lane.

Karygiannis: how many businesses were spoken to? What is this going to cost to maintain annually? Special snow clearance?

JG: 95K annual, incorporated into snow clearance

Cressy: Is this the most comphrensively studied transportation project. Did the bike lane improve safety? Should we make this bike lanes permanent?

Now: speakers:

Cressy: thanking transportation services staff, residents, Cycle Toronto and Bells on Bloor. Working for 40 years on this.

“Bike lanes on Bloor should be here to stay” “Bike lanes in our city should not be divisive” We can make improvements in pedestrian safety, accessibility, etc when we make the bike lanes permanent. “Now is the time to make these lanes permanent”

JR: I want to some of the issues that I raised at PWIC: “ I feel strongly that the process is as important as the outcome”. Study was not independent. Moneris data biased towards big retailers.

MOTION: consult with ABBA on changes to the cycle track design in 2018, in advance of the 2019 redesign.

Wong Tam:

Thanking staff. Council has made much bigger decisions with much less information (allude to subway and Gardiner extension rebuild) 10 years ago, people had a different opinion on bike lanes, 10 years from now they will have a different opinion. Some asking for more data, more information, suggest to defeat all these other motions. We don’t need more data. “The modal shift is coming” Later on: we will be discussing the need for information on the Scarborough subway. How can you vote for more info on one and none on the other. Pushing for Danforth bike lane.

Mike Ford:

MOTION: move to refer back to transportation manager for detailed cost analysis and a winter bike count, and to report back by first quarter 2018.

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“ I do support cycling infrastructure, BUT I support cycling infrastructure that makes sense for my residents.” Concerned that there is not info on Gardiner extension and the subway as well.

Voting on referral motion:

DEFEATED 9-30

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Mammolitti: MOTION: no additional funding for Bloor bike lane until after next election

Businesses on Bloor are being intimidated. Where are the cyclists coming from?  We are being denied that video. “This doesn’t end here, folks”. “Bike lanes do not to be on our streets.”

John Campbell: MOTION: more information from businesses needed, reporting back to PWIC 4th quarter 2018.

“When you look at the numbers, there’s no change in cycling” Why am I supporting the bike lanes: I rode Bloor before and after, and it was much safer.

Chin Lee: the request of consulting with business is already in the original recommendation.

Norm Kelly: talking about the city of the future.

Shelly Carroll: will support the staff recommendations, and not the requests for more information.

Councillor Shan: We all share the streets. “Support for bike lanes should not be misconstrued as a war on the car”

Karygiannis: did not get clear answers.  “Let’s give it another year” “Thank you staff, but your figures are not always right”

S Holiday: MOTION: safe bike speed limit and/of bike speed calming measures along the Bloor Street West cycle tracks.

Presents a report card on the Bloor lanes.

DeBaeremaeker: “(the bike lanes) They work for everybody”. “Safety and peoples lives are first and foremost”

Davis:

Virtually everyone supported the bike lanes at PWIC. Talks about how the bike lane on Dundas E have not killed business. “What we need to do is to complete this network all the way to Scarborough”

Mihevic:

Points out that there is a shift taking place in mobility downtown.  We need the suburban councillors to recognize this.

DiGiorgio:

As the number of cyclists increase, they will need passing lanes, we need will need more showers.  The cost of sharing space on the roads. We need user fees for cyclists.

DMW: “I am not supporting the bike lanes. These bike lanes as a manifestation of taking a step back” “this city is drowning in congestion, and what are we doing, we are taking it worse”.  Says he put in bike lanes that work while on PWIC “We put them in Richmond and Adelaide”. 900% increase in cycling. 700% increase on Richmond. Put bike lanes on secondary streets, not on Bloor.

Perrruza “left safer driving on Bloor with the bike lanes” Heard everything at PWIC.

Bailao: in the near futures, how are an additional 450K people going to move around the city. “Just one more way of getting around.”

Perks: Three things

  • Peer reviewed economic data
  • Report card: the scores are not equally important. Cites two deaths in his ward this year (Morgan and Delos Santos
  • Council asked for data, they got it, The time for asking for more studies is gone.

Mary Margaret McMahon: simply howing pictures of cyclists killed in 2017. “Providing safe cycling infrastructure is the difference between life and death”

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Layton: talking about safety.  “This community needs this bike lane” “Let’s show the world that Toronto is ready” Shows the page of the proposal to Amazon that shows the Bloor bike lanes.

Fletcher: “bikes are here to stay” Cites doctors for safe cycling, and FFSS. Disappointed that Danforth corridor study was delayed. “Bike lanes and roads go together”

Mayor Tory is the last speaker.

“We are not talking about a revolutionary change here.  It is an incremental change”. We are moving forward with a public consensus.

His favourite phrase is “Responsible balanced incremental change.”

Our aspirations are not those of a timid city, it is an ambitious city.  I believe this is the direction that the people want us to move in a responsible balanced incremental way.

There was a subtext to his remarks that we have studied this to death, and we need to get on with it, and one feels the same way about the Scarborough subway. Perhaps he figures that throwing the left a bone will ease passage of the 3.3 B subway extension.

Motion 1: Jaye Robinson (about consulting with ABBA)

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Carries narrowly (23-19). This motion is mostly harmless as a similar amendment was made at PWIC.

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Mammolitti motion on no more funding before next election:

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Defeated 5-37

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Campbell motion: more information from businesses needed, reporting back to PWIC 4th quarter 2018.

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Does not pass

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Hoyiday motion: bike speed limits.

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No 11-31

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Item as amended, i.e the staff recommendation that the Bloor bike lanes be made permanent.:

Passes, Good Perks voted no by mistake, so there was moment of hilarity followed by a revote. Final tally 36-6 in favour.

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Albert and Hamish looking elated immediately after the vote.

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Layton and Cressy facing a scrum of reporters.

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It was noted prior to the vote by several councillors that opponents pressed for more data, in spite of the extensive studies commissioned by the city. On the other hand, many of the same people will probably vote later this council meeting to press ahead with the one step Scarborough subway extension without considering additional information.

 

Many of us gathered afterwards at the Crafty Coyote, along the Bloor bike lane, naturally.

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Riding home, it’s good to feel that these lanes won’t go away.

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I wondered if my fellow cyclists were aware of what just happened, or if they have already taken the lanes for granted. The fact that they end at Shaw shows that we have more work to do, but for the moment, it has been a good day for bike advocacy in Toronto.

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A summary was crossposted to bellsonbloor.org, with links to media coverage, and video of the final vote.

I don’t often recycle content from elsewhere, but I had to post this wonderful editorial from Eben Weiss (AKA the bike snob) in the Washington Post. It is nominally a reaction to the horrible incident in New York, but it is so much more.

Money quote: “Drivers are dangerous whether they’re radicalized or just oblivious.”

David Delos Santos was killed last Wednesday while riding his bike in Parkdale, shortly after dropping off his daughter at school. From all accounts, he was a beloved husband, father, brother, and friend, as well as being a popular resident manager for a local building.

Today was his memorial ride. There was a very large turnout.

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The ghost bike

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Joey explains tonight’s route

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Lined up on Spadina and ready to roll.

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On Harbord

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Now turning south on Ossington.

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West on King.

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Arriving at the crash site.

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A sizeable shrine had already been set up.

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Geoffrey and Yvonne set up the ghost bike.

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After a moment of silence, others join in to decorate the bike.

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Thanks to everyone who rode with us tonight. Deepest condolences to the family and friends of David Delos Santos.

Video of tonight’s ride.

If you wish to help the family, their Go Fund Me page is here.

UPDATE (Nov 3): the driver has been charged.

On Wednesday, October 18, 2017, at 9:06 a.m., police responded to a call for a personal injury collision on Cowan Avenue at King Street West.

It is reported that:
– a man, 26, was driving a Ford Ranger pickup, southbound on Cowan Avenue, at King Street West.
– a man, 53, was operating a streetcar, westbound on King Street West, approaching Cowan Avenue
– the pickup entered the intersection and collided with the westbound streetcar
– the pickup then struck a male cyclist, 39, who was on King Street West, west of Cowan Avenue
The cyclist was taken to hospital where he was pronounced.

The 26-year-old driver of the Ford pickup has been charged with:
1) Careless driving
2) Start from stopped position not in safety

He is scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall on Thursday, December 14, 2017, 1:30 p.m., courtroom C.

This evening there was another vigil for victims of road violence, also marking the first anniversary of the founding of Friends and Families for Safe Streets, an advocacy and support group.

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As per usual, the gathering was at the Peace Garden in Nathan Phillips Square. Here, people are setting up 53 silhouettes representing road victims thus far in 2017 (sadly this number was one too few at this point).

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David Stark, one of the founding members of FFSS, was one of the first speakers. Heartbreaking to see him hugging a silhouette. His wife Erica was killed by a car while walking on the sidewalk.

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There was a succession of speakers. I’m sorry that I didn’t catch the names.

 

 

Cycle Toronto providing a little respite from some drizzle.

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Luke Simcoe also spoke. He was the author of a series of articles about Toronto’s deadly streets.

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Kasia Samson-Briegmann, Tom Samson‘s widow, also spoke about several things, such as the local media now avoiding the term “accident” and replacing it with “collision”, as well as the prospects for vulnerable road user legislation.

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Finally, anyone who was affected by road violence was invited to speak.

Remembering Debbie Graves, struck and killed October 4.

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Gary Sim‘s daughter.

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Xavier Morgan‘s grandparents. His grandfather said that Toronto traffic “just needs to slow down”.

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A record turnout, despite the threat of rain.

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A group of powerful women all advocating for safer streets.

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Left to right, Counsellor McMahon, MPP Eleanor McMahon (founder of Share the Road Coalition), Counsellor Wong-Tam, Nancy Lea Smith (director of TCAT) (I’m sorry but I didn’t know the fifth person).

Cycle Toronto folks packing up the silhouettes. I was told that there was a frantic painting session last night. Also I met the artist who did all the cutouts with a jigsaw, but I regret I didn’t get her name. (Update: she is Gabrielle Thompson. She works with Pat Brown at McLeish Orlando.)

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After the gathering, there was a wake at a nearby bar. Mayor Tory was good enough to show up.

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I was lucky enough to talk to both him and Counsellor McMahon about my impressions of PWIC last week.

Slowly, the city and province seem to be moving in the right direction. Better infrastructure for both pedestrians and cyclists, as well as VRU legislation, are both important steps if we are going to be serious about Vision Zero.

Passing by the Gord Downie sing a long afterwards.

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and a peaceful ride home along Bloor.

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Regrettably, many of the same people will be out tomorrow night for a memorial ride.  Signing off for now.

Update: CBC coverage.

 

 

 

 

 

Since August, I’ve enjoyed watching the gradual creation of a mural on the northeast side of the Dupont-Dundas intersection. I’ve been taking a few pictures during my commutes, and I’ve also stopped a couple of times to chat with the artists when I see them at work. This past Saturday was the official opening for the mural.  The opening was on the little triangle of grass on the south side of the intersection, with the prosaic name “Dundas – Dupont Traffic Island”

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Here are a couple of pictures during the painting:

August 2: the west most section has an indigenous theme

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August 4

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August 8: the section just before the bridge is nature themed.

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August 10

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August 10: Also there is some graffiti art being added in the underpass section

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August 18: more of the nature theme

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August 19: more work on the indigenous section.

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August 19-25: some work on an abstract bridge between the two sections

 

The ceremony starts with an acknowledgement of the lands.

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This mural was commissioned by Street Art (START) Toronto. It was a collaboration between artists Alexander Bacon and Que Rockford.

Councillor Bailao introduces the two artists present.

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Alexander Bacon (right) explained that he was very excited to work with Que Rockford, Que said that it was his first mural.  The mural is intended to show a balance and progression between indigenous culture and street art. He also brought in three graffiti artists to decorate the underpass section of the mural: Sight, Kwest, and Kane.

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Que explained some of the elements in his section of the mural. It is drawn from his heritage, which is primarily Anishnawbe,

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Going from left to right, it is a creation story, starting with the sun. Immediately to the right of the sun, the seven trees represent the seven teachings of the grandfathers, and the reflection shows the duality between the physical and the spiritual world. To the right, the figure is a gender neutral human, with surrounding figures grouped in fours for the four elements, and the four cardinal directions. Next is a panel showing a wolf family, since Que is of the wolf clan. There is both a male and female wolf, showing the balance between the genders. Finally, there is a mother and child, which shows the creation of people. The thirteen circles on her sleeve are the thirteen moons of the year.

The transition was a collaborative effort between both teams of artists. The nature theme returns just to the east of the bridge, after the graffiti sections.

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Ribbon cutting.

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Councillor Bailao with the two artists.

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I was very glad to learn more about this art that I ride past twice a day. It is different than the mural on the south side.  At the same time, the older mural has not been defaced very much at all. I hope that the new mural will also remain untouched as it is a wonderful addition to our streetscape.

If there are any misrepresentations above, they are my fault as I was not very good at taking notes on my phone while people were talking.