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Today I had the opportunity to take a look inside the new engineering building going up on St. George St on the University of Toronto campus. It is called the Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or CEIE. It will provide office space for many institutes within engineering. Additionally, the first four floors are student centred, and are given over to interactive classrooms, design spaces, and a light fabrication facility.  The pouring of the concrete should be done by the end of May, and the building will be more or less done in January 2018. However, it will probably be next September before classes are run in most of the new spaces.

We took this construction elevator up to the sixth floor.

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From there it was a climb up some stairs to get to the top (eight) floor.

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Here we are on the 8th floor.

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It is with the leadership and vision of Dean Cristina Amon that this building came into existence.

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It’s that time of year when they fence off front campus so that by the time convocation rolls around, the grass will actually look decent.

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I guess you have to be an architect or a constructor worker to really make the “safety vest and helmet” look work. The rest of us looked a bit like Michael Dukakis.

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Another panorama.

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They are still pouring the last of the concrete.

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Temporary trusses provide the support for a concrete slab to be poured as the roof of the 8th floor. On top of this there will be a “penthouse” for ventilation equipment.

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Now back down to the 6th floor.

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The Hatchery is an undergraduate focused start up incubator that will be moved onto the sixth floor. Joseph, Hatchery director, is all smiles as he checks out his future home.

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The design of the building had to be substantially altered to satisfy the requirement that Convocation Hall still had to be visible from Russell Ave. Here is a reverse angle view of that street. At the end, you can see Spadina Circle, where the new Architecture building is almost complete.

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Back down on the ground floor, you can see the wall of a large auditorium classroom to the left.

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This is a 468 seat auditorium where all of the seats will be grouped around small tables. Here, Prof. Stickel is taking a panorama. Many first year classes will be in this space.

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I’m most interested in this space in the basement, called the arena. It will be a shared space for all the student design teams.

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Celebrating with a bit of champagne and pizza. You can see the sloped underside of the tiered seating in the auditorium in the background.

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Here is a cross sectional drawing of the whole building.

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Can hardly wait to see the project complete.

 

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One of the highlights of spring in Toronto is the blooming of sakura, most famously in High Park. Signs over the past several weeks indicated that the bloom would be earlier than usual. Sure enough, various media outlets predicted peak bloom for this weekend past, and pointed out that the blossoms might not be as good next weekend because of rain in the forecast before then.

Whatever is the reason (perhaps a pent up demand due to the lack of sakura last year), but the crowds have been crazy this year.

Checking out High Park around 10 am this morning, I saw quite a few people for a Monday morning.
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Carrying on along Bloor, I see that the “Bloor on the Park” BIA has made more legible signs than last year.

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Swinging by Robarts, I see the smaller stand of sakura in fuller bloom than in High Park.

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Lucy wants to go for a bike ride.

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We decided to bike out to High Park after dinner to check out the sakura as a family. Crazy traffic for a Monday.

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It was pretty crowded, and getting too dark for decent pictures. If it was this crowded today, it must have been insane yesterday!

If you’re anywhere near downtown, you’d be better off checking out Robarts near the intersection of Huron and Harbord.. At High Park, the blooms weren’t nearly so full, and a lot of the lower branches of trees had a somewhat bedraggled appearance from people pulling them down to get a better picture.

 

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I’m biking along the Harbord St. bike lanes, and I’m running late for an appointment when I see a group cycle up behind me while I was stopped at Spadina. There were two cameramen, and I recognized MPP Jagmeet Singh, who has been attracting some attention, not only as a sharp dresser, but also as a potential leadership candidate for the NDP. At this point, I thanked him for showing up to a memorial ride for a recent Sikh immigrant, forgetting that it was actually MP Raj Grewal who was there (deepest apologies all around!). He responded that safety was an important issue, and when the light turned, we all crossed Harbord, and then I stopped to take this souvenir shot.

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At this point, the person who was riding behind Singh pulled over and introduced himself as Doug (and he might have even said Doug Ford, but my level of cognitive dissonance was so high that his last name didn’t register; although in retrospect I did recall his Chicago Bears jacket).

Jared Kolb chimed in on a facebook thread that this was part of filming for a new TVO series called “Political Blind Date”.  If I wasn’t in such a rush to get to work, I would have loved to have asked both of them some questions, but I ended up riding off and wishing them a safe ride.

You never know who you’ll meet riding a bike around town.

 

 

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There have been some cycling friendly improvements to the intersection of Sterling Rd and Dundas St W, where Jenna Morrison died by being right hooked by a truck. Back in 2012, there was a community meeting about this intersection. Then in 2014, a more bike friendly crossing of Dundas St W was installed. Today I noticed that a bike sensor had been installed on the north side of the intersection for southbound cyclists on Sterling wanting to turn left on Dundas.

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Seen from across the intersection, you can see that the bike crossing is meant to be bidirectional, and that the bike crossing lights have been updated to the new design.

Kudos to the city for continuous improvements, although it would be nice to put a splash of green paint for bikes on Sterling Rd who are either waiting for the crossing, or wanting to turn left.  We also hope that the city plans to completely fix the intersection of College/Dundas/Lansdowne for cyclists will eventually happen.

On another note, whenever I am in this neck of the woods, I am irresistably drawn to Henderson’s Brewing, where today I note that Henderson’s best is now available in cans.

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Also a pleasure to discover spontaneous art along the Railpath.

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Heading home, I note that the stairway reconfiguration of the east end of the Wallace Street Bridge is slowly progressing.

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Now if we can just get that underground pedestrian connection to Dundas and Bloor done, that would be cool.

 

 

 

 

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Today, the woman who killed cyclist Zhi Yong Kang was sentenced to 7 years in prison, as well as a ten year driving ban. In June 2015, she hit Mr. Kang while he was crossing Finch Ave, fled, and was apprehended after a brief police chase. This story in the Star provides some background on the woman who had previous convictions for drunk driving and was driving with a suspended license at the time. Here are some images from one of her social media accounts before the event.

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From the Star story it appears that the woman is now a model prisoner, and appears to be trying to mend her ways.

Seven years (less time served) is longer than sentences that have been imposed in other recent cases of cyclist deaths with hit and runs, but there were numerous aggravating factors in this case, so it is not clear if this indicates a trend to harsher sentencing.

In any case, we continue the call for vulnerable road user legislation. Cyclists stand united with pedestrians to call for all possible measures to reduce deaths on our streets from automobiles.

Friends and Families for Safe Streets is a new advocacy group that is pushing all levels of government to make measures to make our streets safer for everyone. One of the founding members is Yu Li, a friend of Peter Kang’s, who was also on the memorial ride.

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We await judgment (if not justice) in many other cases from the past few years, such as:

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It snowed pretty heavily yesterday and last night, but the plows were busy overnight, and most of the major streets had been plowed. Add to this the relatively balmy temps, and it was a good day to ride to work.

Here is the single snowiest part of my ride in: a stretch of Edwin Ave.

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The West Toronto Railpath was clear.

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Entering the Bloor bike lane at Shaw. Looks clear.

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One small niggle: when the bike lane transitions from a section cleared by a regular plow to a parking protected section that was plowed separately, there is snow plowed into the transition. If it was frozen solid, this would have been an issue. Another problem with the curbside bike lane is the tendency for merchants to clear sidewalk snow onto it.

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It is not to say that my ride in wasn’t peaceful. What with the snow, I had the bike lanes pretty much to myself, and there wasn’t the problem of having to pass slower cyclists, or having faster ones buzz by.  Kudos to the City for keeping them clear.

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Have to end with this tweet from Yehuda Moon.

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Evening update: not so impressed by the snow clearance on Harbord.

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but on the other hand, Annette was fine.

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Cycle Toronto ran a fundraising ride today on Bloor/Danforth for the second consecutive year. About 120 riders were registered for the 25K ride, and another 30 or so for the 10K ride. The route was chosen to highlight several of the campaigns that Cycle Toronto has been running, including sections of Bloor, the Danforth, and Woodbine.
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People gathered at registration before the ride.
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Patrick Brown with just a few of the riders for team Bike Law.
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Jared makes some announcements.
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Joe Cressy says that he knows in this venue, he is preaching to the choir. Nevertheless, he highlights the importance of Cycle Toronto’s advocacy work at City Hall in getting new bike infrastructure approved.
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Head Marshall Captain Sam briefs the riders on how we are going to stick together, and reminds us to use hand signals.
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Lined up at the start on Cecil St.
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Down this laneway behind Baldwin St. to get to Elm.
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Across the Bloor Viaduct.
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This family was with us for the whole 25K ride.
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Headed south on Woodbine.
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Headed west on the Danforth.
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We make a stop at the Eastview Community Centre to meet up with the 10K riders, including this family with the second orange Haul a Day in town!
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Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon is a strong supporter of cycling in the city.
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Julie Dabrusin is the local MP, and she told us that there is now a Cycling Caucus in the Federal Government.
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and off we go again.
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Sam leads us back across the viaduct.
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Momentary stop on Bloor.
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The other Sam does some corking.
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Riding is a breeze if dad does all the work.
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On some sections of Bloor, we can’t all fit into the bike lane.
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On the final stretch, down St. George.
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Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing the ride, the ride sponsors, as well as Toronto’s finest for the escort. These officers were from 14 Division, but 51 and 52 also helped out.
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Also nice to see so many families out biking on this brilliantly sunny fall day. Ride safe everyone!

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