Transit in Toronto: Lessons in Land Use Planning

Toronto has achieved a unique situation in North America; it is a major city that has maintained a dense core of population and employment with a well-functioning public transit system. This combination has made Toronto one of the most liveable cities on the continent. This is a result of years of deliberate decisions to integrate land-use and transportation planning, through policies such as zoning and parking controls, promoting public transportation and bicycle use, and limiting freeway construction.

A review of the various policies implanted, as well as their effects where appropriate, is presented, along with conclusions about what has brought Toronto success and how that can be repeated elsewhere.

•  ~13 min to read •  1 comment •  read more  

Network Security Flaws

One of the problems with security, especially as it pertains to computers and computer networks, is that it is often not done well. If the rules are too loose, they become trivial to ignore, and so then the security procedures are annoying and ineffective; set the rules too tight and they constrain the users to the point where the user can’t really use the computer or network in question. (This second situation is perhaps more annoying than the first…) Done well, security should be such that it is hardly noticed, at least it my humble opinion.

•  ~2 min to read •  1 comment •  read more  

Emotional Response

Geers (or ‘engineers,’ to the uninitiated) have a thing for numbers, and thus like to make full use of them to solve any problem that comes their way. For example, to size a pipe, you take the flow rate (a number), work a little bit of calculus (or black magic…), and you get out the pipe diameter (another number). ‘Geers like their numbers enough they’ve even figured out how to assign numbers to things that usually don’t get numbers, like public support, personal preferences, safety ratings, the simplicity of the solution, etc.

•  ~2 min to read •  2 comments •  read more  

Two Weeks In (Life in Québec)

So I realize according to my blog, I’ve been stuck in Dallas for the last 2 weeks, but I’d like to invoke Jorn Barger’s “Inverse Law of Usenet Bandwidth;” that is “The more interesting your life becomes, the less you post… and vice versa,” and my life has been anything but boring.

•  ~3 min to read •  read more  

Day 13: Erie PA to Montreal QC

Friday, May 8, 2009

Today is the home stretch — the plan is to make it to Montreal and meet up with friends there tonight for dinner. I do wish I was another 2+ hours closer though…

•  ~2 min to read •  read more  

Day 12: Nashville TN to Erie PA

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Today is pretty unexciting as far as the plan goes — drive north and east, and put me within a short day’s drive of Montreal. I wonder if I can make Erie, which my GPS tells me is 10½ hours away…

•  ~3 min to read •  read more  

Day 11: Texarkana AK to Nashville TN

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I woke up this morning a little later than I would have liked, but sure it’s the byproduct of a late night. The only real downside of it all was I found out that breakfast was included in my hotel stay, but only till 9am! Oops, I guess I missed that one…

•  ~2 min to read •  read more  

Day 10: Dallas TX to Texarkana AR

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

So I woke up this morning in Dallas, Texas. On one hand, it’s rather weird to be here because up until a few days ago, this was a place I read about in books, not looked out the window to see. It was fun when I pulled in last night because they family I’m staying with here had a Western on the TV, and it looked just like west Texas that I had spent the morning driving across. From here, the trip is a lot more open. I have four days to get to Montreal, and just about any way I cut it, it will probably take most of that time to get there. I little bit of playing with Google Maps and I came up with this (potential) itinerary:

  • Day 1: St Louis MO — 1068km — 10h01
  • Day 2: Lansing MI — 801 km — 7h43
  • Day 3: Palmyra NY — 674 km — 6h53
  • Day 4: Montreal — 502km — 5h17

•  ~2 min to read •  read more  

Day 9: El Paso to Dallas TX

Monday, May 4, 2009

I got into El Paso ridiculously late last night, and then with the new time zone, it was almost 2:30 in the morning when I made it to bed. The late night means that it’s only now (at 11 o’clock the next morning) that I’m finishing breakfast. The task before me is a little daunting — I have 3,900 km between me and Montreal, and 5 days to cover it if I want to meet the kids flying in. The goal for today is Dallas area, where I have lined up to stay with the friend of a friend.

•  ~2 min to read •  read more  

Day 8: Mesa AZ to El Paso TX

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The plan was to do church in Mesa with the family I was staying with, and then drive to El Paso, about 6 hours down the road.

•  ~3 min to read •  read more