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Morning Brew: rubber bullets used by G20 police?, CityPlace congestion solution two years away, Simcoe teen stranded in Cuba after traffic accident, Presto card vs. open payment for TTC, snake on the loose in London

Posted by Jerrold Litwinenko / July 26, 2010

cityplace trafficWere her wounds caused by rubber bullets, by blank "muzzle blasts," or something else altogether? Police making up the G20 Integrated Security Unit have said they used harmless muzzle blasts (blanks) to scare off protesters near the temporary detention centre, but according to an activist who was treated in hospital it would appear that rubber bullets may have been used on that final day of the G20 meetings. Why we are only learning about this now might have something to do with a lawsuit that may stem from the incident. This and a number of other lawsuits are being launched against the Toronto Police, in addition to reviews of police actions by the Ontario Ombudsman, the Toronto Police Services Board, and by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.

He's been caught on camera three times but not yet been caught by authorities. Peel region police are appealing to the public to assist in the identification of a suspect who is described as armed and dangerous and is accused of multiple bank robberies in Mississauga this summer.

A solution to the traffic congestion problem (that appeared with the introduction of a number of condos towers at CityPlace) is in sights but won't be implemented for a couple of years. Fort York Boulevard will eventually be extended to Bathurst but until then navigating the area where Fort York Boulevard and Bremner meet Spadina will continue to be a challenge shared by motorists, pedestrians, and transit users.

Don't rent a car in Cuba. Or don't count on the Canadian government to come to your aid if you do rent a car in Cuba, get t-boned by a truck, and a Cuban is hurt in the process. A 19-year old from Simcoe is facing a very sticky situation because it's a guilty-until-proven-innocent scenario in Cuba when a tourist is driving and a local is seriously injured. Given our recent track record, this doesn't bode well.

The debate rages on. Should the TTC and other connecting GTA transit systems implement the custom and proprietary Presto card system (that's already invested in and is already being phased in slowly), or should they follow the advice of NYC transit guru Paul Korczak and move to the already existing "open payment" credit and debit technology (such as Mastercard's Paypass)?

London-area residents are on the lookout for a 1.5m long snake (possibly a python) after one was seen in a neighbourhood and evaded capture by animal control. No pet snakes have been reported missing.

And here's what blogTO was up to this weekend:

  • Roger reviewed the play Love, Loss and What I Wore.
  • Lauren chatted with celebrated Chef Scott Conant about the arrival of Scarpetta in Toronto.
  • Ben sought cheer at Unlovable, a new bar at Dufferin and Dundas by the same owner as Sweaty Betty's and the Red Light.
  • Ryan posted some highlights to watch for at this year's upcoming Caribana festival.
  • Robyn filled us in on this Wednesday's "Bixi Bash" bike sharing support party, which aims to snag advanced subscribers and keep the program alive.
  • Derek revealed blogTO's first weekly photo of the week contest. Be sure to cast your vote!
  • Erin spoke with Mark Cohon, Commissioner of the CFL.
  • Stephen reviewed Cafe Awtash, a new hookah bar in Little Italy that is still awaiting its liquor license but has ample snack and smoke.
  • Matthew wrote about Frank Gehry's childhood home, which is facing demolition.

Photo: "New City" by @ThetaState, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

28 Comments

mr hate / July 26, 2010 at 08:24 am
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Whoever built cityplace should have been required to extend ft york blvd to Bathurst before any f'ing condos were built.

They should have also been required to
-widen Spadina
-widen the onramp to the gardiner

It doesn't really matter what they do, because once the west half of the monstrosity is finished, the traffic along spadina down there will be a giant f'ing nightmare from sunrise to sunset.

Unless they figured out a way to have the west half to only be accessible by bathurst.
HUK / July 26, 2010 at 08:43 am
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If Natalie was protesting in the designated protest zone, she likely wouldn't have been shot, hmm?
Daniel / July 26, 2010 at 08:47 am
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I don't even use my credit or debit cards at those random/sketchy ATMs or even restaurants, so I definitely won't be using them at the TTC.
picard102 / July 26, 2010 at 08:59 am
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Wonder if I can sue the cops if they handcuff me.
Kevo replying to a comment from HUK / July 26, 2010 at 09:24 am
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@HUK - Right, because a free and democratic country like Canada should have a "designated free speech zone" (we criticized China for these during the Olympics). No worries through if it's only against two of our fundamental rights in the Charter:
"2.(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and"

I wouldn't be surprised if you could challenge a police enforced "free speech zone" in courts. And no, I didn't protest that weekend, and I've only ever protested once or twice.

Unless you were being sarcastic, in which case... you got me :P
HUK replying to a comment from Daniel / July 26, 2010 at 09:27 am
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You wouldn't be using a PIN authenticated debit card to pay fares on the TTC. You'd be using an RFID card or key fob connected to a prepaid balance (from your bank account) or credit card. Remember Dexit? It'll be kind of like that.

Mobile payments are the next big thing in the industry and every yahoo wants to get on board with the technology like it's a cable modem in 1997.
Ryan L. replying to a comment from mr hate / July 26, 2010 at 09:35 am
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The traffic issues at the waterfront are nothing compared to the issues at Yonge/Finch. They <b>really</b> dropped the ball on proper planning up there.
mr hate replying to a comment from Ryan L. / July 26, 2010 at 09:49 am
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Yeah - Yonge and Finch is definitely an amazing gong show of snarled traffic.
Extreme Left Extreme Right / July 26, 2010 at 09:51 am
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The comments on the linked CBC article are hillarious.
Keith / July 26, 2010 at 10:06 am
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I knew there was going to be traffic issues with all this dense condo development on the waterfront - others said no - all the people living there would be walking to work and probably didn't have cars. Get real!

When in Cuba - live with the consequences of your actions. Why should the Canadian Govt get involved? Tourists abroad are getting soft. Why are you instigating this story in the first place Jerrold - tacking it onto the losers who travel abroad and cry save me, save me when life happens (Lebanon 2006). If you can't deal with the heat stay home and twitter from the safety of your Canadian backyard. How would anyone deal with being involved in a car accident - here or anywhere? There are risks involved when one gets behind the wheel of a car.
Xavier replying to a comment from Kevo / July 26, 2010 at 10:08 am
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You did see you quoted peaceful assembly right?
SHANNON / July 26, 2010 at 10:09 am
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now why didn't they use rubber bullets on the people that were actually destroying property. how hard would it of been to shoot one standing on top of a cop car with rubber points?

@dandmb50 - Daniel .. Toronto / July 26, 2010 at 10:09 am
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@dandmb50 - Since the media will not give us ALL the facts I will disclose some interesting facts about presto.

I was at Queens Park subway station yesterday and with all the talk about these presto cards I noticed one of the "tap Machines" at the payment booth. I waited a while and one person used the presto card. It flashed on the screen that it cost him $2.19 for his fare. I went to presto site and it costs $6.00 to purchase and you must load min $10. It currently works on Go transit and some systems and some TTC stations. I have read a lot about presto but never heard about these facts? Why is the media not mentioning this? Give us all the "facts" I think it will be a good idea. Think of the money the TTC will save from counting the money/tickets etc. Think of the employees that will be fired?

Daniel .. Toronto, CANADA
http://bit.ly/Daniel2010
huk replying to a comment from @dandmb50 - Daniel .. Toronto / July 26, 2010 at 10:16 am
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Think of the English classes you skipped.
Ryan L. replying to a comment from Kevo / July 26, 2010 at 10:37 am
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If I could play devil's advocate, it should be noted that free speech isn't absolute in Canada (or anywhere else in the world for that matter. <b>Anywhere</b>.) Certain things come before free speech every time, particularly that of human safety. If the police feel safety is a factor, then they are well within the law to break up a protest.

The big question here, is were the police warranted in believing that people would get hurt if the protest wasn't disrupted? I think it is clear that the answer is a big no.

However, this means the situation isn't as black and white as people seem to think it is. Instead of focusing on arguments like 'They can't break up the protest because we have a right to absolute free speech', you might be better off with with arguments like 'They shouldn't have broken up the protest because the violence the day before was unrelated to the current protest and using the unwarranted 'safety' loophole was a complete abuse of power and should be investigated.'

That is, unless of course protesters at the rally outside of the detention centre were in fact being violent or unruly. If they were, well, you're pretty much screwed. This is why you shouldn't tolerate protesters within your own ranks damaging property, throwing things at police (which is still assault) or constantly trying to anger police by getting too close to police lines, screaming obscenities in their faces, spitting at their feet, etc.
@dandmb50 - Daniel .. Toronto / July 26, 2010 at 10:56 am
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@dandmb50
As for the rubber bullets I can believe it, since the TPS has been lying all along. They told us there was a five metre fence rule which was bogus.
One of the York Regional Police sergeants told protesters, "this is not CANADA, it's G20 land," and so on.
A public inquiry is required to uncover the truth behind what really happened and who gave these orders.
Someone told me many years ago when you write, make it clear so the most stupid person can understand what you are saying. I guess it works. I'm always learning.

Daniel .. Toronto
http://bit.ly/9FoEZC

Jacob replying to a comment from mr hate / July 26, 2010 at 11:13 am
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Well, I looked at Google Maps. Aside from the last few metres, it looks like Fort York Blvd *does* physically extend to Bathurst. However, it seems they're using it as their own private staging ground for construction.
allan / July 26, 2010 at 11:36 am
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under the development agreement, that section of fort york is "unassumed" by the city, therefore still belongs to the developer and they can do anything they want with it....when the construction is complete and the trailers removed another section will then be turned over to the city or "assumed"...it will then belong to the city...yada, yada, yada....
Ryan L. replying to a comment from SHANNON / July 26, 2010 at 11:57 am
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Because it would have been dangerous for police to engage in the rioters at the time. The rioters were moving too quickly away from the police lines and spreading out too much for the police to safely engage the protesters. In order to arrest people they would have had to break formation and put themselves at serious risk of being swarmed. The police lines were pretty much helpless against black bloc tactics. The only thing they could do was keep a line between the protesters and the G20 site.

This is also why the later that night and next day they preemptively penned people in to stop them from spreading out and running from police lines to cause more damage. If they could trap them in before they became mobile the police could retain control. Why they arrested everyone at Spadina and King? I have no idea. Perhaps they were getting tired of standing out in the rain. Regardless, it was unnecessary.
KL / July 26, 2010 at 12:13 pm
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For weeks I have asked for proof of police standing within striking distance of rioters and have yet to be provided with evidence.

It's a duck, fellas.
annakarenina / July 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm
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widening spadina at cityplace?!! worst idea ever. we could really use a little pedestrian bridge over spadina however, especially with Sobey's opening up now. Crossing Spadina can be a bit of a nightmare.
bob / July 26, 2010 at 12:36 pm
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Elevated sidewalks @ City Place pls!!!!!!!!!!!
JR / July 26, 2010 at 11:34 pm
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As much as it would suck to be stuck in a Cuban jail, wouldn't you stop for a second to think that maybe (just maybe) that Communist island in the Caribbean might have a slightly different set of traffic laws than Canada? Oh, wait, I forgot... Cuba isn't a real country, it just sort of exists for the sake of your vacation. Having a Canadian passport doesn't make wherever you travel Canada. Sorry.

(and by the way, I go to Cuba annually, and couldn't think of a better place to relax for a week, but know not to put myself in a position where being arrested is somewhat plausible)
JR / July 26, 2010 at 11:35 pm
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I swear I'm not illiterate, and am now aware of some missing words all up in there. Oh well.
steve / July 27, 2010 at 05:54 am
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The police should have used real bullets.
@dandmb50 - Daniel .. Toronto / July 27, 2010 at 08:11 am
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If they finally pick the system that will use debit cards won't that slow down the payment system because they will be required to enter their pin numbers? I like the presto idea. Tap and go. But whatever they choose it will be better than what we have now, even though it's obsolete.

Daniel .. Toronto
http://bit.ly/bKGa13
TTZZZ / July 27, 2010 at 08:26 am
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Whatever new system the TTC decides to implement, I'd put money on them finding some way to cock it all up.
agentsmith replying to a comment from TTZZZ / July 27, 2010 at 10:43 am
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And they'll find a way to spend tens of millions of dollars on "developing" a technology that already exists.

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