In which I summarize the OurYXE inaugural podcasts in a post which will likely take you longer to read than to listen to the podcast. (You should listen to the podcast.)
We join our hosts, Sean Shaw, Jordon Cooper, and DeeAnn Mercier, in what sounds like Sean’s very sparsely furnished Hamptonian hangar.
Sean is concerned about how long it will take until nobody wants to come onto the show. I will volunteer to do voices. I bet DeeAnn can do a mean Mairin Loewen. (I will do a nice Mairin Loewen.)
We start off with a fiery salvo on the North Commuter Bridge. The North Commuter Bridge is joining Marquis Drive, btw, not 71st. I should check this but I feel didactic.
Now Jordon is mocking those of us who have the poor fortune to live in the northeast. Look, we went apartment-hunting in the 0.6% vacancy rate wasteland of 2008. Not all of us can afford to live on the west side.
Jordon: “There’s nothing really wrong about it but it’s not right” – perhaps Mr Cooper is the next to run for public office.
Sean and Jordon think that the problem with the Circle Drive north bridge is not the bridge, but the attendant intersections. There’s the double oxer of Idylwyld and Ave C, followed by Millar and then Attridge/Central for a finishing touch.
(The Attridge and Central intersection is up for an overpass, which will double the amount of turning lanes the SUVs have out of Silverspring and reduce the amount of turning lanes the proles in Scuzzerland have. Every time I turn left onto Attridge west from Central northbound I like to imagine how it must chap the asses of the Lexi owners that have to wait for my clapped-out Honda to finish the turn. Also this overpass will make it even less-bike friendly than it currently is.)
Sean thinks that the Idylwyld/Circle intersection is backing things up. I’d say it’s a confluence of things, with Ave C and Circle being a baddie, but also the many left-hand turns allowed along Circle playing a supporting role. Also, there is not maximum lane utilization between the bridge and the Millar intersection.
Actually the real cause of all this congestion is the bloody illuminated billboard at Smiley’s. If we just nuke that abomination and its accompanying edifice into orbit we will have single-handedly improved traffic flow along Circle. That and the Tim Hortonses. Don’t look at me like that. If you wanted good cheap coffee you’d be at McDonalds.
DeeAnn says they’re just “looking into” the bridge, that they haven’t decided to go ahead with it. Unfortunately, any time Council looks into (or at) something, it costs money.
So far I’ve realized that I would be the worst podcast host as I’d be continually interrupting everyone. Obviously everyone here has not grown up with four other siblings.
Sean: “Quite frankly, you can put a bridge anywhere – it’s just a matter of cost.” I have a suggestion – between Victoria Ave and 19th Street across the river. It’s a bit daring, but I think we could manage.
In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t sound like Jordon is getting kickbacks from car dealerships. Or if he is, they’re about to stop after they listen to this.
Jordon invokes the “bridge from nowhere” line. I’ve heard that before, but can’t remember where. Feel free to not remind me.
“When you tell people our traffic is insufferable it becomes insufferable.” Perhaps we should start telling everyone they are excellent drivers instead and see if this has the same effect.
So, the Perimetre (Perimeter?) Bridge will be approximately 1.5 km from the north bridge. Theoretically speaking, if one had, say, a trebuchet, would they be able to reach the other bridge? Asking for an enemy.
OK, so Sean wants the perimeter bridge but not the north bridge. Fussy.
DeeAnn: if the University bridge is going to be closed all summer, doesn’t that mean we need another bridge? “That scares me. It sounds like the summer from hell.” COMING TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU.
Here we go, Sean is talking about spending money on things other than new roads and construction. Yawn. Repairs are boring. Bridges are awesome.
And now Jordon is jawing on about water main repairs. Just because someone goes without water for a couple days, they feel like they can make a big deal out of it.
Yeah yeah,”lead pipes”. We’ve heard it all before. A little lead is good for the ticker. Keeps your pipes soft, has the same effect on your arteries eh?*
*I am not a doctor.
Wish list time. GPS bus tracking is like the football in Peanuts. Every time we think we’re going to get it and it gets pulled away. I think Sean is jinxing it because he keeps talking about it. Stop talking about GPS and heated shelters, guys.
Subsidies 101 from Dr. Shaw here.
DeeAnn nicely nails division in Saskatoon as inside Circle vs outside Circle. Wait, I live outside of Circle. I am being catered to? I suppose my water main hasn’t broke recently. (Rubbing it in.) Now DeeAnn has just tossed the outside-Circle-Drivers under the bus. So to speak. I’ll just lie on the road here. The bus will come along eventually.
I agree with these guys though, I think the north bridge(s) will play a major role in the next election. Or rather, the unfinished piers of the bridges will.
DeeAnn asks if there are any Councillors who have the political will to “stand alone” against the consensus. I think Charlie Clark is used to standing alone but that’s possibly just cause of his height and the fact he rides a bike to work in a vigorous manner.
Sean talking about the lack of debate over the commuter bridge as well as at council meetings – all discussions done in camera. This is really the only good thing about being a councillor – knowing what goes on behind the scenes. I think it may involve cookies but I’m not sure. We can only hope a councillor will retire and write a scathing tell-all.
Jordon starts talking about Nenshi and how he’s not afraid to take a stand and defend his causes. In case you didn’t figure it out, I think Jordon really, really likes Naheed Nenshi. If you offered Jordon the choice between being Nenshi for a day or going to any in-camera meeting of the executive committee he would have a difficult decision.
Sean has a good point – politicians “get used to how the game is played” and keep an eye on the long game as opposed to dying on every hill.
Jordon: Good policies aren’t always what people want.
Sean brings up the statistic that we’ve all loved to death: Saskatoon has the lowest property taxes in Canada (except for possibly Montreal). Combined with our low density it’s amazing we manage to get anything done at all.
DeeAnn is totally channeling my righteous inner voice, if you ever wanted to know what my righteous inner voice sounds like.
Jordon just said “civic election” despite a mutual pact with Sean earlier in the podcast to not utter those words.
We’re on to a long talk about how people in Saskatoon want a lot but don’t want to pay for it. You may be familiar with this argument.
Jordon keeps saying “at the end of the day”. I’ll start drawing up “COOPER 2016” signs. Perhaps in a nice purple.
Sean is talking about Edmonton’s levy that they use to fix their roads and infrastructure, with a 50-year plan. I imagine Sean gets a lot of hate mail regularly along the lines of “If you love it there so much, why don’t you move”.
Jordon claims to have seen children falling off their bikes into the potholes on Caswell Hill. I find this inappropriately hilarious.
Now Jordon’s getting a bit heated about sprawl. “We’re not factoring in the costs over 50 years, like Calgary is beginning to do. That’s why Nenshi’s in this fight against the developers, he knows they can’t afford it.” (paraphrasing here.)
Sean criticizing Alan Wallace here. “‘We need to give people choice’ No, it’s a false choice. They’re not getting a choice, that’s the only choice they have.” I agree. It’s too cheap to live in the burbs. Just like how, when you factor in all costs, it’s too cheap to shop at Wal-Mart.
Sean is talking about North Ridge’s “walkable” development in Stonebridge. (The development being walkable is total bullshit, even I can tell that from the drawings.)
Now we’re taking apart Stonebridge. It’s especially frustrating, since it’s not like planners and developers have to, uh, reinvent the wheel. There are hundreds of successful, multi-transport communities and this type of progressive stuff started happening in the 60’s with Jane Jacobs. (If you read my stuff and you haven’t read Jane Jacobs, go put “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” on hold. Do it now. Stop reading.) I don’t want to think about this too much because I get all ranty and then I get sad. It’s like holding a Zippo lighter while watching someone try to start a fire with two rocks.
Sean is slagging off the Shopper’s in Hampton Village and how it’s usurped the “town square” concept. Technically, Shopper’s is in the shape of a square but I’m not sure that’s what he means.
YESSS SEAN HAS CALLED OUT EVERGREENWASHING. “Sustainable development in Saskatoon means that every house in Evergreen gets two saskatoon berry bushes.” I am not joking here. This is basically the extent of how green Evergreen is. That, and there’s a couple hundred dollar rebates for efficient houses, and the streets are purportedly set up so that you can maximize sun exposure.
DeeAnn is asking why people don’t want to live beside businesses. Jordon and Sean explain it as Saskatoon didn’t grow for so long, things were separated. Any new business or development was rubber-stamped by the eagerly-shaking administration.
Another good point by Sean – we think growth means big-box stores, since that’s what we do when we go to Calgary or Edmonton. Speak for yourselves, my husband is allergic to IKEA.
DeeAnn is defending Warman and Martensville while Jordon and Sean try to throw them under the bus.”People love living in Warman and Martensville” “That’s because there’s no penalty for living there” “They are experiencing growth!” “A lot of it is low housing prices.” I’d argue that there’s a good penalty for living in Martensville: running that death-trap traffic gauntlet every day coming in and going out. Seriously, I have almost been involved in a collision every time I go to Martensville. I’m not exaggerating. You couldn’t pay me to live there. Sorry Martensvillains.
Now we’re mocking people who live in the northeast and who just want to solve problems with bridges. Hey, when all you have is a hammer…Anyways, I hear there is an open house at the Sutherland Hall, March 6th from 6 pm to 9 pm about the bridge, the University Heights sector plan changes, and the Central/Attridge intersection, all relevant to what was discussed here. And a new interchange at McOrmond and College Drive, where there is NOT, I repeat, NOT a new Costco OR an IKEA going in. (It is a sanitary sewer trunk line.)
I’m not sure what it is about this city. Commute for 20 minutes, unacceptable, build a new bridge. Wait in line at Costco for 7 minutes, unacceptable, build a new Costco. Adding three digits to phone numbers, unacceptable, make new numbers. Invent some new numerals or shit. Put some letters in there. Whatever. As long as we don’t have to dial 10 digits.