Thursday, 21 March 2013

Getting The Facts

I'd feel worse about the decline of traditional media if it wasn't so disappointing when they write about issues I have first-hand knowledge of.

Today's example is a story about the lack of pedestrian access from Gilles Ave to Broadway under the new Newmarket Viaduct. The article records complaints from Cameron Brewer and Andy Smith about how the project has neglected pedestrians. Reading it, you'd think a walkway would be a real boon for pedestrians accessing Newmarket. But a glance at a map shows the truth: every route along Gilles Ave to the under-Viaduct area must pass Alpers Ave or Mortimer Pass, both of which also provide direct access to Broadway. Therefore a walkway under the Viaduct would shorten the journey to and from Newmarket for approximately zero pedestrians. (I say this as someone who walks to work in Newmarket every day, often along Gilles Ave, and could actually use this walkway regularly.)

I'm ambivalent about whether this walkway should be built. On one hand it would be nice to have and I've been looking forward to it. On the other hand perhaps our money could build a new pedestrian route that's actually useful. But the quotes from Brewer and Smith, and the tone of the article, are overblown and misleading, and the introduction of a few geographic facts would have cleared things up. I won't mourn the loss of journalists who can't or won't do this.

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