The importance of solving traffic gridlock and a major lesson for budding journalists
Solving Gridlock a Must
I was disappointed that your cover feature about ideas for making Toronto better (“From Good to Great,” Autumn 2015) made no mention of traffic gridlock. This is a serious omission, and a solution will require a significant financial investment. However, we need to invest wisely. For the same money required for a subway, a much more extensive LRT system could be built faster. We can’t wait 10 years for only a limited expansion of the transit system.
We also need to do something about how pedestrians and motorists interact at intersections. At the moment, pedestrians are expected to cross an intersection at the same time that motorists make left and right turns. This situation is largely responsible for the backup of vehicles at intersections. To fix this problem, we need to implement an advance green for either pedestrians or vehicles. There are locations in the city where this already exists, but it should be implemented everywhere in the core.
BA 1959 VICTORIA, MA 1965, PhD 1968
The Left Can Be Crazy, Too
Your interview with Prof. Joseph Heath (“Crazy Talk,” Autumn 2015) about restoring “sanity” to politics is blatantly biased. While the professor’s comments themselves are reasonable, he only provides examples of untruths or lack of civility from the conservative side of the political spectrum. I’m sure it would be easy to find examples from all sides and thus present a balanced critique of our political affairs. This bias unfortunately erodes the credibility of U of T Magazine and the university, which should be teaching students to think critically in general, not just about one side.
Prof. Heath responds: The published interview may give the appearance of bias. In my book, Enlightenment 2.0, I provide an extensive analysis of the problem of “truthiness” in politics, and why it is much more prevalent, at the moment, on the right wing of the political spectrum. In other words, what is being perceived as bias is, in fact, a reasoned position; it’s just that I did not have an opportunity to present those reasons in a short interview.
Why Did They Win?
Thank you for publishing the winners of your short story, poetry and flash fiction contests. It would be much appreciated and appropriate if the judges could provide readers with some analysis and evaluation of the various works in order to offer us some perspective on their choice of winners. Specifically, I would be very interested in reading a discussion of the poetry winner.
The contest is a terrific idea. However, what is missing is an instructional followup to the activity.
A Sensitive Portrayal
The winning entry in U of T Magazine’s short story contest – “Man and Mana,” by Amanda Lang – is a beautiful piece of prose that elegantly weaves numerous strands of philosophical thought through a compassionate and liberally humanistic lens.
As a psychiatrist, I was struck by the author’s unique and uncommon sensitivity to the duality of human aspiration and conflict – just one of the many themes in this piece.
Always Be Selling
The article “Breaking News” (Summer 2015) left out one major lesson for budding journalists: Never sell your work only once, or you’ll go broke.
I was working for the Toronto Telegram when that paper ceased publication in 1971. I had three teenage kids, a wife who didn’t work outside the home and no job. I remembered advice I received in the early 1960s from a freelance photographer, who told me you had to sell the same piece of work to many different customers to make a decent living freelancing. When the Telegram folded, I arranged to sell my work to half-a-dozen large American newspapers, a chain of 10 papers in South Africa and the Sunday Times in London. They all bought basically the same material and all knew who the others were. I doubled my income in the first year, loved working 70 hours a week and loved even more the fact that I never again had to do something I disagreed with.
Southam Fellow, Massey College, 1967
Survey Camp Is Essential
I appreciated the photo of canoeists taken at survey camp (“Memories of Gull Lake,” Summer 2015), but I hope your readers didn’t think that the students were embarking on a joyride in the heart of cottage country. Getting to camp in 1925 required a five-mile paddle from Miner’s Bay. I dare say the students appreciated the tow!
Survey Camp is an important part of the civil engineering curriculum, and I am happy that the university is modernizing the facilities. As the alumni quoted in the article state, the camp is about more than surveying: it teaches teamwork, meeting deadlines, living in construction camp and experiencing the backwoods – all essential ingredients for a successful civil engineer.
David H. Gray
BASc 1968, MASc 1971
In Solitary in School
In “Locked Away” (Summer 2015), sociology professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat answered questions about the impact of solitary confinement. She mentioned that solitary confinement may cause irreversible psychological damage. Given the known impact of solitary confinement on prison inmates, it is shocking to know that some public schools in Ontario now have small rooms called “time-out rooms” or “calming rooms.” Students are isolated in these rooms for a variety of reasons with no tracking of how long or how often they are used. As a student at OISE, I was not even aware that this practice existed in public schools in Ontario.
Representing U of T
U of T Magazine is an excellent ambassador for U of T. My travels take me to Japanese research universities, and I often bring along my copy of the magazine to show off the university’s depth and innovativeness.
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