Things I Would Like Banned to Alleviate My First World Problems

Winnipeg St. Boniface Councillor Dan Vandal has inspired me with his recent campaign to ban trucks from Provencher Blvd.

You see, I was in Pittsburgh, PA. covering a conference when the Manitoba Trucking Association issued their response to Vandal. After a solid day of work, I wanted to decompress with a colleague over drinks and food on a patio on Penn St. in Pittsburgh.

So there we were, relaxing, having a great discussion when a tractor-trailer rolled by and — get this — I couldn’t hear what she was talking about for, like, 5 or 7 seconds.

“It’s a no-brainer,” the Winnipeg Free Press reported Vandal as saying. “We have semi-trailers that go down Provencher over the bridge… and then meander onto Portage Avenue. It’s time to get rid of the tractor-trailers from Portage and Main and Provencher Boulevard.”

Vandal was also quoted as saying “We have to progress as a city, does anyone other than the trucking association like semi-trailers at Portage and Main?”

I think that was rhetorical, but I’ll answer it: “No. Nobody other than the trucking association likes semi-trailers. They are the only people in the entire world that like semi-trailers. Everybody else completely hates them.”

So, I get it Vandal. Totally behind you on banning stuff that slightly inconveniences my life. Looking around my neighborhood in Toronto (Leslieville, between Carlaw and Gerrard, just off Queen St. East — patios, nice shops, bars, restaurants), I found a few other things that we should ban to make the area more appealing:

Shadows

They scare me. Also, have you ever noticed that it’s colder when you’re standing in a shadow? Enough already — ban shadows.

Weekend Brunches

The lineups are too long. Does anybody other than the Ontario Brunch Eating Association (OBEA) really like brunch? Ban ’em.

Garbage Bins

This is more about getting rid of the rampant raccoon infestation in the neighborhood, and the best way to do that is to ban garbage bins in the neighborhood. What I propose is that the city hire full-time, around the clock staff to collect garbage as it’s created in all the homes and businesses in the neighborhood. The garbage catchers can then move the garbage to nearby neighborhoods. Costly? Yes. Unfair to nearby neighborhoods? Probably. But, like banning trucks, I don’t care what the cost is to other neighborhoods or people.

Baby Strollers

There’s a lot of them in Leslieville, especially on the weekends when non-baby stroller owning people like myself are trying to walk and shop and enjoy street festivals, and strollers are always in the way, slowing down foot traffic. Ban them from Queen St. between Broadview and Coxwell. You can re-route them down to Eastern Ave. or up to Dundas. Those sidewalks were built to handle strollers, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

Speed Bumps

I understand their purpose, but having to slow down that much on my way to work in the morning is really inconvenient. And if I’m going too fast, my coffee spills. Ban them. Children will just have to be put on leashes anytime they want to go outside.

Movies

Ban them. I live near the film district, and they are always building sets, like gas stations. Imagine my frustration after getting excited about a new gas station at the bottom of my street only to discover 10 seconds later that it was a fake. It’s misleading. They also plaster the area with orange cones, and quite frankly, it affects the neighborhood’s aesthetic charm.

Crosswalks

They slow down traffic. Ban’ em.

Roads

There are all these cars going by when I’m trying to jaywalk to the patio across the street. Ban ’em.

So there you have it: a handful of bans later, I’m sure the Leslieville neighborhood will prosper wonderfully. Yes, I know that other areas of the city will be affected, and it will cost a lot of money, but it’s a “no-brainer.” We have to regress, er, I mean progress… as a city.

*cough

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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