Three people don’t make it “mixed reviews”

The Star has an article today about the Queen’s Quay pedestrian/bike lane experiment. They had quotes from three residents who didn’t seem pleased with the short pilot project. Only one of them complained about traffic complications (she was upset about having to wait for cyclists and pedestrians to cross the street), while the others thought the $1 million price tag was a waste. Somehow this is considered “mixed reviews.” I get a little annoyed when media outlets try to show two sides of the story but provide only one or two weak voices of objection. And in this article, the residents have selfish concerns or no city-wide perspective on the subject.

Media is powerful — I wonder how many people flipped past this story in the Star’s GTA section today, maybe read the headline “Mixed reviews on Queen’s Quay” but not the article, and now think, “maybe it’s not such a good idea after all.” I’m not suggesting the Star be a blind cheerleader. Rather, if they want to show the other side of the story, don’t be lazy — try to find truly concerned citizens or organizations instead of the first three people who pass you by. Write one article with the positives and another with the negatives. I guess I’m asking for investigative analysis, which is hard to come by in today’s media world where being the first to report a news item is more important than being correct or thorough.


  1. I think the pilot project shows great potential for a waste of ‘roadspace’ on Queens Quay.

    My only complaint (as a resident living near Queens Quay W. and Spadina) is the Toronto Police left to watch over the few intersections that were blocked off.

    Not everyone realized the road was closed off – and I saw at least 10-12 instances of police running and *screaming* at vehicles all hours of the day and night for driving on the path. There were a few places where the road closure was not so obvious – and the police should have been a little less abrasive about the situation.

    In any event, as someone who bikes, drives, and lives right beside the new project, I can’t wait for it – I’m looking forward to it.

    Now if only the TWRC would hurry up with their HtO project that’s been sitting dormant for years now. And by dormant I mean a bulldozer or two moving once a week. Sad.

  2. It was a lot of money to spend on something so temporary, but at the same time it was a great week, full of events and everyone I saw seemed to be enjoying it. I doubt it was the cheapest week long festival this summer but I think it was worth it, hopefully they generated some enthusiasm and got the word out about what would be happening on the waterfront. Surely it’s important people are informed, and $1m doesn’t buy as many avails as this festival generated.

    I know it’s mean but sometimes I could give less than a flying fig about what the condo dwellers think about the plans. I’d much rather Toronto had a city waterfront we could be proud of and they were inconvenienced at intersections by pedestrians and cyclists.

    I’m just so not into that whole maple leaf island thing….

  3. I have a mixed review on the bird in that picture. Looks ready to attack. This is the same angle Hitchcock used for his Birds, and that ended mostly badly.

  4. thankfully, you were quick and accurate in pointing to the argumentative stretch made by the star article regarding quay to the city. i flipped through the star this morning on my way home from work and was miffed: where’s the mix aspect of ‘mixed review’? talk about arranging things to feign some kind of balanced reporting. the story comes off as lame and contrived, a token gesture to satisfying the mandate of an accomodating public news organ in a so-called world-class city.

    the paper could have played this one out in their pro/con editorial section, where linda mcquaig usefully trolls her own argumenative lines.

    i suspect the negative side of the ‘mixed reviews’ was deployed to do justice to the a writer’s own sense of journalistic integrity, to fulfill the requirements for said ‘investigative analysis’. further, the title could be the work of editorializing editors tweaking the discourse. yet, when the majority of voices/sources in an artcle can be aligned on the side of generally positive responses suggesting support and affirmation, how can ‘mixed reviews’ ensue? wouldn’t that signify good reviews? ridiculous.

  5. So many of these arguments are the main problem I have with downtown residents. I may be over-generalizing, but I do get a real sense of conflict between the high income NIMBY’s and those who view the city in a bigger picture sense.

    Hopefully the Mayor, Council and the Waterfront development group can see the opportunities available for everyone, and not let selfish biases shape their decision.

    Kudos though on the media analysis. Problem is, these days investigative reporting costs $$$ and newspapers are in an age of shrinking staff. This combination likely means real analysis must come from other places.

    Finally, good call on the birds Shawn. I do not know what adding a seagull really means to the appeal of the project overall. I have never thought the presence of gulls a positive.

  6. Drivers will get used to Queens Quay being only 2 lanes and it won’t be an issue any more. The city should just get on with making these changes permanent so that people can adjust their habits accordingly.

  7. Matt,

    I feel that any animals living in our urban environment add a lot to the experience of living here. Those gulls clean up a lot of litter.

  8. Queens Quay isn’t a through street — or at least it shouldn’t be considered one (even though east of the Star building it turns into a bit of an arterial road — but that’s just an industrial anacronism). If people drive down to Harbourfront to see a play or just walk along the waterfront, they can’t complain about traffic because there are so many transit options. The residents should think of Queens Quay like, say, people who live around Christie, Grace, Merton or Logan do — narrow streets they take for the last few blocks before they get home. People who moved to Queens Quay and Harbourfront need to remember they moved into an urban neighbourhood. If they wanted something else, there are nice big condo’s along Hurontario and Mavis and…..

  9. That complaint about its being inconvience for drivers was from a woman living nearby.

    I’m so sorry the city has decided use of the waterfront isn’t just for your overpriced luxury condo!

    I think the same thing about that complaint as I do about the objections to the St. Clair streetcar project. If you don’t like it – move!

    I think its a waste of money. But if it kicks of real work, it will be worth it.

  10. I dunno about you folks, but i don’t want this to take too long where i have to ride a shuttle bus to the waterfront because of track rehab.

    Bad enough Fleet St is on the list, and St. Clair looks like it’ll take an eternity. Stupid Hydro Corps.

    Oh and now i think of it… Whoever runs Transit Toronto’s website. Your site is full of errors. (Says internet explorer lol)
    The RSS feed i use from my google desktop won’t pick up your latest headlines. The last headline i got succesfully was in july when a CN hopped the tracks near mimico.


  11. The $1million price tag is nothing in the greater scheme of city building, especially with about 3/4’s going to police, security, waste disposal etc. It costs that much just to get projects through the bureaucratic planning process in this city.

    The star continually pointed out the costs of the event/design throughout the entire process, something that the general public picks up on, not realizing the context of what the $1M actually means or how the costs were broken down. Maybe they should publish a list of all the other things that we have gotten for $1M over the past year from the city, I guarantee none of them are close to what Quay to the City gave us.

  12. In defense of the condo residents, I suspect that the vast majority liked the Quay to the City and are looking forward to it becoming permanent. The report probably had to talk to quite a few people to find some negative comments.

    The private discussion board for the Waterclub only had a couple of comments on it, all positive, and they don’t hesitate about complaining about things when they are not happy.

  13. That’s a good point Darwin. The content wheels are usualy quiet, the uncontent, squeaky. All it takes is a few uncontents. (That may not be an actual word).

  14. Excellent point, JK. People often don’t realize exactly how expensive government undertakings can be, especially so when the labour is supplied by unionized workers. Considering how much talk this project has generated, $1 million seems more than reasonable.

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