Sunday, October 18, 2015

Croft was heart of Hamilton cycling

Where is the beating heart of Hamilton’s cycling culture? I’d look for it back in a time when everything needed to be done.

I don’t exactly remember the first time I met Neil Croft, but he came to the small Recycle Cycle volunteer bike repair group we formed in 1997 as the culture bringer, the poet-philosopher muse of the fledgling freewheelers.

Like a series on handmade postcards that Neil was famous for sending, I picture him in key culture creating moments. There he is on CHCH TV, a bit reluctantly in the spotlight, riding out to a huge empty warehouse, searching for a space for Recycle Cycles’ first home. We eventually settle in the basement of Erskine Presbyterian Church, still there today, I’d add.
Neil arrives early to Hamilton's first Critical Mass ride, May 1998
- photo courtesy Heather Croft.

In May 1998, Neil has risen to the occasion of Hamilton’s first Critical Mass bike ride, a concept he introduced to us after experiencing Toronto’s version. Neil gave us our slogan for the first poster advertising the inaugural ride: “subvert the dominant paradigm.” This bit of linguistic ingenuity sent us scrambling to the dictionary before leafleting McMaster campus bikes with subversive invitations. Already tall, he’s towering above the 60 plus cyclists gathered in Westdale in a homemade costume with a towel cape, the crowning article a custom construction helmet with a bicycle wheel mounted on top, slowly spinning horizontally adorned with colourful pompoms as we pedal Main Street toward downtown in afternoon rush hour.

Neil was our best mechanic, helping people fix their bikes, and repairing and selling bikes at low cost from Recycle Cycles. Now monthly mass bike rides allowed more social time, and we came up with a bike-themed art show in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Neil included his prized bicycle in the show, an elegant gesture acknowledging both the utility and the beauty of bikes. A Toronto bike choir performed at the opening night.

Hamilton cycling in the late 1990s didn’t have much to offer in way of infrastructure: essentially no bike lanes, no bike parking, and only the city cycling committee representing cyclists. We quickly surmised whatever good ideas they had were too easily ignored by politicians when it came to act. We decided to become the unruly cousins.

Some of us who enjoyed the monthly mass rides formed Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) Hamilton in 2000 with the goal of advocating for cycling infrastructure. We coalesced around Car Free Day, and events quickly grew to fill a full week, including bike-films, bike “drive-in” movies at Gage Park, poetry readings, historical bike tours, “bus and hikes” to local waterfalls using HSR transit, the first women-only bike repair workshops, street parties and parking meter parties. Yes, we dropped quarters into meters, laid down sod, chess sets, boomboxes, offered free lemonade, and bike tune-ups while displacing cars for some grassroots community building. It was Neil who sacrificed his car-free-dom to drive and buy sod so we could create the comfortable green party space at the side of the King Street downtown.

Our Car Free Weeks were funded with an annual budget of less than $200 and entirely volunteer run.

An un-permitted street party on King William in 2002 featured an outdoor DJ booth, live music from Steve Sinnicks and the Raging Grannies, and “street hockey etiquette” to deal with any drivers who insisted in passing through the now green turf zone covering the pavement. While kids hand painted a car, the beat cops who came along decided it was easier to let us continue than to try and bust it up.

The original core group from Recycle Cycles started, grew and maintained almost 20 years of public activism that led to real improvements for cyclists and, importantly, made room for more cycling culture to develop.

At some point on the ride all your pedalling gets you over the top, and that is how you can measure success, when things speed up, when they get easier. The HSR fleet fitted with bike racks. Bike parking, bike lanes and paths all expanded dramatically since 1997. MaCycle, New Hope bikes, SOBI, Yes We Cannon! We watch a new generation of cycling advocates try and start something, perhaps with a slightly critical eye on a polite respectability a step removed from the grassroots actions we engaged in.

Neil, who was with us all the way is gone. At a memorial get together to share stories from his life, some of the old Recycle Cycles crew were reunited amidst the sadness of loss. We can’t fix this, can’t make grass grow on pavement, can’t ride together as a group to a better future, there are no tools to repair our sense of balance.

We’ve earned a time to coast and reflect on what we’ve accomplished, and consider what we may have lost along the way.

Randy Kay

This article appeared in the Hamilton Spectator on Oct. 7/15

Saturday, June 6, 2015

McQuesten shaped city’s future: Parks on one hand and modern high- ways on the other

Tucked into the gravel sandbar known as Burlington Heights, in a small family plot, the bones of T.B. McQuesten are laid. It’s a fitting resting place for a man who could claim the distinctive geography of the Heights as one of his life’s canvases.

When the earth opened to receive him in 1948, the Hamilton Cemetery overlooked the peaceful Chedoke River Valley with Princess Point an easy landmark. Further along York Blvd stand monuments to his time on earth: the signature high level bridge over the canal, the Royal Botanical Gardens’ Rock Garden, or across York Boulevard from the cemetery a restored Dundurn Castle.

The marrow of McQuesten’s contributions to the city are in each of these places. His days on the influential city parks board spanned almost three decades until his death, the lasting results found in natural spaces and parks like Gage Park, Kings Forest, the RBG and Cootes Paradise, even McMaster University, coaxed here from Toronto for a 1930 opening, all McQuesten projects.

If parks were meant to act as lungs for the city beautiful, the other McQuesten imprint could be seen as cigarettes: The QEW highway and its shorter prototype Cootes Drive, the province’s first truly modern highways, steered into being during his time as provincial Minister of Highways.

McQuesten transformed Ontario highway design in the mid 1930s, drawing on the German Autobahn and Robert Moses’ USA parkways for inspiration. These highways were engineered to be safer by design: limited access points, low grades, easy curves, a centre median to prevent head on collisions. It’s true what they say about good intentions, they really are paved.

As the highways were put into use, the modernist McQuesten was appalled by the ensuing carnage. "The Department of Highways," he complained, "is doing everything it can to design and construct highways which will be as accident proof as engineering science can make them, but this can be of little effect unless the human beings who travel the highways take upon themselves the responsibility of controlling the ever-present 'human factor.'”

To combat human “carelessness” and the “craving to drive too fast...altogether too prevalent in Ontario,” a series of advertising pleas were dispatched by the department. A 1936 article announcing the ads paints a picture of death strewn roads, with 560 traffic fatalities in Ontario, almost half of them pedestrians. The slogan? “Try Courtesy”.

Hell, it turns out, is other people when it comes to road safety.

McMaster, whose move to Hamilton hinged upon McQuesten’s offer of acres of landscaped property designed to be indistinguishable from the neighbouring RBG lands, would present a dilemma that came too late for McQuesten’s input.

A decade after his passing, the campus he painstakingly helped plan and design began a rapid expansion. In the 1960s, two 80 acre RBG properties adjacent to campus fell victim to McMaster’s aggressive growth. The beloved RBG Sunken Garden was displaced by the imposing cement block of McMaster Medical Centre, and the rare cold water, spring fed habitat and trails of Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary, west of Cootes Drive, were filled and paved to serve McMaster’s projected parking demand. At the same time, the entire eastern lands of the RBG’s Cootes Paradise were lost to the Chedoke Highway (Highway 403). McQuesten’s eternal slumber would now forever be disrupted by highway noise rising from the valley.

The loss of these key properties caused much soul searching on the part of the Board of the Royal Botanical Gardens, who worried about witnessing the disintegration of their properties. As RBG director Leslie Laking noted “An arboretum and parkland generally are vulnerable targets because only trees are in the way.”

McQuesten’s concern about human traffic fatalities was real. We can only guess how he might have felt as cars, highways and parking lots began to further encroach on his beloved parks and their non-human inhabitants; like a snake eating its own tail.

The unintended trajectory of McQuesten’s contributions, tranquil nature parks on one hand and modern highways on the other, continue to intersect in a shell game of contradictions. The turtles of Cootes Paradise crushed by traffic on Cootes Drive brutal evidence of how this induced conflict plays out locally.

With demographic shifts trending away from cars and toward transit, opportunities to repurpose space set aside for roads and parking arise. What we can regain of the natural world is a conversation that’s already begun. In McMaster’s parking lot, the wasteland of asphalt gives way to ecological rehabilitation in planted oaks and grasses, reawakening a long buried dream that was Coldspring Valley.

It is testament to McQuesten’s foresight that we can even have this conversation in Hamilton today. The challenge before us is to refocus McQuesten’s early 20th Century vision to better reflect our evolving understanding of modern ecological values. Will it be traffic or turtles? Parking or Paradise?


McQuesten’s birthday was June 30, 1882.

First Published: Hamilton Spectator, June 6, 2015

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Grounders as Satirical Metaphor?

Grounders: Is it a game or something more sinister?
Hamilton Spectator, April 28, 2015
By Randy Kay

When I was a kid, the playground had impossibly steep slides, with shiny metal surfaces to speed down in skin-searing heat. Falling off the top of the near vertical ladder would certainly result in a concussion, and maybe a broken collarbone to boot. For a little kid the danger was palpable, yet thrilling. In this environment we learned focus.

We had "monkey bars" shaped like Apollo rocket ships with the hard dirt launch pad passively waiting to alert you to the pain of aborted missions. A concussion, too, was likely after a lung-emptying free fall to earth. Here is where we fought through fear, and to recognize the balancing act of our relationship with ever-present gravity.

Teeter-totters? The place to learn trust and judgment. Sitting opposite the wrong person could mean a truncated tailbone as the traitor bailed on her/his end of the balancing act. There's a life lesson right there.

And of course the spinning, nausea-inducing roundabout — usually powered by someone's older sibling who certainly took pathological delight in terrifying the little ones into tear — and, in the likelihood of churning passenger panic, a possible concussion to complete the dizzy adventure. You needed to be able to size up the group, make character judgments.

Fast forward to my kids' early park-playing years. We existed in a transitional time, watching the playgrounds transform over a period of months. Altered by safety conscious legal experts advising the recreation department, new style red, blue and yellow plastic and steel units replaced the metallic, munchkin-mashing equipment. Everything was built as one comprehensive safety certified structure standing astride a wood-chip filled pit, built to soften any terrestrial landings.

And this is where things started to get strange. The potential of serious harm to muscle and bone was vastly diminished. Bumps and bruises were still a lingering threat, of course, but dizzied, limping, shocked-into-a-pale-gaze kids were almost a thing of the past.

Playgrounds had existed as a place where we got away from our parents, and figured things out for ourselves. You got to know who you could count on. When your friend was injured you had to figure out how to help them without adults, cellphones or first-aid training.

My kids now teach a game to their younger cousins that I can only assume was built as a function of the new playground's form. The game is Grounders. The rules are basic in some regards, but this cross between tag and a landlocked version of Marco Polo has one flaw that precludes an honest soul a chance:

You have to cheat to win.

Wikipedia says: "Played on large complicated playground sets, the point of this game is to never touch the ground. Normal rules apply while on the set, but if a non-it player touches the ground, "it" can shout "Grounders" to tag the person. The "it" person can touch the ground, and in some games may have to close their eyes. This is similar to the game Marco Polo played in a pool, however children should have previous experience on the play structure/know the layout of the structure to prevent injuries."

I mistakenly thought the game had been invented by my imaginative children.

For about a year I carried on with my delusion: This game that everyone must cheat to play is the idiosyncratic creation of my daughters. But when by chance I overheard kids at a different playground (built with the ubiquitous safety-conscious structures, of course) call out for a game of Grounders, I had to admit I was confused. Had my kids' invention spread like a cultural virus to infect other neighbourhoods with their flawed game?

I'm certain we have a deep-seated need to flirt with danger, perhaps based on an evolutionary necessity to give shape to our capabilities and our limits. But Grounders seems to reflect something more sinister. As governments increasingly play games of naked power to maintain position, is Grounders a reflection of corporatist nihilism pervading our culture? Robocalls; mayoral candidates guilty of accepting campaign contributions over the legal limit; prime ministers proroguing parliament to avoid facing a scandal; non-"loyal opposition" predictably interested only in making the other parties look bad — these and other political erosions of democracy come from somewhere.

My kids still love to play Grounders with their younger cousins. They usually — despite my perfect track record of refusals — ask me to play. I remain steadfast. A game that requires cheating to win is better as a satirical metaphor than a process for developing the kind of minds required to navigate our way into a beautiful future. I'll be keeping at least one eye open on this one, if only to see how it plays out.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Who Cares To Count?

Waste of time to count the time
Volunteering is about contributing, not about logging hours
Hamilton Spectator, April 16, 2015
By Randy Kay

I have been a volunteer. I am a volunteer. I will be a volunteer. I work as a co-ordinator of volunteers. I work with volunteers.

I've volunteered on campus radio for almost 10 years of my life. I've organized public events, protests, written about issues for blogs and small newsletters, served on a board of directors, I've even helped coach my daughter's soccer team. I could almost equate "worthy" and "fun" with not getting paid, such is the value of my experience.

I agree with measuring and using data to evaluate many things: Volunteer hours, not so much.

Secondary school students are forced to commit to 40 hours of volunteer hours in their four years at school, sardonically known as "voluntold." Measuring those hours is vital for their success, they won't graduate without them. But — never mind that being told to volunteer negates the meaning of the word — the conscripted are not going to get full payback for their time in service. Bringing a class of 40 kids to a tree planting can result in a bunch of recorded hours, but what is the experience like for those who don't want to be there, or are only there to put in time?

It's easy to count hours if your job is to sit at a table: if you are there from 3 to 6 p.m., that's three hours. End of story. But doing creative work, designing, writing — do coffee breaks or naps count? Inspiration isn't something you can just pick up like a stick, though some inspiration hunting is recommended, stick or no stick — but that would be time spent hunting, which should be counted, right?

I had a very talented volunteer design a beautiful event poster. A few days after asking her, she sent me her first draft. I suggested some minor changes, and a day later I was printing them off for other volunteers to put up around campus, and posting them online.

Do I have to ask her how many hours it took to make the poster? Does that include thinking about a design? Fifteen seconds of inspiration on a bus ride? Did she sit down and do it all at once? Will she really capture the time it took? Does it really matter?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Thrust for Bike Justice

Make bike racks a priority
Or risk the return of the Elvis Direct Action Fan Club

Hamilton Spectator
By Randy Kay

In my younger days, I was part of a clandestine "direct-action" group. Our first action, carried out under cover of darkness, of course, was to relocate a bicycle rack placed in an isolated and neglected corner of campus; we dragged it to the front of the student centre.

The next morning the rack was filled with bikes. The university had assumed cyclists would run over pedestrian classmates — leading to lawyers — and had no plans for racks in this location. After a few weeks, they added several more racks, and they too filled up. No negotiations. No pleas. No problem.

Yes, the Elvis Direct Action Fan Club had struck our first blow against bureaucracy and poor planning.

We were never much of a club, and I only made up the name since I had a ceramic Elvis bust in the office that we had tried to give to then-mayor Larry Di Ianni — a prize for keeping a bad 1950s idea alive (i.e. the urban expressway known as Red Hill). Who knew it was so difficult to register a delegation to deliver a satirical prize to the mayor at city hall?

The spirit of the Elvis Direct Action Fan Club surges like a hunk of burning passion every time I see a poorly installed bike rack. In Dundas, it's mostly the way they hide the racks down little alleyways, away from the protective gaze of shoppers, not to mention the shops a cyclist would actually visit.

My daughter fought for racks to replace the 1930s wheel-bender racks at her high school. A good rack allows you to lock your wheel and frame to a supportive structure, a minimal standard which the current low-to-the-ground, rusty racks did not achieve. It took two years, but when they finally replaced them, it was with racks that didn't meet this low bar of expectation, resulting in only a marginal improvement on the older racks.

What get's my lip twitching is the racks that can hold several bicycles, but get installed with one side against a wall, reducing the capacity by half. To its credit, McMaster installs the racks properly, leaving space for cyclists to access from both sides. Elsewhere in the city, the results are less than inspiring.

After waiting for years, an upgrade to Coronation pool — in cycle-friendly Westdale — was completed, yet when they finally got around to putting in the bike rack, they did the wall thing. An improvement on no racks? Sure, but against the wall? I complained to my councillor and city cycling staff, and shortly thereafter they responsibly relocated the rack to a location that would allow full use of the functionally designed metal rings.

With this action I realized I had moved out of the shadowy, direct-action world, into the more mainstream, compromising and potentially more boring world of advocacy.

So let me advocate: bike racks in the city should be a short-term priority for capital expenditures. Fill in the abundant missing spaces, the way SOBI bike share — in a matter of months — has. Go all out. It wasn't that long ago that Westdale lacked bike parking, and the racks installed to make up for it are now hitting capacity. We could use more here, and everywhere.

The current practice of using a private advertising company to install advertising racks (often in a location that serves advertising rather than cyclists) should be scuttled, and stylish, advertising-free racks — paid through the city cycling budget — placed where they are most needed. Get artists involved. Be creative, make it something to talk about. Have fun with it with site specific designs. Functional public art rather than rusty advertising racks for the win.

Arm installers with a city-approved design guide and a site plan. Bolt those suckers to the ground in a way that doubles the value. We turned Ivor Wynne Stadium into Tim Hortons Field by doing the same 90 degree shift, at the expense of millions of dollars. Surely we can install racks in the city (and on private property, like plazas) in a way that benefits the maximum number of cycling citizens at very little expense.

Until standards for bicycle parking are outlined and enforced, we will have to put up with a houndog's breakfast of bike parking that defies common sense.

There's a rack at University Plaza, against the wall of the supermarket. Room for four or five bikes, when eight or 10 could be accommodated. I was there recently and beheld a rare sight: no bikes in the rack. Since the rack is not bolted to the pavement, I walked over, adjusted it 90 degrees, and then went on with my business. Simple. Easy. Doubled the capacity, so efficient, like a little pelvic twist. Elvis Direct Action lives.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Plugged Up and Plugged In: Productivity in a time of sniffles

The connectivity-productivity equation

We don’t need desks and four walls to get things done, just a little cloud

Hamilton Spectator, March 9, 2015
By Randy Kay

Is there a correlation between time spent at a desk in an office and productivity?

I have a terrible cold. Mucus is the focus of my fevered body. In PJs, with a box of tissues and a mug of hot tea, I call in sick then crack open my laptop. I send some work emails and then update the website. I upload an article emailed by a volunteer to a blog. I book the data projector for a volunteer using a cloud-based calendar.

I can Facebook, tweet, and Instagram for work and play, measuring reach using analytics. After padding around in slippers feeling sorry for myself, I upload a video created by another volunteer to our YouTube channel. I scan some paper documents I brought home, transfer them to Google drive and then upload them to our online history blog. Then I have a coughing fit.

Two new volunteers filled out an online form, both of them requesting work they could do remotely. I may never meet them in person, yet they will create posters, Facebook banner graphics, edit newsletter copy. I have a few valued volunteers like that: I've never met them, they live in different parts of the world. They are part of our connected world. I rely on them as I do other volunteers.

I am down with a virus, but technology allows me to contribute despite the phlegmy cough. Not infecting others is just a side benefit, plus they don't need to see my ravaged face, unless you want to Skype. Is this really a sick day?

I schedule some face-to-face appointments for later in the week when I hope to feel better. What is an office for? Is it really a place to do your most focused work?

My workplace functions as an office with large desks, a small resource library with books, magazines and videos and, with some dragging of furniture, a cramped meeting space.

We keep regular hours in the McMaster Student Centre, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sometimes the office closes for an hour for a staff lunch.

Does productivity or inspiration happen during those five to six hours? Are we overvaluing time spent at a large desk over the ninja world of mobility? No, and I think so, respectively.

Not many people are signing out books or even videos from our collection these days. Could it be that streaming and podcasts and a host of on-demand online resources are in practically everyone's pocket? Why trek through the snow and cold to the student centre to search for a DVD — flash drives are replacing optical drives, making the future of DVDs a question of obsolescence anyway — when you can stream that same documentary in the coffee shop, a co-working space or even the bus on your laptop or phone?

Libraries have adjusted to the new realities, creating space for collaboration, recording studios with editing software, movie sets with green screens for video production, signing out everything from camcorders and microphones to bicycle helmets. Books? They still have them, but expectations are evolving.

Sari Feldman, president-elect of the American Library Association, sums it up with her observation that "in the future libraries will be less about what we have for people and more about what we do for people."

Why cling to outdated modes of filing? I have a dedicated team of volunteers working on our history archive. They have consigned drawers full of paper documents — stretching back into the 1970s — to the recycling bin of history. Instead, they scan documents and put them online. Now searchable on a blog, valuable for research or for sharing on social media. That grey filing cabinet taking up a corner in our small office just became obsolete. Everything is now stored in the cloud, safe from the ravages of time, mould, dust and neglect.

I'm not arguing that technology should replace the office or that I want to stay home on the couch every day, but technology can transform how we use the real estate formerly called "office" — creating more versatile space for a wider range of activity.

I used to prepare weekly event listings to send to email subscribers, copying and pasting text, adding hyperlinks to a table of contents, it took hours each week. Now it's all done by an invisible script running behind the scenes on our website.

With new free time I've started hosting weekly drop-in sessions with free coffee and tea for volunteers. We create a small space for idea exchanges, using old technology such as sitting in a circle, writing notes on a whiteboard, telling stories, listening, making connections. Desks are just in the way.

It works because technology creates opportunity. Turn on, tune in and pass the tissues.

Randy Kay has been OPIRG McMaster’s co-ordinator of volunteers since 1998 and remembers nervously sending his very first email from the work computer and worrying about what might happen. Now he tries to keep up with the plugged-in students in a variety of software environments.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

That's A (Bus) Wrap!

Transit inglorious 

Travelling about Hamilton in a massive advertisement on wheels

It was an inspired moment. It was late, there was no transit, I was walking home with a long way to go, tired and hungry. Then I saw the neon pizza parlour sign: In a master stroke of slacker verve, I went in and bargained to get myself delivered home with my pizza. 2 for 1.
That was a couple decades ago and I figure it's a short step from savant to sucker. Now I find myself sitting on an HSR bus that is, from the outside, a giant Gino's Pizza advertisement. The entire bus is wrapped, including the windows, which obscures my view as we ascend the escarpment.
Since when did advertising on buses begin to displace the rider's experience, and maybe take a slice or two of their dignity? In the pursuit of advertising revenue, has the transit system gone too far?
Inside the bus I can take the advertising signs above the windows. These interior ads are mostly "freebies" for city services — practise safe sex, that sort of thing explains Andy McLaughlin, senior manager of transit at the HSR.

Since when did advertising on buses begin to displace the rider’s experience? In the pursuit of advertising revenue, has the transit system gone too far?

Outside the bus, large exterior ads, the kind that often see the bus "wrapped" with vinyl graphics, are not even aimed at HSR customers, but instead at traffic beside and behind the bus.
The driver's side is the most sought after mobile billboard space to catch the SUV driver's eye, since it is uninterrupted by bus doors. In transit advertising parlance, this is the domain of the "King Card."
You can advertise in the space for "cards" or go for a wrap. The curb side goes by the tag "70 Card" for a 70-inch advertising space, the rear of the bus is ripe for a "tail wrap." Other mobile ad-lingo includes "Partial Mural," "Side Mural," "Full Wrap," "Super Tail," or the "Full Back."
Three sides of the bus can be wrapped in ads, and wraps are outpacing smaller advertising cards on the sides of buses, says McLaughlin. After all, why take 70 inches when you can take a full canvas for a triptych of advertising glory as buses trundle through town.
Only the front of the bus is free of sales rental space, to allow for considerations you'd expect, like driver's vision, and to give passengers at least a glimpse of fleet colours as they await the festooned flyer.
Ads are administered by a third party, Streetseen Media, which sells the ad space and provides an "annual minimum guaranteed payment" to the HSR of $440,000 a year, says McLaughlin. The HSR nets 60 per cent of revenue over and above that threshold.
The HSR receives occasional complaints from riders who don't like their view obstructed since people often use landmarks to determine bus stop locations.
Buses already have a bad rap (pun intended), even among some "higher order" transit advocates, so covering sleek paint jobs and a chance for some city/transit branding is being sacrificed to sell other people's products. Even pizza.
McLaughlin has an administrator's eye on the money, as he should. Any move to limit advertising would mean a hit on the revenue that the HSR has come to depend on. But if City Hall would use revenue from federal gas taxes meant to lower greenhouse gas emissions on transit, rather than roads, we could get some pizzazz rather than pizza ads.
There are some spectacular rides on many routes. Any route up or down the Mountain will give panoramic views of the lower city, splendidly splayed out with the blue centre of the bay reminding us that the city is built around (and on top of) water.
One of my favourite bus routes for diverse city views is the #4 bus. Hop on downtown and trip through high energy Jamesville, past Pier 4, along Burlington Street through Steel Mills, past the Hells Angels Club House on Gage (is that a tourist attraction?) over to Woodward and end gloriously atop Mount Albion.
The HSR could even invest in smart technology to enhance the untapped educational and tourism potential of fixed route buses. Bring some of the history ("Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie played here for striking Steelworkers in '46"), and current events (to your left you see the new GO Station being built) in a way that adds value to the experience of riding the bus.
As it is now, riders are an afterthought to poorly considered advertising.
Photo by Randy Kay (did not appear with article)