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January 27, 2011


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Melbourne is not the only place with confusing street names. Here in Waterloo, ON we have Keats Way (a major street) with Keats Way Pl and Keats Walk branching off.

Of course we also have two intersections of King St N and Weber St N that are 5 km apart. And just to make things interesting, 10 km further SE in Kitchener we have King St E and Weber St E (the same King St and Weber St in all cases), which is not really a true intersection since Weber St E turns into King St E (don't ask how, just check out Google maps). You can imagine the fun we had trying to give telephone directions to some out-of-town guests who said they were at the corner of King and Weber!


If you get a chance to read the papers while you're there, you might see that the penalties for excessive speeding and reckless driving ('hooning') are pretty severe, especially for repeat offenders ... all the way up to having the car destroyed.


There must be a historical reason for doubling up on the names: Flinders, Collins, Bourke, Lonsdale have their 'little' or 'lane' versions and they seem to be one-way laneways/pedestrian malls at least in part. More confusing is the existence of Collins Streets in various suburbs.

Jim Kenzie

Hi Jim123:

I know whereof you speak! Two of my kids went to U of Waterloo, so I've spent a fair amount of time trying to figure that city (well, those cities...) out.

But if anything, Guelph is even worse! (What's with these southern Ontario towns?) Not sure if it is a 'genuine' urban myth or not, but there is a story that the city plan they used for Guelph was actually supposed to be for a different town (Goderich, I think). Sure feels like that when you drive there.

Jim Kenzie

Jim Kenzie

Hi Larry:

Yes, everyone tells me so, although as I mentioned, I didn't see a single traffic cop during my three-plus days of driving there.

I have done a bit of research on Australia's traffic safety strategies.

And I wonder if all the effort has any effect?

As always, it is very difficult to determine cause and effect for the various interventions.

The most stringent speed limit and impaired driving enforcement is in the more heavily-populated urban areas; the larger part of the fatality problem is in the rural areas.

Open and shut?

But Australia admits to an 'indigenous population' issue with rural traffic states.

Which is more important?

I don't know.

Through much of the 1990s, a program focused on 'Black Spots' - high-crash frequency intersections - led to re-built roads and, yes, roundabouts.

How much did that contribute?

One thing is indisputable; Aussies buckle up. The state of the Victoria was the first jurisdiction in the world to make belt use mandatory in 1970, and the country has among the highest rates anywhere.

We know without a doubt that belts save lives.

So, a complex thing to analyze.

But let's not give Julian Fantino's successors any ideas about destroying cars, OK?

Jim Kenzie


Jim, to be fair, the impounding and destruction of cars only applies to the most egregious offenders - the ones who would probably eventually be destroying the cars, themselves and fellow road users with their driving behaviour.

Jim Kenzie

Hi Larry:

RE: Destroying perps' vehicles -

Me? I'm ALWAYS fair!

A lot has to do with who decides what's 'egregious'. Here in Ontario, under certain of our laws (the 50-over in particular)
the cop decides if you're guilty, and metes out the punishment at the side of the road. I doubt that happens in Australia, but then I can't believe it happens in Canada either.

But it does.

And if you lend your car to someone who's behind in his child support payments and he breaks that particular law, YOU lose your car! Do YOU know if any of your friends to whom you might consider lending your car even have child support payments, let alone that they're behind on them?

I don't want to sound like Glen Beck here, but giving the government (and their armed and uniformed branch, the police) this sort of power just seems wrong in a democracy.


Jim Kenzie


I don't have a problem with destroying or at least impounding the cars of habitual reckless speeders (such as the 50-over side-by-side racing crowd) - that is, if they haven't already destroyed the car in the process of re-enacting The Fast & the Furious - and certainly if they cause death and injury to others, like those two spoiled, wealthy idiots who killed the poor cabbie trying to make a turn (and a living).

But I do think that should be decided in court, not by a cop on the spur of the moment. That's a good point you raised. The child-support thing is ridiculous as well - I had no idea about that.

The fact is, something serious and lasting needs to be applied when drivers massively exceed the posted speed limit and endanger/kill others. The further a driver goes over the limit, the less of an excuse there is for it. And being a really good driver is not an excuse for speeding either.

It's supposed to be a democracy on the roads too: the right to a safe (and free-flowing!) driving experience begins and ends with respect for all drivers, not with contempt for the safety of oneself and others.

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