“For the seventh year in a row, Dalhousie University plans to raise the tuition fees it charges students,” reports Jennifer Henderson:
The three per cent increase is the maximum the province allows universities to charge and still receive a one per cent increase in their annual operating grant from the government. An undergraduate science student (page 7) at Dalhousie already pays $8,939 a year — the highest tuition in the country. We’re Number One!
2. Putting buses on the Macdonald Bridge ramp
On Thursday, Halifax council’s Transportation Committee will receive a report from Halifax Transit examining options for putting buses on the ramp from Barrington Street to the Macdonald Bridge. Doing so will allow express buses from downtown to Dartmouth to be taken off Gottingen Street. The report is written by Erin Blay, who is the supervisor of Service Design & Projects at Halifax Transit.
Blay explains that Halifax Transit hired CBCL Limited to examine the situation, and the firm came back with four options:
Option 1: Left Lane on Ramp for Transit Only
In this option, the existing left lane on the bridge ramp would be used by transit only. By starting the turn in the left lane, the bus is provided enough space to safely maneuver from the ramp to the curb lane on the bridge. Buses should be using the curb lane while traveling across the bridge, so a dedicated transit signal phase would be needed to allow buses to enter the curb bridge lane, ahead of general traffic. This was the lowest cost option, estimated at $63,000, but also has the highest impact to traffic. This option effectively reduces the bridge ramp to one lane of general traffic during the afternoon peak hours. This was found to have an unacceptable impact to general traffic, and transit.
Option 2: Widening at Intersection to Permit Right Turn from Curb Lane
In this option, the existing two lane cross section on the ramp would be widened so buses could make the turn from the right lane on the ramp to the curb lane on the bridge. To accommodate these widened lanes, the pedestrian crossing would be lengthened by approximately 3m, accomplished by reducing the size of the existing pedestrian island. This option will have a notable negative impact on pedestrians crossing this busy intersection due to increased crossing distance. This cost estimate for this option is $251,000. This option is not expected to have a noticeable impact to general traffic. This option will provide transit and general traffic with equal priority.
Option 3: Lagging Transit Signal and Left Lane Transit Layby
In this option, the left ramp lane would be widened to accommodate a transit layby lane. Buses would pull into this lane, and wait for the end of the green signal cycle. A transit signal, after the green cycle, would allow transit to make a similar turn to option 1 (i.e. from the left lane into the curb lane on the bridge). The cost of this option is estimated at $221,000. The impact to general traffic for this option is less than that of Option 1, because two lanes of general traffic would still be maintained. However, this option is also expected to have a significant impact on traffic due to the change to signal timing required to accommodate the transit only phase. The bridge ramp is typically congested during the afternoon peak hours with the existing operation, and this will increase delay. General traffic will have slightly higher priority compared to transit in this scenario.
Option 4: Right Lane Transit Lay By
In this option, a transit layby would be added to the right side of the bridge ramp, where there is currently a pull over area used by the Halifax Harbour Bridge (HHB) staff. The pull over for HHB must be maintained, as staff use this area to monitor large container ships as they pass under the bridge to ensure that the ships clear the bridge, as expected. This option would require a new platform to be constructed, for use of HHB staff, as the existing layby would be used by transit vehicles. The estimated cost for this option is $685,000. Like Option 3, while transit vehicles will be removed from the queue on the approach to the intersection, this option will impact traffic due to the additional signal time added for a transit only phase. General traffic will have slightly higher priority compared to transit in this scenario.
“The preferred concept is Option 2,” writes Blay, “as it provides the highest benefit relative to the cost”:
The impacts to traffic are negligible, and will have the lowest delay for buses as well. It requires no major structural changes to the Macdonald Bridge, however there are also shortcomings to other road users including an increase to the pedestrian crossing distance of 3m.
The impact of the lengthened crossing could be mitigated by the introduction of a “No Right on Red” regulation however, at this time the implications of that change are still being considered. If directed by staff to undertake further study of this measure, a detailed design will be developed.
I have two questions:
1. Pedestrians: How do you view widening the pedestrian crossing by three metres, especially if it is combined with stopping the right turn on red? (My own view is that the right turn on red should be prohibited regardless; we should do away with right turn on red everywhere in the urban area.)
2. Now we know why the Bridge Commission trucks sit on the ramp — so that staff can make sure ships are clearing the bridge — but what are they supposed to do if the ships don’t clear the bridge? Swim out and pull the ships backward? Search for bodies thrown off the collapsed bridge?
In any event, even if the committee and then the full council agree to the recommended change, detailed designing and implementation wouldn’t happen until after the Cogswell Interchange is torn down and rebuilt as surface streets.
“If,” writes Blay, “upon the completion of the Cogswell Interchange redevelopment project, it’s found that travelling to Dartmouth via the Macdonald Bridge Ramp offers significant time savings, then the design work required to implement this modification could be planned for and included in a future budget year.” That’d be in the year 2020 at the earliest.
“A convicted killer and sexual predator who could have spent his life in Canadian prison was instead back in the United States on Tuesday for a court hearing, as an American prosecutor questioned the Parole Board of Canada’s logic in sending him her way,” reports Michael Tutton for the Canadian Press:
“They made him our problem,” Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek said of 47-year-old William Shrubsall, who fractured one of his victims’ skull with a baseball bat during his spree of violence in Nova Scotia during the late 1990s.
The board’s six-page ruling was based in part on the authors’ belief the offender would “face many more years” of incarceration in Niagara County — where he jumped bail during his trial for sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl in 1996.
Wojtaszek questioned that logic, saying there are limits on her ability to incarcerate Shrubsall, who has adopted the name Ethan Simon Templar MacLeod.
“There is nothing in that (parole board) decision that would leave society to be any safer than it was when he was first designated a dangerous offender,” she said.
Stephen Kimber discussed Shrubsall here.
4. Pourbaix Diagram
Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) is looking for someone to draw a “Pourbaix diagram of Nickel Aluminum Bronze (NAB) alloy in seawater, to aid in the prediction of the integrity of NAB under conditions of crevice corrosion.”
Yeah, I don’t know what a Pourbaix diagram is either. Presumably, however, somebody wearing a pocket protector at one of the universities does know what a Pourbaix diagram is, and can probably do the assigned task:
The Contractor must construct a Pourbaix diagram (Electrochemical Potential versus pH) of the NAB (UNS C95800) in natural seawater (as defined in Section 5.2) at a temperature within the range 10 – 14 °C, showing the thermodynamically stable species at varying pH levels (-2 to 16) and Electrochemical Potential (-2 to 2 Volts) (versus Standard Hydrogen Electrodes (SHE)). The diagram must have pH on the x-axis and Electrochemical Potential on the y-axis, and include all 4 kappa phases, as well as the alpha phase. Note that the alloy composition (as outlined in Section 5.3) and temperature must be held constant.
Through the miracle that is Google dot com, I’ve learned that Nickel Aluminum Bronze “offers superior salt water corrosion resistance. It also is resistant to cavitation and erosion. Along with the advantage of pressure tightness, this high strength alloy is excellent for welding and is available in many forms at a lower cost to you.”
I’ll just assume they’re going to be building missiles with that NAB.
5. Hall of fame
After reading yesterday’s discussion of black face, a reader sent me this photo of
Paul O’Regan wearing “brown face.” “And we named a Hall after this dude?” comments the reader, referring to the auditorium at the new Central Library that bears O’Regan’s name. Stephen Plummer. Update: a reader tells me the photo on the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is captioned incorrectly, and it is Plummer in brown face.
The photo comes from the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia’s “Hall of Fame” webpage that evidently collects photos from various costume parties through the years. The above is from 2005.
I particularly like the 2006 photo, where Rob Steele, Sarah Dennis, Mickey MacDonald, and Danny Chedrawe dress as the pirates they are:
Rich people are weird.
Budget Committee (Wednesday, 9:30am, City Hall) — here’s the agenda
Western Common Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 6:30pm, Prospect Road Community Centre) — here’s the agenda
Public Information Meeting -Case 21295 (Wednesday, 7pm, Cafeteria, Auburn Drive High School) — currently, there’s a convenience store at 272 Auburn Drive in Westphal, which is across the street from the parking lot for Auburn High School. In documents submitted to the city, lawyer Lloyd Robbins accuses the store of selling cigarettes to kids, but that’s neither here not there, as the store owner doesn’t own the property. Rather, Robbins wants the property rezoned for his unnamed client, the property owner, so that allowable uses on the site are expanded to include “food take out/variety store, office use including professional business, retail use, day care, medical clinic or personal service shops, and apartments within the existing building.” There’s no actual development application, but in drawings submitted, “bike storage” will be provided, so we know it’s going to be hip and sustainable and such so just approve it already.
Transportation Standing Committee (Thursday, 2pm, City Hall) — see #2 above.
No public meetings today.
Natural Resources and Economic Development (Thursday, 9am, One Government Place) — a per diem meeting.
Thesis Defence, Earth Sciences (Wednesday, 1pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Harold Kuehn will defend his thesis, “Along-trench segmentation and downdip limit of the seismogenic zone at the eastern Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone.”
Official Launch of the new Imhotep’s Legacy Academy Learning Centre and Makerspace(Wednesday, 1pm, Room J134, Sexton Gymnasium Building) — from the listing:
Imhotep’s Legacy Academy (ILA) is dedicated to increasing the representation of traditionally-marginalized students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) studies and careers. ILA, established in 2003, began as a university-community collaboration to build STEM capacity in the African Nova Scotian community, using volunteer professors to train university students who act as mentors to students in junior high and high school.
Elina Vähälä, Strings Masterclass (Wednesday, 5pm, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — catch her Symphony Nova Scotia performance Thursday at 7:30. Her website.
Ethical Considerations for International Volunteers and Interns (Wednesday, 5:30pm, Room 1014, Rowe Building) — Rebecca Tiessen from the University of Ottawa will speak.
Dying with Dignity in Canada (Wednesday, 7pm, Room 105, Weldon Law Building) — Jocelyn Downie will speak.
Atlantic Conference on Public Administration (Thursday, 9am, Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Halifax) — for 200 bucks you could hear Scott Brison speak. Info here.
Six Primrose (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Theatre, Marion McCain Building) — screening and discussion of Halifax director John Hillis’s film.
Fateful Decisions: Reckoning with the Climate and the Future (Thursday, 7pm, in the theatre named after a bank in the building named after a grocery store) — Lydia Patton of Virginia Tech will speak. From the listing:
Your friend asks you to accompany her on an expedition to climb Everest. A close friend proposes marriage, and you decide to have a child. After a recruiter visits your high school, you join the military. William James calls these ‘momentous choices,’ and we can call them ‘fateful decisions’.
A fateful decision affects all or most of your subsequent decisions. A fateful decision may constrain or open up your future options, make a new life possible or impossible, or enable or rule out your life’s achievements.
The current debate over what to do about the changing climate, about nuclear power, and about developing novel technologies, involve fateful decisions. How should citizens, governments, local political entities, and practical reasoners in general handle fateful decisions? Does Earth’s changing climate present a special case even among fateful decisions? How might public discussions of the ethical dimensions of fateful decisions help in making progress on questions of urgent public concern? How might an analysis in terms of ‘fateful decisions’ differ from one focused on ‘risk’?
In the harbour
05:30: Mignon, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
14:00: Gotland Carolina, oil tanker, arrives at anchorage from Paulsboro, New Jersey
15:00: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
16:00: Mignon moves to Pier 31
16:00: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
18:00: Algoma Integrity, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for sea
21:00: Mignon sails for sea
I’m still busy with a project, but I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, New 95.7, at 2pm.
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