Wednesday, November 17, 2010

North End Etiquette And Bicycles

I guess I made a mistake today.
I had an errand to run, and on the way home I thought I would drive down a few different streets in the St Johns area of the North End. I do this quite regularly now, choosing different streets and back lanes in the area to drive down. Since joining the St Johns Residents Association, I have taken an interest in more streets than just my one block.
Today I chose to drive down a few of the front streets in the area, looking for boarded houses. I was taking my time driving down the streets. I was driving fairly slowly as I looked at the houses on each of the streets I drove on. I was just about home, one street over from my residence. There were two bicycles in front of me on the street. One of them was pulling a small trailer. I was not interested in passing the bicycles as I was not travelling that fast. I held back and continued watching the houses. The street was lined with parked cars and the bicycles moved over to the side, close to the parked cars. The one cyclist who was pulling the trailer seemed to be getting annoyed that I was not passing, so I finally decided I would pick up my pace and pass the bikes. I was going fairly slowly still, as I did not want to get too close to the trailer behind the bicycle. As I was just about to pass the bike, it sped up a bit, swerved in front of me and spun around.
The cyclist threw the bike down and came at my car. He was mad. He came right up to my window and started to yell in a very angry voice. I don't know what he was saying. But he was very angry. He continued to yell as I threw the car in reverse and sped backward down the block.
I thought he was going to smash my window. He definitely scared me.
So what did I do wrong?
I didn't pass the bicycle, and I didn't pass him soon enough or fast enough.
In the future, I guess I either will not go down a street where there is a bicycle, or I will pass the bike as fast as I can, and get out of their way.
I guess I will not make that mistake again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Truck Illegally Dumps Garbage With Vertical Adventure Indoor Climbing Facility Sticker

A truck just pulled up to the dumpster behind my house (Nov 16/10 11:45am). It stopped and began unloading garbage into the dumpster. I was not able to get a look at the person doing the illegal dumping and was not able to get a license plate of the vehicle. But maybe some of the garbage may look familiar to you. Or maybe you recognize the truck. Maybe we can put pressure on these illegal dumpers by having their friends and neighbours calling them on it.
Do you know the truck?
I was not able to get a close picture of the truck, sorry.
Here's the garbage that was deposited. Do you recognize it?

Close up of the sticker on the Royal Winnipeg Ballet picture. It says "Vertical Adventures Indoor Climbing Facility". Does anyone know this picture?
Part of a chair or futon was thrown out as well, with wood and fabric. Does this look familiar?

Alarm Clock Set For 4:13am?

I was woken up this morning at 4:13am. I don't remember setting the alarm that early on a Tuesday morning. No, it wasn't my alarm clock going off. It was the neighbours. Through the closed windows I could hear the yelling and screaming. I could hear a mans voice, an extremely loud mans voice, yelling and swearing. Then the voice of a woman.
From my closed window I could not tell exactly where the sound was coming from. It was likely from the party house, but I could not be sure. The voices carried on for about five minutes, then stopped. About ten minutes later they started up again for a few minutes. Then I managed to fall asleep again.
I did not call the Police regarding the noise. There are two reasons for that. First, I was not sure exactly where the voices were coming from. And second, the yelling did not last for an extended period of time.
But if this becomes a regular occurance, I will definitely get the Police involved. I will log the dates and times, and I will collect incident numbers from the Police.
But for today, I will just be a little more tired than usual because my sleep was disturbed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Sunday Walk Down My Back Lane

I went for a nice walk down the lane with my husband today. It was a bit chilly. I am going to have to start taking mittens with me in the future, as my hands were getting a bit cold while handling my icy cold metal camera.
As we were going down the lane, we noticed an individual checking the dumpsters. A few times the person got his head right in the dumpster. Then he jumped all the way into the next one. I don't know what he was after, but he seemed quite persistant in making sure he checked every morsel of trash.
We went a little further down the lane and noticed one of the dumpsters on the block had been recently burned. Actually, it was the new dumpster I had installed earlier in the summer, where the garbage was piling up on the ground. Now there is no lid, or very little remaining anyways, and the metal shows signs of a recent fire.
Behind the burned dumpster, there are a few old tvs stacked. There are always stacks of tvs in this particular yard, and regularly several tvs in the dumpsters in and around the house. I often wonder where the tvs come from. And what is being stripped out of them that someone would go to the bother of collecting, then disposing of them. This will become another project of mine, to watch the number of tvs being disposed of from that house. It is actually against the rules of garbage disposal to put electronics in your regular garbage. They should not be going to the Brady Landfil. But the dumpsters make it easy to dispose of all sorts of items that should not be in the Landfil. If the item is in the dumpster, it gets taken away. And I have seen dumpsters in my back lane stacked high with electronics, and the contents of those dumpsters get picked up and taken to Brady. There are all sorts of electronics being thrown out.
The next house had a broken toilet sitting at the back of the yard, next to the garage. The toilet has been there for quite a while. I will have to let 311 know it is sitting there, and see if it can be removed.
One block over from mine, there is a boarded up house. I noticed it got boarded a few weeks ago. And a street over, there is another boarded house. What happens after the house is boarded up? How long does the owner of the house have to do something with the location?

This will be another of my projects. I want to see how many houses there really are in my area that are boarded up, and what is actually being done with them. If they are getting fixed up, I am all for it. But if they just sit there and cause more houses to drop into the same disrepair, I am far from fine with that happening.

During the walk, I found a couch and chair stacked in the back yard of one house, up against the side fence. It is not being used as lawn furniture, and is not covered. It seems to be an item that has been discarded, but has not been moved to the back lane where I would be able to have it removed. Maybe I will ask 311 about it. The couch is a fire hazzard, just waiting to happen. I do not want it to be lit on fire like the couch in my lane last week.
There are so many issues, just in my back lane. I have a burned out couch and fire damage to a house from a fire last week, which I have already reported to 311, and the recently burned dumpster down the lane. There are electronics stacking in a back yard that will later end up the dumpster. Then there is a broken and abandoned toilet. The neighbourhood is filled with boarded houses. And there are couches in back yards, just waiting to be set on fire. Who is actively taking care of these issues? Is the City of Winnipeg so problem oriented that nothing gets seen as an issue until someone complains? Do By-Law Officers and other city officials only notice issues where a citizen complains? And are the issues taken care of after a complaint is made? I didn't even mention everything everything I saw on my walk today. I never mentioned any of the graffiti that I passed. I never said a word about the broken windows I saw. There are so many issues, just in my back lane.
I don't even know how to end this blog entry. How about:
Who really cares about the North End?
Who's job is it, anyway?
What is being done to make my neighbourhood a place where I feel safe, and a place where I want to live?
What's this world coming to?
I guess I will keep sending my issues to 311.
And I guess I will continue to care about my block in the North End.