Wednesday, December 06, 2017

McMaster rejects Freedom of Information request: TLC Appeals to Privacy Commissioner

McMaster refuses to release the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) report that we initiated with McMaster, which happily included an early request to TLC from Pavlos Kanaroglou, director of McMaster Institute on Transportation and Logistics (MITL), to be part of the process.

The initial TLC/MITL meeting with McMaster's VP Administration Roger Couldrey, and then Director of Parking and Security, Terry Sullivan, resulted in MITL getting a green light to conduct the research that TLC was asking for.

The MITL report, handed over to McMaster in January 2016 remains a secret document, and TLC's numerous requests for a copy of the report were turned down by McMaster top administrators.

Why? We have no idea.

Last week TLC filed an appeal to the Ontario Privacy Commissioner since McMaster has rejected TLC's Freedom of Information request for the information.

Here's the full media release sent out today:

McMaster Rejects Freedom Of Information Request

Community Transportation Group appeals to privacy commissioner 

It’s a report about transportation on campus. The report was initiated five-years ago after a letter from TLC Hamilton to the university resulted in a meeting and an agreement by McMaster to have the renowned McMaster Institute on Transportation and Logistics, invited to the process by TLC, undertake the research to prepare a report.

The subsequent Transportation Demand Management report was completed almost two years ago (January 2016), yet McMaster refuses to release the report to TLC Hamilton, first by ignoring numerous requests, then by rejecting the group’s Freedom of Information request.

TLC has filed an appeal of the decision to the

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

For TLC Hamilton the issue has become more about McMaster’s refusal to share information that they - even if they didn’t agree with the report’s findings - have no real reason to keep secret.

The principle of making McMaster research available to community partners shows up in every corner of the university’s guiding documents and policies, yet data about how many people park on campus lots or use various modes to commute to campus are somehow deemed off-limits?

TLC Hamilton believes McMaster’s obstruction goes counter to values TLC found with MITL Director Pavlos Kanaroglou, “a good friend of Hamilton.” A McMaster scholarship in Kanaroglou’s memory (he passed away in 2016) acknowledges his “commitment to both scholarship and citizenry” which TLC members felt defined their working relationship with Kanaroglou and the report author at MITL.

TLC Hamilton members are left trying to understand why the university is acting counter to these principles of collaboration and transparency.

QUOTE: “If the McMaster administration didn’t like the report findings, they could release it with that comment; instead they are violating the spirit of free enquiry and knowledge-sharing by blocking us from accessing the report, and forcing us deeper into the FOI process,” says TLC Spokesperson Randy Kay. “It’s an insult to the people who were involved in collaborating on the TDM report as well as the larger engaged Hamilton community.”

Friday, October 13, 2017

FOI Deadline goes by...

Just a quick update.

TLC has not received any communication from McMaster University regarding our Freedom of Information request for the Transportation Demand Management plan submitted by MITL.

The FOI deadline was October 12.

I will have to (unfortunately) update our timeline to reflect this new period...


Processing time

"You will get a written response to confirm that your request has been received. Organizations have 30 calendar days to process FOI requests except in specific circumstances. They will notify you if a time extension is required."

Source: Government of Ontario

Friday, September 22, 2017

Freedom to Wait for October 12 (FOI)

Just keeping you in the FOI loop. Set the date: October 12, 2017.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

TLC Timeline of McMaster TDM Process

We started the process with a letter to McMaster administration in December 2012.

The goal to have the campus adopt a Transportation Demand Management plan picked up when the director of McMaster's Institute for Transportation and Logistics asked to join TLC's effort.

After a meeting with McMaster admin and the Director of Parking, McMaster gave MITL researchers a green light to create a TDM plan.

McMaster received the final report in January 2016. It's September 2017 and TLC is being blocked from seeing the final report, despite clearly being integral to the process since the start.

Why is McMaster hiding the report? They won't tell us.

(Direct link to timeline

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

TLC files Freedom of Information (FOI) Request to McMaster for release of TDM Report

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC) Hamilton has been forced to file a freedom of information (FOI) request in an attempt to have McMaster University release a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) study initiated as a campus and community partnership in 2012.

The proposal to have McMaster create a TDM for campus began with a letter from TLC to McMaster University administration. TLC was then joined by the director of the highly respected McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics (MITL) at an initial meeting with McMaster VP Administration Roger Couldrey and then director of Parking and Security Terry Sullivan.

This meeting led to an agreement with McMaster to have MITL use their expertise to research and prepare a TDM plan for the campus.

Several years later McMaster has repeatedly refused to comply with TLC requests to have access to the final report, which was completed in 2016.

“We are frankly puzzled and frustrated by McMaster’s refusal to release the document that was clearly only undertaken due to our initial efforts to see McMaster take a proactive approach to its parking and transportation issues,” said Reuven Dukas, a senior TLC member and one of the initiators of the TDM study.

A respectful and open collaboration on this file between TLC and MITL, led at the time by the late Prof. Pavlos Kanaroglou, has been overshadowed by McMaster’s lack of transparency.

TLC’s numerous requests, in person, in phones calls, and in emails, over the past year to top McMaster officials have been repeatedly deflected or plainly ignored.

TLC was left with no other option but to file a FOI with McMaster to gain access to the final TDM report, which was filed today.

Reuven Dukas (TLC):
“Working with Pavlos and his researchers was a rewarding partnership, and an expression of the spirit of community collaboration that Pavlos made central to his work with MITL. It’s a shame that McMaster administration have shown a complete lack of respect for the example Pavlos embodied each step of the way with TLC.”

Thursday, July 27, 2017

No guarantee Hamilton’s waterfront trail will open this summer

Jul 26, 2017 by Matthew Van Dongen  Hamilton Spectator

Uncertainty over the extent of flood damage to Hamilton's waterfront trail means there is no guarantee the popular path will reopen this summer.

The mystery timeline has upset users of one of the city's most popular trails and forced the relocation of cycling and running scheduled as far ahead as September.

Record spring water levels flooded large swaths of the trail in April, prompting the city to fence off the paved path between Princess Point and Bayfront Park.

Water levels have since receded — spurring pointed questions from residents as well as trespassing — but not enough for the city to assess damage to the trail caused by flooding and pounding waves.

"We know people are impatient, we are getting all those questions. We hope to have the answers soon," said parks manager Kara Bunn, who is waiting on a final assessment and recommendations from consultant Shoreplan Engineering. "But we know for sure some sections are unsafe."

The Spectator paddled alongside and, at one point, over top the trail Tuesday to eyeball the damage.

The only remaining drowned section of paved trail includes several metres curving around Cootes Paradise and across from Princess Point.

But asphalt is clearly crumbling into Hamilton Harbour at several locations between the mouth of the Desjardins Canal and the temporary gate near Bayfront Park. In a few spots, the water has clearly undermined the path, despite temporary canvas barriers and sandbags visible along the shoreline.

That hasn't stopped people from hopping the fence at either end of the trail — or cutting holes in the gate, an option clearly on display at Princess Point Tuesday.

At least 70 people were recorded passing an automatic counter along a closed section of trail near Bayfront Park on a recent Sunday evening, for example.

Regular trail cyclist Randy Kay said he would feel less frustrated about the closure if the city would provide progress updates or timelines.

"There's been very little communication, which is pretty surprising given how much use this trail gets," he said.

The city's own website suggests the section of trail from Princess Point through the Desjardins canal sees about 6,670 trips in a "peak week," for example.

"Whether you look at it from a commuter standpoint or a recreational standpoint, it is just such an important part of our (cycling) infrastructure," he said.

The city believes it will cost more than $1 million to fix the trail, but isn't otherwise ready to publicly guess at specific repair costs or timelines.

But the organizer of upcoming MEC cycling and running races slated for two weekends in late September has been forced to reroute several hundred athletes away from the waterfront trail.

"It's a shame, because it's such a beautiful location. People look forward to it," said co-ordinator Ryan Brown, who had to relocate the Bayfront Breezer running race to the Dundas Valley and reroute cyclists on the Century Ride through Hamilton onto parallel streets near the water.

"But really, it's just as tough for all active Hamiltonians, because this trail is just such a hub of activity."

Kay said he'd love for the city to consider opening the trail in instalments, or with temporary safety fencing around damaged areas, rather than waiting for a permanent fix.

The city is looking at that option, but there are no guarantees, Bunn said.

She said the consultant will provide drawings of possible permanent or temporary solutions depending on the extent of the damage. It's taken a long time to evaluate the flood and wave-pounding erosion because the water levels remain high.

"It's a wide path, but it's also one that is used at a fairly high speed," she said, pointing to cyclists and in-line skaters who travel in both directions. "We need to know what we have room to do safely."
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