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Dear Urban Diplomat: A new EV charger is ruining my street

It’s ugly, it ignores the neighbourhood’s character and it’s creating congestion. Is there anything I can do about it?

By Urban Diplomat| Illustrations by Salini Perera
Dear Urban Diplomat: A new EV charger is ruining my street

Dear Urban Diplomat, The city recently plunked an EV charger on my street. It’s an ugly-looking thing that ignores the neighbourhood’s character. It also attracts strangers who leave their cars plugged in overnight. Often, a queue forms for the chargers, leading to congestion. Shouldn’t these contraptions be just for people who live beside them? The other day, I asked a driver if he was finished, and I got a stream of invective in return. Please advise. —Charged Up, Moore Park

You’re right about EV chargers being ugly but wrong about almost everything else. Lots of careful planning went into siting these doohickeys in districts with high demand. In many cases, local parking-permit holders are granted up to 12 hours of charging, so it’s likely that these strangers are in fact neighbours you simply haven’t met yet. If your street is perpetually jammed, call your councillor, but first take a moment to consider the environmental upside—we need more of these contraptions, not fewer.


Dear Urban Diplomat, It’s my turn to host Thanksgiving this year, and I’ve been planning for weeks. It’s going to be nuts—a dozen relatives squeezing into my tiny condo—but epic. The problem is that my older sister just spat in the metaphorical gravy. She’s freaked by the violence that has been plaguing Toronto and doesn’t want to bring her kid downtown. Instead, she wants us to eat at her monster home in Pickering. I don’t want to spend Thanksgiving in subdivision hell. Any tips would be appreciated. —Fowl Play, Church-Wellesley

To use an ill-timed phrase, stick to your guns. While it’s true that we’ve suffered a spate of violent episodes, a recent report ranked Toronto as Canada’s safest major city, well ahead of Durham Region, and your condo is about as secure a place as you could be. If it’s possible, reserve a visitor parking spot so she can drive straight into your ­building. Or offer to spring for an Uber from the nearest GO station. If she’s still not persuaded, let the rest of your family know how much work you’ve put into this. You don’t want your sister’s worry to spark a guest-list exodus.


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Dear Urban Diplomat: My wife keeps stealing berries from our neighbour's tree
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Dear Urban Diplomat: My wife keeps stealing berries from our neighbour’s tree

Dear Urban Diplomat, I live on the waterfront and use bike lanes to commute. Lately, more runners have been invading the space. There’s one club that really gets on my nerves. They chat and trundle along while ignoring me and my bell. I sometimes see them downing pints after their runs at my favourite brewery. Should I tell them how obnoxious they are? —Flying off the Handle, East Bayfront

A gaggle of runners monopolizing the bike lane is egregious. A single runner darting safely in and out isn’t. So pick your battles. Common sense suggests that runners should make way for cyclists. But check your facts first. Many of Toronto’s bike lanes, especially those by the lake and in the ravines, are designated multi-use trails.


Dear Urban Diplomat, As a transit lover, I’m thrilled to see the Ontario Line’s progress. But, as a human who sleeps, I hate it. My condo is sandwiched between two of the new stations plus a bunch of buildings in various states of completion. From 7 a.m. to dinner time, on weekdays and weekends, there are construction workers yelling on the street, trucks rumbling by and floodlights shining in my window. I’m losing my mind at having to wake up at dawn for the next decade. What to do? —The Sound and the Fury, Corktown

In 2019, noise bylaw enforcement shifted from the police to the city. Ever since, the crackdown on perpetrators has been spotty—unfortunate for the thousands of people who called 311 with such complaints in 2022. So you’re on your own with this one. Unless you’re prepared to move, your best option is to invest in sleep aids. Blackout curtains would help with the glare from those lights. And a white-noise machine can block out the ruckus on the road. If all that fails, just close your eyes and think of your home’s rising value.

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Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com.

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