Time for the war on safety to end

war on safetyWR

Monday July 29, Council update: Council will next meet on the Active Transportation Corridor in Kits on Monday July 29 at 6 pm at City Hall in Council Chambers. The speakers list is now closed, but speakers who were on the original list, but missed their time can speak at the meeting. Council will debate and vote on the issue at the Monday meeting.

On Saturday July 28 Council heard the rest of the 217 registered speakers. Then the Chair of the meeting Councilor Louie went through the speakers list again for folks who missed their allotted time to speak. Council then voted to closed the speakers list. There was some debate on the issue if speakers who were on the speakers list would be heard on Monday. The minority of Council thought that there had been already an extraordinary opportunity to speak to this issue. In the end the majority on Council agree that speakers who were on speakers list, but missed their time could speak at the beginning of the Council meeting Monday. Council will debate the issue and vote at the Monday meeting.

Saturday July 27, Council update: Council resumes hearing speakers today at 10 pm at City Hall. Last night Council heard up to speaker 120 and will start with speaker 121 today.

Friday July 26, Council update: Last night Council heard more speakers on the proposed safety upgrades in Kits. The debate at Council will resume tonight starting with speaker #59 at 6 pm. Here is a story in the Provence about last night:2nd night of speakers

Wednesday July 24, Council update: On Tuesday July 23, 2013,  CoV Council heard a staff report from the Director of Transportation, Jerry Dobrovolny. Councilors also heard speakers from civic panels and 18 speakers from the  list of 192. The speakers list is not close so if folks want to still speak to this issue they can sign up with the city clerk by sending an email to meetingcoordinator@vancouver.ca or call Lori Isfeld, Meeting Coordinator, at 604.871.6355.

Council will resume hearing speakers on Thursday July 25 at 6pm at City Hall in Council Chambers.

From the Meeting coordinator: “If Council is unable to hear from all of the speakers on July 25, the meeting chair will announce the date and time of the next meeting when speakers will be heard. At the end of the meeting, the chair will also announce the number of the speaker who will be first to speak when the committee resumes.

City staff will email an update regarding the next meeting date and time to registered speakers who have not yet spoken to Council. The information will also be posted on the City website.

You can also communicate your thoughts on this topic to the Mayor and Councillors by emailing mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca.”
Time for the war on safety to end

Today on July 23 Vancouver City Council is considering a staff report that recommends an “Active Transportation Corridor” on Cornwall and West Point Grey Road. The purpose of the roadway improvement is  “… to create a safe, convenient and comfortable connection for pedestrians and cyclists between Burrard Bridge and Jericho Beach.”

The stated goals of the project are as follows:

  • Encourage people of all ages and abilities to get around their city through active transportation (any mode of human-powered transportation, including jogging/running, inline skating, skateboarding, wheelchairs, strollers, etc.) in a comfortable, convenient, and enjoyable way.
  • Address existing safety issues along Point Grey Road and Cornwall Avenue by reducing the volume and speed of vehicle traffic.
  • Create a walking and cycling route that is safe, convenient, and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities.
  • Make the intersection of Burrard Street and Cornwall Avenue safer and more direct for pedestrians and cyclists.

You can read more about the project in the staff report here

Sadly in Vancouver, special interest groups in Kits have used bike lanes as political issue for a long time. The history of the Burrard Bridge bike lanes is a tortured tale of the NPA using it as a wedge issue. Desperately, a small, vocal minority who are threatened by change has exploited the safety of people walking and riding bikes. They are doing it again with this proposal and they are motivated to maintain the status quo. It is difficult to understand why they would so easily dismiss the real issues of safety.

Some folks have little intention of modifying their transportation choice for health or environmental reasons and would rather discredit attempts to create safer conditions for people walking and riding their bikes. Their fear is easy to organize and exploit because it is not based in logic, but rather fear and a sense of betrayal of some sort of promised lifestyle dream.

There are many good reasons for encouraging folks to live more active lifestyles. The road system in Vancouver cannot accommodate any more cars. If the city is to grow and economically thrive more people will need to walk, ride and take transit to avoid total gridlock. Bike lanes have also been demonstrated in multiple cities to support local business although in Vancouver this seems like a hard sell to the business community. More importantly is the issue of “urban health”. Our bodies are meant to be active. Many of the chronic ailments are connected to sedentary styles. Being more active will make us healthier. Finally our transportation choices do have any impact on climate change.

It is disappointing that some educated, entitled and privileged residents in Kits would turn the process of creating better safety condition on Cornwall and West Point Grey into a public relations campaign to disseminate misinformation in an ill-informed and desperate attempt to resist change.


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