Bremner.on.a.BikeHere’s an oddity for Vancouver’s next civic election, sure to be a season of oddities and rancor — as City Council will get a major makeover.  It’s a profile of Hector Bremner, a possible NPA mayoral candidate. But the usual car-loving old white guy profanities (bike lane, bicycle) are not uttered. How the heck is that possible?
Clearly, Mr. Bremner’s focus will be on housing — not a bad choice for a top-of-mind issue.

His campaign will focus, as will everyone’s this coming election, on increasing the city’s affordable-housing supply. He resists blaming the foreign-buyer “bogeyman” for the crisis and believes the answer is a rapid increase of supply of the right type of housing, including rental.

With thanks to Adrienne Tanner in the Globe and Mail.
Maybe the cars-cars-cars wing of the party is leaving the job of stoking the dying coals of a best-forgotten miscalculation (bike-hate) up to Councillor Melissa De Genova.  She’s back on twitter with another crude and dangerous incitement to car drivers’ anger over — what else, misplaced priorities for snow removal. Complete with poor spelling, and a short memory for the dismal outcome of bike-hate as a political platform.
DeGenova.Snow
 

Comments

  1. It would be good to see Councillor Bremner articulate his position on what his approach to active transportation will be. A photo op on a bike is good, but voting in support of the separated lane on the Cambie Bridge would have been better (and he didn’t vote for it).
    Councillor De Genova continues in traditional form. Following the last major snowfall, City staff worked to update the snow clearing priorities. I know only because of providing input to that process, specifically on which bike routes should be included for consideration. The photo that Councillor De Genova linked to actually is a strong indication of those priorities being followed, with arterial routes (in this case, an arterial bike route) being cleared prior to side streets. Focusing solely on ambulance access instead of reducing the risks of crashes in the first place is completely out of touch. Beside which, the arterials for the ambulances are on 4th and on Cornwall, which were, of course, ploughed. But that wouldn’t have supported her narrative.
    This is very reminiscent of her faux outrage on the Cambie Bridge bike lanes, where she asked all of her followers to come out and speak to council about “LOSING A LANE”. Every person who spoke to council (there were 3 of us) was in support of the motion. She didn’t represent the views of her followers on Twitter, deciding in this case to vote against the lane despite overwhelming feedback supporting the motion.
    Every election cycle, local groups ask candidates for their positions on active transportation, and publish all the responses received. There is a suggestion that voting records on significant issues also be tabulated to help voters make up their minds. Could be interesting.
    During the last major snow event, there were concerns about bike lanes being ploughed and walking paths not being ploughed. I live on the seawall in False Creek, and watched what happened this time. There was a single pass of the (mini) plough in the bike lane first. Then the plough was back to do a pass of the walking side of the path. In the interim, people walked where it was most convenient. The plough made several passes, until both paths were approximately 80% clear. I noted that in places the snow remained on the walking side for a few hours, as people walking had tramped it down, and the light machine could not break the hard packed snow/ice loose. Where the path wasn’t tramped down, it was cleaned down to bare pavement. The sun took care of the remaining packed sections over the next few hours.
    I think it is a good idea to clear heavily used portions of the seawall, but it does come at the cost of not clearing downtown separated bike lanes as quickly (Nelson, Smithe, Hornby, etc) and as a result, people riding bikes on those routes will likely be in the main vehicle lanes.

  2. A general thought on political opportunism related to active transportation issues.
    In May 2017, City staff brought forward a motion to clarify the role of the City Engineer. The City Engineer has a duty and responsibility to decide on uses of roadways. However, according to staff, the way it was worded to that point, it allowed the engineer to make more room for vehicles, but not to change vehicle access to improve active transportation access. Sometimes that is just a small change to a lane, with no net effect on the vehicle operator, but significant benefits to active transportation users.
    The motion was part of the Complete Streets Framework that staff developed, and would have led to faster decisions. It wasn’t a cost management issue, as projects still had to come to council for financial approval.
    An example of the delays in the previous process has been the intersection of 16th and Ontario, a busy bike route. It is an intersection with a jog, and is dangerous. Staff proposed a minor change with a traffic diversion, and presented three options to local residents at a public consultation. That was in October 2015. We are still waiting for the preferred option to be implemented.
    The motion to give the City Engineer the authority was intended to reduce the politics, to put staff in charge of this and not elected officials. Not for the cost side, but for approving each individual change.
    The NPA voted as a bloc against the motion. During the debate, one NPA councillor stated that he thought every bike lane decision should be brought to council, as it was his responsibility to get involved in each one of them. That wouldn’t be about the costs, as they would still be asked to approve the costs, but about things such as whether a bike route or crosswalk improvement was justified. It passed anyway.
    So much for relying on senior staff, who were already empowered to make those decisions if they benefited operators of vehicles. If there is a political gain to be made by exploiting the safety of people using active transportation, some politicians seem willing to play that card.

  3. Just last night I witnessed the street cleared and the sidewalk cleared and the bike lane full of snow.
    This is on Drake between Hornby and Burrard.
    But the difference between me and OMG Melissa is that I don’t get all worked up about petty things like “Mom! He got his ice cream 30 seconds before I got mine. Not fair!!!!
    But you know, I really don’t think the NPA is sincere with either their bike-hate or their concern for housing. They just want power. Don’t fall for it.

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