From Orca:

Crossing the Granville Bridge recently, I was stopped by a woman who was interviewing walkers about a plan already adopted by the city to now spend at least $25 million creating an elevated greenway for walkers and bikers over that bridge. This was part of the public consultation program.

As a taxpayer, I wonder about governments that often adopt plans first with public consultation to follow.

I often use interviews as a research technique in my job so I noticed how cleverly the interview questions were designed to elicit a positive response to the project. They all centred on how wonderful the new greenway would be for the kind of people I very rarely see taking advantage of the similar and costly developments on the Burrard Bridge.

Some very important questions aren’t being asked. This project will be paid for by all the citizens of Vancouver. No one is asking them if they think that a greenway over the bridge is the best use of their tax money.

If we want to improve safety and esthetics in the Granville area, the money would be much better spent on improving conditions on Granville Street north of the bridge. I feel less safe waiting for a bus there than walking across the bridge.

Providing $25 million of modular housing for the homeless or reducing traffic congestion for the vast majority of Vancouverites who still use cars might be other options that voters would put ahead of more construction. That’s particularly true when it means more congestion getting into and out of downtown in order to add to the already expensive and ample bike and pedestrian capacity on the Burrard Bridge two short blocks away.

The city isn’t asking questions like that.

Full column here.


Did Roslyn check whether the City had asked its citizens about their priorities?*

Did she inquire whether it asked about infrastructure generally and about False Creek crossings specifically?*

As a researcher, did she do any research?  Did she even read the Granville Bridge Connector report and check the sections on public process?*

Or did she write her own cranky column on a set of assumptions that started with bike bias?  Namely hers.


*Finding the reports linked above took literally less than a minute.  I’ll leave it to Jeff Leigh to provide more detailed response.



  1. The giveaway is the the line she ends on: “ample bike and pedestrian capacity on the Burrard Bridge two short blocks away.” It’s actually 10 blocks away on the south side and if the Granville Bridge was closed to cars she would be howling about how ridiculous it is to have to drive 10 blocks to the Burrard Bridge, just to get to town.

    The other day I was crossing a street on foot at an intersection with no crosswalk. An approaching driver, unhappy about the inconvenience of having to slow down for me, opened his window and yelled “use the fucking crosswalk!” pointing two blocks down the street.

    1. It shouldn’t be up to people walking to have to educate drivers, drivers who have passed their test should know that every intersection has a designated crosswalk. It is just that not every one is painted with zebra stripes. For those drivers that don’t know, extend the edges of the sidewalks leading to the intersection, through the intersection. That defines the legal crosswalk.

      1. A friend of mine who grew up in Ontario and lives here now didn’t know that
        (i.e. he said that does not apply in Ontario), so beware of assuming everyone took their driving test in BC.

        Another classic example – Ontario drivers who think flashing green lights are advance left turn signals.

      2. From the Ontario Highway Traffic Act:

        “crosswalk” means,

        (a) that part of a highway at an intersection that is included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the roadway, or

        (b) any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by signs or by lines or other markings on the surface; (“passage protégé pour piétons”)

  2. She has so many things wrong that I don’t know where to start. Throughout her piece it really shows that (even though she once was walking when the surveyor and talks about waiting for a bus) she appears to think monomodally and can’t imagine anyone else having other tastes than hers.
    She uses the term “the kind of people” when talking about the multimodal improvement to the Burrard Bridge as if it’s only a certain type of person who would ever walk across it (as opposed to activites that any kind of person could do). Then she claims it’s rarely used. Hah! Does she not have eyes?
    She claims it was expensive but it was tagged onto a sewer project so was relatively cheap.
    She uses the word “biker” which tells me that she’s just parroting what the corporate media tells her to say using their word.

    What she doesn’t understand is that investment in cycling and walking infrastructure *is* reducing traffic congestion. Since the Granville Bridge has unused and unable to be used motor traffic capacity there will be no increase in congestion not to mention that some of that motor traffic will be replaced with people who currently drive going another way.

    I suspect she has anti-bike bias.

    1. You want real bias ya gotta turn to the ambulance chasers afraid they will run out of clients if the roads get safer.

      “This is a giant “screw you” from the City of Vancouver to the rest of the province, with the intention of showing that they run the show.”

      A website that ain’t so awesome when it publishes this nonsense IMO.

      “But as any Vancouverite who has tried to find parking a few blocks off Main Street or in Kitsilano is well aware, it is virtually impossible to travel 50 kilometres an hour on these streets.”

      Are these people paying attention? Where there’s a cager in a hurry, there’s a way. Come to my neighbourhood and step off the curb at 5:30 Kyla. I’ll bring the first aid kit for when you are run over by rat-runners going 60 km/h plus.

  3. Thanks Gord. I was going to start with the False Creek Crossings Study, but see you already linked it. We could add in the 2012 release of the Transportation 2040 plan, which also discussed improving this route. Then I was going to mention the Capital plans which were proposed, and then voted on during each municipal election. Most recently last fall. Every one of these planning initiatives included extensive public consultation before any vote. People were asked what their priorities were.

    The consultation that is going on now is about how active transportation users use the bridge, where they came from and where they are headed, to help inform decisions on the draft goals of the project. That will lead to further public consultation and workshops on alternatives, design options, etc. That will lead to a recommended design by Engineering, and a decision by Council.

    The current public engagement is being done because the duly elected council voted to initiate a public engagement process. They didn’t vote to spend the money or approve the project.

    Seems very strange to claim it is all a done deal.

    It also seems strange to state that it is rare for people using active transportation modes to use the Burrard Bridge. Not sure of the counts for people walking, but the counts for people on bikes are in the region of 1.4 million per year last time I looked.

  4. As newspapers shrink, depriving bird lovers of cage liner; sloughing off reporters like dandruff, many decide to create a blog.
    Every dog can start a blog with recycled media content. This one has a cute logo of a whale tail.
    The “reporter” in this silly article took a break from her knitting to ponder.
    Sometimes she knits and thinks. Other times she just knits.

  5. Remember folks, “we weren’t consulted” always means “we don’t like the decision that was made.”

  6. No surprise that website does not allow public comments. Otherwise her numerous blatant falsehoods would be exposed.

  7. There’s a quote by a neuropsychologist in the book LAB RATS: “Work is feeling more and more like a Skinner box” – referring to B.F. Skinner’s invention – the cage where rats learned to pull levers for food and where flashing lights could mean an electric shock.

    It’s tempting to draw a parallel to motordom and motorats. The flashing lights could refer to traffic signals, or the police. The food is the paycheque for commuterats.

    There are substantive differences. Rats don’t lease. They don’t even drive. So there’s no way they could commit road violence.

    The big similarity is uncertainty. Drives rats crazy.

    No matter how good a driver you think you are, there’s always the other guy who isn’t quite so chill. When you are in a vehicle, so much is out of your control. You are stuck in a grid. Your movement is heavily restricted. You react to dangers, but your body is immobile. Your body and heart race and you can’t do anything about it. It’s crazy-making. Unhealthy.

    A few days ago, cycling up Commercial, I rode past a guy talking to himself while walking on the sidewalk. He suddenly ran onto the street after me, yelling at me to stop. I’ve experienced a lot of weirdness on the roads, but this was a first. Fortunately, I was in a good gear, and sprinted away. Did not panic. It was a healthful physical flight response.

    In a vehicle, when there’s danger, the mind body panics, but you’re strapped into a cushy chair. Not healthy. Wonder if B.F. Skinner tried immobilizing rats while flashing lights and zapping them.

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