Dan Fumano at The Sun nails it:

Although polling — and election results — consistently show most Vancouverites generally support spending on biking and walking infrastructure, many fiscal conservatives are quick to point to those areas when it’s time for financial belt-tightening.

This week’s staff presentation proposes continuing with the planned rehabilitation work on the Granville Street Bridge, including seismic upgrading, at a cost of $24 million, but reducing infrastructure spending on the Granville Street Bridge, Drake Street and Gastown.

And it’s not just Council that will be enticed to cut cycling infrastructure out of current plans.  Park Board too.

It’s been the NPA Park Commissioners’ strategy (John Coupar’s in particular) to prevent any serious bikeways through parks (Kits especially) through delay and deferment.  This fits their agenda perfectly.  Now the question is whether Council will adopt the strategy for the city as a whole.

We are at this remarkable moment when cycling use has increased dramatically as a consequence of the pandemic.  Trips are measured in the tens of thousands, even the hundreds of thousands.  Users are more diverse – in age, ethnicity, style and location – beyond hope and expectation.

But even at a time of a declared climate emergency, the same ol’ stereotypes and politics seem to prevail.  When even the disabled advocates insist that two lanes of Stanley Park are needed for cars, and parking spaces are the highest priority, when golf-course improvements get green checkmarks over greenways, it’s apparent that the need for advocacy, for political champions on elected boards, and for community support are as important as ever.

Actually, more important than ever.

 

 

Comments

  1. I think things like the Granville Bridge thing could happen later than originally planned. That would be okay. It still should happen since every bridge needs to eventually have good walking and cycling infrastructure on it.
    For the Stanley Park cycling plan though that’s different. Money was set aside for it several years ago. I suppose you could dip into that fund to pay for other emergency things but at least a part of the plan should be implemented and soon.

    The fact that golfing is not taking a cut shows how classist decisions like this are. People of low income cycle as transportation that lies within their means. Golfing is usually a hobby for the rich.

    1. The Granville Street bridge is an accessibility disaster largely due to too narrow sidewalks and steps at the on and off-ramps. It needs to be worked on right now.

  2. Vancouver’s a 1-newspaper town. So long as The Sun remains the primary forum for these discussions, cycling will be regarded as pure bolshevism. And now “fiscally irresponsible ” is thrown into the mix. Any flotsam excuse will do when one’s fragile suburban dream life is “under attack”.

  3. The numbers in the Sun article don’t add up for me. And of course they use a headline about cycling infrastructure for what is an active transportation project.

    “This week’s staff presentation proposes continuing with the planned rehabilitation work on the Granville Street Bridge, including seismic upgrading, at a cost of $24 million, but reducing infrastructure spending on the Granville Street Bridge, Drake Street and Gastown. The proposal suggests continuing design work for the Granville bridge’s bike-walk-roll path and walking-biking infrastructure for Drake Street, together costing $32 million, but scaling back construction for now to save $13 million.”

    The approved capital budget for the Granville Connector was $25 million. Then council sent engineering out to do more public consultation, and the ideas generated (all generally good ones) added on to the project, so it was then likely to come in over $25 million. Drake would be a few million more. What are they talking about scaling back?

    If they are potentially saving $13 million, we don’t know what that represents. The additional features such as the Hemlock and Fir ramps, which could be phased in over more than one year? Or all construction? Seems hard to imagine that design engineering would account for all but $13 million, and the writer notes that design work would continue. Maybe he meant that the original plan would continue, just not the two south ramps, which could be finished in a subsequent year.

    Now recall that the Federal government has reiterated their call for active transportation projects that are ready to go with construction in 2021, with funding up to 80%. This project is a no-brainer for that program. It would be a shame to pass up the grant program, being penny wise but pound foolish.

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