Thursday, February 20, 2014

Building bridges over troubled waters.

Peace and love, people... and hey! Guess what?
Our mountains finally saw a proper dump of snow!


Vancouver's skiers have despaired this year, cause till the middle of February there really wasn't any of the white stuff to speak of, but finally this week saw winter's mantle cloak the hills.  Now the skiers and snowboarders are happy and the Stravadopes and crash test dummies like me are .... well, crashing.  First thing in the morning the roads are pretty slick these days, but we've also seen our fair share of sunshine, so who's complaining?


You can see why people might want to live here.


From North Vancouver it's such a pretty city center, while from West Vancouver, you can see what an enormous treasure we enjoy in our 1001 acre Stanley Park


And THAT's why we're in the midst of another sort of dump.  Even though property prices here are way beyond ridiculous, Vancouver is growing fast.  Every year this city grows by about 32,000 people, so that in thirty years we will be bigger by a million newcomers.  And can you imagine what the roads are going to look like if we haven't figured out how to convince people not to drive everywhere they go?  It's not like you have to try hard to imagine the consequences.  It has already happened in all sorts of places, and in fact, it's happening here, yet humans have an enormous capacity for denial, and that's the order of the day.  
Deny deny deny.

What's that?  You want to build bicycle infrastructure?

Point Grey Road - closed to traffic for bike lane construction.
Not in my back yard you don't.  Someone I met this week said he had backed away from cycling in this city, despite having enjoyed the benefits of a bicycle-centric lifestyle for decades. He hasn't stopped riding daily because he has gone off the sport, but rather because "riding a bike in Vancouver has become a political act."  And he's right.  It used to be that people were surprised at my choice to ride instead of drive, but now some of them actually take offence.  Sometimes they even have a go at me with their cars.

I don't get it.  Do they really want to share the roads with a million more cars?  Do they honestly not understand how more cyclists like me on the roads will actually make their lives easier in the end?  Obviously not, but time marches on, and the inevitable is inescapable. 


Sooner or later we're going to have to plan for the future, lest we find ourselves stuck in permanent gridlock.  As it stands, there is a war on the roads over our transportation priorities. A vast chasm lies between us, creating a schism in the fabric of our communities which threatens to tear our beloved city apart.


The time has come to start building bridges, people, or it's going to get awfully ugly out there.

5 comments:

  1. As Jim says in Blazing Saddles "What did you expect? "Welcome, sonny"? "Make yourself at home"? "Marry my daughter"? You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons."

    The gap of understanding can only be filled with tolerance yet it seems in such short supply. Here in Boston we've had a huge increase in (sometimes good, sometimes bad) cyclists and it's changed the mood of cycling in the city for me. Sometimes the only thing to do is keep on riding.

    Courage!

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  2. I wish I was that rock.

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  3. Hey Hey Babblicious! That's some beautiful scenery you got there! ... and the trees, rocks, and stunning vistas are nice too!

    It's been like 2 1/2 months since I've ridden my bike in anger, uh, I mean, cycled to work. It's been about the same amount of time for any other riding, except for noodling around on my friend's chrome Frejus Pista for a few blocks.
    I've been thinking more and more about using a helmet these days. Maybe I'm reading too much, maybe reading into things too much. Maybe it's just cold outside too! I should have ridden today, don't know why I just went for the train. I should do a few miles in the cold dark just to get my arse back where it belongs.
    On the road, I try to keep from being anyone's hinderance, cyclists and peds included. Very few times I can remember being a purposed target. Just have to get back on the horse, uh, 56 cm frame again. I get road rage at the desk when I read about that guy in Suffolk County, NY saying stupid nonsense about cyclists from Senior Snob's posts last week.
    Then the train hangs out between stations for no particular reason and I'm all about getting back on the bike ASAP ! Still managed to lose 12 + pounds in this sedentary state.
    Gotta go charge all my Flea lights.

    Good Luck!

    vsk / Brooklyn, NY

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  4. Nice pictures and engaging blog. My first ever views of Vancouver. Keep on blogging!

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  5. On the bike path, I'll take about 1/3rd of that action! Just kidding!

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