Ice cream and the ‘war’ on cars
I am delighted with the city’s determination to create viable transportation alternatives, including the network of separated bike lanes that make it safe to ride downtown. Recent letter writers creaming Victoria city council for just that, might want to chew on this:
When new flavours of ice cream were introduced, it wasn’t deemed to be a “war” on chocolate. It was simply about providing new and exciting alternatives to those inclined to venture beyond familiar tastes and habits. As alternative flavours became increasingly popular, smart vendors added the new items to their confectionary menus. It was good for business and the bottom line to add a variety of choices.
Chocolate hasn’t disappeared. It remains popular and is still widely available for committed chocolate lovers. Who knows — as word spreads about how yummy some of the new flavours are, even some of the chocolaters may be tempted to try a taste of something new. It seems like a win-win-win situation to me.
Those who insist that because they love driving so much, everyone else must drive too, may want to check out the local ice cream shop!
Many resources devoted to cars
Re: “Another bike lane in the continuing war” letter, Aug. 6.
To claim there is a “war on the automobile” is a little like claiming there is a war on white people. Sure — it might be a little less convenient than it once was to drive around Victoria in your private car. But private automobile users are still privileged far beyond the users of any other form of transportation.
Look at the huge amount of valuable land in our city dedicated to usually free and often taxpayer subsidized parking for private automobiles. Or all the money spent on automobile infrastructure projects like the McKenzie interchange which still dwarfs what is spent on bus, bike, or pedestrian infrastructure. Or all the resources from the court system, to police services, to medical personnel dedicated to handling the carnage resulting from inept and reckless drivers. And that’s just off the top of my head.
But if people want to say there is a “war on the automobile” go ahead. Maybe we need one. Private automobile transportation is incredibly destructive, inefficient and a major contributor to our growing climate crisis. And if it bothers you that it’s a little more difficult to drive your private car to your doctor’s appointment there are other options. You can take the bus. The core part of Victoria has a very good bus system. Or you can get rid of your car and use all the money you will save to take a cab any time you really need to go somewhere by car.
Public safety, not pet projects
I have to question Victoria council’s choice to fund even more bike lanes instead of giving our police force the funding they need to keep the city safe. Calling 911 and being put on hold — ridiculous! But I will soon be able to ride a bike from Fernwood, home of our bike-riding mayor, through downtown, along the Wharf Street waterfront, over to Vancouver Street and then down to Dallas Road. Of course, before this madness began, I could have ridden along Fernwood Road and Moss Street to reach the same destination safely and much more quickly.
This council really needs to get its priorities straight and serve the public interest instead of their pet special interests. Public safety must go to the head of the line.
Changes dangerous for blind citzens
Despite the City of Victoria creating an Accessibility Working Group, a human rights claim filed against them and a variety of disabled groups providing input, recent alterations have been made to the sidewalks to accommodate bike lanes, making things very dangerous for blind citizens. In particular the north corner of Fort Street and Douglas Street has been altered and widened — the transition from sidewalk to street is completely undetectable to a blind person.
A public body, such as the City of Victoria, that continues to ignore modern safety features of universal design is unprofessional and puts a whole section of taxpaying residents at greater risk of injury.
Any sane, logical blind person must be so frustrated at this lack of awareness that it is difficult to know what to do next.
What else must we do to get attention? Inadvertently wandering into the middle of the road or failing to locate a corner can result in a blind pedestrian choosing to avoid that area, which is the ultimate barrier. “Barrier Free B.C.” was supposed to eliminate these kinds of things.
It is difficult not to become a cynic when much input and work has been done to help educate our politicians but those with their own agenda continue to fail to understand what inclusiveness means.
Maintenance is being neglected
Re: “City staff want to replace aging Dallas Road railing with something very different,” Aug. 7
I could be mistaken, but it seems as though the way things work in Victoria regarding how infrastructure like the Dallas Road railing is treated follows a basic formula: neglect, let it break or become dangerous, replace with something no one asked for.
Whatever happened to maintain and preserve?
I wonder if the new bicycle lanes will suffer the same fate in the not too distant future.
We need a sturdy barrier along Dallas Road
Re: “Victoria councillors endorse new railings for Dallas Road seawall,” Aug. 9.
As a resident of Fairfield, I have been in awe of the power of our frequent winter storms — storm waves that are repulsed and contained by the Dallas Road seawall. Replacing this barrier with an open fence should not be considered.
A sea fence will not stop waves, debris or rocks thrown up on Dallas Road. The sea fence will be wrecked by logs. There will be more closures for vehicles. Greater dangers for storm watchers and cyclists, by-passing closure signs, standing at just a fence. There will be greater threat to on-site residents, property, sidewalks and Dallas Road.
Are we preparing for the future? With global warming, we can expect more storms, bigger storms, bigger surges and bigger waves. When do we expect the storm of the century? And let’s not forget rising sea levels.
We appreciate the protection a sea wall affords, how the curve turns the wave energy back on itself. Don’t look for it from a sea fence. Let’s raise a new seawall. We need it.
Laurence D. Rittenhouse
Population size versus share of emissions
Re: “Climate-change myths and utter hypocrisy,” column, Aug. 4.
The column says: “Canada’s contribution to global CO2 emissions is a minuscule 1.6 per cent.”
Considering Canada’s percentage of the world population is 0.48 per cent, “minuscule” is hardly an appropriate descriptor for our CO2 emissions.
This flaws an otherwise excellent piece.
Criticizing but not offering solutions
Re: “Climate-change myths and utter hypocrisy,” column, Aug. 4.
The headline promises myths, but the article stops short of declaring climate change a myth.
I suppose that is progress. Gwyn Morgan concedes that climate change is real. But then he proceeds to criticize any number of proposals to deal with climate change, while offering very little of his own, other than to reduce taxes on LNG-fired power plants.
Not much of a program for a global emergency.
Praise for an eloquent apology
Re: “Racist slurs directed at young men,” letter, Aug. 9.
I am proud of Cathie Lamont, who had the courage and integrity to write an eloquent apology to the three Middle Eastern men who were verbally attacked, in downtown Victoria, by a mentally disturbed person who had been drinking.
She deeply regretted her inaction in attempting to assist the three gentlemen while at the same time speaking up on behalf of the mentally ill and the need for long-term solutions to ease their distress. Her obviously heartfelt apology is inspirational and should go a long way in prompting others to be moved to action in a similar situation.
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