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Letters May 22: Most cyclists aren't 'avid'; hippies in City Hall?

Most of us on bikes are not ‘avid cyclists’ Re: “Yes, the bike lanes are an example of wastefulness,” commentary, May 20.
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Cyclists pedal across the Johnson Street Bridge using the Pandora bike lanes. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Most of us on bikes are not ‘avid cyclists’

Re: “Yes, the bike lanes are an example of wastefulness,” commentary, May 20.

The commentary from the ­perspective of an “avid cyclist” and driver was analogous to a professional logging truck driver complaining about the wastefulness of paved roads, medians and traffic lights.

The City of Victoria, the planners designing the infrastructure, and so many more people have repeatedly stressed that the new All Ages and Abilities infrastructure that has been built in the last five-plus years is NOT just for the avid cyclist, or anyone who calls themselves that.

Avid cyclists, the one per cent, have been using our roads for years and feel very comfortable. The new ­infrastructure is for the 99 per cent, the rest of us.

We are the the families with kids, the grandparents, the 10-year-olds rolling to school, the people who want to ride a bike to shop/dine downtown, take their kid to circus class, or just enjoy the fresh air on their face.

We are not avid cyclists and would not identify as anything other than ­people who would not be out on our bikes as often, or as safely and as ­comfortably as we have been doing so on the new lanes.

When I’m out with my four-year-old behind me, all I can see are the happy kids and regular people around me, and the occasional avid cyclist ­whizzing past me as we bike our merry way along on the safe bike lanes.

Bharat Chandramouli
Victoria

Ruining a good bike route

Re: “Yes, the bike lanes are an example of wastefulness,” commentary, May 20.

It was interesting that a cyclist from Saanich was able to observe and ­figure out that already quiet streets were being turned into places of cement curbing and signage unnecessarily, for millions of dollars.

He is looking and listening while the Victoria council is not. The traffic backups caused by Vancouver Street bike lanes have funnelled cars into quiet neighbourhood streets because of street closures and endless cement curbing.

Cars and bikes were sharing wide Vancouver Street successfully before all the curbs and signs closed it off.

The mayor and councillors need to stop spending millions of dollars on already quiet streets like Richardson before they ruin a perfectly good bike route and alienate people living in the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Council: I don’t believe you are ­acting for the greater good of Victorians, you are acting for yourselves.

Sandra Richardson, cyclist and driver
Victoria

Who is not stopping at stop signs?

Frequently there are letters from ­people commenting that cyclists do not stop at stop signs.

Yes, some appear to ride through with little thought to the conventional right-of-way rules. Most do comply with the right-of-way rules if only for the reason they will lose considerably more when they have a right of way conflict with a motor vehicle.

A point that these letter-writers with great concerns about cyclists not ­stopping at stop signs seem to miss is most drivers do not stop at stop signs if they feel they have the right of way or there are no other cars at the intersection — cyclists at the intersection are frequently ignored by drivers.

Stand at any intersection with stop signs and watch cars: If no other car is at the intersection, few come to a complete stop. Many, if making a right turn, only slow enough they can make the turn. For far too many drivers, turn signals are too complicated to use.

Rather than single out cyclists to complain about, these letter-writers should spend some time observing intersections and see how seldom their vehicle-driving cohorts comes to a full stop at the intersection or have figured out what turn signals are for.

Norm Ryder
Central Saanich

Rules for bicycles from the Netherlands

When the time had come for my two daughters to go to school by themselves (by bike, how else in Nederland?) I said: there is only one important rule that you should never forget: “Always first CHECK if you GET your right of way, NEVER just TAKE it.”

Alberdina Roosegaarde Bisschop
Victoria

Don’t use ‘hippies’ in a careless way

I personally take offence with the recent letter complaining about the “hippies at city hall.”

One, Victoria city councillors are certainly not hippies, more straight than not.

Secondly, hippies have contributed (primarily in the 1960s) to “love and peace.”

What more can one say? I was one of them.

John Vanden Heuvel
Victoria

Pedestrians need to be more aware

I agree with a letter-writer on May 18 that some cyclists ride irresponsibly around pedestrians (and other cyclists).

However, not just cyclists assume an air of entitlement. Pedestrians often spread out across bikeways, making it difficult and dangerous to pass.

Ringing a bell well in advance doesn’t always work as the warnings are often ignored, ears are covered by earphones, or conversations are too engrossing for anything else to be noticed.

Pedestrians, please consider a couple of things: First, cyclists are still very limited in their car-free riding-space, and that limited space is often partly taken up by other users.

Second, pedestrians have car-free options not available to cyclists such as sidewalks, walking trails or parks.

Ed Janicki
Victoria

Make the sewage plant a harbour showpiece

I am a resident of James Bay and daily walk Nelson the Rottie along Dallas Road.

Across the water from the James Bay fisherman’s launch is our new sewage plant. Although it is unfair, I know, I cannot help but compare this block of concrete with the entranceway to the Sydney, Australia harbour with its ­wondrous Sydney opera house.

They have a beautiful arts ­building greeting people and Victoria has a ­sewage plant.

OK, it’s a done deal and the plant is permanently and rightly or wrongly ensconced there in Esquimalt. Is it too much to hope that there are plans to soften the outline of the sewage plant with greenery?

Ivy, bushes, tress and the like? ­Perhaps build a public lookout atop the buildings?

I think of the many vessels that visit via the Inner Harbour and the various passenger tourists craft that buzz back and forth with their loads of visitors. They will ask, pointing their hands: “What is that large square building over there?” Reply: “Well, that’s our regional sewage plant.” Silence.

It is my sincere hope and wish that the folks building and ­running the ­sewage plant will take into ­consideration how it looks to others ­visiting our wonderful city.

Jim Parker
Victoria

Worried about council? Don’t waste your time

For those expressing concerns with respect to Mayor Lisa Helps’ recent proposal to expedite the approval process for affordable housing, I say don’t waste your time.

A recent neighbourhood experience with a mere small-lot rezoning proposal proved that planning staff and the mayor and various councillors will ultimately decide whatever they like.

In our case, not a single contiguous neighbour was in favour, the broader neighbourhood was not in favour, and the existing Small Lot Rezoning Policy was not adhered to.

A review of freedom-of-information materials after the fact reflected ­little chance for the neighbours to really be heard, as planning staff were clearly advising the applicant on how to address any concerns and obtain an approval from council.

Finally, the public hearing was a complete sham, with the developer/applicant submitting a vast quantity of ridiculous “infomercial style” videos which, somehow, inspired the majority of mayor and councillors to ­summarily approve the application on the spot, in spite of the vociferous opposition expressed by the neighbourhood.

In retrospect, the entire event was silly, very lengthy, and a waste of ­everyone’s time — including planning staff and council’s.

Bill Moffatt
Victoria

Reduce Sidney Island deer with a lottery

I propose that the cull of fallow deer on Sidney Island take place with a lottery system.

The number of those taking part in the cull should be under a dozen each day, operating seven days a week. It is assumed that the hunters would meet the quota of three animals easily.

I was fortunate to be one of those who took part in hunting these introduced animals in the late 1970s when Jack Todd owned much of the island.

Jack invited friends and family each fall to take three animals. Each hunter was instructed to take two does then a buck, thus cutting reproduction.

The number of participants was low enough to eliminate the chance of an accidental shooting. Jack’s ­management plan worked well and the population was rather stable.

Keith Taylor
Victoria

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