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Letters Oct. 21: Safe parking for bikes; cars don't just 'evaporate'

Forget subsidies, make bike parking secure The rebate money that Saanich is offering to purchasers of e-bikes would be better spent on providing secure and safe bicycle “parking” facilities at destinations such as stores, restaurants and all of the o
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The secure bike lockup in the underground parking area at the University of Victoria. A letter-writer suggests Victoria’s downtown could use similar safe bike parking. BRUCE STOTESBURY, TIMES COLONIST

Forget subsidies, make bike parking secure

The rebate money that Saanich is offering to purchasers of e-bikes would be better spent on providing secure and safe bicycle “parking” facilities at destinations such as stores, restaurants and all of the other places where a bike needs to be left unattended.

This issue is a large deficit in the whole regional cycling infrastructure and plan.

It is not practical to replace car trips with cycling trips when an expensive e-bike or conventional bicycle must be left unattended and thus subject to being stolen or damaged.

Just as there are complaints from drivers who avoid downtown Victoria due to parking hassles, it is worse for cyclists wanting to use a bike to make a necessary trip but find that there is nowhere to leave their bike while the purpose of their trip is being accomplished.

At least with a car trip, one can park, lock and leave the vehicle and be reasonably assured that it will still be there and intact upon returning. Not so with a bicycle or e-bike.

In order for people to be able to use cycling as a means to accomplish purposeful trips, proper secure infrastructure for bicycle parking and storage must be available at the destination.

Perhaps Saanich should lead the way in providing the last link in getting people to actually use cycles as a practical means of transportation aside from recreational riding.

Ken Allen
Port McNeill

No, that vehicle traffic does not evaporate

I nearly spat out my morning coffee when I read this in one of your readers’ letters: “When road space is reallocated to bike routes, traffic usually ‘evaporates’ — car volumes drop as bike riding soars.”

Yes, when a street previously allocated for motor vehicles is blocked off and set aside only for bicycles, its motor-vehicle vehicle traffic drops — precipitously, in fact — because cars aren’t allowed to use the street anymore. Amazing!

Does the writer really believe that the drivers who would have travelled on former motor vehicle routes suddenly say: “Oh no, I can’t drive on So-and-So Street any more. I guess I’ll just stop getting groceries / driving to work / making deliveries / visiting family / taking my mum on outings….”?

When you block traffic arteries in a growing city, motor vehicles don’t evaporate; they migrate into previously quiet neighbourhoods and streets as drivers seek the next most efficient routes. Traffic accumulates at wholly predictable choke-points. Cars sit idling instead of efficiently completing their journeys. Everyone suffers.

Such basic human behaviour apparently escapes the letter-writer and, notably, city traffic planners who, by side-stepping this reality, happily recommend myopic bike-lane infrastructure projects with which Greater Victoria drivers have become frustratingly familiar.

The upside of such absurdity is that if enough Victorians exercise the same kind of magical thinking that the letter-writer expresses (and in which the City of Victoria seems happy to indulge) then city councillors can approve whatever zany bike-lane plan comes across their desks next, without any need to deal with pesky little things like consequences.

Maybe after Victoria reaches full gridlock real-estate prices will finally level off. I’m not holding my breath.

Doug Stacey
Esquimalt

Equal housing for all? What an absurd idea

Victoria’s planning push to mass rezone neighbourhoods to higher density spells the possible doom of single-family homes.

If approved, developers will be allowed to build four or five residences on one single-family lot without neighbours’ approval. Why do grandparents, parents and ourselves enjoy single-family homes and not our children?

Possibly because the younger generation cannot afford them? Ridiculous. There were no condominiums when I was young, and I couldn’t afford a home for over four decades. You had to save and work hard to get into a home. That hasn’t changed. To destroy our neighbourhoods in the name of equal housing for all is absurd.

Patrick Skillings
Victoria

Blackouts, like vaccines, were an effective defence

A message to my fellow citizens who oppose vaccination and the wearing of masks:

I would like to draw a parallel between our fight against COVID and the Second World War, when cities in my old country (the United Kingdom) were bombed by the German air force also at night and where, therefore, blackouts were ordered to prevent identification and bombing.

So no lights on whatsoever at night, not in houses, nor in the streets.

Some ignored these orders as some blacked-out areas were badly hit in spite of the blackouts. The anti “blackouteers” argued that blackouts were ineffective.

Replace “blackouts” with wearing masks and being vaccinated.

In spite of the casualties, blackouts were a highly effective measure of defence.

Leonhard Braunizer
Brentwood Bay

Ask for the reasons for refusing vaccine

Yes, there is a gaggle of freedumb idiots refusing the vaccine for stupid reasons. But that’s not everyone.

I contracted polio as a child shortly after receiving the polio vaccine, which is why I’ve always been leery of vaccines in general, but particularly ones that have skipped a few hoops before being presented to the public for consumption.

Despite my concerns I opted for vaccination, as the alternative is clearly being treated as a second-class citizen for the foreseeable future.

But when I meet someone who is (currently) refusing vaccination, I inquire as to the reason, rather than assuming without any knowledge of the individual that he/she is acting like a “child masquerading as an adult,” as a letter-writer has said.

Making wild assumptions about an entire group certainly doesn’t strike one as the kind of behaviour one would expect from a mature adult.

George Kosinski
Lake Cowichan

A special thanks to the groundskeepers

I would like to send out a huge thank-you for all the groundskeepers in all our areas.

An example of some of the exemplary work is at Blanshard and Finlayson, the Gorge Waterway, Langford and Colwood, so creative and beautiful.

I enjoy your beautiful flowers and creative work all year round. Keep up the good work, you are appreciated more than you will ever know.

Julie Anderson
Victoria

A community blindsided by shelter opening

Credit to Oak Bay council for reaching out to their citizens in a formalized manner regarding the future use of the Oak Bay Lodge site.

Contrast that with Saanich council’s approach to the use of Mount Tolmie Hospital as a temporary (perhaps) homeless shelter.

No survey, questionnaire or polling to determine where Mount Tolmie neighbourhood residents stand on this issue.

The neighbourhood was blindsided by the opening of the shelter with virtually zero prior warning or consultation. To be fair, Saanich states they had no prior warning from B.C. Housing.

Now that the shelter is up and running, there has been no effort to seek input from residents of the surrounding community in a quantifiable fashion.

This is an area with a high population of seniors, many living in ground-floor apartments who are living in fear due to recent break-ins.

Like in Oak Bay, local parents have concerns for the well-being of their children attending the various schools in the area. The concerns are justified.

Doug Branter
Saanich

Bang pots and pans to back health-care workers

We have restarted the 7 p.m. pot banging in support of health-care workers. We want them to know we appreciate and respect their amazing efforts.

Judy Lightwater
Victoria

Staff at the hospital? High praise for all of them

This past week I was at the Victoria General Hospital for a procedure and it was crazy busy … with some very demanding patients … and yet all the personnel I interacted with, from screeners, admitting staff, lab office staff, lab technicians, aides, attendants, students, nurses, nurse practitioners, anesthesiologists to surgeons, all were all courteous, patient, and compassionate. Every single one.

So when you watch, read, or hear the news and despair that our world is falling to pieces, let me remind you that ongoing daily at our hospitals there remains a high level of professionalism, public service and the most touching kindness.

Every single day.

Linda Cannon
Victoria

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