Letters Oct 24: Bike lane forces longer drive; where councillors should live; election signs

Bike lanes mean more time in cars

As work has begun on the latest stretch of Victoria’s cycling network — blocking off Vancouver Street to north/south vehicle traffic — I’ve had first-hand experience with just how environmentally sound this project promises to be.

The other day I had to make a trip to the grocery store. Normally, I would have hopped on my e-bike (a totally safe trip even without the new cycling infrastructure) but on this occasion I was picking up bulkier items so I needed the car.

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I live on Richardson Street between Vancouver and Cook Streets.

Before the new roadwork began, I would have pulled out of our underground parking, turned right on Richardson, taken another right onto Vancouver and driven all the way to Save-On-Foods at Vancouver and Pandora Avenue.

However, with the new cycling infrastructure, Vancouver is permanently blocked at McClure to north/south vehicle traffic.

This means that in order to get to Save-On, I had to turn left out of the underground and then left onto Cook (idling while waiting for a break in traffic to get onto Cook from Richardson).

I drove north on Cook to Pandora where I had to idle in the left turn lane while waiting a full cycle of lights for southbound traffic to clear before making a left turn. Upon reaching Vancouver (because there is a dedicated bike lane) I had to idle again, waiting until I had the right turn signal to allow me to cross the separated bike lane to get to Save-On.

Upon leaving I headed back down Vancouver to Johnson, where I turned left in order to get to Cook to get home.

Unfortunately, there was road work at the Johnson/Cook intersection so I couldn’t make a right turn. I was forced instead to circle back on Cook to Pandora — again waiting a full cycle of lights to turn left.

From Pandora I once again turned left onto Vancouver, this time driving to Fort Street where I was able to make a left in order to get to Cook to drive home.

Imagine how frustrating all this would have been had I not had the comfort of knowing how much the city’s bike network will help save the planet by reducing the amount we have to drive.

Bill Cleverley

First, they should live where they govern

Re: “Councillor wants review of how city is governed,” Oct. 22.

A review of how Victoria is governed could start with residency, that is, they who govern should be part of the governed.

If councillors were required to live in the municipality they govern, oh what a change. If that logical rule were in place today, Victoria council could not muster a quorum as half the sitting members live outside the city.

Patrick Murphy

No argle-bargle, please!

Re: “Councillor wants review of how city is governed,” Oct. 22.

A governance review for the City of Victoria is very welcome and holds potential for doing business differently, making better decisions, and ultimately spending limited resources better.

The initiative is promising for long-suffering taxpayers, but will not be an easy process for either council, staff or residents.

The last governance review, the third-party Cuff Report, was done more than a decade ago. It’s overdue and so there’s a need for some catch-up.

Irrespective of what changes may result from a governance review, the underlying provincial legislation for local government, the Local Government Act and the Community Charter, are decades old and substantially unchanged.

Never mind that governance is massively complicated given the city is one of 13 jurisdictions in the region, along with the Capital Regional District, the province and federal governments.

When council is dominated by a civic political party with its own priorities, its own agenda, and its own ideological prism, improvements to governance are also further complicated.

Whether a governance review results in meaningful change or so much argle-bargle – copious amounts of meaningless talk and writing and bureaucratic nonsense – remains to be seen.

Stan Bartlett, chair
Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria

Vote against election signs

You can tell an election is coming by the proliferation of election signs all around the city. Made of non-compostable materials these signs are destined to end their days in the landfill and outlive us all, politicians and electors.

What do these signs have on them? Some important message? No, generally they just have the name and affiliation of the candidate. It seems we, the electorate, are regarded as so shallow and vacuous that we will be swayed by seeing the same name and coloured plastic sign … again and again.

Let us be sensible about this unnecessary litter which does not enhance democracy but rather mocks it. Let us have areas where all candidates can place large signage and where these prospective representatives can say what they represent, rather than just their name or beaming face … again and again..

Plastic bags, plastic straws … and next on our list should be meaningless plastic signs.

Far Behroozi

No need to block traffic

Re: “Indigenous leaders gather on Pat Bay Highway in support of Mi’kmaq fishermen,” Oct. 23.

Does inconveniencing, annoying and disrupting people’s lives in Victoria help a complicated fishing dispute on the East Coast? Why can’t people protest whatever their cause without the disruption to traffic and thereby people’s lives and livelihoods? The most frustrating question that I have is: Why is this kind of disruption allowed?

Merle Somers


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