On Tuesday, there was a shocking sighting on Ottawa’s first complete street Churchill Avenue … a cyclist.
Despite remarkably good weather recently, Churchill, another of Ottawa’s symbols of horrible planning coming in a $21.4 million, is amazingly short of cyclists. Your agent is up and down that street often but it is barren of cyclists.
This even in good biking weather, which in Ottawa is less than one-third of the year.
As I have said numerous times and the bike zealots refuse to hear, cycling is great for the short period of time it is used as mode of commuting.
But laying out tens of millions of dollars, hard-earned tax dollars, on cycling (unless it is recreation paths and the like) is a gigantic waste of tax money for their limited use. Furthermore, this antiquated mode of travel and cars have co-habitated on streets for about a century without paths. No doubt they can continue to.
Were this New York or Washington or Richmond, Virginia, this would be different. They all have longer cycling seasons than Ottawa has. But only a few zealots are out there in January in the nation’s capital and Ottawa should not be building tens of millions of dollars of infrastructure for a snobby elite of self-righteous lobbyists.
Aren’t the developers enough lobbyists?
Alain Gonthier, director of infrastructure and the city’s war on cars, says that Ottawa needs to build bike lanes the same way it builds roads and sidewalks (that would mean with lots of potholes and cracking pavement, no doubt).
“It’s not an either or. What we’re trying to do is improve the overall cycling network, which includes multiple corridors, especially in an east-west direction.” For whom? You? A small group of noisy lobbyists.
Only a city bureaucrat would be pumping a mode of transportation that works for less than a third of the year. Light-rail runs all year (though the city is mightily screwing that up). Roads run all year. People use them. Cyclists aren’t using your $21.4 million complete street in good weather. What next Mr. Gonthier from your one-centered, high-minded, myopic and wrong view?
Gonthier’s next target is Montreal Road for his one-third of a commuter mode. Local people have reservations. Business-people who pay Gonthier’s reliable weekly paycheque say it will cost them business because parking disappears. But what of that, Mr. Gonthier. Business-schmizness, we’re building ineffective bike lanes and the hell with local business. They’re just a bunch of complainers (and property-taxpayers).
But a solution is out there to Gonthier’s limited view. Get rid of him. Get someone in the job who builds bike lanes for a city with less than a third of a year of cycling weather. Major ice storm in April, Mr. Gonthier. Buses were running … bikes were not.
We don’t need anymore Churchill Avenue white elephants. Listen to local business people before you destroy their businesses.
If you want to know what is best for a community, ask the community. The community is speaking to you and you are not listening to anyone but a bunch of lobbyists.