Today I published an op-ed–okay, it was kind of a polemic–on the supposed War on Cars.
To be clear, there’s no war on cars. As I argue, there is a war on us. Cars, drivers, are killing us. They’re destroying the environment. They rob us of time and space. They injure us. They kill us. And through it all, we get little more than a corporate shrug from the city.
We don’t build proper sidewalks, or bikelanes, or intersections. We keep expanding roads. We desperately clutch to our parking–our city is zoned so that all new developments must have parking. It is absolutely insane.
Specifically in the piece, I talk about the failed attempt to build a bikeway along O’Connor. The city has cancelled have of it. The councillor for Capital Ward is suggesting some half measures to smooth over the open hostility the neighbourhood and the city has for non-automobile transportation. The official line is that we need to balance needs. We need to compromise.
Here’s what I didn’t get to in the op-ed. The O’Connor bikeway was the compromise. Every street–every damned street–is built for cars. Even our pedestrian mall allows cars. Lansdowne, a primarily pedestrian zone, has been given a car-centric makeover.
We have no bike infrastructure in the Glebe. None. We have sharrows and painted lanes. Latex on concrete isn’t infrastructure; it’s a pacifier.
We should have north-south bikelanes on multiple streets in the Glebe. Percy is considered a bike route. No bike lanes. Bank is considered a bike route. No bike lanes. O’Connor will be called a bikeway. No bike lanes.
Bike lanes should be going on Bank Street. That’s where the shops are. That’s where the restaurants are. That’s the main street that connects downtown, the Glebe, Old Ottawa South and parts beyond. Right now, bicyclists intermingle with cars that can easily kill them, drivers that can easily kill them.
Bike lanes on Bank Street would still provide the majority of the street to cars; it would still be a compromise.
Bike lanes on O’Connor would still provide the majority of the street to cars; it also ensures that all the space on Bank Street is devoted to cars; it would be a further compromise.
Nothing on Bank, nothing on O’Connor, nothing on Percy or Lyon, that’s not a compromise.
That’s surrender, and that was the point of the op-ed.