The Lansdowne Principle

Late last year, the city decided to do something about (some) of the illegal parking at Lansdowne. Drivers have been leaving their cars in the loop on Princess Patricia Way by the basketball court/ice rink. This is a No Parking zone. It’s supposed to be used for pick-ups and drop-offs, but as with every inch you offer Ottawa drivers, they’ll park for miles.

Now, the city isn’t going to crack down on these scofflaws, no. In their respective wisdom, city have recommended–and city council has approved–turning that stretch into paid parking.

(Councillor Tobi Nussbaum pithily asked how the city would enforce parking meters when it has been unwilling to enforce the No Parking zone. Staff had no meaningful response.)

Okay, this is bad policy. It encourages driving and congestion, and rewards bad behaviour, but since we’re stuck with it, let’s start applying the underlying logic more broadly.

So here’s my proposal: Anywhere we see a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk for want of a bike lane, make bicycling legal on that sidewalk. Anywhere we see pedestrians “jaywalking”, make crossing the street legal.

Oh, what’s that you say? Only drivers get such special privileges? Oh right. I forgot.

 

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