So the town of Smiths Falls succumbed to the great and powerful Angle Parking Lobby, nixing the plan to create a Complete Street on their main drag. This seems like a sad decision, but I’m not a resident, nor do I visit Smiths Falls with any regularity, so I don’t want to insert myself too deep into the issue.
But I will note one bit of disingenuous nonsense from a resident:
Vince Hamilton said the parallel parking plan would have had people exiting their cars into a bike lane and that would be no solution for safety or accessibility concerns with angle parking.
“By shoving everything into [the wide street we have], you would end up with an incomplete street. You didn’t have a good bike lane, you didn’t have a street for patios. You had terrible accessibility with parallel parking onto a bike lane,” Hamilton said.
(By the way, I like to think the reporter, Matthew Kupfer, was throwing a bit of shade with the square-brackets insertion.)
Mr. Hamilton alleges to be concerned about safety, worrying about bicyclists being doored in a bike lane. This is a fair concern, as no one wants to get doored in a bike lane, but it is far more dangerous to be run over in the street. No, Mr. Hamilton isn’t worried about safety; he’s worried about losing angle parking (that would have been replaced by parallel parking).
If you’re worried about safety, you’ll know that having cars backing up at bicyclists is far more dangerous than giving bicyclists separated, protected infrastructure. Safety concerns demand that you take scrapes and broken bones over serious injury and death. (It also would suggest that you add a bit of a buffer between the parked cars and the bike lane…but that seems to take too much effort to dream up).
We see this sort of faux safety concerns in Ottawa. People will complain about bike lanes, saying that they can lead to more right-hooks, completely ignoring the data that demonstrates that they make roads safer for all road users.
People will complain about the bi-directional bike lane on O’Connor, and though it may be sub-optimal, the design has been proven safer than the status quo.
We’ve even had a councillor argue that the Laurier bike lane is a problem because bicyclists will get doored…ignoring the real threats…ignoring that it’s better to get doored in a bike lane than the middle of the road…ignoring the death of Danielle Nacu.
No, people who try to use safety concerns to argue against proven safety measures are deeply cynical and intellectually dishonest (or just liars). They’re concern trolls. They are cold and inhuman, using people’s lives as pawns in their to advance their own political preferences, only to discard any concern for other people’s physical well-being once they’ve gotten their way.
Don’t accept. People like Mr. Hamilton are actively working to make the world more dangerous for other people, all because he doesn’t want to parallel park.