Thursday, February 5, 2009

Letter to Council

The following letter was sent to Vancouver Council last week. Please add your voice to the growing number of sensible people urging a safe, cost-effective, progressive solution to the dangerous shared sidewalk on the Burrard Bridge.  Links to emails for the Mayor, councillors, and MLAs whose ridings are in the area can be found at the bottom of this post. Wouldn't it be nice to see this sign finally come true?

Dear Mayor Robertson and Council Members:

I am writing you to express my support for the two lane re-allocation trial planned for the Burrard Bridge. I also wish to extend my appreciation to you for tackling this thorny issue.

I have no doubt there will be nay-sayers, bent on shutting down this cost-effective, safe, progressive solution to the very real dangers posed by a shared sidewalk. I have no doubt that supporters (of the trial) will be mis-characterized as selfish and unrealistic by the two-lane trial opponents. Most of all, I have no doubt that if the trial proceeds as planned, the long-term ramifications will be negligible for car users and significant for all the people who utilize transportation alternatives more suited to individual travel in a modern city committed to sustainable practices.

Supporters of the trial are eager to hear the concerns of opponents and those who, for whatever reason, like the idea but question its implementation. We certainly want to assist City staff and politicians at all levels, in any way we can. We are also sensitive to your needs–especially your duty to consider all input and represent the wishes of your constituents. Having said that, I think it's incumbent upon anyone involved in this initiative... and especially those with the opportunity to speak to the public through the media, to separate reasoned arguments and valid concerns from reactionary calls for the status quo.

It's a grossly unfair characterizations to call those who lobby for better cycling facilities as motivated purely by self-interest, or guilty of proposing unworkable plans. This is simply not true. I believe you already know this. I hope you will do what you can to correct this erroneous appraisal of lane re-allocation supporters at every opportunity.

The two lane trial is already getting coverage in the media. This is a good thing. The more people who know about it, the better informed everyone can be concerning alternative routes, the reasons for the decision to pursue this plan, and its benefits to our city. I urge you to stay committed to green initiatives and a safer, more sensible use of road space. As our leaders, we need this from you more than ever. I believe we can trust the City engineering staff to find workable solutions to valid concerns, within the framework of the two-lane trial. I am hopeful you will give them the tools they need to identify and implement those measures.

The evidence is in. The reason we don't have more people adopting cycling for transportation is the perception (and all too often, the reality) that cycling in our city is a dangerous choice. Only separate cycling facilities as required, to provide safe passage for cyclists of all ages and abilities, can change this perception and encourage sustainable transportation. Only you can make the decision to choose forward-thinking, well-reasoned planning over emotional knee-jerk responses to progressive measures. You have the support of many in this endeavor and a chance to make concrete the ideals so many of us share.

Thank you for your time,

Chris Keam
(A Friend of the Burrard Bridge)

Council email addresses (click on their pictures to send an email):

Vancouver-Point Grey

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