Thursday, September 28, 2023
September 28, 2023

Getting people out of cars a challenge


Reading the Aug. 2 “More and safer travel methods suggested” In Depth piece, it became clear that the Viewpoint articles written by Maxine Leichter (“Preserve parking spaces,” July 26) and myself (“Crosswalk idea ill-advised,” Aug. 2) were not perfectly in line with the thoughts of Myna Lee Johnstone and therefore deserved no further consideration. We are “committed drivers” with no intention of changing our evil ways.

In this part of the world one is free to think anything they want, as long as it is the same as everyone that toes the party line. That works like a charm in North Korea, so why not here? I was amazed by the “committed” part. That was years ago and only for a couple of weeks, but she remembered it! 

I’m sure she also recalls when I was on the coroner’s jury after a 17-year-old cyclist was hit and killed by a car on the island. The first recommendation of our jury was “Build bike lanes!” I am the only member of that jury still above ground, the case having occurred in 1976. Nothing much has happened with our recommendation, but I’m sure they’ll get right on it any day now. 

Myna Lee will remember also when Fulford-Ganges Road was totally repaved, along with other main roads well over 30 years ago and we all cried, “We need bike lanes!” None appeared. 

The safety of cyclists and pedestrians has been an issue here for a long time. A lot of locals have spoken up over the years and been ignored. The concept of getting people out of their cars and into other forms of transportation is a good one, where possible, but will not make a huge difference in the short term. Bike lanes through town and up the hill would be a vast improvement. 

Opening up the ArtSpring parking lot seems simple, but “nature abhors a vacuum cleaner,” so that action would create a region of relative low pressure, sucking in every clapped-out RV within range, which is why it’s locked up in the first place. It is my understanding that negotiations will be determining who will report, respond, remove the offenders and clean up the . . . mess. Those involved include ArtSpring, the CRD, police and, if possible, divine intervention. I would assume that the concept of removing a large number of vehicles from downtown would have no effect on safety, and that any attempt to preserve parking spaces is futile, as we won’t be driving our cars anymore. Good luck with that.

I subscribe to the “whole picture” school of thought. Look at all aspects of the issue. Listen to other ideas. If a dumb idea works, it’s not a dumb idea. For myself, after 50-plus years among the great unwashed working class, I have been walloped in the head enough times that my equilibrium is suspect, so riding a bike is out. I could walk, but after a mile or so my back would give up and it would be crawling from there on. 

That leaves the bus. It has been a godsend for our family when we have international students, affording them the freedom and independence our own kids didn’t get. They can get on the “Toonerville Trolley” at the end of our driveway and go to Victoria or wherever they wish. Expansion of the system would be difficult. In the city, the population is very dense, allowing transportation of many people in a relatively small area. Here in the sticks our small population is spread out all over the place, so more buses more often would yield empty buses more often.

In closing, I’m sure I don’t need to remind Myna Lee of the two runaway trucks that went through Ganges years ago, killing nobody. Today we would not be that lucky.


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