Letter: Mayor’s example of bike lanes for how great is his city, contradicted by evidence and plans
To the editor:
As Mayor Gray indignantly accuses that Province reporter of “lazy” reporting, throwing out that old saw about Kelowna having more kilometres of bike path per capita than any other city in Canada, I have to ask myself if that is the same source that reports that ‘Car Town’ also has the highest number of cars per household (2.9) in the country.
Those bike paths are an unconnected, “disjointed patchwork,” illustrative of poor planning, and not conducive to getting people out of their cars.
The strictly recreational and expensive Rails with Trails/Cawston Avenue multi-purpose pathway exemplifies this. The former goes nowhere and the latter has stop signs or lights at every corner. Most importantly, you can’t get to it.
The Ethel Street bike path abruptly ends in humongous pot holes at Leon and on Gordon Drive the bike paths end north of Springfield where, instead, the city took out the boulevards to squeeze in another lane of traffic for cars.
North Richter dangerously allows parking right beside the bike lanes and south Richter cyclists are warned that their lane ends: Twice because of poles in the middle of the lane and to “Share the road.”
(Pedestrians and scooters fare no better. Again, on north Gordon, there are hydro poles in the middle of the already narrow sidewalk on one side and light standards on the other. Bordering the sidewalk on one side, there is no boulevard, hence no buffer, and on the other residential fences. There is nowhere to go. And in the winter, the city ploughs the snow right up to, and over, the sidewalks, obstructing them further. Cars rule.)
Meanwhile, last week, the media featured two related stories.
In the first, in his “annual state of the city address” (gimme a break) to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, the mayor talks with pride of visions to extend Highway 33 to the Clement Avenue connector, and by 2025 across Okanagan Lake; of transportation improvements in Rutland; of a new $15-million parkade downtown; and a $4-million extension to the library parkade. He cites the city’s traffic projections showing a second bridge “needed by 2025.”
Build it and they will come. There will never be enough lanes, roads, bridges and parking for Car Town.
The second story has Mayor Gray picking up a Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable (God, I hate that word) Community Award for the city’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with more than half the planned actions aimed at reducing transportation emissions.
Sounds contradictory to me.