Tag Archives: bicycle-paths

Where’s a cop when you need one?

A row of cars parked in the middle of a high-traffic bike path on Boyer St.

A row of cars parked in the middle of a high-traffic bike lane on Boyer St.

It’s bad enough when a car ignores the signs and painted lines and decides to park in the middle of a bicycle lane – actually, straddling both bicycle lanes – but it’s even more annoying when other drivers follow the lead and park there too. Here we see at least half a dozen cars and vans parked on Boyer St., which is part of the Route Verte.

There were some mitigating circumstances here. There was construction in this area and the bikes were being detoured on to St. Hubert St. That also meant those green poles that normally separate the lane from the roadway were removed.

Still, there was no indication that the lane had been cancelled or that parking was allowed on it. So I wondered, where’s a cop – or a parking enforcement officer – when you need one?

A parking enforcement officer surveys the scene and chats with an errant driver

A parking enforcement officer surveys the scene and chats with an errant driver

A police officer on his bike leaves the scene without giving tickets or ensuring the vehicles are moved.

A police officer on his bike leaves the scene without giving tickets or ensuring the vehicles are moved.

Oh, there they are. They didn’t end up giving any tickets that I could see. The drivers agreed to move their cars, and the two officers left while most were still parked in the lane.

Still, it felt good to know that occasionally the authorities do notice these things.

What part of “bicycle path” don’t you understand?

joggers

Dear jogger douchebags,

I know it’s a beautiful day and you want to take a nice jog around the park, but you must have realized by now that you’re jogging in the middle of a bicycle path. For various reasons, most notably the speed difference between you and the cyclists who would pass you, it is dangerous for you and those cyclists for you to be jogging in our path. Acknowledging this by shifting to the side when you see us coming doesn’t mitigate that, if only because you don’t see us coming behind you.

It’s not like there aren’t enough places to jog in this city. Most streets have sidewalks on both sides, but even with this city’s stellar reputation as a bike-friendly town, the bicycle path network is a patchy, disconnected mess. This is one of the few isolated bike paths in town, and you’re standing in the middle of it.

I know there’s something about the asphalt winding through the grass that is just so irresistible. If we could give you your own asphalt path to walk on we could.

Oh wait, there’s one ten feet to your left. Your own special lane. There are even little icons painted onto the ground at regular intervals to make clear that there’s a walking path and a bicycle path. Using our path when you have one of your own, that’s just being a douchebag.

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A bicycle path isn’t the end of the world

Store owners are greedy. It’s hard to blame them, since the business they do is directly proportional to the money they get. A few slow weeks could put them out of business.

But the store owners are very pro-car. They want parking spaces. And when those spaces are taken away for reserved bus lanes on Park Ave., expanded sidewalks on Decarie Blvd., or a bike path on de Maisonneuve Blvd., they start screaming bloody murder. No thought is given to the idea that increased public transit might compensate for the loss of parking spaces, or to the idea that beautification of the area might encourage pedestrian traffic.

Instead, we get sky-is-falling exaggerations like this one:

“It could turn downtown into a ghost town,” he warned.

Really? A ghost town? When has a bicycle path ever turned a metropolis’s downtown into a ghost town?

“It’s an open-air shopping mall and people, especially higher-end customers, want to get there by car.”

“Who wants to go to a high-end restaurant by bus or by m├ętro?” Parasuco asked.

Oh. Think of the embarrassment that would ensue if a high-end customer had to take – gasp – public transit!

Or they could just take a cab.

The problem with downtown parking is already there. People with cars go to Wal-Mart and Loblaws where ample parking is available. They park at strip-malls and go into the stores there. A trip downtown means circling for half an hour looking for a space at a meter.

The solution to this problem isn’t to encourage more cars, which is an entirely unsustainable idea. It’s to encourage public transit, walking and cycling as alternative methods of getting around.

Turn downtown into a pedestrian haven, and suddenly people are walking around doing a lot of shopping.

UPDATE: The Gazette agrees with me. And so does letter-writer Kim Smart.