Archive for October, 2014

Parks, bicycles and common sense

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Note to reader. This is one of my rants- sorry in advance for getting serious.

I don’t know if there is a word better than “Park” to envision thoughts of a family gathering together outdoors to play outdoors. Obviously I’m describing the kind of park of green grass, trees, benches and annoying mosquitoes. Not the asphalt kind where vehicles are placed, although one does effect the other as I’ll explain.

I live in Edmonton, sometimes described as a winter city. We’re about the same latitude as Moscow and I suppose roughly the same climate as the Russian city- five months of winter and a short but lovely summer. If you think of Moscow I doubt you have visions of bicycle riders enjoying a ride along the streets. That didn’t stop Edmonton city council to decide we need bicycle paths everywhere.

Our neighbourhood has several bike paths that are marked on the streets. They are well use; last August I saw three bicycles. For the whole month. That number went down in September to one. I suspect when we have our five months of winter that number may go down even lower.

In our area we have a lovely park that has deep slopes (part of a city project to divert storm water). Last year it was used during the winter by dozens of kids to toboggan and sled. They had a great time. Parents drove up with kids and toboggans and waited in their parked vehicles as the kids raced down the snowy slopes.

But no more. The four lane avenue that went by the park is now two lanes with the extra lanes converted for bicycles only. “No Parking” signs were erected on all surrounding streets to ensure no one can use park again. The park sits empty. They might as well put up a “No Trespassing” sign.

I phoned the city. The gentlemen from the transportation department was sympathetic, but told me the bicycle committee makes the decision where bicycle routes go. Apparently the routes don’t go through common sense. I would have thought our children should have priority over a ill planned bicycle route. Wishful thinking.