September 1st, 2017 – Since Roman Emperor Nero burned Rome in 64 AD to build a better city to his liking, no peacetime Western city has been messed up so much as Vancouver, British Columbia into a dysfunctional metropolis. Core of the issue is the construction of concrete bike lanes and other structures at the expense of motor lanes, which were already inadequate to accommodate the growing city population of about 3 million. Stuck between the mountains and the U.S. border with little room to expand, Greater Vancouver is Canada’s most desirable city for those who want to live in a mild climate. It was called North America’s most congested city before the construction began. To make things worse, the city has cancelled hundreds of street parking spaces to install a bike rental business, and is now desperately converting free space to paid parking to cover its losses and wasteful spending.
With concrete bike lanes and obstructions constructed in key traffic areas of Downtown Vancouver, residents are complaining of the constant traffic gridlock that cripples motorists’ mobility. City of Vancouver, one of the several municipalities in the region, is the main business hub where many Metro residents go to work or conduct their business. As Canada’s western port and second largest city, and the expanding Asia trade, Metro Vancouver had been gaining importance that may be lost if businesses start moving out due to the constant and irresolvable traffic gridlock. As a port Vancouver had already been losing business to Seattle over the past decade. The historic Burrard Bridge, one of the main arteries into and out Central Vancouver, has now been crippled after the City built a 1-kilometer concrete bike lane at a reported cost of $35 million. According to Statistics Canada cyclists make up about 2-percent of commuters in the city.
The City Council has voted to spread the bike lanes around Vancouver General Hospital, the biggest health facility, which threatens to impair health care services offered to patients in and around the hospital, not to mention mobility of emergency vehicles.
Residents are also upset with the air pollution that has increased many times with cars idling at gridlocked areas, and the lack of regulation of cyclists who are not subject to any rules of the road who make driving in Vancouver a safety hazard. Increased pollution due to this ill-advised project implemented without a referendum is a fatal contradiction to the City’s purported objective of building “A Greener Vancouver.”
Residents who are fed up with a city government that ignores or disdains the majority of residents have started many protest groups. One of these is “Restore Vancouver” which promises to be a political movement. Their petition to the City has already collected over 3000 signatures. With over 3 million motorists in British Columbia, 350,000 of whom live in the City of Vancouver, the group is confident that it can reverse this ill-advised project before or after next year’s general elections.
Restore Vancouver is led by an entrepreneur and long-time resident of Vancouver who is drawing attention from the local news media.