Building Complete Streets in St. Catharines – the wrong way

My response to Councillor Mark Elliott’s poorly conceived and poorly presented argument that we need to institute ‘road diets’ to build more cycling lanes and reduce the ability of car and truck traffic to navigate the city (the letter appears in today’s St. Catharines Standard):

Re:Complete streets(July 10). Coun. Mark Elliott’s apparently combative attitude towards cars and drivers is not needed, and unhelpful in the debate on shared road use by cars and cyclists.

As we’ve seen in Toronto, polarizing the debate as a battle between drivers and cyclists leads nowhere positive. If city council wants to improve the situation for cyclists and public transit users, it could start by ensuring that enforcement of the road rules was actually taking place, since some road users seem to be unsure of how to operate around one another, and fund Sunday transit adequately, as it has declined to do in the past.

Despite social engineering attempts, the car wins out more often than not. We have gas taxes, taxes on gas taxes, licensing fees, repair bills — and the list goes on. It is unfair to add more burden to the users of the road by wasting their time. In a cold weather country where bikes are not feasible for a large part of the year, a car driver’s needs have to be taken into account first and foremost.

A city has to be built in such a way that the most citizens are accommodated by city policy. Our road policy needs to reflect reality; increased use of “road diets” does not do that.

Mathew Siscoe St. Catharines

Mathew Siscoe is a candidate for St. Patrick’s Ward in the fall’s municipal election


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