New Bus Routes
I remember someone (Shakespeare? Oscar Wilde? Einstein?) being quoted as saying the only constant in life is change, and what a big change all we James Bay bus riders have just come through. Everyone has their own story and opinion, but I'm liking the changes a lot.
Why? More buses more often to more locations downtown: Old Town and Chinatown in addition to Fort at Douglas. No transfers to Vic West (Spinnakers every Friday!) Quadra Village, Crystal Pool, Fairfield Plaza, Cook Street Village, Oak Bay Village, Estevan Village, Willows Beach, South Oak Bay, the Jubilee two ways. WOW! And then there's the improved access to lots more places in the neighbourhood from Fisherman's Wharf through Five Corners to Beacon Hill.
I understand that for people headed north on Douglas, there is now a transfer involved; but there are a whole lot of options available (I just counted six) either from the Legislature or along Douglas.
Now, while I think transit has done a good job on the routes, some attention needs to be given to stops and shelters. In particular, the out bound bus stop by Don's store must be a nightmare for the people whose steps it blocks. Imagine having people standing on your steps to get out of the rain. I believe there's space just a few steps up the street for a new shelter and have shared this thought via BCTransit.com. There's an easy to use comment form under the "contact" link on their home page. I'd encourage Beacon readers to use it.
Stolen Mobility Scooter
This letter is to the person who stole my wife's mobility scooter from the lobby of our apartment building on Michigan Street on the night of January 17. Somehow you entered the locked front door, and got the scooter out without the key, which is still in my wife's possession. This must have all been premeditated and stealthily executed. You also managed to acquire one of her canes, as well as her rain gear, a luggage rack, her fluorescent vest and the BC flag she used as an aid to being visible to motorists.
You have now deprived my wife of her major means of transportation which includes several visits to the hospital each week. She rides a scooter out of necessity, not because we think it makes a nice decoration. She also uses it to get to and from her various volunteer jobs throughout the week. And in the nice weather it is her way of enjoying the ocean and the parks.
Did you steal it because you needed this mode of transportation or because you could sell it some other poor and unsuspecting senior for a couple of hundred dollars? It will cost my wife a good chunk of her pension to replace it.
I feel sorry for you, and will pray for you and your life of crime.
Cyclists: the time has come for training, testing and insurance
As a local pedestrian and a driver, one who has lived decades abroad from my Canadian home town in some of the best cycling infrastructure cities in Sweden and Denmark (Uppsala, Västerås and Copenhagen), my greatest concern and defensiveness when either walking or driving in Victoria is the dangerous, arrogant and even anarchistic driving of far too many cyclists. Unlike the traffic safety rule conscious and abiding Swedes and Danes, too many cyclist in this city, not the least those all dressed up for the Tour de France, appear to ride through city streets as though traffic rules didn’t apply to them at all. I have long ceased to be surprised when I see: cyclists never stopping at stop signs or red lights; cyclist not stopping or waiting for pedestrians to clear crossing places; cyclists skimming at high speed a half meter behind or in front of pedestrians crossing the roadways; cyclists passing cars on the curb lane where no designated bicycle lane exists; cyclists randomly switching without signal or stop, between roadways, crosswalks and sidewalks; cyclists tail gaiting vehicles at high speeds; cyclist racing up from behind pedestrians to speed on shared pathways with neither bell nor warning. There are far more pedestrians on our city streets, sidewalks and pathways, yet public policy does not seem to prioritize them. And while there are a lot of expensive bicycles and cycling costumes on our streets, there is a shocking, even dangerous lack of respect for basic rules of the road and sidewalks, as well as a dismaying lack of fundamental social courtesies in traffic by far too many cyclists. We’re I to drive my car through this city with the same disregard for our established road and sidewalk rules and laws, my license would have been long since taken away. Isn’t it (unfortunately) time for basic driver training, testing, insurance and clearly displayed license plates for cyclists as well as vehicles on our roadways? Would not such a reasonable measure reduce the road and sidewalk arrogance, anarchy and endangerment of self and others displayed by so many Victoria cyclists? I neither wish to be hit by a cyclist as a pedestrian, nor to hit a cyclist as a driver. To those many cyclists seeming to ride the streets with a superman complex or death-wish: Please don’t do try on my body or bumper! I need neither the tragedy nor the consequent points.