Will Gregor's Gridlock prove to be as popular as Gregor's Garden?
The closure of lanes on the Burrard Bridge to accommodate bicyclists continues to burn up the blogosphere this week. No matter where you turn, the comments keep rolling in on what is surely going to be labeled by Vancouver commuters as Gregor's Gridlock in time for the June lane closures.
Oddly enough, although the issue has created a stir on the blogs, it hasn't caught the attention of most Vancouverites. Just yesterday I was at a gathering of over a dozen people, most of whom live in Vancouver. When I asked them for their opinion of the lane closures they looked at me like I was from another planet. "What bridge lane closure are you talking about?" one of them asked. While another was sure it wasn't happening until after next year's Olympic Games.
Coincidentally, the closure of the lanes will take place around the same time the City's new 311 program is fully launched. That means anyone angry and stuck in traffic can complain toll free to the Mayor's office by simply dialing 311. What convenience, eh?
As for those who are paying attention, there is really a divide between the "bicyclistas," as Vancouver Sun columnist Miro Cernetig refers to them in his latest column, and the autoistas. The following is a sample of what's being spewed out by blog commenters about the impending imposition of Gregor's Gridlock on the Burrard bridge:
As someone who drives the Burrard bridge every week day, and who needs my car for work, I cannot believe in the short sightedness of this council. I thought the idea was to reduce pollution in the downtown core. All this will do is increase it as frustrated drivers are stuck idling on the bridge.
Has anyone done a study to determine how much more pollution will be added to Vancouver's air by having hundreds of cars sit and wait to get across the Burrard Bridge?
All those bicyclists and pedestrians will be breathing that newly polluted air - JettaGuy, CBC Online
This will be a disaster. At rush hour the bridge gets jammed from one end to the other and the solution is LESS lanes?! “o it will be easy for people in Kits to bike downtown.” Funny thing… MOST PEOPLE DON’T LIVE IN KITS. This is an awful decision made by people who don’t have to drive the bridge themselves. - John km, CBC Online
I bike over the Burrard Street bridge 2 or 3 times a week. I also have a view of the bridge from our Vancouver condo. I have never had any trouble with the existing set up, nor have I seen any problems. Most people who bike or walk the lanes are polite and respectful of one another. The present system works very well so leave it alone. I guarantee that this confusing experiment will be a disaster. - Mary Sherlock, CBC Online
I have to wonder if any of these so called intelligent people at City Hall have taken into account the increase in pollution that is going to occur. With St. Paul's Hospital in close proximity the gridlock heading South on Burrard has got to adversely affect the air quality in the Hospital. What about Emergency Vehicles, how do they get sick and injured people to the Hospital with solid bumper to bumper traffic right in front of the Emergency entrance. - Dinorex, CBC Online
Personally, I believe that this is the wrong bridge. It should be the Granville Bridge where there is 8 lanes. Also, there is less cars that use the Granville Bridge, then the Burrard Bridge. Also, I wonder once this happens, if the police will finally crack down on the bike riders when they break the traffic laws, which all bike riders are required to obey and yes, that includes running stop signs and red lights. - Andy N, CBC Online
This is going to be another nightmare for traffic. I didn't vote for this mayor for this exact reason and predict that this won't last. Quite frankly it is poorly thought out, self-serving for the few that are pushing for it. - WestCoaster100, CBC Online
Finally, a city council with courage! And this will be a terrific rehearsal for Vancouver drivers- the whole downtown core will be just as restricted during the Olympics. Hurrah! - JDPHILIP, CBC Online
Yay. I'm not a bike rider but am thrilled Burrard Bridge will have reduced car traffic. People drive like maniacs across that bridge and it's extremely unpleasant to walk across (apart from the view).
I'd like to see fewer cars all over Vancouver. - strangeland, CBC Online
What can’t happen is that pedestrians are restricted to one side. Walking across the bridges is one of the great urban experiences a pedestrian can have: the views to both sides and down, the sensation of rising against the city if in flight. Let’s hope they do not sacrifice the delight of walking for the sake of one wheeling lobby or another. Aren’t pedestrians our number one priority?- td, francesbula.com
Motorists are going to be mad with a one lane reallocation. I doubt they will be anywhere near twice as mad with two lanes. They will get over it in a week or two after people adapt. If they can’t they will be ready to explode during the Olympics with all the street closures. - Richard, francesbula.com
And so the debate rages.
Gregor's Gridlock is about to begin in six weeks. It will be interesting to see how the Mayor reacts to all that negative publicity and public backlash. It will be his first true test of his leadership, and likely the defining moment of his mandate.