Mayor pleads with supporters of Burrard Bridge experiment to let the media know

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

22 comments

Praying
Mayor Robertson gets on one knee and pleads with supporters to call into the talk radio shows and write letters to the editor in support of the Burrard Bridge lane closure experiment

It doesn't get more blatant than this folks. An e-blast from Vision Vancouver sent out earlier today pleads with their supporters to go public with an endorsement of the upcoming Burrard Bridge lane closure plan (aka Gregor's Gridlock).

In a sign of Mayor Robertson's growing desperation on this file, he has revealed something political parties normally don't - their communications strategy. His email makes public their strategy of getting supporters to flood the talk shows and letter to the editor pages with glowing comments about how the lane closure idea is the best thing since sliced bread. Here is an excerpt from that email:

We're also encouraging people to call into radio talk shows and write to their newspapers in support of the Trial.

Everyone should remember this when they pick up their local paper or tune into the Bill Good Show or the CBC's Early Edition. The Mayor is also planning a big cyclists rally on the Burrard Bridge during Monday morning's rush hour:

Join your Vision Vancouver councillors, school trustees, park commissioners and supporters for a group cycle over the bridge on Monday, July 13, at 8:15 AM. We will be meeting at the north side of the Burrard Bridge (on the northeast corner of Burrard and Pacific), cycling over and then gather for a tea or coffee at Bean Around the World (1945 Cornwall Street).

We're not sure if the sight of hundreds of cyclists during the morning rush hour will actually have an impact on rush hour itself, but it's safe to say there will likely be a lot of rubberneckers who may cause the occasional fender bender or two.

It is interesting the Mayor and his supporters chose to have a protest rally of sorts during the morning rush hour when most commuters won't be as impacted by the closure. A real sign of leadership would have been to have held the rally during the evening rush hour when everyone heads southbound.

While we're on the topic of the Burrard Bridge lane closure, we can report the City's lacklustre communications department has finally issued a media release on the subject. The headline reads as follows:

Motorists should avoid Burrard Bridge this weekend

The City has issued this warning because there will be work crews on the bridge all weekend and a lane or two might be closed which is anticipated to cause major traffic gridlock. Hmmm. A few city work crews on the bridge on the weekend might cause traffic mayhem. Just imagine what might happen if they close a lane during rush hour mid-week.

The release also states:

From about 10 pm Friday evening until early Monday morning, crews will be installing barriers and signs across the bridge. This work will result in extensive lane closures and traffic disruptions. In addition, a charity run across the bridge on Saturday evening from 6 to 8 pm will cause traffic delays.

The Mayor better hope and pray that voters focus on his pie-in-the-sky tolled pedestrian/bicycle bridge being planned for land claimed by our First Nations peoples, rather than his Burrard Bridge lane closure experiment.

Stay tuned for the launch of GregorsGridlock.com.

22 Comments

Mayor Bubble Brain - what a gutless wonder!!! I notice Gregor is riding North to South - why not the other way - that way he can see the traffic diverted down Howe Street and visit the temporary permanent crack house - sorry "shelter" he illegally established in FCN.
Better pedal fast buddy because it sure looks like you are sprinting out of Dodge with a posse on your tail.
Will Kerry Jang (Dr. Duh) be on the other side waiting or is he too much of a public embarrassment for you after flapping his gums about a fictional - sorry - 'notorious' kiddy stroll in FCN?
One last question - will you be wearing a chicken suit? or is that reserved for November 2011?

The great delight in reading Frances Bula's blog is the highly literate, reasoned and informative commentary from her readers. With rare exception there's no name calling, although disagreements with Frances' take on things, or disagreements among those who comment on her site is not uncommon.

But CityCaucus? For all that Daniel, Michael, et al, do a pretty decent job of muckraking (a fine old journalistic tradition), the commentary on CityCaucus seems far too often to be dedicated to meanspirited name calling.

NPA, COPE or Vision Vancouver, whether you want to believe it or not, our elected officials do their very best to represent our interests to the best of their ability. Are they fallible, do they sometimes make mistakes. Yep, sure they are, and yes they do. But they move forward, using their heads and their hearts, towards building a more livable City for all of us.

Cut Gregor a break, will ya. And leave Dr. Kerry Jang alone, or at least stop calling him names. Calling people names hurts everyone, adds little to the political discourse, and accomplishes nothing.


te

which one is your son - Jang or Gregor?

Why not ask supporters to voice their opinions?
Blogs like yours have been lobbying for this to fail the second you heard about it, but your voice is not the majority.

There is a lot of public support for this trial and until now it's mostly been auto-dependant bleeting about how it'll take 3 extra minutes to get home come Monday.

Seriously, with all the media about this, I'd say anyone who actually does get stuck in traffic has only themselves to blame. Instead of driving straight into what's perceived as a problem area why not change your SOV habit, find a new route, walk, take transit or, (hey!) cycle the new, safer route to work.

Besides, it's not the first time a lane has been closed and an intersection changed. Cordova - a major rush hour street leaving downtown - has had a lane closed for a few years now. People deal with it and move on. It's called progress.

I regularly ride my bike over the bridge, run over it at least once a week and drive over it a couple times a week. I have asked around to my circle of acquaintances and we all agree - what exactly is the problem we are solving? I never had an issue on my bike - there seems to be more walkers than bikes. What's this initiative all about? Is is only social engineering? Now when I walk across the bridge I will have to use the west sidewalk - meaning from my location in False Creek I will have to cross Pacific, then Burrard, then 1st ave, then Burrard again. All told I count 24 lanes of traffic. No big deal really but I still don't know why we are doing this and no one can tell me why. The only justification I have seen is to "reduce the number of cycling injuries". Are there stats on how many injuries occur on the bridge? How many of those accidents are caused by my fellow cyclists some of whom are just plain reckless? Will this help - really? And what will be the 'success' criteria at the end? Sorry but this seems ill conceived from all angles.

Well, the reason why city council and staff are placing the priority on making Burrard Bridge safer is that there constant injuries on the Bridge caused by the substandard sidewalks. A woman was seriously injured in 1998 (I think that was the year). She sued the city and settled out of court for hundreds of thousands of dollars. If another cyclist is injured and sues, the payout would likely be higher.

There is a reason why cyclists are banned from most sidewalks in the province. Riding on the sidewalk is dangerous for both cyclists and pedestrians.

The bridge will also be safer for drivers. I heard of a terrifying incident where a woman driving over the bridge had to stop quickly to avoid hitting a cyclist that had been purposely been pushed off the sidewalk by a pedestrian in a fit off sidewalk rage. The woman had a child in the car and was terrified that she would be rear ended by someone going way over the speed limit, as is common on the bridge.

From:
http://www.straight.com/article-219696/ubc-study-finds-eight-cyclists-injured-five-months-burrard-span

"Teschke learned that eight adult cyclists were injured on Burrard Bridge between June and October 2008, and that the injuries were severe enough to require visits to the emergency departments of either St. Paul’s Hospital or Vancouver General Hospital."

“There may have been less severe injuries that did not require hospital visits, but our study does not include these,” Teschke added. “There may have been injuries to pedestrians, but they are also not included in our study"

Apparently the whole stroy rests on this one line:

"We're also encouraging people to call into radio talk shows and write to their newspapers in support of the Trial."

Can you finally stop pretending that you even closely come to resemble anything that has even an ounce of journalistic inegrity?

Richard,thanks for clarifying - I wonder though - sidewalk rage was likely caused by a reckless cyclists (there are plenty of them bobbing and weaving through slower cyclists on the bridge (folks like me - I'm no Lance). But are we not improving the safety of one group - cyclists - at the expense of another group - pedestrians who now must cross 28 lanes of traffic (I went out and counted today - I have no life) because the east sidewalk is closed. And if that is case is it not more likely now that a pedestrian will be injured and sue the city? Is that not then a 'wash' from a liability and safety perspective? I ride my bike over the bridge at a reasonable speed knowing there are pedestrians on one side and a precarious drop to the car traffic on the other. Can't everyone else do the same? I can't help but thinking the only reason this is being done is because we have no 'pedestrian' or 'automotive commuter' lobby groups - but we do have cycling lobby groups.

"Stay tuned for the launch of GregorsGridlock.com."

Stay tuned to see how out of touch this website actually is. Muckracking is one thing; fear-mongering, another. It's pretty obvious what you are up to.

Hey VanRamblings,
Do you see the irony in complaining about city caucus, when your own website has a head line story about "why you should vote for the NDP".
City Caucus and FrancesBula are apples and oranges.

If these guys ever suggested that they were journalists, rather than NPA shrills (hear hear!), I missed it.

The only thing more ridiculous is a pithless complaint like yours.

Do you leave a comment like that on everything the Bill Tieleman writes?

Glass house, missy.

How unusual that a political organization is encouraging supporters to contact the media.

The BC Liberals did this during the last election:
http://www.bcliberals.com/stop_the_ndp/write_your_local_newspaper/

Regarding the pedestrian rage, what I heard was that there was a long line of cyclists and the pedestrian got tired of waiting for them to pass so he just pushed the woman onto the road. What ever the "reason", attempted murder is wrong and it is also wrong to punish one person just because others that are using the same form of transportation behave irresponsibly. This type of thinking is the basis of racism and must be challenged at every opportunity.

Anyway, the protected lane trial will solve this issue and improve the safety of everyone on the bridge.

For those who don't care about the safety of other people and think that getting from point a to point b is more important, don't forget that when a crash occurs on the bridge, traffic will be held up for long periods of time due to the crash. Since you can't predict crashes, you will have no choice but to wait until the bridge is cleared. At least with the trial, you can chose another route if you believe their will be delays.

The Mayor has only six full time staff. A caucus made up of 10 elected officials. Over 9000 city employees at his disposal. A one person opposition. A full time communications department which just got $250K of additional resources to fight the PR campaign in support of the Burrard Bridge lane closure. Full access to the local media whenever he decides to come out of his "bubble."

Yes...I can see why the Mayor and his supporters are so concerned about the effect a small urban affairs blog run by volunteers might have on his precious plans for Burrard Bridge.

And even worse, are those that are trying to score cheap political points over a badly needed safety improvement. Give your head a shake. Surely you have more to offer the city than this.

"urban affairs blog run by volunteers"

who is a volunteer here? arent you paid by the 300K Sullivan raised?

Read the newspapers, listen to the TV and watch TV and count the number of car ads. It is not surprising that a good portion of the local media has a define pro-car anti-bike bias. Compared to the ad budgets of the auto industry, a $250,000 communications campaign is really small. Oh, and don't forget, with the auto bailouts, that is public money as well.

Another drive by smear...get your facts straight buddy. I haven't worked for Sullivan for almost a year. No whisper campaign or innuendo will change that reality. He really is your bogeyman isn't he?

I live in Toronto. I write only about Toronto. I've never worked for the NPA. My latest posts have been pro-union and pro-bike.

If you don't want to read my posts, that's totally cool with me. But CityCaucus has more than one or two points of view.

But why would you rhetorically ask if we're paid? You're not only being dishonest, you're being dishonourable.

Next time you have the balls to make such a bullshit assertion, sign it with your real name.

We'll have to discuss compensation at our next back room meeting with Sam at the Terminal City Club. Thanks for the tip.

I doubt the mayor has any concern for this blog, but the people you are trying to hoodwink might.

A lot of people put a lot of effort into finding a reasonable solution to a problem that has been around for years.

It's a commendable effort to improve the safety of citizens and move Vancouver towards becoming a greener city. It's amazing how far you'll go to undermine these efforts.

I too take exception to ad hominem attacks and try always to avoid questioning motives. But unfortunately it was Dr. Jang that began the name-calling in The Georgia Straight, labeling friends and former neighbours of mine in False Creek North irresponsible, reckless and troublesome.

I'm sure Councillor Jang is an honourable person. He should do the right thing and apologize for those intemperate remarks, and the rest of us should refrain from following his example.

This just in! Political parties, NGOs, non-profits, and corporations ask their supporters to be vocal on controversial issues to bolster support.

Stay tuned for more breaking news! We'll tell you about the frightening and worrisome trend of water hardening into a solid in your freezer and the ongoing campaign by the Earth and Moon to change our sea levels.... without public consultation!

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