Cyclists slam NPA candidate Ken Charko over seasonal bike lanes proposal
Dunbar Theatre owner and Non-Partisan Association council candidate Ken Charko believes “bikes are not our Field of Dreams“ where you “build it and they will come”.
“That’s not how you do things, and it’s not how the NPA or Ken Charko does things,” Charko told the Straight by phone. “I will not build things and hope they will come. What I will do is I’ll build it up like I do a small business. You build revenue and then the people up, and then you build the infrastructure to accommodate it.”
In a recent opinion piece, Charko suggested separated downtown bike lanes should revert to being “seasonal”, with on-street metered parking taking their place in the winter months—October 1 to March 31—to offset the costs associated with the lane switch.
Long-time cycling activist and 2002 Green council candidate Richard Campbell told the Straight that cycling in Vancouver “is a year-round activity”.
“There are certainly a lot of people using the separated bike lanes today, during Bike to Work Week,” Campbell said on November 2. “The separation is probably even more important in dark and rainy weather, when visibility is worse and it’s darker out.”
Campbell suggested Charko try cycling in the stencilled Burrard Street bike lane in the downtown core, where cyclists have a parking lane to their right and traffic to the left. He said this is the next-available north-south downtown route if the Hornby Street lane is put out of commission for any period of time.
“I doubt he’d like it [Burrard], and he’d probably become a quick supporter of the Hornby lane,” Campbell said.
Coalition of Progressive Electors park board candidate and West End–based cycling parent Brent Granby called the seasonal lane proposal “problematic”.
“[Colombian walking and cycling advocate] Gil Peñalosa said, when he came here to Vancouver, that the ideal physical infrastructure that you need for cyclists has to be safe for an 80-year-old and an eight-year-old,” Granby told the Straight. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable riding with my 11-year-old on Dunsmuir, if we didn’t have a bike lane there in the wintertime.”
Charko said he supports cycling, but stands by the NPA’s election promise of a moratorium on new separated bike lanes downtown.
“That just seems to resonate with so many people that I’m talking with, and not only people that are in cars—also people that are on bikes,” Charko said. “I can’t mention how many times I’ve heard people on bikes say, ‘Why did they do it like that?’ ”