Homeless in Vancouver: Why not close the Burrard Street Bridge for yoga?

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      Are people really annoyed that Vancouver’s Burrard Street Bridge will be closed to cars on the morning of Sunday, June 21, for seven hours, from 4 a.m. until 11 a.m. or is something else bugging them?

      Are they only annoyed that the bridge will be closed to stage a huge yoga class, to celebrate the International Day of Yoga (IDY).

      I ask because (and correct me if I’m wrong) the very same Sunday, for seven hours, from Noon to 7 p.m., stretches of both Commercial Drive and Main Street will also be closed off to cars as part of the 11th annual Car Free Day in Vancouver.

      What if it was called Car Free Day on Burrard Street (Bridge)?

      Car Free Day, in fact, begins the day before, on Saturday, June 20, when part of the West End, from Davie Street to Denman Street, will be blocked of for six hours between noon and 6 p.m.

      The Kitsilano neighbourhood (being extra special) will apparently celebrate Car Free Day with various little block parties spread over both June 20 and 21.

      Why haven’t I heard a single peep of complaint about any of these closures?

      If it had been branded under the umbrella of all the other Car Free Day events happening the same weekend (he asks rhetorically), would people be more accepting of the Burrard Street Bridge yogathon?

      Or are people really just pissed (he asks rhetorically) about the whiff of privilege and entitlement coming off the Burrard Street Bridge closure?

      Vancouverites are so cute with their whole “my entitlement is bigger than your entitlement”. Do the people who are complaining feel that someone else is getting special treatment?

      The way that I see it, a bunch of people are going to have the “privilege” of laying down on the hot asphalt of the Burrard Street Bridge under the blazing sun, like cookies in a Easy Bake oven powered by a 100-watt incandescent light bulb. And while they are baking, they will be sitting ducks for every pigeon and seagull and—should there be anything like a cooling breeze—it will be wafting off of a False Creek potentially so contaminated by E. coli that if I was one of these yogis, I would be breathing through scuba gear.

      Personally, I think the yogis are making quite a noble personal sacrifice and I wouldn’t want to be in their place for money. I thank them for their effort to remove a piddling amount of car exhaust from Vancouver’s air and I wish them well.

      If anyone wants me on June 21, I will be in the Fairview neighbourhood celebrating No Parking Day and preparing myself for the giant upcoming Kitsilano block party of Greek Day 2015, which takes place the next weekend, on Sunday, June 28, when West Broadway will be blocked off to cars between Macdonald Street and Blenheim Street for 10 glorious hours between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. to make room for upwards of 100,000 happy people.

      See you there.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer. Follow Stanley on Twitter at @sqwabb.




      Jun 8, 2015 at 8:20pm

      Homeless but owns a cell phone and computer... entitled?


      Jun 8, 2015 at 8:42pm

      the reason people are cheesed off is because it's being closed for two companies that donated large sums of money to the Premier - also is it ethically appropriate to close a bridge for such a event? it's not a side street, or park - its a major transportation link needed and used by thousands. Your examples are not comparable - those are community events, long standing with no political affiliation not politically motivated and do not require bridge closures. This weekend many large events are occurring in Vancouver including the Women s World Cup. Sometimes I think the Premier has rocks in her head and incapable of rational thinking or behaviour. Go to a damn park for petes sake!

      Bobbie Bees

      Jun 8, 2015 at 9:53pm

      Do these people think that just because they pay property tax in the city of Vancouver that they're entitled to use the city streets as they see fit?
      Everyone knows that streets are for cars.
      Car drivers pay an imaginary gas tax so therefore the municipal funded roads really belong to them and them alone.
      No one else.

      ali said

      Jun 8, 2015 at 10:08pm

      Car free day on Burrard on Sunday, on Georgia on Monday, on Granville on Tuesday... How about perpetual holiday in Vancouver 365 for all... and of course, free money for all!

      Ewart Aitken

      Jun 8, 2015 at 11:24pm

      I love your spin on the burrard bridge yoga celebration. Pigeons crapping, hot asphalt. Why not move it to Vanier Park? Goose poo perhaps? I was pissed because Preimier Clark was getting media from it. Between our Premier and Mayor Moonbeam Vancouver has been on a steady spiral downwards. Love the car free days sadly so many people drive their cars to them!

      Kat Norris

      Jun 8, 2015 at 11:35pm

      There is being organized a celebration to support National Aboriginal Day. in one day more than 200 people have signed up. National Aboriginal Day is barely given a blip on via media much less government bodies. It's not only an event to support fracking companies and to suck up to a potentially financially viable nation, but also insulting to the Indigenous people, fighting fracking and fighting for recognition.


      Homeless, you are wrong

      Jun 9, 2015 at 12:41am

      People are pissed for good reason.
      This has nothing to do with 'entitlement', but is rooted in the inappropriate venue for this use. Yoga is a discipline based in health. A park would be more suitable, and there is a large, world class park just down the road.
      Closing the bridge for foot and cycling use would have been acceptable.
      This is just stupid grandstanding, courtesy of our stupid Premier.

      Poodlecock Expressway

      Jun 9, 2015 at 2:38am

      I like anything that pisses drivers off. Bike lanes, street closures, people smart enough to understand that owning a car in this city is not necessary, buses, translink, parking fees, gas prices, you name it. I am guessing you might read vancity buzz, and if so, you know what those people who comment on their articles are like, they are downright disgusting and uncivilized with their hatred and stupidity. So yeah, close the bridge for hours. Better yet, close it altogether. I have no sympathy for these suburbanite wankers who think they are above the rest of us just because we know that there is no need for a car in this city and they dont.

      Jamie Cook

      Jun 9, 2015 at 7:22am

      In response to Poodlecock Expressway. Vancouver like every other major urban center it not self sustaining it relies on major arteries and railways to bring in thousands upon thousands truckloads of food and supplies every year to sustain it. Should anything ever happen to the rail and road infrastructure you would witness the full horror that these shortages would bring in a very short period of time. People like myself commute to escape your over crowed and polluted city. Yes I say close all the bridges and highways and see how well you make out. If you want a lesson in history try reading this link it will give you an idea just what it takes to sustain a city like yours. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Blockade
      You Can keep it.

      Alfredo Saucier

      Jun 9, 2015 at 9:15am

      Hey would there be any support out there for a day free from deluded vote whores dancing to mariachi on puppet strings pretending that what they are doing passes for leadership?