Putting Cars Before People is One Big Snow Job


photo credit Andyscamera

It has been over a week since Toronto got hit with two feet of snow, but the bike lanes are still impassable. That's because the city decided to plough the roads (pushing it into the bike lanes) but not remove the snow to save money and let mother nature melt it away, and while it was warm for a day or two, it is now cold again and the bike lanes are filled with ice. The sidewalks are patchy, because the city doesn't do them, citizens are supposed to, even though they are on city property. The City pays lip service to promoting walking and biking, but when the crunch comes, we all know who gets the bucks and the service- the drivers. Chris Hume of the Toronto Star put it much better:


Photo Credit Laurie Mcgregor

"...Snow clearing has become another powerful reminder of the extent to which we have handed over the city and much of its public space to private interests.

The main object of concern last Sunday was the driver, who, incidentally, was constantly told to stay home because road conditions were so dangerous. The best way to get around was by foot, but sidewalks wouldn't be cleared for more than a day. So on the one day when people were forced to walk, they couldn't.

The point, of course, is not that we shouldn't devote tens of millions of dollars plowing highways and roads, but how willingly, unquestioningly, we spend that rarest of government resources, public money, for the exclusive benefit of one segment of the population. This is unfair, unbalanced and undemocratic. Drivers may represent a large, even a very large, segment of society, but there's more to us than that.

And when this attitude is played out over and over again, it leads to the situation we find ourselves in today, namely the surrender of the public to the private.

As long as everyone can afford the price of entry, few worry about the trend. But as the gap between rich and poor widens, and as the loss of the public realm in all its manifestations continues apace, the inequalities will make silence harder to buy. ::The Star

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