The politics of cycling in Melbourne and Vancouver: Why the difference?
Our Melbourne correspondent wonders …
I was reading this article this morning and noticed the stark similarity between the (Melbourne) Herald Sun and the (Vancouver) Province… and then the completely opposite responses each would get by running a story like this.
“Like every policy slammed down the throats of Vancouver residents, the green-activist-dominated 2040 Transportation plan is entirely an attack on the car. It’s another example of Vision’s holier-than-thou attitude that they should dictate how the rest of us live. Many residents are sick of it.”
Then read the language in the poll question… “Do you support Vision Vancouver’s anti-car ideology?“ – and a look at the results: Yes. 83.48%
And here’s a sample of the comments (that show real names and their facebook identity/university/employer/occupation)
- “Hmmm. I get that this is an editorial but I’m so sick of the rhetoric. “Anit-car ideology” and “War on the Car”. Seriously, get over it. Fact is, traffic in this city is horrendous and we need to start looking at better options.”
- “The bridge that has more capacity than lanes that feed in to it.”
- “Vancouver’s transportation plan clearly says that pedestrians, cyclists and buses have priority over cars. This plan was adopted by an NPA majority council before the Vision party even existed.”
- “According to the poll, residents are “not sick of it,” and in fact support a cleaner, greener, healthier, and more active Vancouver. Nice try.”
Here’s a recent Herald Sun article with comments for comparison for Vancouver readers:
- What a JOKE. Why don’t we just re-introduce the horse and buggy and be done with it. More revenue raising, more inconvenience for drivers… one more reason to go to Chadstone or Doncaster or wherever… and clowns like Mr. Doyle say they want to encourage people to come into the City – Way to go, dude.
- Why not fix the actual problem and stop making it the car drivers problem all the time. Enforce fines on the cyclists that ride dangerously and focus on the many pedestrians that I have seen crossing the road inside the city well away from pedestrian crossings and who also walk down tram lines wearing their MP3′s and playing with their phones. The poor motorists are getting slugged everywhere yet the more vulnarable keep putting their own lives in danger and just expect motorists to see them and stop in time. Time to focus on the problem itself for a change.
- Can we just ban cars in the CBD and be done with it? I am so glad I live in the beautifully under regulated bayside suburbs and not the CBD!!
- Stop it please. Just leave everything alone.
Does anyone have any hypothesis?
I’m asking this because of the impact it has on the implementation of our policies and strategies. We have seen several cycling /transport projects abandoned or delayed here in the past few years. This ocurred after media reactions like the one above triggered a ministerial intervention. (St. Kilda Rd bike lanes, 40 kph speed limits). Other projects have tempered council’s enthusiasm for further implementation after media backlash (Albert Street bike lanes)
Do educated Vancouverites spend more time making constructive posts on newspaper websites than their Melbourne counterparts?
Does requiring internet users to post under their real identities make people think twice before posting reactionaly inflammatory comments? (Or does perceived anonymity bring out the inner troll in all of us?)
Was there a larger or smarter community engagement campaign around the transport agenda in Vancouver than for Melbourne?
Is this a result of differences in government planning instruments in Melbourne compared to the City of Vancouver.
Is this just reflective of the level of entrenched car culture in Vancouver and Melbourne? (Melbourne has quite a few freeways, and still plans for more)