It happened again today: someone mentioned that if only we hadn’t spent so much on bike lanes, we could afford to fund … (fill in blank).  In this case, repairing the Lost Lagoon fountain.

Bikeways, greenways, any way but roadways, have become for some a rhetorical measurement of waste, kind of like the fast ferries.  Such examples are typically fodder for the Right.  (Try googling “Bateman poodle.”)  These days, Trump has given the Left equal opportunity: (Google “Mar-a-Lago cost-per-trip, Meals-on-Wheels.”)

Here’s a local example:

City councillor Melissa DeGenova said Saturday that at a rally earlier in the week she heard from many residents along that stretch who don’t want to pay the money (to bury utility lines on Point Grey Road) , and are upset the sidewalk expansion is happening at all. They believe the money could be better spent elsewhere, such as affordable housing for homeless or improvements to the Downtown Eastside …

Too much to ask residents of some of the most expensive property in Canada to spend $80,000 per house – but really they were objecting to the cost of the PGR sidewalk rebuild in the first place.

By the way, how much was that?

Up to $6.4 million.

Sound like a lot?  Let’s compare:

6 MILLION

Dollars spent to maintain the bridges this winter

This winter had more snow and storms than most, with 22 days of snowfall on the Port Mann Bridge. TI Corp, which maintains and operates the bridge, spent about $5 million to operate the cable collar system on the Port Mann Bridge. Last winter, the cost to operate the system was $300,000.

To repeat: TCI “spent about $5 million to operate the cable collar system on the Port Mann Bridge.”

Note that that was only a one-time operating cost, not a permanent capital improvement like Point Grey Road.  But it does make for a handy new unit of measurement: The Port Mann Ice Removal Parameter.

For instance: Phase 2 of the Point Grey greenway cost one and a quarter PMIRs.

And this counter-lament: ‘If only the Port Mann Bridge had been designed properly, we could have spent the money filling in the gaps in the regional bike network.’

Or we could continue to use poodles: