Tuesday, November 07, 2006

As the americans go to the polls

(If you're looking for the petition, keep scrolling, it's the next post down).

Hi everyone, this is just a short note because I'm preoccupied today with the American elections, a prof who has given an assignment that I'm not sure is possible for her students to do, and a class I'm teaching this afternoon....
BUT -
A thought on what this petition is all about. Ideally, yes I'd like to encourage more people to get on their bikes, and somehow reward those of us who are already biking while our neighbours fly by in their steel-cans. Perhaps more importantly though, I'd like to force the government's hand and have them enact legislation that would more or less say "Our preferred way for Canadians to travel is by bike and public transit."
Whatever this petition evolves into, I hope that it will go some way towards legitimizing cycling as a means of transit.

So what will this petition evolve into?

Maybe it'll be the tax credit it is so far aimed at. Maybe it will be something like this British Scheme. Maybe we'll decide to aim at penalizing drivers instead of rewarding cyclists.

But whatever, let's keep talking and see what comes out of it. Maybe we'll have several petitions.

Aside from the comments below the petition post (to the gentleman/woman who wrote the lengthy 10th comment, thank you so much for the work, but being a mathematical moron it's going to take me a couple reads to digest all that) I've had a couple emails from the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition and I'll cobble together their ideas at the bottom here.

And... I'm all for dissenting opinions. But there is a way to point out flaws in a constructive way rather than an antagonistic way. Some of us are trying to build something here, if you want to scoff, do it on your own blog.

Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition
I agree with the spirit of the petition, but think it would be quite
difficult to implement.

I agree with Andrew in that it might be wise to look at the larger picture
of car subsidies.

What might be more effective is to encourage Canada to institute legislation
similar to the California Parking Cash-out law of 1992 which forces
companies offering "free parking" to employees to provide rebates to those
employees using transit, cycling or walking to get to work. For example, at
UBC, employees get parking subsidized to the tune of $60 per month while
"greener" employees get nothing.

We then should then get governments to institute some sort of user pay
scheme for using the roads. It is estimated that each car in the GVRD is
subsidized to the tune of $3000 to $6000 dollars. If one includes future
costs related to global warming, I think the figure of $6000 is ridiculously
low. How do you price a planet?

Imagine how many people would then switch to cycling!

I would rather see a greater tax on driving than tax cuts for cyclists. I
like to think of cyclists as paying their way. But of course I would support
the spirit of the petition, and would like to support the efforts of others
to make cycling more attractive.

The only think I would like to see change in the wording is the statement
that cycling is "far more worthy" of a tax cut than transit. (Why isn't he
comparing his tax cut to "free parking", etc?) This is too much of a value
statement.

I like the idea and think it's definitely something we should support. That
said, I would probably do a bit of editing to the text. I'll see if I have
time in the next day or two to take a shot at it. But in principle, what do
others think?

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