I was quite confused when I saw five City workers painting a lane on the road before I turn into my side street in Mountview. At first I thought to myself ‘great, they are redoing the painted centre lines’, but when I realized they were in fact painting bike lanes throughout the area I was extremely surprised. I had a similar reaction to the exercise parks in Red Deer.
Bike lanes in a city are the biggest waste of taxpayer dollars, particularly in this economy and when we have tax increases to pay for these absurd “upgrades” to the City works. The outdoor exercise parks are no better and here’s why.
What percentage of the public rides their bike to work? What percentage of the City goes to the gym, holds a gym membership or walks the neighbourhoods to get to the grey parks on a regular basis? I figure about one 1% ride bikes to work, which is a high estimate. The gym, maybe 10%. So who in their right mind would spend ridiculous amounts of money to put bike lanes in a city to accommodate 1% of the population?
The exercise parks I assure you are not utilized by the 10% that go to the gym either, that’s why they go to the gym! I spend five to six hours per week in the gym and consider myself a bit of a healthy guy. I’ve been on these parks and if I spent 10 hours a day on them I may break a sweat. I’m sorry City council, but they are not designed to make anyone more fit. The lever systems practically make you lift nothing and I would never recommend any of my patients to attain their daily exercise on those contraptions. You need weight bearing resistance to get fit, period. They are fun for my four, five and 10-year-old to play on. I say they are extravagant kiddie parks.
I have three children. I’m young and our family is active — we run, bike and walk to the park a lot. I am sorry to say that I would never ever tell my children to use the bike lanes in our City. It’s dangerous and just a matter of time when a cyclist will get clipped by an oilfield truck with the turning radius of the Exxon Valdez. Instead I would tell them to use the other bike lane, directly adjacent to the painted one. I like to call these other bike lanes sidewalks. Council painted bike lanes beside sidewalks. What the heck is wrong with that picture? Cyclists are treated as moving vehicles, not pedestrians and these bike lanes are going to get someone hurt.
I know council probably thought, “Hey lets get the City more fit so lets add these upgrades so people will use them.” That’s like saying “Lets grow more spinach so people will eat more and get healthy.” I think they are missing the point. Not to mention at best you have six months to use these two expensive wastes of money.
Does anyone on council go biking or to parks in winter? Maybe these would be a good idea in Florida where it is always sunny but not Red Deer, Alberta. Between rain and snow, I figure 75-80 days a year at most of actual usage.
Spending this kind of money for less than 1% of the population is illogical and fiscally irresponsible.
Don’t even get me started on the $750,000 for the green water tower ‘upgrade’.
Dr. Chris Senko