Friday, July 22, 2011

I wish NPA Candidate Mike Klassen would answer questions.

I always enjoyed reading Mike Klassen's blog, City Caucus. Sometimes it was funny.  I never forgot the picture he ran of Mayor Robertson hiding under a desk.   But now that Klassan is running for City Council under the NPA banner, I wish he would answer questions.

I heard CKNW's Mike Smythe interview Klassan today for the second time, and both times he avoided answering questions.  Today Klassan criticized Mayor Robertson for "talking out of both sides of his mouth".  Klassan took the position that while Robertson was an MLA, he was a crusader for Cambie St. business owners who lost revenue when rapid transit was under construction on their door steps, but in his current role as mayor, Robertson doesn't seem to be too concerned about the Hornby St. business owners who lost over $2 million in revenue when a bike lane was rammed through.  Smythe asked Klassan if he would compensate those business owners.  Klassan wouldn't say yes or no.

In a previous interview with Smythe, Klassan was criticizing Mayor Robertson over the Hornby St. bike lane. Smythe asked him if he would get rid of the lane.  Klassan wouldn't say yes or no.
If Rob Ford were running in Vancouver, he would have a straight answer for both those questions.


Mike Klassen said...

DTES Inquirer,

Thanks for taking note of my words and of my candidacy for city council. I've been reading your blog off and on going back years.

To your points... First, when Mike Smyth asked me if I supported taxpayer compensation for bike lane affected businesses I was pretty direct and said "no".

I did point out to CKNW listeners that Gregor Robertson made political hay out of business disruptions on Cambie Street during Canada Line construction. He even put forward a private member's bill which proposed millions in taxpayer compensation. When it comes to millions in lost sales and profits by downtown businesses (labelled by Vision as "moderate" losses), well, predictably the Mayor is silent (just like he is now to those same Cambie businesses).

As to whether I'd rip out the lanes, my answer was I want the mitigation strategy to be implemented immediately first. There are several "hot zones" identified by staff which have created problems for commuters and street level small businesses. It's believed with changes that the lanes can be less of a disruption, and be more positive for all commuters.

This way we won't throw $3 million in tax dollars (spent on Hornby alone) out the window, and cause even more disruptions (remember that despite this being a "trial" lane the city installed them with buried concrete & rebar).

If, after all attempts have been made to mitigate the problems fail, then we'll have to look at changes. I'd be in favour of options such as changing the route itself, or altering the form of the lane (to be more like those in European cities), before there is any decision to pull them out. I think the majority of the public support some kind of dedicated downtown bike routes, but they want to be heard before dropping them in front of businesses and residences.

The NPA has a long tradition of building and supporting first-rate bike infrastructure. The hierarchy of pedestrians, cyclists, transit users before single occupancy vehicles became city policy under NPA governance. We put hundreds of lane kilometres of bike routes across the city and you never had people shouting at each other the way they do now under Vision Vancouver.

The reason is simple: we listened to the public first and heard their ideas and didn't just ram it through. It's the arrogance of Vision which has caused so much aggravation, not that we want more transportation options.

I'm sure I said the above on Mike's show, though I didn't have time to go into detail on mitigation strategies.

I hope you enjoy your summer break, and look forward to your writing picking back up in the fall. That's when all of us will be focusing on the race toward the finish line on November 19th.


Mike Klassen
NPA Candidate for City Council

Gölök Zoltán Buday said...

The lanes are abomination. But it's a shame this issue, like forced psychiatry got little time. There should be no join NPA record should there?
Jang (Psych) never got asked about Sean Bickerson's forced psych sentiments sadly. School Trusty Woo (Psych) either.

Mad Pride!

MindFreedom Vancouver, BC