The stop-light pitch

Here is a stop-light pitch for candidates for City Councillor, a one-line cycling policy.

The spending of transportation dollars on more roads for cars instead of more facilities for cyclists (and our close cousins, pedestrians)  is near and dear to me.  I am a member of two cycling advocacy groups. And I have been known to promote my favorite projects. And I continue to live a car-free life.

So at a get-together earlier this year with cycling advocates, we talked about what should be in a cycling platform that could be offered to candidates running for election at City Council to endorse.

The resultant shopping list was long, detailed, lengthy, highly specific, interminable, wordy, and did I say long? No matter how prospicient, it was too damn long.

KISS: I prefer a keep-it-short, keep-it-simple approach, for kandidates-who-are-stu… oops, better not go there. Anyway, here is a selling pitch that keeps it short and simple. Every candidate should be able to memorize it:

“[Candidate _____ ] pledges to favour immediately increasing the cycling budget to x% of the next transportation/city budget.
The fine print: This is for new cycling initiatives such as off-road paths and improvements to existing roads as part of the cycling plan. It is in addition to the required spending on bringing cycling facilities up to standard in cases of new or major-rebuilt road infrastructure.
It should be obvious that a number needs to be inserted in place of the “X”. Being innumerate, I don’t know what that number should be. But I am sure any number of cycling keeners will provide it: 2%?  2.5%  3%? And which budget should be chosen?

Once the number is put in the phrase, I think even some of the flat-tired candidates could remember that pledge. Leave the details for spending the money for later.

One thought on “The stop-light pitch

  1. A problem with promising an increase in the budget for cycling is that is it vague and wishy-washy. Citizens for Safe Cycling is putting out a platform and asking candidates to comment on it. Having looked at the draft, I can say that I support everything in the platform – how could I not? It all makes sense. As for how much of the budget should be attached to the platform, I can say right away that the big ticket items like pedestrian bridges will be problematic. But that isn’t to say they can’t be done. The money for many of the other “fixes” can come from the roads infrastructure budget, especially simple things like paving and fixing grates. The education component can come from that aspect of the larger budget. You just have to be willing to look for the money and the means of accomplishing the goals. You can’t throw up your hands and say “it’s only important to a few people so why do it”. Remember when people were averse to changing design to accommodate disabled people? And now, we all love the accommodations, even as able bodied people. It will be the same with cycling – we just have to keep pressing the point.

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