Last Friday I experienced an epic ride. The route was one I’ve traveled for years but this time it was different. This time when I rode from Valleycliffe to the Highlands there were over 200 people with me for Squamish’s first ‘Slow Ride’.
It was a perfect event in every way. True, some motorists were put out, but the highway was clogged anyway so the delay was no more than what is usual these days. But this event isn’t about ticking off motorists, in a way, this is for the motorists benefit. Cars don’t want pedestrians on the road and vice versa, but for decades pedestrians have had no choice.
So with frustration levels at an all time high the community came out in force for the Slow Ride. The turnout was especially outstanding considering it snowed that day and rained moments before. Even so, more than 200 people from 18months to 78 years came out on every kind of bike imaginable to ride our highway.
The thing that struck me most? For the first time in my bike commuting life, I felt safe in Squamish. I never truly knew just how much my brain has to cringe every time I leave the house, especially with my kids in the back. This realization was the cause of great jubilation followed by great anger.
Decades! Decades Squamish residents have been forced to live with life threatening connectivity issues. Yet a few weeks ago the Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon had the gall to write the paper saying we’ll never have an incredibly cool water corridor. No surprise, few would expect a Provincial Liberal Minister to give anything progressive to Squamish. But the kicker was his reason: safety concerns.
Excuse me? Did I get this right? Mr. Falcon is concerned about highway safety in Squamish? Now, a lying politician is such a cliché so let’s give Mr. Falcon the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s incompetent, insane or completely ignorant as to the safety concerns of the community that is dissected by the 99.
The “See Them Die Highway” got its name for a reason and each and every person that has been forced to walk to school, work, or errands knows that reason intimately. At a time when all three levels of government are making a stink over wanting people to exercise it is impossible for anyone to get around our community without a car. Again, are they lying or incompetent?
At this moment many fingers are crossed so we can see the long awaited corridor trail. But even so the highway will most likely remain deadly as ever with twice as many cars going through twice as fast with very limited east west connections.As for the Slow Ride I want to thank Paul Demers for his orgizational work and of course the RCMP. I certainly look forward to the next one, but even more, I look forward to the day when we don't have to do this anymore.