October 27, 2017

What does this man see?

When I look at Hornby Street, or Adanac, or West 10th – and especially the Burrard Bridge -I see cyclists.  Hundreds of them.  And walkers.  And runners.  Maybe it’s me, but I see the people of a healthy, happy city.  What does Steffan Ileman see?
He sees an absolute mess – according to this story in ‘Vancouver is Awesome.’

Hornby Street is an “absolute mess,” the West End is “a ghetto,” Pacific Street is a “nightmare” and Granville Street is a “big problem.”
Indeed, Steffan Ileman is all bike laned out. … Ileman has launched an online petition calling on Horgan to immediately halt the construction of bike lanes on 10th Avenue, specifically around Vancouver General Hospital. He’s also suggesting that any bike lane construction be decided upon by way of referendum only. …
Ileman’s current petition effort is not his first. In July he launched a similar exercise calling for all bike lanes and Mobi bike rental stations near the Burrard Street Bridge and Pacific Street to be removed. His suggests replacing parking stalls with Mobi bike share stations is a “travesty.” More than 3,500 people backed his previous petition.

I get that he’s been inconvenienced as a driver, West End resident and user of VGH.  That comes with construction. But does he not see the results?  Does he think they could all be accommodated on streets with only sidewalks and traffic lanes and parking spots, each competing with others for space, making everyone’s lives more competitive, frustrating and dangerous.
Leaving aside motivations, I wonder whether he and those who sign his petition don’t actually see what I see.  The people of a happy, healthy city.

Photos by Ken Ohrn


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  1. This ill man should be forced to watch Stop a Douchebag videos – there must be a thousand. The Stopham wrestler one is particularly satisfying; the Stopham diplomatic threat one is apropos as it shows bike share users in Moscow.

  2. His entire world view is threatened by the proliferation of these bike lanes. It’s an attack on normality itself. He’s on a mission. This…grown people biking everywhere…this simply isn’t how we’re supposed to live. Good people have to step up and stop it.
    It sucks and is extremely annoying, but there are a lot more just like him. Their entitlement will die screaming for a very long time.

    1. I wonder what his response would be when a vehicular cyclist tells him that “bike lanes are just letting the cars win.”
      Maybe that’s too advanced for him though.

      1. Actually, he did find John Forester’s work and has published it extensively on his website:
        Here is his credit:
        Thanks to cycling expert John Forester, who has been arguing against bike lanes for years. John’s book Effective Cycling includes a section which explains the hazards of bike lanes. Effective Cycling is the textbook for Can-Bike Skills and Effective Cycling classes.
        John Forester’s work does have some good tips for safe cycling, but it is very unfortunate that he has almost single handedly set back cycling in North America by about 50 years. And he is still beating this dead horse as he was a speaker at a mobility conference in Davis recently. Luckily, he has few acolytes in Vancouver, but Steffan Ileman appears to be a new convert..

        1. His website is hilarious. It states that the bike lanes are disproportionate to the size of the vehicle right under a picture of a narrow bike lane.
          The whole thing is based on multiple things that aren’t true that anyone who’s followed things can easily pick it apart.
          His advice for those not wanting to cycle in motor traffic is to take a course and then they’ll be okay. I wonder if how this guy will feel when all those people currently out of his way are in front of his car, confidently cycling in front of him.
          The quotes from John Forester are misguided since AAA cycling infrastructure isn’t intended for those who are confident (or numbed to) cycling in motor traffic.
          The whole website is a crazy fantasy land where the beautiful walkable neighbourhood of the West End is actually a ghetto. Insane.
          It’s understandable that some people would like to turn back the clock and go back to a time when there were fewer people out there being in their way and they could drive anywhere easily. I don’t blame them for wanting to go back to that time. It’s sad that they’re blaming a solution and claiming it’s the cause. I suppose it’s attractive to find an easy answer to something that is difficult.
          But you know, Rob Ford campaigned on similar topics and got voted in by gullible people in the suburbs. I wonder if this guy is really just wanting to get into politics. The thing though in Vancouver is that there are very few people that solely drive. Most people have experience taking transit and walking and biking. He might not get very far.

        2. Some days I would like to back to the past! That was when cycling was king and cars were not around.
          But wait, that is when the Beehive burners lining False Creek were belching choking smoke and cinders around the City.
          The good old days are always a selective illusion.

  3. I’m sorry that the reporter at VC exaggerated the story to make it more sensational. I can live with the prolonged trip to VGH, and I’m not a disabled person using health facilities on 10th Avenue, they don’t really matter to me personally as they do to thousands of other people. but many who wrote to me asked me to stand up for their rights. The bane of my existence is not really bike lanes, it’s our fake democracy where politicians do things at a whim without asking the people, for political mileage. If you don’t give a damn about disabled and old people or thousands of cars lining up to go on the bridge and burn gallons of extra fuel polluting downtown, because you want your exclusive roads, I don’t blame you. I’d love to have my own exclusive road too. By the way, the hate campaign some of you started on the Internet has been taken care of, because some people don’t like their websites being used to propagate personal insults and hate messages by people who are incapable of intellectual debates.

    1. Hi Stephan:
      Thanks for responding. The city consulted very extensively with the public and with all the health providers along 10th Ave. Also with senior advocates and other stakeholders. I also participated as a citizen. It is incorrect to state that this was done by politicians on a whim and without asking people. It is, in fact, an insult to all those who participated to help to make this project as good as it could be. Even tree advocated were part of the process. Sure, on street parking spaces were removed but increased drop off zones were added and surface parking was added near Ash/10th. Also, we shouldn’t forget about all the workers and patients who arrive by bike, including me and I am one of the old people you mention.
      I assume your comment about “exclusive roads” refers to bike lanes. But you seem to accept the vast network of exclusive roads for those who walk. And the complete network of roads which are devoted to motor vehicles. Don’t you see that when safe and convenient facilities are provided for walking and cycling that more people use these modes and that less people use cars? Imagine if all the trips made by bike were made by car. Is that what you wish for? Why would anyone wish for complete gridolck?.
      The current configuration for 10th Ave did not work well for anyone. I am sure that the new configuration will be seen as a vast improvement by a majority of people who use this corridor.
      I can’t think of any great cities that have cars as the only mode of transportation. Great cities always provide mobility choices which results in a transportation network which is safe and convenient for everyone.

  4. A constant and senseless traffic mess while all the space reserved for bikes pouring tons of ugly expensive concrete runs empty 9 months out of the year to appease green freaks. All drivers and cyclists could have been accommodated easily without this insult to human intelligence. Shelley Fralic, rest in peace.

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