Today would be one of those days when it must suck to be a municipal planner on cycling issues.
The first session of the Cycling in Ontario Symposiums at Velo-city Global 2012 here in Vancouver went a bit off the rails when some members of the audience let fire at the five municipal planners who had made presentations about the projects and programs in their areas.
Among the voices from the audience was Gil Penalosa of the Toronto-based 8-80 Cities. Penalosa, the closest thing Ontario has to Danish urban architect Jan Gehl, isn't afraid to speak his mind, and accused the planners of timidity in their thinking: Ontario is growing fast, he said, and "we don't have much time to think; we have to do. We have to be bold and ambitious."
The planners, who had discussed their intentions for bike lanes, bike boxes and other bicycle infrastructure programs, seemed a bit taken aback.
Several other audience members spoke up, including Valerie Watson, from the Los Angeles urban architectural firm Melendrez, who added to the sense of urgency by telling the planners to get something on the ground, and then build it out from there, rather than waiting to meet all the potential future needs: "Colonize the space on the road." Once the colony is planted, expand it from there.
Good sentiments, although really, it is the elected officials who need to hear them.