Special Report: Bus Lane

Struggling to Understand Councillor VanderBeek's Bus Lane Vote

VanderBeek argued correctly that precipitous decisions should be avoided. Yet by voting to dismantle the current lane, she helped foreclose a number of options that might have been chosen after the kind of careful consideration she was calling for.

By Andrew Muller
Published January 22, 2015

I am a resident of Dundas and a constituent of Councillor Arlene VanderBeek. I have written to my councillor twice concerning the debate over maintaining the now-to-be-dismantled transit-only lane on King Street.

It is hard to express how disappointed I was in Councillor VanderBeek's vote to end the pilot experiment.

I watched the council debate last night. When VanderBeek spoke, I was very encouraged. She made cogent arguments about not fixing the perceived difficulties with the lane on the fly and about taking the time to carefully review the data accumulated from the experiment before deciding on the next steps to take.

I could agree with her arguments completely.

What I can't understand is how these arguments support dismantling the bus lane right now, a very short time before a major transit strategy report is to come before council and shortly before the Pan-American Games, which will generate a potentially very disruptive influx of traffic.

My councillor had before her a request that the bus lane be retained until after the Pan-Am Games, a staff recommendation that the bus lane be maintained, and a statement from the City's respected director of transit that the transit-only lane was good for transit.

VanderBeek argued correctly that precipitous decisions should be avoided. Yet by voting to dismantle the current lane, she helped foreclose a number of options that might have been chosen after the kind of careful consideration she was calling for.

Her vote was entirely inconsistent with her argument. As I said, I was extremely disappointed. I expected better.

Council has dug itself into a terrible hole with respect to public transit. It is nonsense to suggest that last night's vote was just about the pilot project and not about long-run transit issues.

Any serious intensification of public transit in downtown Hamilton is going to involve a dedicated right-of-way for transit vehicles. Yet any disinterested observer will conclude that the one big lesson to be drawn from the pilot experiment is that Hamilton cannot stomach a such a right of way.

I can think of no better way to discourage provincial support for our transit plans.

This article is adapted from a letter to Councillor VanderBeek.

Andrew Muller is a retired Professor of Economics, having taught at McMaster from 1972 to 2008. Professionally he specialized in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics and in Experimental Economics. Since retiring he has pursued many other interests. He lives in Dundas.

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By because (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2015 at 15:27:40

No legitimate reason to vote against it ergo, she's a shameless crook and or tyrant over the people, that's why she voted against it.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted January 27, 2015 at 17:41:30 in reply to Comment 108213

If that's true then she will be gone in 4 years. I suspect that most Dundas residents agree with getting rid of the bus only lane and her vote will help her get re-elected in 4 years. Time will tell.

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By AndrewMuller (registered) | Posted January 22, 2015 at 17:14:55 in reply to Comment 108213

I don't think we advance the cause much by being intemperate. Councillor VanderBeek has a good reputation in Dundas as helpful councillor who knows her way around City Hall. Better to have her onside or neutral than in the stop-the-LRT-at-any-cost camp. I hope she feels uncomfortable with the dissonance between her reasoning and her vote.

One catches more flies with honey than with vinegar. We need Councillor VanderBeek and all the other councillors to quickly affirm the City's commitment to improved transit through concrete action and not empty words.

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted January 22, 2015 at 22:03:52 in reply to Comment 108221

We have tried temperance, patience, kindness and it has failed us utterly. We are dealing with ignorance and insolence and arrogance. This sort eats temperate behaviour and shits it back in our own mouths. Time for them to eat some indigestible roughage. At least that won't taste as bad when they make us eat it later.

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By Stever (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2015 at 17:24:22 in reply to Comment 108221

"Councillor VanderBeek has a good reputation in Dundas as helpful councillor who knows her way around City Hall."

She's only been a councillor for 50 days!

I know you are likely contributing her time as Russ Powers EA into the good reputation, being helpful and knowing way around city hall comment. But from her swearing in she's only been the councillor for 50 days and this was her first big test to show she would break the mold set by the old time council/councillors.

Sorry, but the mold remains unbroken...

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted January 22, 2015 at 20:28:32 in reply to Comment 108222

50 days? Not even. She's been on vacation for half of them. I emailed her before Christmas and got an out of office, and then again last week and got the same out of office. I was surprised she made it back for the votes. When's she going on vacation next?

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By AndrewMuller (registered) | Posted January 22, 2015 at 18:03:48 in reply to Comment 108222

true enough... I was counting her time as EA to Russ Powers and relying on comments from friends who have been in Dundas longer than I. And true, this was her first chance to show some vision and she flubbed it. I think my point still holds, though. We need to speak to the best in people, not the worst. Perhaps we can get Arlene to follow the good example of Brenda Johnson.

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By Stever (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2015 at 19:10:33 in reply to Comment 108228

"flub" is what happens when you make a goof, i.e. "I flubbed on that shot." I don't think her vote should be considered a flub, she knew exactly what she was doing.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2015 at 18:11:11 in reply to Comment 108228

"Vanderbeek has played an active behind-the-scenes role for the past eight years as Powers’ executive assistant and as an assistant to previous Dundas councillor Art Samson, who won a 2004 by-election when Powers served as a Liberal Member of Parliament. Vanderbeek also served two terms on Dundas town council – the final two terms before municipal amalgamation."

hamiltonnews.com/news/vanderbeek-will-enter-race-for-dundas-council-seat/

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By because (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2015 at 17:38:26 in reply to Comment 108222

Like I said, tyrant. It's not hard to tell the authentic councillors from the hypocrites. Farr, Green, Murella, Pearson, Johnson, are genuine. The rest, including Esienberg, pay lip service, insincere individuals, don't care about masses or what's right.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2015 at 18:24:11

A.K.A. Arlene MacFarlane-Vanderbeek
cbc.ca/news2/canadavotes/riding/110/candidate.html?detectflash=false
flamboroughreview.com/news/macfarlane-vanderbeek-pondering-a-second-run/

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2015 at 18:31:40 in reply to Comment 108231

Preserve the past.

votearlene.com
goo.gl/XqkzSW

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted January 22, 2015 at 22:07:42 in reply to Comment 108233

This site is Flash enhanced and is best viewed with a Version 4+ Browser at a resolution of 800 x 600.

Wahahaha. I wonder who paid for her website dev course?

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By JWilbur (registered) | Posted January 30, 2015 at 21:38:33

It was depressing enough to see how few of the hacks we dropped in the last election in Hamilton. To now see that we've added another in VanderBeek! I agree with Andrew Muller completely, her words and actions in the Council Chamber made NO sense. What have we got to look forward to from her? Not much!

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