Special Report: Transit

Ferguson's Stereotyping Hurts Hamilton's Ability to Learn

When a civic leader is so arrogant and prejudiced against another country that he flatly refuses to acknowledge that country's successes, our city as a whole inevitably ends up poorer for it.

By Ryan McGreal
Published February 03, 2016

This article has been updated.

This week's serving of patrician bigotry comes courtesy of Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who can't imagine how we might ever have anything to learn from some dirty South American city. You can watch the exchange, which occurred during the February 1, 2016 General Issues Committee meeting on the HSR Ten Year Budget, courtesy of The Public Record:

Transit Director Dave Dixon began his presentation on funding the HSR Ten Year Strategy with a well-known quote from Enrique Peñalosa, the former - and current - mayor of Bogota, Colombia: "A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars, it's where the rich use public transportation."

After Dixon's presentation, Councillor Ferguson challenged him on the quote.

Ferguson: Dave, when you quoted the mayor of Bogota at the start of your quote, was that Bogota, Colombia?

Dixon: That's correct, through the Chair, yes.

Ferguson: That's a place where only wealthy people - at least when I was there - the only wealthy people in Colombia are drug lords.

Dixon: Eh-heh, so, it's a - he was a, he's an interesting man, he was pretty - since you asked me, I'm gonna take it. No, through the Chair, I really don't know a lot about Bogota, it's an eight million, roughly an eight million population. It's very progressive, it's very progressive on bikes, um, as well. You know, his belief was a three hundred dollar bike should be equally valued as much as a thirty thousand dollar car in terms of movement through. He was, uh, long before Paris France did it this summer, he closed down the whole city and had a car-free day. Um, so he's a pretty progressive thinker. Depending on your perspective.

Ferguson: When I was in Colombia, all I saw was chickens riding the buses, and just like you see in Romancing The Stone, they have, uh, people riding on the roof, and, uh, anyhow, it just seemed like a backwards country to be benchmarking off of.

Dixon: So maybe -

Ferguson: Just to be humorous.

[Off-mic booing, calls for "order"]

Chair: I think we'll give Councillor Ferguson an opportunity to -

Ferguson: Give me a - lighten up, guys, it was supposed to be funny.

Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Green gave what is perhaps the best response to Ferguson's comments later in the meeting, when he said: "If you want to make jokes about stereotypes, don't."

Learning From Bogota

Bogota is a fascinating city. Like Dixon, I don't know that much about it and unlike also like Ferguson I have not been there, but for years I have been interested in the innovative changes that city has been making for its residents.

That sweeping change began under Antanas Mockus, who was mayor from 1995 to 1998, and accelerated under the leadership of Peñalosa, who was mayor from 1998 to 2001 and was just re-elected last year for the 2016-2019 term.

During his first term, Peñalosa established the Transmilenio bus rapid transit system, which has grown to 144 stations and almost 100 km of dedicated bus lanes and carries over two million people a day. He also started the City's 300 kilometre network of bicycle paths, which carries 400,000 rides a day.

Recognizing that the City had a real shortage of high-quality public space, Peñalosa established Ciclovia: a weekly celebration of open, car-free streets on Sundays and holidays between 7:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Essentially, the city transforms its street network into a huge public park.

On an average week, two million people get out and enjoy their streets through walking, jogging, cycling, rollerskating, soccer, yoga, aerobics, live music and just hanging out.

Peñalosa's brother Guillermo (Gil) was Commissioner of Parks under Enrique's mayoralty and oversaw many of these programs. Later he moved to Canada is the director of 8-80 Cities, an international organization based in Mississauga. 8-80 Cities is founded on the principle that if you design a city for an eight-year-old and an 80-year-old, you will make it a great place for everyone in between as well.

Bogota has been a world leader in creating a city that is safer, healthier, more inclusive and more enjoyable for its residents. Its leaders have proven that with bold vision and brave execution, you can very quickly transform a dangerous, crime-ridden and corrupt metropolis into a world leader in increasing safety, inclusion, peace and growing prosperity.

Refusing to Learn

So I'm doubly appalled by Ferguson's dismissal. Not only does he insult an entire country with his lazy stereotyping about "backwards" South American life, but he also denies Hamilton the opportunity to draw any lessons from an inspirational living model of civic transformation.

Ferguson's refusal to pay attention to Bogota's amazing strides on dramatically improving quality of life just reinforces his ignorance and closes his mind to the possibility that we could learn from Bogota's transformative investments in rapid transit, walking, cycling and active outdoor living.

Hamilton needs to learn from the best if we want to achieve real improvements in these vital areas. When a civic leader is so arrogant and prejudiced against another country that he flatly refuses to acknowledge that country's successes, our city as a whole inevitably ends up poorer for it.

Update: Gil Peñalosa has denounced Ferguson's comments on Twitter, calling on the Councillor to apologize to Hamiltonians for his "ignorant remarks":

Peñalosa also acknowledged "great Councillors" like Green, who "off-set bad apples".

Update 2: The article refers to Enrique Peñalosa as the former mayor of Bogota, but he was re-elected last year to serve as mayor again for the 2016-2019 term. You can jump to the changed paragraph.

Update 3: It turns out Ferguson has not actually been to Bogota. According to a Spectator column, "Ferguson says he didn't see his bus-riding fowls in a faraway, rural place. He saw them in Cartagena, a major resort city. It was 12 years ago but it obviously left a deep impression." For reference, Cartagena is a 1,000 kilometre drive from Bogota. You can jump to the changed paragraph.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

92 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Crispy (registered) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 11:22:19

Good for Green.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted February 03, 2016 at 11:47:07

Again, Councillor Green shows a level of maturity that one expects from a civic leader.

Again, Councillor Ferguson shows a level of maturity that one expects from an ignorant jerk.

I haven't been to Bogata, but I have been to Cali, Colombia - twice. We could learn an awful lot from the people of Colombia. Heck, even Ferguson could be taught if he opened his eyes while actually there.

PS: No chickens on any bus I was on.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Boring (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 12:03:17

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By Pablo (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 18:01:18 in reply to Comment 116327

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By Stephen Barath (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 14:23:47 in reply to Comment 116327

I've lived in both. There are pros and cons to each. Of the two, I think Bogota's on a much more positive trajectory. TransMilenio beats HSR. To be honest, I think the private buses beat HSR in a lot of respects...

Permalink | Context

By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 16:08:49 in reply to Comment 116342

According to Wikipedia, Bogota's murder rate is 24 times that of New York City. In 2014 there were 155 murders in Ontario. There were over 1,700 reported murders in Bogota in 2007 and it has gotten worse since. No one really knows how many there really are as there are estimated to be over 1600 assassins working in the metropolitan area. This says nothing about kidnappings and other violent crimes. Kidnappings have been a way of life there for generations. It is getting better and used to be way worse. You can look up the economic statistics but the rich/poor dichotomy is astronomically worse than in Ontario. There have been massive improvements in the last 15 years as the internal civil war(s) appear to be resolving. It is a near equatorial climate. Not sure it is the best comparator to Hamilton.

When you are at the bottom and improving, of course you are on a positive trajectory. Hamilton has a long way to go to revive the dynamics, optimism and economic verve of the 1950s to 70's

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2016-02-03 16:10:06

Permalink | Context

By z jones (registered) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 13:11:19 in reply to Comment 116327

I'd definitely rather live in Bogota on Sundays, ciclovia sounds like a real hoot!

Permalink | Context

By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 12:11:30 in reply to Comment 116327

What's your point?

Permalink | Context

By oops (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 12:03:32 in reply to Comment 116327

that = than

Permalink | Context

By disgraceful (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 12:06:53 in reply to Comment 116328

I too would rather live in Hamilton but thats no excuse for ignorant racist stereotyping by anyone, let alone our elected officials

Permalink | Context

By sensitivity police (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 12:11:08 in reply to Comment 116330

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By Pablo (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 18:04:24 in reply to Comment 116331

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 12:39:59 in reply to Comment 116331

Too far how? No one's asking him to step down or filing a lawsuit.

I think it's fair to highlight that someone who represents this city and makes key decisions about our transit future isn't prepared to learn anything about a city that has a far more modern bus rapid transit system than the city he represents; preferring instead to write it off as a place populated exclusively by drug lords and peasants.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 12:05:28

He should be embarrassed. Labelling an entire country like Colombia backward and acting as if they have nothing to offer in the area of transit is small-minded and ignorant at best, and outright racist at worst. It's also incredibly disrespectful to the presenter.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 03, 2016 at 12:21:58

I'd be curious where in Colombia Ferguson actually went - I've never been to Bogota, but I've been to Buenos Aires in Argentina, and like most countries in South America, there are large slums but there's also a massive amount of territory with normal middle-class people living normal middle-class lives driving normal middle-class cars. The core looked like any big capital city (but with scarier traffic and more motorcycles) and the suburbs looked like any suburbs but with ceramic roofs and red soil.

It's utterly absurd to think we can learn nothing from cities that we have mentally discarded as "third world".

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jemette (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 13:19:07

Interesting. Matthew Green is a gift to this city. Although I doubt anyone in Columbia or Hamilton cares about the behaviour of our city council. Hamilton is still a decade away from being progressive enough to fill city hall with Portland hipsters. The young business class has to rise first and right now the city is crowded with wantrepeneurs or ma-and-pa coffee shops that don't hold enough klout with the issues or politicians in city hall.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Stephen Barath (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 14:21:02

I lived in Colombia for a while- in Bogota. It's still a developing country, but the city and country both have made great progress in the last couple of decades. There's certainly a considerate amount of inequality, but it's not at all the case that "the only wealthy people in Colombia are drug lords."

Bogota is far from perfect; it’s got a lot of liveability issues, in fact. I actually often recall Bogota and other "third world" cities when I’m waiting to cross a highway off-ramp less than two kilometres from downtown, where the municipal government has been unable to afford any kind of infrastructure besides a ‘Wait for Gap’ sign.

Additionally, I bet that there are no municipal councillors in Bogota whose knowledge of Canada is sourced from a thirty-year-old Hollywood comedy.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JeffH (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 15:12:46

I believe municipal councillors in Bogota are infatuated with Strange Brew.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By SerenityMeow (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 15:32:23

I would agree if this was the first ignorant comment by Lloyd. Alas he is just a walking, talking ignoramus

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By RobF (registered) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 15:47:11

Kudos to Matt Green. When did Lloyd morph into Mel Lastman?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 16:21:51

I would like to make one small correction to what is an otherwise excellent article by Ryan McGreal. Ryan describes Enrique Peñalosa as "...the former mayor of Bogota, Colombia."

Mr. Peñalosa is in fact the current mayor of Bogota, Columbia., winning the election in 2015 and beginning his term as Mayor on January 1, 2016.

Mr. Peñalosa was also Mayor from 1998-2001. He must have done something right, because the people just elected him again.

Permalink | Context

By JasonL (registered) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 18:09:31 in reply to Comment 116348

Being from Hamilton I can't get behind any logic that assumes someone "must have done something right" in order to be elected over and over and over again....

You are correct though. He just returned to office after a 15 year break.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Pablo (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 18:10:11

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Pablo (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 18:14:12

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 10:50:45 in reply to Comment 116354

I hope no one decides where they will travel based on those travel advisories. If they do no one would go anywhere.

This comment is a bit off track. City council was discussing transit, not crime.

Permalink | Context

By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 14:11:33 in reply to Comment 116368

Except that the crime is on transit.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Pablo (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 18:26:04

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 21:48:42

For people who are interested in taking a look at the real Bogota, I recommend the Streetfilm video, Lessons from Bogota..

Gil Peñalosa is the tour guide and describes the changes in Bogota.

In my opinion, the most fascinating part of the video is from 1:30 to 3:30. Mr. Peñalosa led the tour through one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Bogota. It was so poor that the roads for cars were unpaved moonscapes. But there was excellent Dutch-quality cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, because that is cheap and is how the people get around.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 03, 2016 at 22:07:46

Ferguson: When I was in Colombia, all I saw was chickens riding the buses, and just like you see in Romancing The Stone, they have, uh, people riding on the roof, and, uh, anyhow, it just seemed like a backwards country to be benchmarking off of.

Kevin rolls his eyes...

For those who want to see the real bus system in Bogota, I recommend the video Bus Rapid Transit: Bogota.

I don't see too many chickens or people riding on the roof.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jim (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 05:33:09

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 10:54:02 in reply to Comment 116359

So councilor Green had the nuts to actually say something. It doesn't mean he has to police what his colleagues say at all times. Maybe next time someone else will stand up and do what's right.

Permalink | Context

By nobrainer (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 09:13:32 in reply to Comment 116359

"When his friend to his left is informed of concerns from citizens respecting a local establishment flying the Confederate Flag" That happened in 2013, Green wasn't elected until the end of 2014, but nice try.

Permalink | Context

By jim (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 12:12:55 in reply to Comment 116364

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By nobrainer (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 13:34:05 in reply to Comment 116374

Keep moving those goalposts Jimbo!

Permalink | Context

By why (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 09:02:42 in reply to Comment 116359

Every bit of it was deserved.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 04, 2016 at 06:22:00

CBC: Colombian official calls Lloyd Ferguson Bogota remarks 'ignorant'

The brother of Bogota's mayor is calling out a Hamilton city councillor after he called Colombia a "backwards country" where the only wealthy people are drug lords.

Meanwhile, Hamilton's mayor has reached out to Colombia officials to smooth relations, and the councillor who made the comments remains unrepentant.

The Spectator: Mayor condemns ‘stereotyping’ Colombia comments

Mayor Fred Eisenberger has publicly condemned "stereotyping" comments by a councillor about the Colombian city of Bogota that spurred online calls for an apology.

But Coun. Lloyd Ferguson said Wednesday he doesn't see the need to apologize for his comments during Monday's budget meeting on transit, which included calling the Latin American country "backwards" and joking about "chickens riding the buses."

News Release from Mayor Eisenberger: Facebook

“Stereotyping cultures has no place in society today and certainly doesn't around the city council table. All Councillors are responsible for their comments and behaviour.” said Mayor Eisenberger.

To our friends in Bogota, Colombia, since my first comments in 2007, I have continued to applaud your progressive and forward thinking approach to pedestrian-friendly streets, cycle-friendly roads and the implementation of Ciclovia, where 113 kms of roads are closed to cars every Sunday from 7am – 2pm, is recognized and admired world-wide.

Following the successful Americas Investment Playbook program this past summer during the PanAm Games, and in advance of the next Economic Development Department’s Why Colombia? Export Forum we are hosting in March, I have reached out my friend Mr. Alvaro Concha, Trade Commissioner, from the Colombian Consulate in Toronto, with reassurances that the City of Hamilton is engaged, and continues to enjoy a positive working relationship.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Too Much (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 11:37:34

"A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars, it's where the rich use public transportation."

That's the quote that struck a nerve with Lloyd. He doesn't support the idea that anyone would choose to use public transit over their personal vehicle. That's it. Full stop.

But like a child he decides to discredit and attack the person who thinks differently than he does. Don't forget, this is the guy who nixed enhanced HSR to Redeemer College because taxes in his ward would go up by about 14 bucks. Area rated transit - bad joke.

He, like too many of his colleagues, is not the slightest bit progressive. This city is dying under an infrastructure deficit that only grows each year. It's exacerbated by the current model of "I have to go somewhere - where's my car?" suburban thinking.

It's bad enough that we can't afford the sprawl we've got without encouraging more, but Lloyd and his pals on council aren't satisfied with just getting what they want for their wards - they can't stand to see any progressive improvements to our urban form - so they get in the way to derail any improvements to the lower city. Bus lane - not a chance. Two way street conversions - not on my watch. Complete streets - damn those jaywalkers.

Things HAVE to change; it's just not going to happen with this group.

Permalink | Context

By jim (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2016 at 04:04:05 in reply to Comment 116372

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By Huh? (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2016 at 09:08:35 in reply to Comment 116440

Are you literate?

Permalink | Context

By JasonL (registered) | Posted February 05, 2016 at 17:24:05 in reply to Comment 116372

well said. Sadly, bang on.

Permalink | Context

By Suburbanite (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 12:12:40 in reply to Comment 116372

Very interesting perspective. Your observation is bang on. At the root of his ignorant comments, was his goal to put a stop to our 10 year Transit Plan by discrediting Dave Dixon for including the Mayor of Bogota's quote in the presentation. That's why he's not apologizing. In his mind, if Dave Dixon is using Bogota as a benchmark, then Dave Dixon's plans are not worthy of any further discussions. Which at the end of the day, suits Lloyd's plans perfectly. And which at the end of the meeting, kicked the funding of transit needs even further down the road.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Pablo (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 12:18:44

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 05, 2016 at 16:11:00 in reply to Comment 116375

Lol this could be about Hamilton or, to a lesser extent, any other city in Ontario.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By AlHuizenga (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 13:58:24

A travel warning about Hamilton that I just made up in my head: Ridiculously wide super fast one-way freeways with terrifyingly narrow sidewalks tear through the downtown core posing intolerable risk to pedestrians, a striking lack of even the most basic pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is accepted as normal, horrifying traffic configurations that regularly endanger citizens are routinely defended and maintained by a complacent and inert city traffic department, drivers with an unchecked sense of entitlement regulary honk at, give the finger to, and even charge at cyclists who are doing nothing wrong...

You'd have to be crazy to travel here.

Permalink | Context

By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 14:37:19 in reply to Comment 116378

http://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/colo...

Note: "Traffic deaths were down in the first five months of this year in Bogotá, falling from 280 to 180 deaths for the same time period, according to a report by the daily newspaper El Tiempo."

Apples to apples arguments go a lot further.

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2016-02-04 14:39:08

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 14:59:32 in reply to Comment 116382

Interesting statistic.

Bogata's population is 6.673 million, about 12.6 times the population in Hamilton. 280 deaths falling to 180 would correspond to 22 (54 per year) deaths falling to 14 (35 per year).

Hamilton had an average of 20 +/- 5 traffic deaths per year (from 1991 to 2010), with a high of 31 in 1997.

http://www2.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/E8E...

Bogata's traffic death rate is still higher than Hamilton's, but not by much, and they've achieved big decreases. Maybe we could learn something from them after all. Especially since vulnerable users, pedestrians and cyclists, make up a much larger proportion of traffic in Bogata than in Hamilton.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-02-04 15:03:40

Permalink | Context

By bad math (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 20:37:17 in reply to Comment 116384

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 05, 2016 at 07:11:04 in reply to Comment 116403

Yes. That's why I rescaled by 12/5 to estimate an equivalent per capita annual value for Hamilton (22 in 5 months corresponds to 54 per year).

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-02-05 07:11:58

Permalink | Context

By Midge (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2016 at 07:37:27 in reply to Comment 116407

And that's what happens when you try to troll a mathematician. Snap!

Permalink | Context

By JasonL (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 15:26:05 in reply to Comment 116384

Nope. We can't learn anything. Didn't you see Romancing The Stone??

Permalink | Context

By Sigh. (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 14:41:04 in reply to Comment 116382

Yeah, what could a city with dangerous streets that is adding bike paths and bus lanes to reduce traffic deaths possibly teach us?

Permalink | Context

By Pablo (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 15:55:58 in reply to Comment 116383

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Pablo (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 16:02:51

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 16:19:24 in reply to Comment 116389

Uh ... the point of this site, and the work of many members who contribute, is to make suggestions and actively work to improve the city. Every city has scope for improvement, and in successful cities residents, staff and politicians are constantly trying to improve, not just sitting back fatalistically and saying "I guess it has to be this way ... if something in the city is not working well, or failing residents, the only thing you can do is move somewhere nicer."

There are lots of simple things that can be done, and lots of progress already (think SoBi, Cannon Bike lanes, improvements to Herkimer/Charlton bike lanes, LRT etc.). Each of these initiatives has been achieved, at least in part, by contributors to this site!

Pointing out examples of successful initiatives elsewhere that we could emulate seems like a pretty reasonable thing to do. It is can be frustrating when decision makers squelch initiative and take a "good enough for the likes of you attitude" but that is no reason to give up.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-02-04 16:22:00

Permalink | Context

By Pablo (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 16:28:20 in reply to Comment 116390

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2016 at 19:02:18 in reply to Comment 116391

If you're driving, you WILL seem to notice that Cannon "seems" to be barely used by bikes.

But if you did streetside video surveys like I did (10 minute videos at Cannon+Wentworth), I'm able to count bikes that actually fully justify the road-surface allotment. Cannon is a 4 lane road with 1 cycle track. But if you count both directions, Cannon and Wilson, combined, is at 6 to 8 lanes of 2-way traffic depending on section and time of day. Being generious, that means 1 in 6 vehicles can be a bike on the cycle track.

During the summer there were times where bikes exceeded a 1:3 ratio of bikes:cars.

If you're driving along Cannon in a 3-minute sprint, you will often miss a lot of the bikes, and count only two or three. But if you do a 10 minute streetside video at Cannon+Wentworth, you'd count way more, typically 50 bikes or more.

And, of course there were many moments that there were surges of cars (e.g. 10 cars) followed by a 30-60 second carless moment because of the red lights. So as a driver, you are driving in a platoon, but the gaps between the platoons is many, many times bigger than the platoon you're driving in. This gives the false impression there's only 1 bike in 100 vehicles, when the reality during the summer has been consistently between 1-in-3 through 1-in-10, justifying the 1-lane-out-of-7 (Cannon+Wilson) road surface allotment for bikes:cars (in both directions).

TLDR: Cannon lanes have been a success based on road-surface versus vehicle-count allotment analysis (at least during summertime)

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2016-02-06 19:02:35

Permalink | Context

By Suburbanite (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 16:54:48 in reply to Comment 116391

Isn't that exactly what our tax money is suppose to do? Put a smile on a few faces in the area of the arts, in culture, on roads, on safety, on social services, etc etc etc. What isn't a waste of money in your opinion?

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 16:42:00 in reply to Comment 116391

The first two claims are false, and the second is your uninformed opinion.

SoBi has been extremely successful, measured by how many users it has attracted in a very short time (about 1000 rides per day apart from Winter and getting on for 8000 users):

https://raisethehammer.org/article/2645/...

Preliminary data showed hundreds of cyclists using the Cannon bike lanes and the city will be collecting new data.

The value of LRT to Hamilton (especially in helping the city achieve its social and economic potential) has been thoroughly examined and justified in multiple studies (Metrolinx, City and McMaster).

Permalink | Context

By Pablo (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 16:48:31 in reply to Comment 116392

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2016 at 18:56:23 in reply to Comment 116394

Smartbike systems such as SoBi has been breaking even better than Bike Share Toronto. SoBi Hamilton has already mentioned they are able to break even in terms of operational costs, preventing the need for tax input (except for expansions).

SoBi type systems require less than 2 rides/bike to break even, while BIXI type systems require closer to 4.

This is due to many factors, including the fact that the dockless system, elimination of full-dock inconveniences, and crowd-sourced bike rebalancing (rewards for returning to docks), all combined, reduces the need for staffed bike rebalancing rolls. This dramatically reduces the cost of a smartbike system such as SoBi.

The most expensive docks, obviously, are the ones on the escarpment as people tend to only prefer to ride downhill. I'd not be surprised if the escarpment docks were one of the lion's share of bike rebalancing costs, and I'd not be surprised if that's also partially why they remove those docks during the winter.

Permalink | Context

By Roads (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 17:17:23 in reply to Comment 116394

More more more. I mean we can't afford the ones we have, so more please.

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 17:06:07 in reply to Comment 116394

But you've shifted the goalposts.

Your original complaint was that contributors to the site should give up and move away because none of the progressive changes they promote and work for ever happen.

When presented with a very significant collection of changes that did happen, in part due to their work, you change tack and say you personally don't support them, or make unjustified predictions about what might happen in the future.

What makes you think that SoBi will fold within a year (after just inking a $10 million sponsorship deal with Nike in Portland, for one), https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transport...

or that Metrolinx will suddenly change its mind about LRT in Hamilton?

You're just making things up ... some sort of bizarre "wishful" thinking! You seem to want Hamilton to fail!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-02-04 17:06:58

Permalink | Context

By Pablo (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 17:20:09 in reply to Comment 116396

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted February 06, 2016 at 22:27:08 in reply to Comment 116398

Creepy..

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 17:23:39 in reply to Comment 116398

We're not "talking". You're trolling, anonymously.

Permalink | Context

By Pablo (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 18:01:53 in reply to Comment 116399

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By idiotic yoda (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 23:09:39 in reply to Comment 116400

Wow yer so learned o wise one

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 04, 2016 at 20:29:50

For anyone who is interested in learning about Bogota's famous Ciclovia, I highly recommend this video.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jim (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2016 at 05:19:03

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 05, 2016 at 08:34:03

From a column in today's Spectator:

An official with the Colombian consulate says it's not up to him to say whether Coun. Lloyd Ferguson should apologize for controversial comments about his country being backwards.

"I leave that to the City of Hamilton," Toronto-based trade commissioner Alvaro Concha said Thursday.

But far from entertaining apologies, an unrepentant Ferguson is on the attack.

He's "offended" that his reference to Columbia [sic] as a "backwards" place where the only wealthy are "drug lords" and chickens ride buses has been branded as stereotyping by politicians and members of the public.

"I wasn't making that crap up; it's what I visibly saw," said Ferguson, who visited Colombia 12 years ago for a weeklong business conference.

"I don't like being accused of stereotyping because I wasn't stereotyping. I witnessed it first hand."

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 05, 2016 at 12:35:11 in reply to Comment 116409

Wow! That's just so crazy. So ethnic stereotyping is OK as long as one has actually seen an example... 12 years ago.

What's next? Is Mr. Ferguson now going to say, "12 years ago, I saw a wealthy Jewish moneylender. So therefore all Jews are (insert ethnic stereotype here)."

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2016-02-05 12:35:26

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 05, 2016 at 13:21:47 in reply to Comment 116415

Not just an example 12 years ago, but an example 12 years ago in a different city a thousand kilometres away from Bogota!

Map from Cartagena to Bogota

But whatever. If you've seen one South American city once, you've seen them all for all time.

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted February 12, 2016 at 14:52:05 in reply to Comment 116417

Exactly! It's more like saying "12 years ago, I saw a wealthy Jewish moneylender. So therefore all Irishmen are (insert ethnic stereotype here)."

Permalink | Context

By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2016 at 14:58:39 in reply to Comment 116417

Visibly seen, even.

Permalink | Context

By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2016 at 10:47:45 in reply to Comment 116409

All this talk from the folks in EcDev about the vibrancy of Hamilton’s arts scene is obviously a joke. I visited James North 14 years ago while I was in town for a conference and it was nothing but one-way traffic, rotting storefronts and a bankrupt department store.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Buzzed In (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2016 at 12:42:33

"Ferguson: Dave, when you quoted the mayor of Bogota at the start of your quote, was that Bogota, Colombia?"

Asking because I'm thick: Is there more than one Bogotá? Was he thinking of Boca Raton?

Permalink | Context

By JasonL (registered) | Posted February 05, 2016 at 13:33:54 in reply to Comment 116416

Bogota, New Jersey is famous for it's transit infrastructure and quotes from it's famous mayor too. Easy to mix up these two world-renowned cities

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogota,_Ne...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Earth to Lloyd (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2016 at 14:52:16

If this man had an ounce of gumption he would have realized he was offside the second the words rolled off his tongue.

The only explanation for his intransigence is his unchecked arrogance.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted February 05, 2016 at 14:53:51

Might put this in perspective (a little NSFW): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc3HiKQD...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By granny2 (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2016 at 03:32:43

Are there no bike lanes in Ancaster?
No people who want bike lanes, complete streets?
Seems odd.

Permalink | Context

By Sad Truth (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2016 at 10:50:56 in reply to Comment 116428

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By Sad Truth (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2016 at 08:54:13 in reply to Comment 116430

Denying a truth doesnt change it

Permalink | Context

By Sad Truth (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2016 at 09:04:57 in reply to Comment 116448

Spectator poll
Are you willing to pay more in taxes if it would mean improved local public transit?
Yes : (32%)
No : (68%)
Thats the dynamic that Ferguson represents

Permalink | Context

By jim (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2016 at 03:47:36 in reply to Comment 116430

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Cartegena (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2016 at 07:19:03

Not sure how you visit a place as beautiful as Cartegena and leave Colombia with that impression. This is the Colombia of Gabriel Garcia Marquez - a magical place. We could learn plenty about city building from this Colombian city too. Very walkable. Well preserved 3-400 year old downtown. A bustling place full of culture. If you're into all inclusive resorts and stayed outside the city limits that's a shame councillor.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2016 at 06:42:02

Saturday's Spectator had an excellent editorial on the Bogota affair:

The fire could have been stamped out so quickly if only Councillor Lloyd Ferguson had said sorry. Instead, he kept pouring gas on the flames.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Your Point? (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2016 at 10:50:13

Any poll:

Are you willing to pay more in taxes if it would mean insert that thing here?

The majority of people will always say no to more taxes regardless of the issue.

Permalink | Context

By smaxes (anonymous) | Posted February 09, 2016 at 03:04:23 in reply to Comment 116453

Oh ya? Where's the public outcry when we discuss millions to be spent on a water down bypass, or an overpass at clappisons, or widening the link or repaving 4 lanes of king east for traffic levels worthy of half that? Problem is we don't even discuss it. No one questions it despite the HUGE costs. Textbook double standard

Permalink | Context

By Sad Truth (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2016 at 12:52:54 in reply to Comment 116453

That explains why infrastructure of every kind is so far out of date

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JasonL (registered) | Posted February 08, 2016 at 21:01:07

No wonder Hamilton councillors reacted nervously to mention of Bogota

http://thisbigcity.net/photo-essay-bogot...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 17, 2016 at 19:24:04

I see that Mr. Ferguson has finally apologized

This took long enough. And he has the nerve to refer to his "business acumen" in the letter of apology. I was unaware that insulting people is part of a business strategy.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted February 17, 2016 at 22:00:57

Wow, attaboy Fergie. This isn't even an issue of political correctness - it's stunning ignorance...again!

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds