The West Mountain Councillor is called out for making up numbers out of his head to try and substantiate his ludicrous arguments.
By Kevin Love
Published September 12, 2016
On Friday, September 9, Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead was on the Bill Kelly Show on AM 900 CHML. Here is a transcript of part of the program, with some commentary added.
01:12-01:20 Mr. Whitehead: This is an experiment. It's never been done in Hamilton and this is one of those things where you take something that may be working in California and apply it in Hamilton.
To be clear, this is not an experiment. It is not a pilot project. This is the new permanent design of the street, as directed by Hamilton City Council in the Cycling Master Plan, which Mr. Whitehead voted to approve.
As with all permanent infrastructure, minor improvements or tweaks may be made as a response to citizen feedback. But unless City Council changes its mind and votes to remove them, bike lanes on Charlton and Herkimer are permanently here to stay.
The Hamilton Cycling Committee and Durand Neighbourhood Association Cycling Committee used New York City as a benchmark example for this infrastructure design. See, for example, the description and videos in an earlier RTH article.
No current example from California was used. Mr. Whitehead appears to have made that up out of his own head.
02:11-02:25 Mr. Whitehead: Snow removal completely paralyzes the lane... Now I know that Waste don't support it, I know that Snow Removal don't support it.
That is incorrect. All relevant City departments were extensively consulted, and they all approved the design. Mr. Whitehead's statements are 100% false. For example, the original design set the width of the general travel lane at 3.0 metres. As a result of feedback from snow removal, this was increased to 3.5 metres.
02:38-02:42 Mr. Whitehead: The queueing on Herkimer has gone all the way up to Aberdeen. It is now backed up the Queen Street hill and obviously Garth Street.
Mr. Whitehead appears to have made this claim up out of his own head. This claim has been shown to be false by Ryan McGreal in his article on Friday.
03:30-03:55 Mr. Kelly: Let me back up just a bit there because there's a lot to digest here. You just mentioned now, and I had not heard this previously, that you are suggesting that Public Works, in other words garbage collection and snow clearing and other divisions of Public Works are not in favor of this. Is that what you are telling me?
Mr. Whitehead: Well, when I was talking to staff, I heard the Waste person said that their, that they got concerns. From the Waste, ah, ah, the Waste, yeah absolutely.
Once again, Mr. Whitehead appears to have made this up out of his own head. The truth is that all relevant Public Works personnel were consulted and approved the design.
04:10-04:30 Mr. Kelly: Why wasn't this brought to Council's attention before? A city department did not think this was such a good idea. I am puzzled as to why we are just hearing about this now.
Mr. Whitehead: Yeah, my understanding is this is just an experiment. These are the concerns being raised. They are allowing the experiment and getting the feedback. So right now is the feedback period.
This is not an experiment. There is no "feedback period." City Council, including Mr. Whitehead, has voted for and directed that bike lanes be installed on Herkimer and Charlton streets. Until City Council changes its mind and votes to remove them, this is the new permanent design.
As with all permanent infrastructure, tweaks and improvements can always be made based upon public feedback. But the bike lanes that Mr. Whitehead voted for are not an experiment. They are now part of the permanent design of the street.
05:06-05:15 Mr. Whitehead: For every 15 bicycles you get approximately 1,000 cars.
Mr. Kelly: Now where did you get that stat from?
Mr. Whitehead: That's estimates right now. Like I said, they still have to do counts.
These estimates appear to have no other source than being made up out of Mr. Whitehead's head. Although we do not currently have counts of all traffic, we do have counts of the Hamilton Bike Share (SoBi) bicycles used on Herkimer and Charlton. These counts indicate that Mr. Whitehead's claim is almost certainly false.
05:25 Mr. Whitehead: Obviously and clearly there's a lot more vehicles using Herkimer than there are bicycles.
Bicycles are vehicles. This remark reveals an appalling level of ignorance.
05:55-06:17 Mr. Kelly: Again, where did the numbers come from? You are reminding me right now when you are doing this of a councillor I used to work with years ago, who is no longer there, who used to make numbers up out of his head to substantiate his argument, and you know people are going to accuse you of doing the same thing here.
Mr. Whitehead: Well, I actually talked to staff and they never disputed this ratio. So when they didn't dispute it then that's the number I used.
So Mr. Whitehead admits to making this number up out of his own head? Since the installation is new, staff does not have traffic counts yet and cannot say, "No, that number is wrong." That is emphatically not staff validation of a number that Mr. Whitehead just made up.
09:30-09:40 Mr. Whitehead: Could they make an adjustment only at peak hours so that it doesn't impact the many, many hard working men and women in this community getting to work?
Mr. Kelly: Some of whom take bikes.
Mr. Whitehead: Well certainly not from the Mountain.
This is perhaps Mr. Whitehead's most offensive statement yet. How could he possibly know that there are no commuters from the Mountain using this infrastructure?
Mr. Whitehead has to have made this up out of his own head. And it is fairly easy to prove this statement to be false. All we have to do is find one person using this infrastructure to commute from the Mountain.
I would imagine that people doing this are profoundly offended at having their very existence denied by Mr. Whitehead.
13:27-13:41 Mr. Whitehead: Should we not ensure that we have an adequate public transit system to provide a viable alternative for those to get out of their car before we start, you know, providing punitive measures that means that they are spending over 10 days a year, additional days a year, in their car.
Once again, Mr. Whitehead is making numbers up out of his own head. Those 10 additional days in their car works out to 240 hours, since there are 24 hours in a day. Suppose someone works 5 days a week with two weeks vacation and 10 statutory holidays. That comes out to 240 working days per year.
So if Mr. Whitehead's claim were true, each car driver would be spending an extra hour per day commuting due to these bike lanes. That is simply absurd.
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