The great paradox of the real-estate market is that the things you sell – view, neighbourhood, street parking – are the very things you can never buy.
We saw a demonstration of that principle Monday evening as dozens of East 29th Street residents watched as their parking spots, 160 of them, vanished following a show of hands from council. And to that council we say: Well done.
Since the end of the Second World War and the death of the streetcar, we’ve shaped our cities and mangled our environment to serve drivers. Judging by the recent satellite images of the wildfires that torched Alaska, Siberia and Greenland, that was wrong.
A bike lane is a small step. But if we retreat from small changes while seeking needless compromise, we will forfeit the opportunity to ever take a big step.
Many East 29th Street residents likely feel cheated today; that they’ve somehow lost what they never had. But we hope they’ll eventually feel they sacrificed something for the greater good.
If the waves of environmental catastrophe are ever going to break and roll back, we need contributions big and small from everyone. And to paraphrase angry drivers everywhere: we need to stop acting like we own the road. The streets are narrow. The time to avert catastrophe is short. We need every inch we can find to work for the greater good. Walking and cycling are that greater good.
Parking doesn’t grant you ownership of a street any more than having lungs gives you authority over internal combustion engines.
Instead of acting like we own the road we need to start acting like we rented the planet. Let’s make sure it’s in good shape.
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