In the midst of a summer that has been characterized by a deadly heatwave, drought, devastating forest fires and intense smoke, it is difficult to empathize with drivers writing letters to the paper complaining about being inconvenienced by the new intersection. This entitled, car-centric, refusal-to-adapt mentality is partly the reason we are now living in this deeply disturbing climate change reality.
The Town was clearly trying to make the intersection more bike and pedestrian friendly, which it has done a great job of. The old intersection was dangerous to navigate on a bike and by foot at busy times – this is a huge improvement. We will never get people on board with alternative modes of transportation if we don’t make it a safe and pleasant experience. The added bonus is as more people choose alternative modes of transportation, the less congested our roads will be for people who actually need to drive.
Judging by the proliferation of e-bikes this year, it appears the Town’s plan is working. We should be grateful we live in a community where our planners are progressive and willing to risk significant public backlash by both encouraging us to adapt and providing us with viable options to do so. This strategy will benefit us all in the long term.
Those who are irritated may have to wait in traffic to fill-up with gas in Canmore can bypass town and fill-up elsewhere. Those who think there is no point in making the town more bike and pedestrian friendly because we live in an “alpine” environment should take a trip to Yellowknife in January, where you’ll find people commuting by bike and on foot in a climate far colder than Canmore’s. And to those drivers who feel the need to complain about being delayed a bit longer at the intersection during peak tourist season – the next time you are waiting at the lights, I would encourage you to take a moment to look up at the smoke-enshrouded mountains, open your windows and take a deep breath of the campfire-smelling air, notice the ash falling on your windshield and then consider doing us all a favour and leave your car at home next time.