Monday, October 10, 2011

Undress Peter to dress Paul

Actually, I found out pretty late in my life that the proper expression in English is "Robbing Peter to pay Paul". In French you say déshabiller Pierre pour habiller Paul which I transglibberished into English for this post's title.
Just like a lot of Montrealers I find Franglish a lot more fun than plain English or plain French. Go figure!

Yet the very issue underlined by these sayings cannot be better illustrated than by this little video. It was posted on and was sent from a Romanian cyclist, illustrating the recently "completed" Bucharest cycle tracks.

This, below, is what happen when dumb-asses are in control:

They meet up and sit around wondering how they can deliver the freaking cycle tracks folks are asking, without affecting the current status quo. Do not affect motor traffic. Do not touch the automobile circulation.
In order to achieve said cycle network, they simply take the space away from pedestrians, who are supposed to just shut up and somehow accept this nonsense.

Bullshit like that only achieves one thing: pitching pedestrians against cyclists and vice versa.

We have our very own gems, among which, the infamous Place des Arts oh-so-smart stupid design

As well as several other for which I unfortunately do not have any picture.
We must stop compromising on such half-assed infrastructures and start demanding respect for both cyclists and pedestrians.
Urban planners around the world: please grow the balls to face motorists and take away from them what has been confiscated from all of us, i.e. the public space.


  1. That reminds me of some of the original cycling/rec paths in Ottawa along the canal and river. I think you pegged the pedestrian vs. cyclist argument. I used to scare pedestrians on those paths all the time and would get angry with them as they sauntered along the canal. I don't think that anyone who planned or implemented the Bucharest paths had any goal other than to count the # of km's of "new cycling track" added this year for some personal or political gain. I am always skeptical of those numbers and this is why. I feel sorry for the city workers who were probably told to make it happen without much help. I liked the bus/tram stop route the best, it would add to the excitement at rush hour!

  2. Quite frankly, as far as I am concerned, this is the basis of all pedestrians vs. cyclists wars.
    Both groups should realise it, stop fighting among each other, and turn to the real problem: car culture which confiscated the public space away from people.

  3. Yes, it is absurd and creates a conflict where non should exist. The almost-invisible cyclepath through le Quartier des Spectacles is an egregious example of poor urban planning.

    Actually, I almost always prefer proper French or proper English rather than a mishmash of both (unless it is for comic effect). Though I do find the French expression about the saints (church statuary) more colourful than its English equivalent. It refers to the silly doll-clothing vestments "worn" by saints in churches, especially on their feast days. The English are just raiding the coin box.

    In the Netherlands, cycle paths are almost always a reddish or burnt orange hue, though I have seen paths across Museumplein that are confusing to tourists, though Dutchies recognise the colour and signage.


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