I finally had a chance to look at the Simcoe "cycle tracks" first hand. I saw a bike cop going up and down the street. As he passed I had a quick chat:
Me: Looks like you could spend all day on just this one street.
Bike cop1: I do actually. I spend my whole shift here.
!! I was just being sarcastic about the constant vigilance previously. Turns out that's exactly their plan.
Coming back up the street I saw another vehicle in the lane plus the first one which got a ticket. The bike cop had moved up the street.
As fast as the cop could write tickets or give warnings another car would park somewhere on the street. The truck in the background was the same one that got ticketed a few minutes earlier.
On parts of the northbound lane there are traffic cones. No cars were parked in the lane. Are the cones left over from the painting or were they placed as temporary bollards to prevent cars parking?
So what's Buckley's plan? (Stephen Buckley, that is, the General Manager of Transportation Services who reportedly insisted that the Cycling Unit test the cycle tracks without any bollards.) Have a cop dedicated to Simcoe 24/7/365? How much would that cost for each of the streets—Richmond, Adelaide, Simcoe—that were supposed to get protected bike lanes with bollards or planters? Given that being a bike cop is actually a coveted job on the force, I'm not going to use the entry level salary. Instead I'll use an average of the constable levels which comes to $77,000.
Now one cop couldn't even keep on top of the bike lane parking on a short street like Simcoe, so I'd argue that there'd need to be at least two cops each on Richmond and Adelaide. That's a total of 5 cops which comes to $385,000—give or take a bunch—per year. Or $77,000 for just Simcoe.
Let's compare that large number to the cost of installing bollards on just Simcoe because it's easier for me to estimate the total number. One surface mountable plastic bollard costs ballpark $50. I don't have a clue how much the installation costs but I'm going to estimate on the really high end that each bollard costs $50 to install or replace. I think there could be at least two hundred bollards on Simcoe which comes to $20,000 for the initial installation.
But I've heard from city staff that bollards get bent and broken and have to be replaced often. So I'll again assume on the high end that 50% of all the bollards get replaced every year, which comes to $10,000 a year.
$10,000 versus $77,000 which can't even buy prevention? Penny wise, pound foolish. I would have thought only our Mayor was the master of this backwards logic but GM Buckley seems to be getting the hang of it.
- *I've been told a parking enforcement officer is not the same as a cop. ↩