Tuesday, March 22, 2011
O.U.R.S. Victoria Opens Urban Repair Season With Style
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VICTORIA’S ‘Other Urban Repair Squad’ (O.U.R.S.) STRIKES Again:
Cycling Activists Paint “Guerrilla Sharrows” to launch spring cycling season
March 22, 2011 - Coast Salish Territories, Victoria –
Victoria’s celebrated Other Urban Repair Squad (O.U.R.S) has painted more
“sharrows” along a busy commuter route in Victoria. The markings run
along Lansdowne Road, which links downtown with the Camosun and
University of Victoria campuses.
"Now that it's spring more folks will be riding their bikes to work
and school,” says Yukon Duit, spokesperson for the group. “We do our
nighttime urban repair work because of a simple wish to get more
people out of their cars and onto their bikes. We’d like to kick off
the cycling season on a safe note, and let cyclists know that even
though the City has forgotten about their infrastructure needs, we
Sharrows – short for “Shared Use Arrow” – are bicycle-and-chevron
markings indicating a shared use lane. The markings are used in cities
across North America and Europe on roadways that are too narrow to
incorporate a full bike lane.
It's been nearly a year since guerrilla sharrows were painted on
different sections of Hillside and Lansdowne - an area of town which
many cyclists agree should have more bike lanes connecting to the
downtown core. Yet, neither the CRD nor the Cities of Saanich and
Victoria have responded with any further developments.
Another set of guerrilla sharrows running along Lansdowne in front of
Camosun College were left untouched by the City of the Saanich – a
progressive move that was applauded by the cycling community.
"We know from our experience that painting bike lanes is cheap. You
can buy a lot of paint with $2-million, so we thought we'd show the
Region and City how it's done. Again," says Duit. “For its part, the
City is making decisions in the dark, without the input of the cycling
community, and at a snail’s pace” claims Duit, pointing to the
shutting down of the City of Victoria Cycling Advisory Committee
nearly three years ago.
Each year there are 1,300 crashes involving cyclists in British
Columbia, and on average, 10 people are killed. When car and bicycle
collide, the cyclist invariably loses.
“I was always afraid to bike to school before, but seeing the sharrows
on the road has helped me know that cars pay attention to me on my
bike” said Eva Moores-Afely when OURS interviewed random cyclists that
used the sharrows on their commute to Camosun College last year.
"It’s clear that despite touting Victoria as the cycling capital of
Canada, the CRD and the City do not see cycling infrastructure as a
priority,” states Duit. “None of the City of Victoria’s $189-million
2010 budget was allocated to the Sustainability Department, yet nearly
$69-million was spent repairing major vehicular roadways into the city
and $3-million was spent on automobile parkades.”
“The City and the Region needs to put their money where their mouth
is, and do more to support commuter cycling,” notes Duit. Bike lanes
along the Hillside-Lansdowne corridor would encourage cycling among
the University of Victoria and Camosun College communities which see
over 34,000 students and 5,000 faculty and staff accessing the
campuses during the school year. Studies have shown that the biggest
barrier to getting more people on bicycles is the perception of danger
on the road due to inadequate cycling infrastructure.
O.U.R.S Victoria is part of a larger international network of Urban
Repair Squads across North America, Europe and South America that
encourages people to reclaim ownership and stewardship of urban spaces
by constructing urban infrastructure through direct action.
To receive more info or to see high resolution photos email: