#14 – An Icy Reception to Transit: Bratty Caker Blues

Caker cities on the whole have terrible modal spreads that make Canadian cities less enjoyable and more stressful than they have to be. Too bad for Canada that cakers also love making excuses for wild transit imbalances in Canadian cities, pretending that Canadian cities are somehow uniquely cold and snowy enough to require car use at all times despite a fairly obvious example of this not being the case literally under the urban caker’s nose.

The concept of multimodal planning is a good one. The jist of it is pretty simple to grasp – cities should have built-in capabilities to accept multiple means of transportation in an egalitarian way. Because the requirements of transit types are contradictory a multimodal system helps to resolve the worst excesses of relying exclusively on one or another type of transit. Sprawl precludes walking and makes both cycling and transit harder – it is monomodal and thereby shit. By contrast, dense space allows for cycling, walking, and transit while accepting cars only with difficulty. Lower-density space isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it has to be connectable to other forms of transportation. A trolleybus and a bike lane don’t make suburbs any more walkable but they add options and allow people to avoid driving.

The modal spread in Canada’s metropoles looks like this:

This whole thing is worth reading, but here’s the chart

Does that look like shit to you? It should – in some places 9/10 trips are made by car. Even the developed transit systems of Montreal and Toronto only pulled around 22% of people in by transit.By contrast, here’s Berlin. Walking in Berlin is almost six times more common than in Montreal or Toronto and cycling is almost thirteen times more common than in Canada’s metropoles.


And here comes the gale of feels. “The weather in Canada is literally the worst thing ever”. “It’s too expensive to maintain non-car infrastructure!”. “Bikes are for pinkos!”  – except that said bad weather profoundly impacts car safety and it’s entirely possible (and indeed cheaper) to plow paths and bike lanes. Bikes can change to winter or studded tires more easily than cars; in Québec it’s even the law to change your car tires for winter. Walking and separated transit lines are far safer in wintertime because of the lowered consequences of screwing up (i.e.: falling is less dangerous than car crashes are and separations lower the risk of pile-ups), but somehow in Canada’s wicked winters only the personal motorcar will do!

Ironically, this car-centric thinking is actually forcing more drivers onto the road and furthering the problems of congestion and pollution that cakers have long had in the approved list of Things to Complain and then Apologize For in Bland Non-Conversation. Apologising for car use is only making car use worse; it’s actually in the drivers’ best interests that we figure out ways to get around in the winter. But where could such lessons be? A place with exactly the same climate and design challenges but without highways? Where could that be?

Certainly not here in history-less Canada. I mean, it’s not like Toronto predates the motorcar or anything. There’s no way that Toronto once experienced the same winters that it does now but managed to get around without cars. No lessons to learn there, no sir. Even if there were they would likely require restrictions on car use (density and motorcars don’t work well, and density is a good way to calm the effects of bad weather. It’s almost like Canada is profoundly urbanized in part because of this trait or something) which is tantamount to war amongst the frothing lunatic suburbanites.

I always like to needle cakers with this question – if the climate is so difficult to traverse that regular weather patterns wreak havoc and there’s nothing that can be done about it, why would we consider the place inhabitable at all? Obviously carless caker ancestors didn’t think so, so either the assertion that Canada’s climate (and it’s always a singular climate, because Vancouver and Dildo, NL obviously have the same weather problems) destroys all non-car possibilities is bunk or cakers feel entitled to drive their boxes anywhere they please without regard for the preferences of others or the thought that doing such a thing may not be the most effective option.

I think we know which of those two it is. Cakers are fucking infantile.

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