Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday pet peeve: militant NIMBYism

NIMBYism is rampant in Vancouver, and it drives me nuts.

Olympics? No, we don't want that, it'll be too chaotic. Rapid transit to the airport? Nope, we don't want the inconvenience of the construction. Better cycling infrastructure? No, it'll jam up the traffic.

But what really pisses me off is the kind of NIMBY who actually wants the above initiatives to fail, at great detriment to the city, just so they can prove that they were right. The kind of NIMBY who would cut off their nose to spite their face, rather than admit they were wrong.

Seriously, people are being interviewed on the TV news, and commenting on news websites, who seem genuinely disappointed that the recent bike lane trial on the Burrard Bridge hasn't brought downtown traffic to a complete standstill.

The most obvious example though is the continuing Olympic NIMBYism.

Now, there are valid arguments against hosting the Games. For example, once the global economy tanked and the city was left on the hook for the Olympic Village construction costs, those of us who started out strongly pro-Games had to admit that the naysayers might have had a point when they kept going on about generations of debt, and eternal doom and gloom in general.

But if you say that you hope the Games get cancelled because of a swine flu epidemic, or that no-one comes because they can't afford to travel and the whole thing is a disaster, YOU ARE AN IDIOT. Do you really want that to happen? So you can sit there smirking "told you so" for decades to come, as property taxes rise and the city's other infrastructure suffers?


Some people are even saying that they want to actively disrupt the Games!!!

The Olympics are coming, like it or not. You didn't vote for it, you didn't want it to happen, but it's gonna. So accept it, get over it, move on. Let's do whatever we can to make the Games a raging success!

You never know, you might even enjoy having a global party in your backyard, with some of the world's best athletes as your guests.

A plague of noisy hockey fans upon Vancouver's militant NIMBYs!


  1. Yay for the continued appearance of the Tuesday Pet Peeve!

    I agree that NIMBYism sucks. And that the "love the one you're with" attitude typically makes one happier. I hope the Olympic naysayers FAIL!!!!

  2. I think it is really dependent on what that NIMBYism entails...I get really irritated by the sort you're talking about, but then there is the "we want to put a gaspipline in your backyard" kind...Or the "we want to put a landfill about two blocks from your house" kind.

    No bike trail in my backyard??? Fuck you! I for one, would love the fucking bike trail to intersect my backyard...

    But what I really hate on Tuesdays, is fucking memes...Unless they're book memes - because book memes are FUN!!!! SO you should make a list of the books that have most impacted your life, that you can think of in fifteen minutes...Just make the list first, then tell us about it.

    And yes, I failed to get any Douglas Adams on there...I chalk it to getting teary eyed every time I think about The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul being the last I'll ever read of Dirk Gently...(and yes, I am aware of The Salmon of Doubt, but I refuse to start a story that will never be finished dammit!!!)

  3. Ok, that's just stupid. Wanting something to fail just so you could be right. That's idiotic. If the CollegeTown City Council wants to do something inane (like tear up a perfectly good street and repave it), I'm just going to have to hope that the newly paved street is better than the old one. It'd be completely nuts for me to hope otherwise. All this to say, militant NIMBYism is definitely Tuesday Pet Peeve worthy.

  4. Just this morning news from home country revealed that some of the sound signals that are to help the blind navigate pedestrian crossings have been turned down due to neighbour complaints and thus are virtually worthless for the blind!
    When are people going to accept that living in a city means close proximity to other people and their needs and wishes - and thus tolerance and consideration is needed?!

  5. I believe this is the second blog today where I've used this comment: yup - people suck.

  6. EGF, I hope so too!

    SG, yeah, they're poopers alright.

    DuWayne, I agree that no-one wants a landfill in their backyard, and there were good arguments against bidding for the Olympics, and against the specific construction method the city just used to extend the rapid transit routes to the airport. But I'm talking more about the sort of knee-jerk negativity that seems very common around these parts. People here like to complain...

    I'll get to your meme soon, I promise! Although I think I might have a hard time coming up with 15 books...

    The Salmon of Doubt was frustrating, but there is some really good non-Dirk stuff in the book too. I'd say it's worth it. One last fix of Adams genius... yeah, I still get very sad too :`(

    Amanda, yeah, it makes no sense. I keep trying to remind myself that these people are just a vocal minority... but of course the local media like to give equal time...

    Lisbeth, very true. It's that whole thing of "your right to swing your fist stops at my face".

    Mrs CH, some of them sure do!

  7. I have been following the news about the bike trail and I am amazed at some of the comments too. So many people think that car drivers own the road and that bikes have no right - to the point they admit to taking action to ensure that the bridge trial won't work or that bikers are too scared to use it! Seriously, it isn't a perfect solution but it is better than no solution (and riding over the Bridge on the same sidewalk as pedestrians was just downright scary!).

    I know a few people that are still totally against the Olympics. I always say "they will be here, and you are already paying for it, so you may as well accept it and find a way to enjoy it!".

    Last year the international triathlon championships were held in the West End. We volunteered and had to deal with many irate people who "always walk on the seawall on Sunday, and it just isn't right that my route has to change just for some race"!. Yikes - this was the seeding trial for the Summer Olympics and people couldn't go out of their way for one day? NIMBYism at its best!

  8. Please, excuse or ignore all typos or grammatical errors. My coffee just isn't working yet today.....

  9. Oh, I didn't hear the comments by people saying they were deliberately trying to scare cyclists off the bridge. That makes me soooooo mad. Didn't you get knocked off the sidewalk and into the road once, or was that someone you know?

    Did you manage to keep your cool with the triathlon NIMBYs? I mean, seriously, the world championships are in your city, and you're mad about it because you can't walk on the seawall that weekend??!!

  10. p.s. the Burrard bridge is nowhere near my usual route, but I feel the need to go and ride on it now just to make a point.

  11. Ok, fucking scum bags deliberately trying to scare cyclists off, really make me angry. Because inevitably, that means they are likely to actually hurt someone - possibly seriously, possibly dead.

    And ya'll wonder why we feel the need to INVADE!!!!!!!!!11@2!!!

  12. Yeah, there are a few people who have been commenting on various news articles that they are deliberately being difficult to cyclists using the route. I wonder if they realize that IP addresses can be traced? Or that it isn't actually those cyclists that made the decision?

    For the tri championships, the dumbest thing was that certain roads were only blocked during the actual race, so people could still access the seawall - just couldn't get across the road easily during the race itself. Everyone had weeks of warning and there were signs everywhere too, so it couldn't be a surprise. It was hard to be patient and sometimes I just had to walk away (I love when I am a volunteer and can walk away!).

    On the upside, there were some awesome people out too. I remember chatting with a couple of much older ladies who couldn't get across the street and were trapped on the beach side during the men's race. They were exclaiming (loudly) how fit the men looked in their race outfits (form fitting spandex), that they had never seen anything like it and that they could hardly wait to phone their friends and let them know what wonderful looking men they got to watch. Bless them!!

  13. DuWayne, you're not planning to invade by bike, are you? I mean, heaven forbid I should have to side with the idiots who scare cyclists on purpose, but we gotta defend those bridges!

    Mermaid, walking away does sound rather satisfying.

    The two older ladies sounds awesome! I'll totally be like that when I'm old ;)

  14. Nope, not by bike and not from a supersecret base on the bottom of Lake Superior and certainly not with the help of a moosemindcontrol ray on Mackinaw Island...

  15. Well, we have cops on mountain bikes just in case.

  16. Many years ago they built a light rail where I lived and for a couple of years before that there was constant bickering from both sides. When the project was more than half way through, the group that was against it decides to wage a full scale campaign to stop construction. I mean, WTF? It's over half way finished, how is not finishing it, wasting all the money to build it and then wasting more money to tear down the part that is already constructed, a good fucking idea? It's like, hello idiots, you lost. Now suck it up and move on.

  17. I didn't know that expression before, Cath, but have already used it twice now :)

  18. MXX, isn't it just so frustrating??!! The time to voice your opinions is at the planning stages. Your opinions might be valid and logical (like I said earlier, there were some good arguments against the Olympics and the construction methods used for the skytrain extension). But everyone weighs costs and benefits differently, and if the government decides the benefits outweigh the costs and goes ahead... live with it! Enjoy the benefits, even if you think the cost was too high!

    Lisbeth, happy to help ;)

  19. Exactly! I'd just like to grab a hold of these people and shake the shit out of them.

  20. Sadly, we discovered another potential problem with the Burrard Bridge trial - that of pedestrians on the east bicycle lane. Seems that walkers are frustrated with having to cross the street at the end of the bridge and so just walk on the East side. It will be a shame if the trial fails for this reason.

    I realize it is an inconvenience for many people. I am inconvenienced too when I run or drive over the bridge. I fully support the trial, though, at least until another option becomes feasible.

  21. I can see why they wouldn't want to cross the 6 lanes of traffic... but surely it's better than having to share the sidewalk with bikes? Especially if you have kids with you. And it's not like they're taking their lives into their hands, there are traffic lights!


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