Greer Kaiser (Open letter, Sept. 21) well narrates the crisis of neglect in the need for a pedestrian overpass of the CN tracks. A sociological analysis of the crisis identifies the pathology.
Three factors figure: racism, classism, and what we can call vehicular enslavement. These factors exist across the country, making Terrace emblematic of a national illness that borders on the criminal.
Racism figures that most shortcutters over the tracks are, by inference from users of the Sande Overpass, First Nations residents of the south side. (I enquired of RCMP on ethnicity of those killed and was directed to BC Coroner’s office and a process of untimely disclosure) Ethnicity, regardless, should not matter.)
Classism figures that most people who walk cannot afford to drive. White, Brown, and Black alike buy a vehicle as soon as possible, both for convenience and to show departure from the underclass. And who would blame them, here, the ridiculous Keith Avenue sidewalks inviting soiling from splash and dust and endangering with potential collision. Distracted driving and plain lunacy at the wheel will soon kill, maybe a mother pushing a stroller, and who will say I told you so?
Enslavement to a vehicle baffles until we consider how manufacturers have fabricated our vanity and laziness into hell on wheels. That traffic here is not Vancouver’s exculpates neither manufacturers nor the city planners and developers who abet them and imperil us, both immediately and, as the climate devolves, long term.
To object that the rural, the handicapped, and the aged need vehicles only masks the poverty of thought on alternative transport and planning.
In Terrace, across Canada, and around the world, argument for better transport and planning faces racist, classist, and enslaved indifference, with road rage the prime signifier of our mass psychosis.
Terrace, the province, and the country wish to reconcile with First Nations and to promote sustainability. To build the pedestrian overpass would show their sincerity.