Cities WTF? Bike Lanes, Gay Marriage and Saggy Pants


This post is also available in: Chinese (Traditional)

Or perhaps the title of this post should read ‘no bikes lanes, no gay marriage, no saggy pants’. That’s right, this first post in an occasional series will look at some of the stupidest ideas coming from cities across the globe in recent days. Sometimes, you need the bad ideas to show you how important the good ideas really are.

Toronto: Bike Lane Removal Going Ahead

Toronto – contender for ‘Greatest City on the Planet’ – appears to have been taken hostage by an unhinged Canadian relative of Mitt Romney who thinks removing bike lanes is a sensible thing to do. In some cities, the Mayor comes up with loads of stupid ideas and then never acts on them (*coughs*London*coughs*) but in Toronto, the removal of bike lanes on Jarvis Street is actually happening. Like right now. They’ll be gone by November 26th. Toronto resident Tomislav Svoboda, who Torontoist call ‘a physician and cycling advocate’ and I call ‘the most sensible man in Toronto’ has been arrested for protesting the change. WTF Toronto?

Paris: No to Gay Marriage

70,000 people took to the streets of Paris this weekend to protest plans to change French law so gay and lesbian couples can marry and adopt. Explaining her role in the Paris protest, Marthe Vignault said: “A child needs a father and a mother. That’s the way it is and we can’t go against nature.” Countering her point with an equally strong argument, I am repeatedly banging my head on the table. Sur la table. Take that Marthe. Nothing says sustainable cities like inequality, right? WTF Paris?

Cocoa: Saggy Pants Law

Everyone knows that one of the most pressing issues facing cities in the 21st century is citizens who wear low-hanging trousers. Sorry, ‘pants’. Thankfully, those trailblazers in Cocoa, Florida (there’s a reason you’ve never heard of the place) are well ahead of the game and have decided to ban pants that expose underwear or skin more than three inches below the waistline. When every other city in the world enacts the law, we’ll all look to Cocoa with such gratitude for leading the way. THIS IS ALL SARCASM. Seriously though, I’m thrilled Cocoa city council has enough spare time to be talking about made-up problems like this. THAT WAS MORE SARCASM. WTF Cocoa?

Joe Peach is Editor in chief of This Big City

Image via Orin Zebest

  • Sydney 2000

    I thought this blog was about positive conversation and articles about urban design and sustainability. I don’t see what the gay marriage protests have to do with it except expressing your own personal opinion. I just looked you up on LinkedIn. You call yourself a ‘social strategist’. I’d be very careful with that term – Hitler was one of those.

    By the way, ‘editor-in-chief’ is hyphenated.

    • Joe Peach

      Hi Sydney 2000 – thanks for the comment. This blog is all about ideas for sustainable cities, and yep, the focus is almost always positive. But like I said at the beginning of the article, sometimes the bad ideas are just as valuable for considering the direction we want our cities to move in. Though we cover sustainability as a whole on, my personal area of interest has alway been social sustainability – I did a Masters in Sustainable Communities and the vast majority of my writing considers sustainability from this perspective. I strongly believe that equality is the absolute minimum required for social sustainability, hence the inclusion of the gay marriage point. I think expressing my personal opinion on my own website is kind of inevitable – hundreds of other people have shared their own personal opinions through writing content for the site and in the comments section. I encourage it! Also, Social Strategist is a common job title for people who do work in social media strategy. I know many people with this as the job title, as weird as it can sound.

      • Gabriel Wulff

        Is annoying-troll hyphenated, Joe good reply have you ever come accross Donella Meadows paper on leverage points? Inside this amazing paper she notes that Thomas Kuhn said if you want to change paradigms you have to keep pointing out the anomalies and failures in the old paradigm, you keep speaking louder and with assurance fro the new one, you insert people with the new paradigm in places of public visiblility and power. Don’t waste times with reactionaries; rather work with the active change agents the open minded middle ground. agents


        • Joe Peach

          Gracias for the link, Gabriel. Reading it now – very interesting.


    I like this new feature. Most Excellent.

    Politics, rights, freedoms, and opportunity are at the centre of what cities are, can offer, and allow you to be.

    Eish Troll.

  • Albert Rodrigue

    The reason Cocoa’s city council has the time to discuss and enact laws like this is because it’s one of dozens, if not hundreds of municipalities in Florida that have no real reason to exist. They leave all the heavy administrative and legislative lifting to the counties and end up being more like HOA’s that get to have courts and police forces. They’re useless.