In early October, City councillors voted against a motion to reverse a plan that will see the removal of the 2-year-old bike lanes and the return of a centre car lane on Jarvis. City counts had the number of cyclists on Jarvis tripling following the introduction of bike lanes in 2010. The cost of removing the bicycle infrastructure is tagged at $300,000.
Some reaction to the decision:
“Every time someone gets hit to the concrete from a door, or breaks a leg or an arm as they get cut off, you’ll be the ones to blame. Every time someone dies as a result of a bike accident on Jarvis, you’ll need to explain to those families why it was so necessary for us to remove these lanes.”
Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina) speaking to the members of council who voted to remove the bike lane.
“Hundreds of people were calling and emailing my office saying it’s slowing down their commute time. I think it has slowed up traffic. People wanted to get rid of the bike lanes so, again, I’m doing what taxpayers want me to do.”
Mayor Rob Ford
"What this administration has shown us is that they don’t really care about cycling infrastructure.You’re not going to remove cyclists by removing bicycle lanes. They are still going to be there. They’re just going to be riding very unsafely”
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale )
"So who in Transportation Services is going to stand up, blow the whistle and talk to the press about how the Jarvis bike lane approval rescinding recommendation left the PWIC without taking your expert taxpayer-compensated opinions into account as to the safety impact such a move will have on the elevated physical risk on Toronto's streets that will be faced by all Torontonians if the City is derelict in their duty enough to follow through with this farce?"
Activist Wayne Scott referring to the lack of public consultation, which is usually required, for the bike lane removal.
The article below originally appeared in our Summer 2012 issue of dandyhorse...
Mayor Rob Ford came into office and removed two bike lanes, then announced he will not add any more during his term. Now he’s fighting to have one more removed on a major arterial downtown. Meanwhile, every other city in the world is trying to figure out how to get more people commuting with pedal power.
dandyhorse staff compiled some quotes from city leaders about the need for bike lanes in urban centres for our Summer 2012 issue.
“Cyclists here enjoy about 130 km of trails and 50 km of on-road bike lanes. Waterloo continues to be a wonderful place to cycle.” ~ Mayor Brenda Halloran in her annual State of the City Address, March 23, 2012.
“It’s regrettable to remove bike lanes that are clearly used by cyclists. It’s pitting cyclists against drivers, but they are not two separate groups because some drivers ride and some riders drive.” ~ Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati, Manager, Cycling Office, City of Mississauga
Martine Painchaud, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office was quoted saying Montreal’s success is directly due to the mayor’s commitments: “It came from a political vision that Mayor (Gérald) Tremblay had to enact policies that would create a culture of cycling in Montreal, and that included cycling as part of its overall transportation plan. The idea was for it to become not just a pastime, but a means of transportation.”
Vancouver, British Columbia
After approving a separated bike lane on Hornby St. in October 2010, to complete a safe route in Vancouver’s core, Mayor Gregor Robertson said:
“We’ve seen in cities around the world the economic benefits that come from increasing ridership into dense urban areas…The only way we’re going to grow our economy is by increasing transit, cycling and pedestrian access into the downtown core. …We don’t have the capacity to accommodate more car traffic in our city. “
Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants his city to be “the most bike friendly city in the country.”
Chicago's Bike 2015 Plan has two overall goals: To increase bicycle use, so that 5 percent of all trips less than five miles are by bicycle, and; to reduce the number of bicycle injuries by 50 percent from current levels.
“We have never taken out a bicycle lane,” states Katja Dillmann, Transportation Policy Advisor to Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “Our biggest concern is safety,” says Dillmann. “We love our bike lanes.”
New York, New York
From Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2012 State of the City Address:
“…the reality is more and more New Yorkers are biking, and the more bike lanes we put in, the fewer deaths and serious injuries we have on our streets.”
San Francisco, California
Mayor Edwin M. Lee ~ “I want to encourage those who have yet to try it to experience for themselves the benefits of this healthy, fun, low-cost transportation option.”
London, United Kingdom
Mayor Boris Johnson ~ “I’m determined to turn London into a ‘cyclised’ city – a civilised city where people can ride their bikes safely and easily in a pleasant environment. Cycling, with all its social, environmental, health and financial benefits, has an important role to play in the future of the capital. Put simply, it’s the best way to get around our city, and arguably the single most important tool for making London the best big city in the world.”
Mayor Bertrand Delanoë’s Sunday street program is now resulting in “biking neighbourhoods” where maximum speed limits of 19 mph will be enforced and the city’s bike sharing program, Velib, has changed the face of the city. It is now legal for cyclists to roll through stop signs in the city of lights.
Lord Mayor Frank Jensen wants Copenhagen to become the first CO2 neutral city in the world. (They’re aiming for 50 per cent bike commuters by 2015.)
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Eberhard van der Laan, Mayor of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the “most bicycle-friendly city” according to the Copenhagenize index.
Riding a bike is a part of every day life in Amsterdam.
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