Christian Chan is a young urban planner. I crossed paths with Chan last week and he told me he's thrown his hat into the ring to be interim councillor in Ward 20; to replace Councillor Adam Vaughan who just won the Trinity-Spadina seat for the federal Liberals.
Ceta Ramkhalawasingh, Honorary President of the Grange Community Association, is also in the running for the Ward 20 position, and is rumoured to be a hand-picked successor to Vaughan.
Both candidates would probably do a decent job on other Ward 20 issues, but there's a big difference in how each of them approaches safety improvements for cyclists. How do these candidates rank when it comes to cycling issues? Let's take a look:
- opposed bike lanes on John Street because it would be "pedestrianized" (we've seen how that turned out)
- opposed protected bike lanes on Beverley.
- wanted bike lanes on Richmond and Adelaide only if they were turned into two-way (she must have been aware that this excluded the possibility of protection on those bike lanes).
Chan looks much better than Ramkhalawasingh when it comes to cycling issues in Ward 20.
Chan is on the Downtown Committee of Adjustment, on the Board of Directors for the Annex Resident's Association, and has a private practice as an urban planner that has given him a deep understanding of how City Hall functions. And having worked with Chan personally on cycling issues I've seen how he takes a level-headed and fact-driven approach to his work and advocacy.
As caretaker councillor there wouldn't be much time between now and the election to get much done. But it sets a positive tone if a cycling- and people-friendly councillor is appointed by city council and not someone who has consistently opposed better infrastructure for cyclists. For that reason (and for what it's worth as a small-time blogger) I'm going to support Christian Chan for interim councillor of Ward 20.
And if you agree, you could consider writing to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and Members of Council via firstname.lastname@example.org. At July 7th's Council meeting councillors will be considering the Ward 20 Councillor Appointment. So you'll need to get an email in quite soon.