The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee voted to take out Jarvis bike lanes in a surprise motion today, on top of the motion to take out lanes on Pharmacy and Birchmount. I don't think the councillors realize the blowback of Jarvis compared to Pharmacy/Birchmount (where removal is quite sad, but not much organized local opposition). Jarvis may yet prove to be a lightening rod around which cyclists will gather (to be energized?).
I've collected some choice tweets below. And please read Mez's great piece on why Jarvis is important and why we should defend it:
- goldsbie: Now heading out for a ride up and down the Jarvis bike lanes. Please feel free to join me... #bikeTO
- @meslin: Summary of today: Toronto's cyclists just got run over by amalgamation. Suburban councillors have declared a War on the Bike. #bikeTO
- @m_layton: The Public Works cmt has voted to remove 8km of bike lanes including Jarvis st. Thank Clr Parker, Grimes, Shiner and Minnan-Wong.
- @kristynwongtam: Cllr Parker moves motion to remove Jarvis bike lanes. As the local councillor I wasn't asked, nor was my community consulted.
- @TorontoStandard: @krystynwongtam told reporters Councillor Parker "didn't want to do it," but he intro'd the motion because of orders from on high #biketo
- @TorontoStandard: Corrected: Today, Public Works and Infrastructure Committee referred a motion calling for removal of the Jarvis Bike Lane to council #biketo
The Mayor had been musing lately about removing them, mentioning some phantom complainers to his phone line (which is 416-397-FORD by the way). Rob Ford, May 20, 2011:
“I’ve never supported the bike lanes on Jarvis. Eventually would I like to see them go, absolutely, but is it a priority now? I haven’t got any documentation or anything like that so no, it’s not something that’s going to happen immediately,” Mr. Ford told reporters on Thursday. “Whoever started this rumour, it’s just a rumour for now.”
It's not like it was ever justified. Motor vehicle travel times have nudged up approximately 2 minutes between Charles and Queen Street. Not knowing the margin of error, I'm not sure if that 2 minutes is even significant. At any rate the actual motor vehicle traffic volume remains unchanged: averaging 13,000 motor vehicles in both directions. That means just as many cars could travel the same street in the same time period as before. Removing one car lane has had no impact whatsoever on overall motor vehicle traffic volumes. But just to be on the safe side, staff were going to look at measures to "mitigate travel times impacts" such as a northbound left turn phase at Gerrard and Jarvis. If this passes council they won't have to bother.
The City's cycling department had been conducting bike counts on Jarvis, as well as measuring the impact of car traffic of the bike lanes before and after their installation. They've started doing before and after counts on all bike lane installations - hopefully this will sway some councillors to use reason over ideology. With the automatic counters on Jarvis Street and Dundas St, bike traffic has jumped three fold from 290 to 890 cyclists!
There are eight Bixi stations all within one block of Jarvis, installed since May. It's possible that bike traffic will increase even more as more and more tourists and commuters take to Bixi. In May Bixi saw 40,000 trips and June is shaping up to be many more trips. Looking over time on this map of Bixi stations you can see just how much stations around Jarvis, and in general, are being used.
If the Mayor wants to get rid of Jarvis bike lanes, he's going to have a fight on his hands. But we've got the bike counts and I believe City Hall can be filled with even more cyclists than the original Jarvis bike lane decision which packed the public seating. Mark your calendars for July 12/13!