Citi Bike launches in NYC while Toronto's BIXI struggles for political support

Yesterday was the first day of New York's new 6000 bike-strong bikesharing system, Citi Bike. Toronto was early into the bikesharing game, first with CBN's BikeShare and later with BIXI Toronto. Now as New York has come strong out of the gate, and as Chicago comes strong soon after with a 4000 bike Divvy Bike system, Toronto is stuck at about 1000 bikes while councillors dither on whether they should put any money at all into this very affordable (far more affordable than our subsidized roads and subways) public transportation system.

In July staff will report back to the Executive Committee on the Request for Interest for any private operators/buyers of BIXI Toronto. From my source, there has been some interest from the private sector, but so far only for companies that are interested in running BIXI Toronto, not owning it outright.

While the Executive Committee is leaning to find a private sector buyer they can dump the system on (and Ford's preference is for closing it down altogether), TTC Chair Councillor Karen Stintz passed a couple motions at last Friday's TTC Comission meeting for studying the feasibility of BIXI Toronto being absorbed into the TTC (the official minutes aren't out yet).

  1. That TTC staff be requested to prepare a report by the July 2013 TTC Board meeting on the feasibility and expected costs of integrating BIXI Toronto into the TTC: and
  2. Forward this decision to the City of Toronto Executive Committee, with a copy to the Deputy City Manager, Cluster B, with a request that any decision on the BIXI matter be deferred until the subject TTC report is referred by the TTC Board to the Executive Committee for consideration.

While the ownership questions are being debated in the political forum, there is developer Section 37 funds for 3 stations along King Street, as well as funding tied to the Pan-am Games for 50 stations that is sitting in limbo. One can only hope that Toronto's striving to become "world-class" will shame politicians into supporting BIXI Toronto properly. Doug Ford, you like Chicago so much? Why not emulate their roll out of bikesharing and hundreds of miles of protected bike lanes?

Bike parking is expensive? Is this journalism?

Tess Kalinowski of The Toronto Star claims that providing bike infrastructure through transit is expensive. GO Transit is putting in secured and sheltered parking throughout the system. The TTC is putting in bus bike racks on its entire fleet. The price comes out in the range of a couple thousand per spot. Tess gives some "shocking" numbers, but fails to put them in the context of the alternative - the cost of parking a bulky car:

$1,800 per cyclist using GO Transit's new secure bike lock-ups in Hamilton and Burlington, $3,700 per cyclist using GO's new bike shelters, and $1.44 million to put bike racks on about 1,600 TTC buses.

So all we know is that there is a long-term infrastructure cost of thousands of dollars. This a cost that is spread out over the lifetime of the parking. That comes to around $100 a year for some secure bike lock-ups that will surely last at least 15 years. So put in perspective it's not that much.

DIY - The Revolution Starts With You

If you happen to be taking the TTC today (we'll forgive you, even though it's Bike Month!), be sure to check out the video screens while you're waiting for your train.

A 30-second slideshow featuring photos by Martin Reis and Yvonne Bambrick will be displayed every 10 minutes all day.

DIY - The Revolution Starts With You | May 26 on the TTC (Contact Festival 2009)

DIY - The Revolution Starts With You (a 30 second slide show about Toronto street activism) will be shown all day in 10 minute intervals MAY 26 on over 200 TTC video screens! Schedule :05 :15: :25 :35 :45 :55

Contacting Toronto is an annual, open-call photography exhibition on the Onestop network of over 270 TTC screens. It offers artists and photographers an audience of 1.3 million people a day in over 50 stations.


More info about the whole project is on Martin Reis' website.

New TTC Bicycle Signage Photos

I had time yesterday and took some photos of the new stickers ... nice!

The rest of my photos are here:

TTC warmly welcomes cyclists

Is the TTC warming up to cyclists? Even if they have nothing specific to announce in this press release I'm hoping they'll start serving hot chocolate to cyclists who stop biking and hop onto the nearest bus.


blockquote>TTC launches the "WARM WELCOME" campaign

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Toronto Transit Commission announces it's new bike-friendly attitude for Toronto two-wheelers with the "Warm Welcome" campaign.

Starting today the TTC is changing the signage at all of it's subway stations, replacing the NO BICYCLES during rush-hour signs, to a more positive sign (a bike symbol in a green circle) displaying the times when bicycles are allowed.

TTC by-law No. 1, Section 17 has not changed, but the presentation of it has. Instead of prohibiting bicycles, the new signs welcome bicycles all day Saturday and Sunday/Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 3:30pm and 6:30pm to close.

The move is part of the Transit City Strategy, the first step in an effort to make the TTC a more integrated commuter system.

The effort hopes to encourage Toronto cyclists, especially those with long commutes, to continue biking all winter, knowing that when it's too cold or snowy, they are welcome to come aboard.

"To all you brave cyclists who ride all winter long, this is just a little change to help you go a long way." says TTC commissioner Adam Giambroni.

Bike The Strike!

Toronto Bikes
So, it's on after all. A TTC Strike.
I wonder if the City can do more for Bikes than the measly three or four streets offered for bikes as special routes.

Need info? Check out this page out about how to get around during a TTC strike on your bike .

Bike The Strike!

TTC Strike = New Bike Lanes?

According to the Toronto Star, the City may create some new temporary bike lanes in the event of a TTC strike:

For cyclists, the curb lane on Bay St. from Queen's Quay to Yorkville will become a bike-only lane for the duration of a strike. So will the curb lanes on Queen's Quay from Lower Spadina Ave. to Yonge St., and Dundas St. E. from River St. to Broadview Ave.

Nice touch. The curmudgeon in me wonders if anything like this would actually get enforced. How well do they enforce the HOV/taxi/bike lanes on Bay now? How about the ones on Dundas west of Six Points? (Answer: not at all).

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