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Jarvis bike lane removals called off for the day because of protest: they'll try again tomorrow

The Jarvis bike lanes were slated to be removed today (above image from Toronto Star). The 5th lane light has already been installed. The parking meters for cars are back. But protests today have stalled the removal.

Around 1 p.m. Monday, workers began scrapping the white bike lane lines off of Jarvis St. using a large “Stripe Hog” truck. They didn’t make it far. At 1:34 p.m., 33-year-old Steve Fisher sat down in their path just before Wellesley St. E.

“I know you’re doing your job but I’m not going to move,” he said.

“I don’t believe the Jarvis bike lanes should be removed,” he said. “Before the lanes were involved I was hit twice by cars.”

Supervisor Jim Gillberry contacted the city for advice. After a wait of about 10 minutes the scrubbing truck pulled around Fisher and began work south of Wellesley, where another protester was waiting.

The truck pulled around the second protester only to encounter another person sitting in the street, as the sit-in continued.

Read more at the Star. I'm interested to see how things continue tomorrow.

Mayor Ford applauded the removal, saying he's just doing what he was elected to do.

Cycling in the Annex: Public Meeting Oct 2

On Oct 2 at Miles Nadal, the Annex Residents Association is holding a public meeting on cycling in the Annex.

The topics:

  • 30 km/hr speed limits on Annex roads
  • bike lanes on Bloor from Bathurst to Avenue Rd
  • additional cycling safety measures
  • results from Clean Air Partnership / TCAT's Business and Cycling Survey

Details:

7pm, Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012
Miles Nadal JCC (Bloor and Spadina SW corner)
Room 318

Cycle Toronto asks City to improve bicycle access in Union Station plan, else may take it to Province

The City had approved an EA report for a remake of Front Street in front of Union Station. It would improve pedestrian access, but in the end, provided nothing substantive for cycling access, and perhaps even made it worse in some respects. This for a major transportation hub in Canada. Cycle Toronto has expressed its concerns (pdf) about the project and has sent a letter to the City to see that its concerns are met. If not, Cycle Toronto may bring its concerns to the Province under the EA legislation. The approved EA, according to Cycle Toronto, is contrary to the City of Toronto Official Plan, Metrolinx's transportation policies, and fails to provide adequate lanes for bicycle transportation and fails to accommodate access by bicycle to Union Station, a concern that was also expressed by Metrolinx at an earlier date.

If Cycle Toronto's concerns can't be resolved with the City, they will "make an order under Part 11 of the Environmental Assessment Act that would require the Project to undergo an individual environmental assessment".

Previously Metrolinx had also expressed concerns that cyclists were being short-changed. Lesiië/ Woo, Vice President of Policy, Planning and Innovation at Metrolinx, said in February:

It is encouraging to see an emphasis in the EA on pedestrian priority and safety; however, I wouid encourage the City to consider this opportunity to concurrently improve access to Union Station for cyclists. In particular, the preferred concept identitìed through the EA provides minimal dedicated on-road space for cyclists. With the introduction of a greater number of taxi and loading zones, there may be a greater number of points of conflict between cyclists, pedestrians, and motorized vehicles. On Front Street, the consideration of on-street bike lanes or dedicated cycling facilities may help to reduce conflicts, especially in high activity areas, such as adjacent to taxi stands and loading zones.

The City's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee had previously asked City staff to consider changes to the plan, but staff came back with nothing, saying that they were unable to arrange a meeting with the appropriate people in time. So instead of delaying the approval until changes could be discussed, it was summarily accepted. Perhaps this time they'll find the time.

Toronto Committee to give cyclists late Christmas gift

Everyone loves to park in the bike lane

City Hall is back in business after the holiday season, but the gifts keep on coming. Parking on busy streets during rush hour, or blocking a bike lane any time has been increased by $150 fine if passed by city hall.

Public works and infrastructure voted 3-2 Wednesday to hike the fine from the current $60 for parking in a no stopping or standing zone and $40 for parking in a no parking zone.

The two dissenting votes were cast by councillors Shiner and Parker, who worried the hike is a “feel good” motion when the real problem is enforcement.

Tickets are issued by parking enforcement officers who work for Toronto police.

Shiner said their quota system — called “targets” by police — that sees parking officers expected to issue a certain number of tickets per day means they hit lots of cars at expired meters or on side-streets, rather than one car blocking busy traffic and causing a huge headache.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, the committee's chair, agreed with the dissenters and said city staff will talk to police about better enforcement.

“We are moving forward in trying to address congestion,” said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong chair of the public works committee. “This is a positive step forward.”

The increased fine is one part of attacking the problem, he said, and proper enforcement is another.

The fine hike would need to go to council for approval before coming into effect.

Top eleven posts of 2011

Photo: Herb. Bells on Bloor 2011, popular as ever, even though City Council voted to stop the Environmental Assessment

Cycling and politics were a hot item in 2011, from the vote to remove Jarvis Bike Lanes, the vote to install protected bike lanes, the launch of Bixi, and the politicians who took cheap shots by trying to make cyclists into urban terrors. Here's a recap of 2011's top 11 blog posts, ranked by the number of comments. It's not the only way to rank blog posts, but the easiest to come by.

  1. Separated bike lane proposal and battle heating up
    Bixi bikes are on the streets and the fight continues to get separated bike lanes approved for downtown. Some lefty councillors oppose, some support.
  2. Few bike lanes: the cause of most sidewalk cycling
    A pedestrian dies after colliding with a cyclist in North York. There is a strong call to crack down on cyclists yet the pedestrian's family say he was an avid cyclist and understood how bad cycling infrastructure is in the burbs. And where are the critics when a pedestrian is killed by a motorist?
  3. Public Works committee votes to take out Jarvis bike lanes: total -8 km bike lanes this year
    The vote to take out the Jarvis bike lanes made international news. What big city in this era votes to take out bike lanes?

Dandyhorse Food Issue Launch Party - Oct 3

Dandyhorse magazine is celebrating its Food Issue Launch Party, on October 3rd, 8 pm at Parts & Labour, which is located at 1566 Queen Street West. The Food Issue is guest edited by Bob Blumer of the Food Network, "a guy that bikes 1,000 kms in 10 days and calls it a vacation".

In the issue:

  • dandyhorse pits Canadian pro rider Ryder Hesjedal against Toronto courier Kevin Barnhorst
  • Two of Toronto's best chefs concoct energy bars that actually taste good
  • A cyclists' tribute to Jack Layton
  • Artwork by Jason van Horne
  • Stunning photos by John Lee and Molly Crealock
  • Bike Spotting with more cargo bikes than you can shake a tire lever at

The cost is $7 for magazine plus Pay what you can donation ($3 suggested). The event is on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=267992546555792

At the party:

  • a special performance by LUxURY Bob!
  • two Linus bikes up for grabs, courtesy of Curbside Cycle. Raffle tickets are only $5 each! Draw is at 11 p.m.

"Bicycle Jack": 1950-2011. A progressive politician dies


Source: Toronto Star

It's all over Canadian news that Jack Layton, Official Opposition and NDP Leader, former Toronto City Councillor and cycling advocate, died this morning, after fighting a recurring cancer.

I'd like to comment on what Jack has done for cycling in this city. See a fuller timeline of all of Bicycle Jack's accomplishements at the CBC. Thanks to Sue-Ann Levy for the title, "Bicycle Jack". It's not really derogatory you know.

I first met Jack and Olivia a few years ago as they road their tandem bike together up to Downsview Park from City Hall to support the SARS concert, and I was riding along as a Cycling Ambassador, working for the City. They could really fly on that bike as we took over the closed off Allen Expressway. When Olivia was councillor I would regularly see her bike on her way to work. Jack was a dedicated supporter of cycling and sustainable, equitable transportation. He saw it as integral to social justice, and was passionate about cycling issues just like he was passionate about homelessness, support for seniors and children, and other environmental issues.

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