At dispute was a section of Annette from Jane to Runnymede; this section was not on the agenda before the PWIC but many cyclists felt it should have been. A total of 14 people gave deputations about Annette Street: 9 came out for the bike lanes, 3 were against.
We got a win; mostly. The bad news for many cyclists, and would be cyclists, is that we’re not getting bike lanes on all of Annette St. right now. The section in dispute has been referred back to Councillor Saundercook and city staff in order to meet with area residents and businesses owners to see if this matter can be peacefully resolved in time for the October PWIC meeting. This compromise was suggested by Councillor Grimes, and was the option eventually adopted by the committee.
Councillor Parker moved a motion to get all segments of bike lanes on the agenda pushed back, but none of the other committee members saw this as prudent action to take. Councillor Carroll reminded Councillor Parker that the Bike Plan is not new, and that it ties in with many other city council approved plans, and should not be unduly delayed. In addition she reminded Parker that there was only one objection heard to one of the four bike lane segments in front of them, but plenty of support heard for all of these segments including from the local councillors.
Councillor Carroll, Councillor Giambrone and Councillor De Baeremaeker toyed with the idea of pushing through the bike lanes on all of Annette at this meeting, however they thought that Grimes' idea had merit. The committee adjusted his motion to be more specific and to give staff more direction. They agreed to delay the process only because some of the people who gave deputations said that inadequate notice and time had been given for feedback (read: objection). Having followed this from the start I don't think is an accurate assessment as there has been plenty of media about this bike lane as evidenced by these links:
- Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation
- Annette Street repaving
- Annette Street Bike Lanes - Public Meeting, April 17
- Annette Street to get new pavement and bikelanes
- Spacing Toronto
- Cutting short the Annette Street bike lane
- Four new bike lanes proposed in Phase 2 of 2008 bike lane plan, June 4th, Annette lanes cut short
- Annette Street set for resurfacing
- Bike lanes coming to Annette Street
- City changes concept for proposed bike lanes in response to community uproar
- Toronto 2008 Roads Budget
- Annette Street bike lanes
- Open Hand/Open Eye
- Report from the Annette Street Bicycle Lane Meeting
- Cycling in Toronto -- Next Steps
A couple of additional notes to make about this: The meeting was very well attended by cyclists, and not just those who made deputations. Thank you to all of you for your show of support; I hope that next time you'll come out and speak as well. Councillor De Baeremaeker tried to make it as clear as day that he and the other committee members listened the deputations that we made. You could tell by the interrogation he gave Maryann Dixon after her speech against bike lanes. Amongst the questions he asked was if his own safety when cycling was less important that her convenience of being able to park her car in front of her house.
Lessons learned: Motivate people who ride bikes to show up to these meetings and make deputations; it really helps! Councillor De Baeremaeker made a point of mentioning that the most weight for decisions made by the committee is given to those positions expressed by people who attend and make deputations at city hall meetings like PWIC, and especially to those from members of the public, ie residents (us) who have (likely, probably) taken time off work to be there; less to the hired guns (ie deputations made on behalf of "groups"). De Baeremaeker was trying to encourage those of us who ride bikes to keep coming out to these meetings because it makes it clear to them to push the bike plan through.
Lastly gratitude, appreciation and recognition need to be given to the deputants who came out supporting the bike lanes, Helen Armstrong, Andrew Bieler, Jun Nogami, Yvonne Bambrick of Toronto Cyclists Union, Ivan Brock, Ron Fletcher of TBN, Andrew Moody, and Elizabeth Lines of World 19.
Also deserving of our thanks are those individuals who have monitored and blogged about this. They helped to keep us informed, Martin Koob, John Spragge, Vic, and Fred Sztabinski. A very special thanks to the Toronto Cyclists Union for speaking on this, for supporting us, for engaging with other community groups on this, and especially for encouraging its members to show up and be involved and make deputations. And another special thanks needs to go to TBN for making an appearance and speaking so eloquently on it's members' behalf. I don't want to discourage Ron from speaking but I hope that for next time TBN will encourage its membership to also speak at these meetings in the same way the Toronto Cyclists Union did, and for the reasons that De Baeremaeker mentioned at the meeting.
Next on cyclists' to do list:
- Watch for and attend the community meeting(s) about the bike lanes on the rest of Annette St. Sell and defend the value of these bike lanes for the local businesses, our health, the environment, our safety, and all of the other good things that road-diets and bike lanes bring to our communities.
- Get ready to sell and defend the next batch of Bike lanes which will be coming at the next PWIC meeting on June 27.
The Toronto Star also covered this PWIC meeting: Annette bike lanes spark bickering