TorontoCranks informed me of some anti-bike lane campaigning taking place in Scarborough, Ward 35 - Adrian Heaps' ward. There's no love lost on Heaps by hardcore cycling advocates (including TorontoCranks who considers Heaps an "arrogant jackass") but TC points out that Heaps has done a lot to improve his ward. And at least Heaps has voted for all the bikeway network projects before council in the last 4 years while he was also the chair of the Cycling Committee.
Can an anti-bike lane screed win Michelle Berardinetti this ward? I'm skeptical since I don't believe the issue is front and centre for lots of people who are likely more worried about their jobs. TorontoCranks makes the great point that the bike lanes on Pharmacy, which Ms. Berardinetti complains about so loudly, were installed on what is basically a residential street. Much like the Dundas East bike lanes, the Pharmacy lanes have calmed traffic and made it safer for all the residents. This may be something which the locals have noticed.
Pharmacy Avenue in Ward 35 runs from Eglinton to Danforth Avenue. 90% of the addresses in this section are homes. There are two small strip malls, an indoor mall at Eglinton, one gas station and two factories on Pharmacy. There are also two schools, two recreation centres and two major apartment complexes. There are also a few schools set back from Pharmacy. A lot of kids use Pharmacy or cross it to get to and from school. Before the bike lanes were installed collisions were a near daily occurrence. Screeching tires a near hourly occurrence. Two things caused these accidents. High speed and the fact that many intersections on Pharmacy have the crossing street offset.
The speed limit on Pharmacy is 50kmh. Yes the bike lanes have slowed traffic. To about 55-65kmh compared to pre-bike lanes of 60-80kmh. Largest ticket from a radar trap outside my house was 100kmh. Post installation there has been a great reduction in collisions. So effectively Ms.Berardinetti wants to increase the speed on Pharmacy Avenue resulting in more collisions. After 60kmh, crosswalks and crossing guards become useless. Not enough time for either driver or pedestrians to react if their paths cross. This is why two crosswalks were removed from Pharmacy and replaced with stoplights… and yes part of the rationale of installing bike lanes was to reduce the speed on Pharmacy. Actually residents were calling for the installation of speed bumps. So how will her plan for increased speed benefit the kids walking to school? Prior to the bike lanes you knew things were bad when the semi-crusty mechanic from across the street would help kids cross the street to help them avoid being hit. The look on seniors’ faces was also precious as they tried to cross four lanes to get to the post box outside my house. Have bike lanes solved all of the warts on Pharmacy? No but it is a lot better now compared to before. This is a residential street and not a high speed shortcut for 905?ers.