Rocco Rossi came out swinging today in his anti-bike rant: "(Rossi) promises to ban future bike lanes from all arterial roads plus review those which already have been built on major roads." (Globe)
"Jarvis has to be stopped." he told reporters.
So, we're talking Bloor and Jarvis, etc. Nice.
On January 8, George Smitherman made a similar statement:
"And on the so-called "war on the car", Smitherman said while he supported cycling, he didn't want to see Toronto's continued implementation of the Bike Plan impact on other forms of transportation.
"What I've noticed is that there are quite a few divisions around here," he said.
"This notion of the conflict between the car and the bike - I think the obligation we have is to understand that the inefficiency associated with gridlock is a serious climate challenge. I'm interested to be a leader of a city that makes it easier to use bikes. At the same time, it's my obligation to try and build a greater consensus around an integrated transit plan, without fostering the idea that one form of transportation is being played off against the other."
Two wheels good. Four wheels bad. Got it?
I particulary like Pantalone's 'give and take' approach as far as bike and cars are concerned.
Seems to me cyclists in in town have been doing a lot of 'taking' as in doors, sideswipes and hits from behind. As for the others, Smitherman won't even comment and Sarah Thompson's staff is looking into it'. Sad, none of them even get it.
Mark Cidade (not verified)
Look to the fringe!Mon, 01/25/2010 - 09:48
I'm a registered candidate. I am a cyclist. I want ALL roads in Toronto to be safe for ALL cyclists.
W P (not verified)
Smitherman's statementMon, 01/25/2010 - 12:20
He's quite the politician. He can increase biking infrastructure without inconveniencing any motorists. In other words, he will freeze or decrease bike lanes and bike paths.
Bike lanes on roads are less good than bike-only thoroughfares. Bike lanes are necessary, but insufficient.
I think we need a more pedestrian friendly and bike friendly leader in our city.
Sad to say, no working politician will admit that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
Realist (not verified)
It's a question of getting electedMon, 01/25/2010 - 13:10
Unfortunately, the majority of toronto voters are still drivers not cyclists. In the wake of Mayor Miller, any mayoral candidate that sides entirely with cyclists isn't going to get elected. I'm under no illusion that Smitherman is as bike-friendly as Miller, but even if he was, I'd advise him to keep his mouth shut about it until after the election. Rocco Rossi is an idiot with no chance of getting elected, but if someone made the polar opposite statement, planning to put bike lanes on all major streets, they'd have as much chance as Rossi.
That said, the bike union was talking about making shirts & stickers reading something to the effect of "I bike and I vote" to put some pressure on, and keep would-be-bike-friendly politicians from saying anything against bikes just to get elected. Once the discourse leans that way, we're screwed.
dances_with_traffic (not verified)
We still have troubleMon, 01/25/2010 - 22:04
"The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force." - Hitler
I Bike and I Vote T ShirtMon, 01/25/2010 - 13:50
Anybody interesred in a 29 Bikes ' I Bike and I Vote' T-Shirt can order theirs here:
Goober McFly (not verified)
Joe PantaloneMon, 01/25/2010 - 15:26
Joe is pro cycling experienced leftie who can also work with centrists and some right wingers. He's in the David Miller mold but has so far been overlooked in this campaign by the media and ibiketo people here.
Maybe that's why Gambrione will jump into the race next week. Me, I'd rather see Adam Vaughn win but perhaps he's better as a strong councillor who will speak up for us.
hamish (not verified)
Maybe I'm too demanding,Tue, 01/26/2010 - 12:10
Maybe I'm too demanding, naive, or know too much about the climate carisis, but I've got less-positive views of the core councillors mentioned.
Joe was the key pusher of the Pantalone Parkway aka the Front St. Extension, a $255M+ road to "complete the grid" - but where was Joe in demanding the beginning of a grid of safe bike lanes in the area west of Bathurst known as Pantalonia? That said, yes, now we have Harbord St. over to Ossington, but that's in the north end of his area, and we really need better east-west direct, safe and linked in the west end, and the West End Bike plan things aren't done yet, nor as truly good as we need and must have to begin to solve climate issues.
Adam Vaughan has just pushed through an Official Plan Amendment in the Annex area that keeps Bloor St. as a hazardous biking environment, especially in the narrower Spadina to Bathurst area, and it may be even worse in wintertime as the indented parking bays aren't usually plowed out, so there's even less! width for bikes, unless we take the lane.
Adam G has done some good with getting the buses to have bike racks, but in terms of the push for Bloor biking, the only real option for many cyclists and potential cyclists once Harbord ends at Ossington, he's voted for a study/communication 4+ years ago of a Bloor bike lane and then a few short weeks later, votes to increase the pCarking on Bloor. Having the Rail Trail isn't so hot either, in my view: the best use of the corridor is for transit first, and it was c. $4M?, and isn't so good for many bike commuters it would seem.
Adam G was also against the FSE when running, but after election, supported it.
Are they better than a few suburbanites? yes, but a little too imperfect "advocates" for me.
andTue, 01/26/2010 - 13:02
And Vaughn said that cyclists can dismount and walk if they can't manage the street in the new
James (not verified)
Biking helps drivers...Mon, 01/25/2010 - 20:17
I don't know why this issue has to be so polarized. Most people either ignore or disagree with the view that cycling helps drivers.
In my opinion, more people biking means less cars on the road, less congestion, less pollution, etc. It benefits everyone.
The same goes for public transit. If GO Trains didn't service the 300,000 (or however many people they service) each day, that could mean there would be (up to) 300,000 more cars on our roads.
Jarvis, and other main arterial roads will always run at capacity during rush hour - even if you add more lanes, those lanes will fill up.
steven (not verified)
helping people understand that more biking means less trafficFri, 01/29/2010 - 20:08
Very well said..maybe those t-shirts should read "more bikes=less traffic jams". Then maybe those voting drivers would re-think their anti-bike stance and understand that more bikes is a good thing for everyone.
Benefit ConcertTue, 01/26/2010 - 00:01
Selling the benefits of cycling is key to getting people to support it.
Portland's Bicycle Coordinator, Roger Geller, gave a presentation in Toronto last year that was rich with data supporting cycling, and covered everything from road maintenance to healthcare.
I thought the Bike Union was going to provide the presentation on their website but I haven't seen it yet; too bad because it was very convincing. If you want to see the presentation, the Halifax Cycling Coalition posted his presentation on YouTube – search: Roger Geller 01, the series runs to 10.
Seymore: See here!Tue, 01/26/2010 - 07:13
undecided (not verified)
UndecidedMon, 01/25/2010 - 23:36
I've just learned my Bike Union Ward Captain is working on the campaign team of a new candidate who has no track record in politics, no experience at City Hall, no published position on cycling, and is a former police officer.
It worries me that allying with this campaign will ruin all the good work our Bike Union ward group has done to help our Councillor, community, and the City get on the road to better bike infrastructure in our ward.
My questions to this forum are :
- should bike advocates, and specifically the Bike Union, be non-partisan?
- should we hope for better luck with a newcomer politician, or stick it out for the long run with the slow but cooperative councillor we've got?
- are other ward captains and cycling advocates aligning themselves with new candidates?
Interested to hear thoughts.
Cold PlayTue, 01/26/2010 - 00:05
It is better to ask candidates to express their position on cycling issues than it is to endorse a candidate.
Objection? Not entirely.Tue, 01/26/2010 - 01:29
I don't mind if you, or any other Union member, is going to work on a candidate's campaign.
But I will take issue if the name of the Toronto Cyclists Union gets dragged into "endorsing" a candidate without first getting the approval of the Board.
Many of us who regularly travel within the halls at city hall know whom we like working with. And we also quickly figure out who helps us, and by how much; as well we know those who can't, or won't. But really, we only know for sure after they are elected.
And people can change; and some politicians truly do what those of us who elected them tell them to do.
Bacause the Union is a non-profit, and not a charity, we can be involved in politics. We can even "endorse" a candidate if we desire. But we likely won't be so bold; this is only the first election our organization is participaing in.
Goober McFly (not verified)
Have you talked to the candidate?Tue, 01/26/2010 - 15:52
No track record in politics or experience at City Hall? Perhaps a fresh perspective.
No published position on cycling? Try asking his view, he may be open.
Former police officer? So what? Just the idea he wants to serve on council means he wants to make changes locally, don't judge if they're positive or negative on his profession.
Ward captains should be free to express any opinion or support any candidate, even if we're talking about some neo-nazis. Just don't lend the Bike Union name or support to any candidate.
Stephen van Egmond (not verified)
UghTue, 01/26/2010 - 02:16
Mr/Ms Undecided, I'm afraid the bike advocate borg mind has not yet come to a decision on those topics, and you'll have to decide for yourself.
Me, I'm a bike advocate, but it's not like it's the only issue at the Toronto city-politics level I care about.
Dog Will HuntTue, 01/26/2010 - 12:33
Get support for cycling happening in the community, the shift towards better cycling conditions starts at that level.
The Ward Advocacy model that the bike union started is the way to go; so get out there and start organizing!
Politicians are not going to lead the way for better cycling unless enough people demand it.
Martin Reis (not verified)
Joe Pants...Tue, 01/26/2010 - 13:02
Joe Pants... Bike-friendly?
As a member of ARC I met with him bout fixing College street after Ron Freeman was doored and run over by a truck. He wanted to hear none of it. Later he sent a letter writing 'for better or for worse' the roads are for cars ... etc.
insider (not verified)
Met Joe yesterday morning...Tue, 01/26/2010 - 14:26
...He seemed very pleasant, quite keen about cycling in parks; we spoke about the unseasonable weather, the brine snowmelting treatment on the roads, and possibly going for a ride in the spring, but of course only in nice weather, and only in a park. Perhaps I'll email him in the future and set up a time and location for a little wheelie.
I was wearing a suit and tie, and he was too. I think maybe because I spoke eloquently, dressed eloquently, and addressed him with a smile, it moved the conversation in a positive direction.
Very often I observe the "cyclist lobby" and various advocates make it into City Hall, and they aren't quite so businesslike or sociable, dressed outlandishly in their spandex shorts and courier bags, talking loudly and profanely, unkempt, scraggly, and looking to pick a fight with an authority figure. Perhaps that has a lot to do with the amount of success they achieve in their efforts. Perhaps if more ordinary cycling folk were to dress up and speak up at City Hall, politicians, and businesspeople - because City Hall is a business - would take their requests a little more seriously.
Perhaps the cycling community would organize a debate or all candidates meeting focused on cycling, and invite Mr Pantalone, et al?
Goober McFly (not verified)
Unkempt appearancesTue, 01/26/2010 - 15:41
That's a very good point about the cyclist lobby image, we're often dismissed simply because our unkempt appearance. It's unfair, but the impression we make on the general public often defeats us.
I was glad to see Yvonne Bambrick head up the Bike Union for this reason, not only is she bike issue savvy and an excellent even tempered speaker but she presents herself in a professional yet stylish manner. That's very rare in our community.
Community OrganizerTue, 01/26/2010 - 16:27
Politicians care about stuff that plays a role in them getting elected and staying elected - so far cycling has not made the list. But don't despair, only 35% of eligible voters show up to vote, and the majority of those are 50+ years old.
In short, there IS room to make cycling an election issue, and that's way more likely to happen when we stop pointing the finger at a "do nothing" councillor and start asking, "what we are doing to get people to support cycling?"
Special OpsTue, 01/26/2010 - 16:00
I have deputed in suit & tie before TCAC and PWIC, I see it like a special ops uniform for cycling advocacy; plus I'm lazy and it saves me time when I come from work.
DilemmaTue, 01/26/2010 - 20:40
"It worries me that allying with this campaign will ruin all the good work our Bike Union ward group has done to help our Councillor, community, and the City get on the road to better bike infrastructure in our ward."
"But we likely won't be so bold; this is only the first election our organization is participaing in."**
Don't take a position and you could be considered weak. Take a position and you run a risk of peeing someone off? Would politicians respect anyone they view as weak?
Taking it safe now, as Anthony suggests, if fraught with danger too. Is anyone prepared to wait another four years?
Hopefully people make up their minds soon. We are headed toward a new Mayor and council that will be somewhere between tepid support to obstructionist when it comes to cycling.
sp? Dilemma or dilemna?
Geoff Burke (not verified)
UnbelievableWed, 01/27/2010 - 07:31
I find it sad and hard to believe that in 2010 we even have the need for a debate on biking. It has been proven that widening roads and building new ones just creates more traffic. This week a report came out about the health of the nation and the fact that 20 year olds are now getting heart disease, bad eating habits but more so minimal physical activity is to blame. Global Warming, etc etc etc. Even if you don't believe in some of these issues you still can't ignore others. One of the major roots of all these problems THE AUTO MOBILE. Mr. Rossi you are wrong CARS ARE BAD!! for some I agree a necessary evil. However we should do as much as possible to minimize their use. Let's discourage some of my neighbours from driving their SUV's to the corner store.
hamish (not verified)
cars can be a searial killer...Wed, 01/27/2010 - 10:53
Ditto to the need to be more blunt about what our realities are - and the higher death toll of citizens on foot in the last two weeks isn't always the fault of pedestrians - we have systemically advantaged speeding mobile furnaces and given priority to their operators' times rather than those on foot doing the "green" thing of walking. Why should we be made to go a few hundred meters and a lot of time to cross a road in safety, when the roads are designed for higher speed than what's posted?
Caronto the Carrupt is the better name for the GTA, and yes, some/many drivers are considerate, and some of us peds/cyclists are less-wise to bubbleheads.
Dundas (not verified)
Pedestrian deaths and police reactionWed, 01/27/2010 - 18:43
It is strange that some of the pedestrians were in croswalks and had the light, but that the police are concentrating on busting jaywalkers as a reaction.
(To be fair, I've noiced more cars being pulled over in the King/Bay area these past few days too. It could be a side effect of the police standing there, or it migt be related. Unsafe right turns on red, etc, are issues with peds and cyclists alike.)
cruiserboy (not verified)
yeah they seem to find itSun, 01/31/2010 - 10:26
yeah they seem to find it easier to blame the victim. much as what happened with cyclists last fall.
Silvio (not verified)
Miller's kabuki theatreThu, 01/28/2010 - 11:00
The Jaywalking blitz is the Mayor's very own Kabuki theatre. Better to have your police out singing and dancing on the street even if studies show these blitzes don't change behaviour.
The pedestrian deaths are tragic but we have seen these statistical blips before. Gun related fatalities and truck tires breaking free come to mind.
The real problem is Toronto has a 2nd rate transportation system and very little is being done to improve it. Getting around the GTA is inefficient, unpleasant and can be deadly whether travelling by car, truck, train, subway, bike or on foot. The city tried to make travel by personal car as difficult and slow as possible but this strategy has not turned car drivers into transit users. It has only created more impatient and aggressive drivers. The Mayor pats himself on the back and portrays himself as champion of the bicycle because he paints 3 to 5 km of white lines on the road each year. Why do we cheer such dismal results? These celebrated bike lanes are regularly misused by cars (even Cops) and there is practically no enforcement. The city's "bike solution" pleased very few and we are starting to see the backlash (eg. Rocco Rossi).
The solution must lie in building a system that works for all. To me this means protected or separated bike lanes, more bike paths, synchronizing traffic lights so cars doing the speed limit and not stopping and starting every block, blocking bikes from some major roads, restricting cars on other roads, repairing our crumbling road infrastructure and expanding the TTC. Right turns at a red light could be made illegal to protect pedestrians and I think pedestrian activated traffic lights instead of crosswalks on busy roads are needed.
Being angry at car drivers doesn't solve anything but the politicians and bureacrats must like watching us all point fingers at each other. As along as we do that we aren't pointing fingers at the people who are elected and hired to make this city work. Instead of excuses and platitudes we should be demanding real improvement from council.
the pedaller (not verified)
Walk This WayThu, 01/28/2010 - 12:25
There are many contributing factors to pedestrian fatalities, and that does not exclude negligent drivers, poor road design, and a lack of police enforcement.
But if you ask me how I have managed to not get run over while walking on the streets of Toronto, I'd have to say it's because I make myself aware of my surroundings, I look both ways before crossing the street (even at a cross walk.), and I don't use my hand held device when crossing the road.
David Juliusson (not verified)
A reort released on correlation be health and biking and walkingThu, 01/28/2010 - 13:11
I wanted to pass this on. It is worth reading.
Investing in Biking and Walking Could **
**Save Lives Says Report
States with the lowest levels of biking and walking have higher
traffic fatalities and chronic disease
Washington, DC - January 28, 2010 - A new report released today by the Alliance for Biking & Walking shows that lack of investment in biking and walking could be contributing to higher traffic fatalities and chronic disease rates in the U.S.
Bicycling and Walking in the United States: The 2010 Benchmarking Report reveals that in almost every state and major U.S. city, bicyclists and pedestrians are at a disproportionate risk of being killed, and receive less than their fair share of transportation dollars. While 10% of trips in the U.S. are by bike or foot, 13% of traffic fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians. Biking and walking receive less than 2% of federal transportation dollars. Seniors are at an even greater risk. While adults over 65 make up 9% of walking trips and 4% of biking trips, they account for 19% of pedestrian fatalities and 9% of bicyclist fatalities.
"State investment choices can be a life or death issue for people who walk and bike," says Jeff Miller, President of the Alliance. "Creating safe streets for everyone will save lives and improve health and quality of life in communities."
The report also highlights the fact that states with the lowest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In contrast states with the highest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the lowest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In addition, where rates of biking and walking are greater, more of the adult population is likely to achieve the 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity aerobic activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to CDC, physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers.
The report also ranks states and the 51 largest U.S. cities in biking and walking levels, safety, funding, advocacy, and policies. It further compares U.S. cities to their international peers finding that overall, U.S. investment in biking and walking lags far behind that of other developed nations. This may explain why the U.S. has fewer people who bike and walk than its international peers.
Miller says, "our data show that increasing investment in biking and walking could lead to more people biking and walking. The more people bike and walk, the safer it is and the healthier the community. It's a virtuous cycle."
Bicycling and Walking in the United States was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and made possible through additional support from Bikes Belong Coalition and Planet Bike. For more information and to download the report visit http://www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org/benchmarking. For a fact sheet highlighting report findings click here.
About the Alliance:
Alliance for Biking & Walking is the North American coalition of over 160 grassroots biking and walking advocacy organizations. The Alliance works to strengthen state and local organizations through research, sharing best practices, training, resources, and grants. For more information or to find a local organization visit www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org.
The WeightFri, 01/29/2010 - 11:02
Perhaps the recent rise in pedestrian fatalities in Toronto will make people demand safer streets for all road users including pestrians and cyclists. We need to get people asking those running in the upcoming municipal election, how they plan to make our streets more safe.
I understand that a Newsletter from one Councillor actually lists 'stopping the implementation of a bike lane' as one of her accomplishments! The argument goes only so far if voiced an entitled cyclist, but if the point is made in the interest of promoting safe streets, it carries a lot more weight.
Thanks to DW for this insight.
doew (not verified)
I could see Toronto will turnMon, 02/08/2010 - 19:32
I could see Toronto will turn into Smog city within a few year if Rocci win.
He will destroy two wheelers way of commute, He will turn TTC into middle to low income Torontonian nightmare and heavy car congestion is every corner in the city. Did I mention lots of road rage?
phil (not verified)
I love TorontoThu, 02/18/2010 - 02:03
I agree the victim is mostly being blamed for motorist actions Ride a bike make Toronto a cleaner place to live!
Silvio (not verified)
Phil Blaming victims is notThu, 02/18/2010 - 10:04
Blaming victims is not as bad as using them to promote a classified ad business.
phil (not verified)
Trying to bring people togetherFri, 02/19/2010 - 16:35
Im actually promoting clean air in my city.. And yes Im trying to connect my community as you can see.
UpdateFri, 02/26/2010 - 08:33
The Star ran a 'Where the candidates stand' segment in their GTA section today.