Councillor Vaughan recently sent this note out via Facebook. I've been hammering on Vaughan recently for his opposition to the separated bike lane plan (he's still not clear if he opposes the whole thing or if he just wants to protect his John pedestrianization project). I've known that Vaughan has been relatively supportive of cycling in his ward (though really how can a politician come out as anti-bike downtown?) but I still think he's making a mistake by coming out so strongly against this plan instead of working with the cycling community to come to a compromise. Anyway, I'll let you read his letter:
Dear Ward 20 residents, cyclists and Facebook friends,
A recent National Post article has called into question my position on cycling in the City. Some of you, who may not have worked with me personally on local matters in Ward 20 may not be familiar with my approach to inclusive, neighbourhood based planning or my record on cycling infrastructure and complete streets.
For the record:
I have voted in support of every bike lane ever in front of me at Council.
I initiated plans for a network of new connecting bike lanes in Ward 20 - on Simcoe, Peter, Bremner/Fort York, Portland, Rees, Soho and Dan Leckie Way.
Based on recommendations from the Ward 20 Cycling Committee, the first "Bike Boxes" in the City have been implemented in Ward 20.
I have advocated for and voted for better cycling infrastructure on Spadina, Harbord and St George and Queens Quay in Ward 20.
I have supported BIXI at Council and in the community.
I delivered the City's first on-street bike parking corral to my ward, on Spadina Avenue. Two more bike parking corrals are planned for installation in Kensington Market this summer.
I advocated for and created higher bike storage standards in condominiums and new development.
I spearheaded programs to have artists design sculpted bike rings, which were then commissioned and installed on Queen West and in Kensington Market.
I ensured the Portland Pedestrian Bridge to the rail lands in Ward 20 was designed to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.
On the Police Services Board I moved motions to ban parking in bike lanes.
In partnership with residents from the 15 + distinct neighbourhoods in Ward 20, I organized a Ward 20 cycling committee that developed and tested the recommendations for many of these initiatives.
I fought successfully to include bike lanes in the recommendations of the Bloor Visioning Study.
Most recently, I am working to create new lanes through Clarence Square Park, separated bike lanes on Wellington (to connect Blue Jays Way, Portland), and on the south end of Spadina Avenue. I am also working with City Transportation staff to improve north-south crossing connections across Queen Street.
I am not sure how anyone can characterize this record as "opposition" to cycling infrastructure.
I am a cyclist, I have been all my life. I support bike lanes.
Despite all of this evidence, some still claim and continue to characterize me as being opposed to bike lanes.
I have publicly expressed concerns about how bike lanes (and sidewalks, parks, bridges and buildings) are designed and configured. This is not opposition; it is part of planning complete streets and neighbourhoods.
I ran for Council on a platform of community-based planning. Over the past four years, with the support, encouragement and involvement of hundreds of residents – we have changed the way communities think about, talk about, accommodate and welcome change.
I believe that community-based planning, driven by strong design principles is the best way to solve problems. Simplistic top-down planning with no approach to design or functionality is a good way to create conflict.
Our streets must function both as thoroughfares and destinations, places for vehicles and people. Good streets accommodate multiple uses safely and beautifully.
I remain true to these principles.