On Friday November 30th, Bob Chiarelli, The Minster of Transportation, released a Cycling Strategy. You’d be well excused for not hearing about it because other news has rightfully captured the headlines. As an announcement, this strategy document was only newsworthy for being drivel.
In the wake of the death of Jenna Morrison because of a large truck on a dangerous stretch of Toronto road and the road rage incident where a male driver assaulted a woman with his car just because she was in front of him making a legal left turn, I'd like to reprint a op ed article by Heather McDonald responding to the decision by an all-male P
Why kill the Jarvis bike lanes and at the same time claim to be building a bikeway network?
Everyone with half a brain and who was honest enough to the traffic experts knows that Jarvis works with bike lanes. Car traffic volumes were the same before and after. Logically, putting back the fifth lane wouldn't change car traffic volumes either. With bottlenecks at the top and bottom of Jarvis, it doesn't matter how many lanes you install in between, only so many cars can squeeze through the pinch point during any period of time.
[Update: It was brought to my attention that these cyclist and pedestrian counts took place in October. Why did the City use October numbers instead of dates more representative of good cycling and walking weather? The Bicycle Cordon Count the City did last year were specifically conducted in September because it is an optimal time to count cyclists. People are back from vacation and it is still good weather for cycling. October is getting late and is not representative of peak demand.]
It's a bit endearing to see a councillor be willing to look silly to support a proposal for the media. Perhaps cycling is now enough of a wedge issue that even a councillor that thought the Jarvis bike lanes were a "war on the car" is willing to play his political cards in support of an ambitious bike proposal. Cyclist and journalist Catherine Porter went on a Bixi ride with Councillor Minnan-Wong to check out the proposed protected bike lane network.
This video, made by David Hembrow, a British citizen in The Netherlands, shows the growing chasm between the critiques of "vehicular cyclists" and the reality of cycling infrastructure, particularly when we can see the best in the world.
I'd be hard-pressed to put a good spin on this, though mayoral candidate Smitherman is certainly trying his best. Smitherman is jumping on the rhetoric bandwagon and is calling for a 'moratorium' on bike lanes in Toronto. In the meanwhile the 2011 money for bike lanes will go to repaving the bike lanes that are deteriorating such as Sherbourne.