Bixi is coming to Toronto!
After a long debate at city council (see a photo of councillors looking at the blue Bixi bike), Bixi public bikes are getting so close to being a reality that I can almost feel myself riding around on these elegant, cruising, commuter machines. The final vote at Council was 33-8 as councillors approved the plan provide a loan guarantee of $4.8 million to Bixi so that they can borrow money and roll out 1000 bikes at 80 stations, spaced 300 metres apart across the core.
Tomorrow is do or die. Either council approves the loan guarantee and contract with Bixi, or it will be a long, long time before Toronto gets its own bikesharing program. Please go to City Hall at 10 am with your bike helmet on to show your support. The Mayor is making a special push for it!
Is Councillor Adrian Heaps going to try sabotage Bixi Toronto at City Council next week? Given his recent performance at the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting, I'm a bit concerned. Does he want a public bike program that could be flourishing by next year, or does he want to delay it a few years just so his favourite company, Astral Media, can run it? And does Astral Media even want it?
The Public Bike proposal passed the first hurdle by getting unanimous support from all councillors on the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. I gave a deputation to the committee on behalf of the Community Bicycle Network (which ran the popular Bikeshare, Toronto's original public bike program) in support of the Bixi Toronto proposal.
The public bike program will be up for approval at the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday, April 20th and to City Council on May 11-12 (somewhere on the agenda to be determined).
The bike union and myself are asking you to take action so the public bike program wins support to launch next year and joins the ranks of cities like Montreal, Paris, Boston, London and even Minneapolis.
In a recent email discussion on Bixi and bikesharing in Toronto, Mikael Colville-Andersen
I got an email from the Mayor this morning (as did James at Urban Country). Mayor Miller isn't abandoning public bikes and is directing staff to look for other funding options. He mentions Bikeshare, which was run by the Community Bicycle Network and had a hard time getting enough funding from the city to sustain itself too:
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