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My Criticsm on Candidate Rossi’s Statement

Apparent cyclist, Rocco Rossi, has shown time and time again that he is not only a non-cyclist but not a fan of cycling. His plans to remove existing bike lanes and fight bike lanes on ANY arterial road is an example of transportation planning from the 1950s. Without any opportunity for actual civic input on the matter it seems as though he has put his foot down on what he believes to be a matter of “civility”. I have decided to take his latest blog post and criticize elements of it, not to be a troll of some sort but to stimulate an actual discussion on the matter and not this one-sided preaching:

A City Hall staff report this week recommending the installation of bike lanes on University Avenue this summer is a recipe for gridlock.

<Really? But didn’t the City just state that the traffic load is manageable? Did you conduct a traffic flow analysis or conduct any actual analysis to have any concrete proof that it is a recipe for gridlock? There are plenty of examples both here and abroad where this kind of intervention has been manageable in the traffic flow (Think Embarcadero in San Francisco, 9th Ave physically separated bike lane in New York City, I could go on) for all users.>

With our transit funding in jeopardy, Toronto will be approaching complete and total gridlock in the next few years. We will need to use all of our smarts and all of our civility to get to work and to get around peacefully.

Pulling two lanes of University Avenue out of commission to install bike lanes is madness, particularly when a great north-south bike lane already exists three blocks west on Beverly-St. George.

<First off, it’s Beverley, not Beverly. This is Toronto, not California. Second, in case you haven’t looked at a map recently you will notice that the lane ends at Queen St. and there lacks any connectivity south of that unless you propose cyclists ride on a major arterial road such as Queen St. which doesn’t fly in your books. No bike lane, no arterial road, where is a cyclist to go, the sidewalk?>

And running a pilot project at the height of the biking season is cold comfort to drivers who will be struck on University Avenue in January gazing at an empty bike lane.

<Assuming that cycling is only a 3 season mode of transportation is misguided. Yes there are less cyclists out in the winter in comparison to summer months but the number of winter cyclists has been increasing over the years especially in the downtown core.>

Yet that is exactly what the city proposes to do as early as July on University Avenue. Our best information is that the city will also install the fully approved bike lanes on Jarvis Street sometime in late May or June, even though a wonderful bike lane connecting the waterfront to the Rosedale ravines and beyond exists two blocks east on Sherbourne Street.

<Are you really a cyclist? Have you ridden on Sherbourne St.? It’s quite possibly one of the worst downtown routes to use due to poorly maintained infrastructure. Besides, why can’t you look BEYOND the bike lanes on Jarvis and look at the big picture which is a revitalization of an entire neighbourhood which has lost its sense of identity, community and safety. The bike lane is part of a grander scheme that will have a huge impact on the health, security and longevity of this community.>

I was the first candidate to question the common sense and safety of putting new bike lanes on arterial roads. As a cyclist I have gone on record as favouring the completion of Toronto’s bike lane network on quieter streets parallel to arterial roads. I am the only candidate to commit to completing Toronto’s bike lane network.

<Bike lanes on roads is supposed to be a safety measure, a cyclist on an arterial road without a bike lane will feel much less safe without one. As a cyclist I would figure you of all people would understand that. Yes, not every road is ideal for a bike lane but to completely dismiss any future plans for bike lanes on arterial roads without an opportunity to public input or an opportunity for transportation planning is undemocratic, short sighted and a far call from your demands for civility.>

Bike lanes on arterial roads have emerged as a major issue in this election campaign.

In a comparable situation, David Miller asked that work be stopped on the Island Airport Bridge because it had become a major election issue during the 2003 campaign. I am calling on the mayor to take his own advice and let the voters of Toronto decide this issue themselves on October 25th.

<I’m calling non-sequitur on this one. What does the TPA bridge back in 2003, which was a multi-governmental and community specific issue, have on your bike lane issue? Miller’s call against the bridge’s construction actually made sense from a planning perspective unlike your bike lane issue which seems to lack any concrete facts or good planning sense.>

Posted: April 14th, 2010
Filed under: 2010 Election, Transportation Issues
Tags: | 5 Comments »

5 Comments on “My Criticsm on Candidate Rossi’s Statement”

  1. 1 duncan said at 7:28 am on April 15th, 2010:

    Good rebuttal to these claims.

    What stands out most to me is not only that he is against bike lanes and any sort of development (he’s a marketer, not a city planner) but that he has no intention of saving Transit City or doing anything to expand transit. He’s a fundraiser, he raised money for Liberal something-or-others and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Yet, public transit funding is a lost cause?

    I’m hoping a candidate comes forward with some real research and some real ideas. I’d hate to end up voting for the “best of the worst.”

  2. 2 Bikeroo said at 8:20 am on April 15th, 2010:

    It’s quite disappointing that right now we have 2 types of candidates: the ones who will make lavish claims without careful consideration of the viability behind it and the ones who are being conservative in what they say. Some candidates are starting to interest me a bit though; in today’s Star Smitherman was quoted in saying he wants an integrated transportation plan so I am really curious as to what he means by that.

  3. 3 Weekly Wrap-Up: Will University Avenue Have Toronto’s Best Bikelane? | Biking Toronto said at 7:19 am on April 16th, 2010:

    [...] My Criticsm on Candidate Rossi [...]

  4. 4 Best Bike Lane Toronto: Week 1 Nominations | Biking Toronto said at 8:11 am on April 16th, 2010:

    [...] Toronto. As a bold pilot project to install separated bike lanes along University Avenue sparks the ire of mayoral candidates, excites downtown bicycle commuters and grabs the headlines, we don’t want our other bike [...]

  5. 5 RossM said at 8:35 am on April 19th, 2010:

    Since day one of this campaign, Rocco Rossi has confirmed repeatedly to the press, in town hall meetings, in debate and on his web site, that he is a huge fan of cycling ( ‘Apparent cyclist’? Look at his track record…) and as potential mayor of Toronto he understands the need to develop a comprehensive transportation strategy for the city as a whole. That includes sensible planning and financing of, yes – roads, bike lanes, pedestrians, TTC and more. Everyone supports non-polluting transportation alternatives – cycling & walking have tons of benefits. But if you choose to de-optimize city residents’ ability to move around solely on ideological grounds, those may be bad decisions. Asking a lame-duck mayor for a moratorium is exactly what he should be doing so that the new mayor can take a fresh look at the whole transportation issue. In support of bike lanes, it wld be hard to accomplish less than the current administration. Why the big rush now?

    Rossi’s position has always been – show me the business case that this is the best thing for everyone in the city – then we’ll do it.

    Unlike some other candidates, the deeper your dig on Rocco Rossi, the better he looks. Try it – you’ll like it.

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