The Mayor and City Council are trying to be good, announcing “Green Plans” and “Bold Ideas” that have the goal of “slashing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 and a whopping 80 per cent by 2050″:
Miller and city council [unveiled a plan] that sets ambitious targets for reducing emissions that lead to climate change, increasing so-called green energy usage and encouraging retrofitting of city homes and businesses to make them more energy efficient. The targets would be for both the city government itself and the community at large.
There isn’t a lot of time or space in this plan given to cycling in Toronto, but what it does say is that a “potential action” is completing the city’s bikeway network by 2012. This is “potentially significant” (my quotes) because although the Bikeway Network is notoriously behind schedule, having it completed (495 km of bikelanes, 249 km of off-road paths and 260 km of signed routes, all on a rough 2 km grid to make every Torontonian within a 5 minute ride of it*) in 2012 is only one year behind schedule.
*You can see the entire Bikeway Network chapter of the City’s BikePlan, which mentions these km numbers, if you’re interested [it's a PDF file].
I’m a little concerned that completing the Bikeway Network is only a “potential action” and not more important. It would be easy for the Mayor and Council to meet their smog reduction goals by promoting cycling more – and since they’re very concerned about all this money that the Federal and Provincial governments are NOT giving the City – it’s a cheap way to make a significant impact on smog reduction.
(the following bit is my favourite part of this post… I like it even better than the above part where I throw my opinion around…)
Thankfully, the Mayor wants your input. He wants you to contact him and tell him what you’re willing to do, and what you want him to do:
…the man some refer to as the “green mayor” yesterday put forward what he calls some “bold ideas,” and he wants the public to help him draft an action plan for improving the environment.
Let’s take him up on his invitation. Email your Mayor (he works for you!) and tell him that you want the Bikeway Network completed. Tell him you want cycling to be given as much attention as public transit receives from his administration.
Tell him that getting Torontonians to use a bike instead of a car one day a week will immediately reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. Tell him he will be hailed as a visionary if this happens, and it’s really easy (and cheap!)
Tell him about BikeFriday, while you’re at it. It’s this Friday.
(Pollution Illustration is from Eye Magazine)