Eye columnist and Spacing contributer Dale Duncan has a nice piece in Eye this week about bikelanes. Specifically, the frustration that comes with seeing some city politicians talk about being “green” but then not supporting funding for the Bike Plan. Adding bikelanes to Toronto’s streets is relatively cheap and easy to do, yet for all the plans, the money is still missing:
It’s strange to hear our city councillors claim that they’re going to make Toronto a green leader in one breath, and then treat cycling as an issue that doesn’t really have to be taken seriously in the next. When, on Nov. 14, Councillor Gord Perks moved to add $17.9 million to the cycling infrastructure budget over the next five years so that it would be possible for the city to meet its own goals, the budget committee shot him down. It’s as though there is a disconnect between plans that are approved and the money that is then dedicated to implementing them.
Agreed, Toronto continues to face troubling times financially, but somehow the city has found the money to pay for other, much more expensive projects. Take the Dufferin Street extension, priced at $32 million, or take a $35.6 million loan the budget committee recently agreed to provide for the construction of a new conference centre at the CNE. This isn’t to say that these projects aren’t necessarily worthwhile, but to prove that when council really wants something, it can often find the funds for it.
It should be noted of course, that some politicians are trying to get funding put through – Gord Perks, Glen De Baeremaeker and Joe Mihevc have been particularly noteworthy in trying to talk their colleagues into putting money where their mouths are.
Know of another councillor who should be recognized positively?