I didn’t like writing the title of this post, but the following HAS to be said.
We’re in danger of losing the 1-year-old Jarvis bikelanes as the Ford Mayoralty has shown that they believe (and they’re right) that the Torontonians that voted for Rob Ford and his idealogical counterparts voted for them to 1) reduce waste at city hall and 2) end the so-called “war on the car”
The Ford Mayoralty is catering to the drivers in Toronto.
The cycling advocacy community in Toronto (mainly the Bike Union) is pulling out all the stops to try and get City Council to “Save Jarvis” (as well as the bikelanes on Pharmacy and Birchmount avenues in Scarborough) by encouraging their members and people that bike on Jarvis to contact Rob Ford and their local councillors.
Does anyone else see the problem in this strategy, or is it just me?
Don’t get me wrong… what the Bike Union is doing is GREAT, but it can’t stop there:
To paraphrase Kanye West, Rob Ford does not care about cyclists. They did not vote for him, and he knows they won’t vote for him in the future.
Therefore, cyclists can email and phone his office (and the offices of all the City Councillors who are in the Ford voting bloc on Council) all they want, but it will be dismissed, because neither Ford nor the right-wing of City Council has any vested interest in the needs of cyclists.
Getting cyclists who use the Jarvis bikelanes to contact the Mayor is akin to (if you’ll forgive me for a rather crude analogy) hitting on a good looking guy/gal while they’re having sex with someone else.
It’s all fine and good to mobilize and galvanize the cycling community, but until Rob Ford isn’t mayor anymore, or at least until his stranglehold on Council breaks, it is the Totally Wrong Way to save bikelanes or get new ones installed.
The ONLY way to save or get new bikelanes in the current political climate is to have DRIVERS contact Rob Ford and their councillors (especially the non-downtown councillors).
Go to the shopping malls surrounded by parking lots in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough and hand out information pamphlets about how bikelanes actually help *ease* traffic congestion (and how they can contact Rob Ford).
Talk to the DRIVERS stuck in traffic downtown about how getting people on bikes means getting people out of cars and therefore their commute may get a little easier.
Get DRIVERS to phone Rob Ford (Rob loves the phone) and tell him:
- They’re a driver and a taxpayer and…
- They like bikelanes because it gets cyclists to the side of the road and not in front of their cars, slowing them down, or:
- They’re son/daughter wants to ride their bike to school and they should be safe on the roads, or:
- Getting people out of their cars and on bikes will mean less cars on the roads, which means better car traffic flow.