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Are Public Consultations killing Toronto’s Bike Plan?

A good piece from NOW Magazine about the woefully inadequate implementation of Toronto’s Bike Plan.

Here’s an idea – put in bikelanes for a 3 month pilot, THEN do consultations to see how everyone likes them (instead of before, when you’re asking people how they THINK they will like them), and then make a decision about putting them in or not.

Revolutionary, no?

“You have to consult then do the design then take the design back out and do more consultation, then do a pilot project. As an advocate of some of these lanes its generally frustrating that we cant move faster,” he says. “In cities like New York they dont ask, they just put in. Same with Chicago. But we have a certain culture here.” 

Indeed, compared to Toronto other jurisdictions seem to move at lightning speed. A month after Rahm Emanuel was sworn in as mayor of Chicago in 2011 he showed up to dedicate a new protected bike lane on Kinzie Avenue, plans for which had only been announced four days before. By the end of 2013 the city hopes to have completed 104 km of new bike lanes since Emanuel took office.

Full Article: City way behind on bike lane target | NOW Magazine.

  • Jack

    Great idea!

  • No, this is not a good idea, because we’re Toronto, not New York or Chicago. If you recall, this is essentially what happened on Pharmacy and Birchmount. Bike lanes installed without public consultation caused such an uproar that the councillor was removed, the bike lanes scrubbed, and four years later the new councillor is still using that as a plank to vote against bike projects everywhere in the city. Yes, the implementation has been painfully slow but rushing it just brings out the NIMBYs.

  • At SOME point we’ll achieve a critical mass where these projects are accepted as a given, but in Toronto we are still far, far away from that. For now, public consultation is absolutely vital.

  • Interesting viewpoint Greg.

    What I’m proposing is a little bit different… a PILOT goes in for a few months (3? 6?), after which feedback is collected from residents, businesses, and people that use the street as a thoroughfare (peds, cyclists and drivers).

    Then, that feedback is used to make a decision about whether the lanes be kept as is, modified, or removed.

    Pharmacy and Birchmount were installed as permanent ones (although I find it hard to believe absolutely NO public consultation was done), not pilots.

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