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NEWS: Socknacki and Chow compare cycling plans

Very weird… an entire Toronto Sun article about bikelanes and the columnist doesn’t talk crap about them. (but don’t read the comments. Never read the comments.  Especially in the Sun).

It’s good that both Soknacki and Chow want bikelanes, but it seems that Chow is the only one that realizes that making a bikelane physically separate from car traffic does not have to spend a lot.  There are cheap ways to make safe bikelanes.  See my quick video about the Laurier Ave. bikelane in Ottawa. Flexi-bollards, modular curbs. Easy-peasy and economical.

Soknacki compared his own cycling plan he publicly presented in May to Chow’s, which was announced Friday. Both plans promise to build 200 kilometres of bike lanes in four years, but Soknacki said Chow’s is based on “unrealistic budgeting.”

“She plans to do this by ‘reallocating priorities within the existing budget for bike lanes’ and she would also add up to $1 million a year to the cycling capital budget,” Soknacki said in a statement. “If she plans to achieve the same goals with just over half the money, this can only means she intends to abandon entirely any plan for separated lanes – the kind of bike lanes drivers and cyclists really want.”

More: Socknacki, Chow compare cycling plans | Toronto & GTA | News | Toronto Sun.

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NEWS: John Tory is now the Anti-Bike Candidate in the Mayoral Race

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Okay, Rob Ford will always be THE anti-bike candidate, but let’s just hope his support stays at 20% (in related news, 20% of Torontonians are on crack) and we don’t have to deal with him again.

John Tory’s campaign has come out against Olivia Chow’s plan to drastically increase bikelanes in Toronto, creating a Minimum Grid of infrastructure to help Torontonians get around the city by bike, safely.

Tory doesn’t understand that less people driving cars actually eases congestion…. but it’s really not a difficult concept.

A spokeswoman for John Tory, one of Ms. Chow’s main rivals, suggested that drivers cannot be inconvenienced by new bicycle infrastructure.

“John does not support anything that increases commute times for drivers,” Amanda Galbraith said in an e-mail. “John is in favour of building a network of separated bike lanes where it is practical, to ensure cyclists can safely travel throughout our city.”

More: Toronto mayoral race: Chow pledges 200 km of bike lanes – The Globe and Mail.

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INFRASTRUCTURE: A New Bike Lane That Could Save Lives and Make Cycling More Popular

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In the past few years, U.S. cities have come a long way to make sure bicyclists are safe on the road, but even protected bike lanes have an achilles heel: the intersection. Most protected bike lanes—lanes that have a physical barrier between bicyclists and drivers—end just before the intersection, leaving bicyclists and pedestrians vulnerable to turning vehicles. Nick Falbo, an urban planner and designer from Portland (one of the most bike friendly cities in the nation), is proposing a new protected intersection design that would make intersections safer and less stressful than they are today. Falbo’s design is taken from the Dutch way of doing things. The bike community has already been building protected intersections into their bike lanes for years. Falbo’s adapted design has four main components.

More: A New Bike Lane That Could Save Lives and Make Cycling More Popular | Autopia | WIRED.

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NEWS: Mayoral candidate proposes banning street parking (to make room for bikelanes)

Finally, some good ideas in this mayoral campaign (I also like Olivia Chow’s “target zero” ideas to eliminate pedestrian deaths). Of course Minnan-Wong, chair of Public Works, responds to this by being all whiney about businesses causing a fuss when they lose parking.  If you did your JOB, Denzil, and showed these businesses the countless studies that show that cyclists spend more than drivers at retail stores, maybe they wouldn’t whine so much?

David Soknacki, the former city budget chief who is running for mayor, wants to remove all parking from main streets in the heart of Toronto to make room for cyclists and help move traffic faster.

“On arterial roads, we ban on-street parking at all times,” Mr. Soknacki said in an interview this week. “That would free up real estate to allow for cycling and better flow of traffic.”

More: Mayoral candidate David Soknacki proposes banning all street parking in the Toronto downtown core | National Post.

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INFRASTRUCTURE: Bikers Suck Down Less Pollution When They Ride In Separated Bike Lanes

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If you want to encourage cycling in cities, separated bike lanes are key, say cycling advocates. While hard-core riders are happy to mix it with motorized traffic, inexperienced cyclists want the safety and predictability of paths protected by plant-pots or bollards, or–better–paths that are several feet from the road.

And, in fact, safety isn’t the only reason why separation makes sense. Air quality could be another good incentive. A new study finds that bike paths are significantly less polluted than lanes painted on the road, especially when there’s distance and some vegetation as part of the protection.

Read More: Bikers Suck Down Less Pollution When They Ride In Separated Bike Lanes | Co.Exist | ideas + impact.

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