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Councillor Josh Matlow to ask for higher bikelane parking fines

City Council is meeting this coming Wednesday (Sept. 21st) and Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22, St. Pauls) has a proposal on the agenda by substantially increasing the fine (to $500) for parking on city arterials or in bikelanes during rush hour periods.

I don’t see parking enforcement officers ticketing bikelane parkers much (but do, on occasion), but perhaps with higher fines they’ll pay more attention to the issue… and you can be sure that once a driver gets a $500 ticket for parking in a bikelane, they’ll think twice about doing it again.

From JoshMatlow.ca:

NOTICE OF MOTION: Relieving Congestion by Increasing Fines and Enforcement for Motorists and Delivery Vehicles that Obstruct Traffic During Rush Hour Periods

Moved by:  Councillor Matlow

Seconded by:  Councillor Layton

 

SUMMARY:

Traffic congestion is a significant problem for Toronto’s motorists, public transit users and cyclists. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently noted that the Greater Toronto Area suffers from the longest work commute times in North America. This congestion costs the region’s economy an estimated $3.3 billion per year while negatively impacting on the quality of life of our residents. The long-term solutions to this problem include building a more accessible, extensive and efficient public transportation system in addition to encouraging car-pooling and cycling.

In the meantime, council can take small, but important, measures to alleviate traffic congestion. One such measure is to provide sufficient deterrents to motorists and delivery drivers that stop, stand, park illegally or otherwise obstruct traffic on arterial roads during rush hour. Far too often, entire lanes of major roads are blocked due to an individual pulling over to grab a coffee in the morning or a delivery vehicle choosing the afternoon rush period to drop off their goods. Drivers along arterials often use bicycle lanes as a parking lane, forcing cyclists to dangerously merge into traffic. During rush hour this creates very unsafe conditions for cyclists. While currently not permitted, it is clear that current fines and levels of enforcement are not sufficient to deter such activities.

This motion seeks to improve traffic flow during the morning and afternoon rush hour periods by increasing the fines and level of enforcement for individuals that obstruct other motorists, public transit users and cyclists.

 
RECOMMENDATIONS:
1. City Council requests the City Manager to report to Public Works Committee with an implementation plan to increase fines to $500 for any motorist, including delivery vehicles, from stopping, standing, parking or otherwise obstructing traffic on arterial roads and in bicycle lanes>during City designated rush hour periods

 

2. City Council request the City Manager to work with the Toronto Police Service to increase enforcement of existing by-laws prohibiting any motorist, including delivery vehicles, from stopping, standing, parking or otherwise obstructing traffic, including bicycle lanes, on arterial roads during City designated rush hour periods.

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The Future of the Jarvis Bikelanes

The future of the Jarvis bikelanes is being decided today (or maybe tomorrow) by City Council.

If you can’t make it to City Hall in person today (or tomorrow),  you can watch the activities of Council via this live feed from Rogers.

Need to know more info about Jarvis?

 

 

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Don Cherry insults Cyclists as Rob Ford Sworn in as Mayor

Today marks the end of Rob Ford’s first week in office (only 3 years, 51 weeks to go) and it was a doozy.

For some reason, Ford had Don Cherry of Hockey Night in Canada put the Chain of Office around his neck today at City Council (something usually done by the City Clerk), and then for some reason, Cherry was allowed to speak at the Council meeting:

This afternoon, at Rob Ford’s investiture, and wearing a bright pink suit for the occasion, special guest Don Cherry hung the chain of office around Ford’s neck. He then delivered a brief speech before city council, family and friends of city council members, and the media. This is that speech.

Actually I’m wearing pink for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything. I thought I’d get it in. What’d ya expect, Ron MacLean, here? To come here?

You know, I am befuddled, because I thought I was just doing a good thing, coming down with Ron—Rob—and I was gonna do this here, and it was gonna be nice and the whole deal.

I’ve been bein’ ripped to shreds by the left-wing pinko newspapers out there. It’s unbelievable. One guy called me a pink…a jerk in a pink suit, so I thought I’d wear that for him too, today.

How did this guy get past City Council security?  Oh, they were probably cut by Ford.

What do you think, Toronto Bike-Lovers?  Should we hold a big pink-wearing, communist placard-waving gathering at City Hall? :)

An absolutely fantastic response has been posted by Dave Meslin, founder of the Bike Union.  He posted it on facebook, if you’re a member, and the Urban Country has reprinted it as well:

I think it’s unfortunate that you used the opportunity to be divisive and fan the flames of partisan politics at City Hall.  What our city needs, and wants, is a collaborative approach to decision making that attempts to take into account different perspectives and opinions.

Today’s meeting was not just the first meeting for our new Mayor, but also the first meeting for our new City Council – all 44 members who represent the City just as much as Mayor Ford.  Those 44 Councillors represent a wide variety of opinions, reflecting the political diversity of Toronto.  Your comments, at their meeting, with their friends and families present in the room, was incredibly rude.  Or, since you you like to talk like a “straight shooter”, let me just say that you behaved like an asshole.

Usually, I wouldn’t waste my time writing a letter to an asshole.  But you specifically singled out cyclists in your speech.  And that’s a really important issue to me, and I just wanted to share a few thoughts. [read more at the Urban Country]

[Photo by Christopher Drost/Torontoist]

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Your Guide to Voting in Toronto Today

How Bike-Friendly is your City Councillor?It feels as though the municipal election campaign has been going on forever, but we’re finally at Election Day.  Remember to get out there and vote.

Your City Councillors:

We put together a cool graph (to the right and below, click to enlarge) a few weeks ago that documents how bike-friendly a bunch of Councillors have been, according to how they’ve voted during the last 4 years.  Check to see if your Councillor is on there, and if you are happy with their record:

How Bike-Friendly is your City Councillor?

Your Mayor:

The Mayoral race gets the most attention… but remember that whoever wins… they are still only 1 vote out of 45 votes on Council.  The Mayor does not get free reign over city policies and funds.

Rob Ford is infamous for thinking that cycling is not a valid form of transportation.  He wants to keep bikelanes and paths to Hydro Corridors and Ravines.  To give him due credit, he *has* said that bikelanes “make sense downtown, where there are lots of cyclists”.

George Smitherman is a little bit more pro-bike than Rob Ford.  He has called for physically-separate bikelanes and a re-imagining of Toronto’s BikePlan to integrate it into public transit better.  He has called for a moratorium on new bikelanes until this “re-imagining” takes place.

Joe Pantalone is the most progressive of the 3 “front-runners”.  His policies basically are a continuation of the policies of Mayor Miller (Joe’s the Deputy Mayor, after all).  He says the current BikePlan can be finished by 2012, but considering that recent years have only seen 5-30 km installed per year, and there are hundreds and hundreds left to install, 2012 seems a tad ambitious, if not entirely fantasy.

If you’re like me, you’re also looking at how a potential Mayor will address issues like the less-fortunate, the arts, and public transit among other things.

BeautifulCity.ca has put together a handy chart that shows you how the 3 candidates rate on a bunch of progressive issues:

Your Guide to Voting in Toronto Today

Get out there and vote!

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City Council Discusses BikeSharing and Bike Network Plans Tomorrow

citycouncil

Following up on the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee discussions of a couple weeks ago regarding implementing a BikeSharing system in Toronto as well as improvements to the Bikeway Network, both of these items go before Toronto City Council tomorrow.

I think we can all expect many news articles about a so-called “War on the Car” and mayoral candidates thinking their views on bikelanes should decide policy even though they haven’t been elected yet.

Here are the details of each item:

Proposed Public Bicycle Program

The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee recommends that:

1.         City Council declare the public bicycle program to be a municipal capital facility related to the provision of a transportation system and recreational facilities for City purposes and public use pursuant to Section 252 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, and pass a by-law to authorize the entering into of an agreement for the provision of the facility, and request that the City Clerk give notice of the municipal capital facility by-law as required under the City of Toronto Act, 2006.

2.         City Council authorize staff to negotiate and finalize an agreement with Public Bike System Company (PBSC) for the supply and operation of a public bicycle program for a term of approximately ten years based on the terms and conditions as contained in the Attachment to the report (April 1, 2010) from the General Manager, Transportation Services, and the Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer, and including such other terms and conditions satisfactory to the Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer, the City Solicitor and the General Manager, Transportation Services.

3.         City Council grant authority to provide to the Public Bike System Company’s financial institution a capital loan guarantee in the amount of $4,800,000.00 (inclusive of all interest costs payable by PBSC), for a ten year term commencing on November 30, 2010 until November 30, 2020, on the following conditions…

[read more on the City's website, item 32.8]

2010 Bikeway Network Program

The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee recommends that:

1.         City Council approve the installation of bicycle lanes on the following roadways:

  • a.         Bay Street, from Queens Quay West to Front Street West and from Dundas Street West to College Street;
  • b.         Lansdowne Avenue, from Bloor Street West to Dupont Street;
  • c.          Rathburn Road, from Mimico Creek to Kipling Avenue;
  • d.          Spadina Crescent, from Spadina Avenue South to Spadina Avenue North;
  • e.         York Mills Road, from Scarsdale Road to Lesmill Road;
  • f.           Westhumber Boulevard, from Martin Grove Road to Kipling Avenue; and
  • g.         Ellis Avenue, from Morningside Avenue to The Queensway.
  • 2.         City Council approve modifications to the existing bicycle lanes on Annette Street between Runnymede Road and Westholme Avenue, and between Beresford Avenue and Runnymede Road, to provide additional parking along the north and south sides of the street, respectively.

    3.         City Council approve modifications to the existing bicycle lanes on Pharmacy Avenue, to move the start of the bicycle lanes from a point 30 metres south of Alvinston Road to Alvinston Road.

    4.         City Council authorize the General Manager, Transportation Services, to undertake a pilot project to install and evaluate protected bicycle lanes on University Avenue and Queens Park Crescent between Queen Street West and Wellesley Street West / Hoskin Avenue, for a period not to exceed 12 weeks between July and September 30, 2010, in consultation with the Ward Councillors and a Stakeholder Advisory Group established for the sole purpose of the pilot project.

    5.         City Council direct the General Manager, Transportation Services, to report back to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on the results of the evaluation of the University Avenue/Queens Park Crescent protected bicycle lane pilot project.

    [read more on the City's website, item 32.9]

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