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City Council votes to save Bixi Toronto!

Great bike news came out of the Rob Ford debacle at City Hall yesterday…. not only has Council agreed to sustain Bixi Toronto (possibly running it via the Toronto Parking Authority), but making changes to development bylaws that allow Section 37 funds (the money that condo developers pay the city to exceed height restrictions) to be used to financially support Bixi, with the goal of expanding it.

City councillors voted Thursday to sustain the city’s troubled Bixi bike program, possibly linking it with the Toronto Parking Authority.

Council adopted a confidential report that will continue negotiations with PBSC Urban Solutions, the Montreal-based company that started Bixi — with the goal of keeping it operational.

“Whether it makes money or not, whether it breaks even or not, it’s a valuable asset,” said Councillor John Parker, after the meeting.

…the majority of city councillors consider Bixi an essential component of city infrastructure and want it to succeed.

“The success of Bixi is in the popularity of the program,” said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong. “Not necessarily in the contract that we negotiated.”

Full Story: Toronto council votes to save troubled Bixi bike-share program | National Post.

(if you hit the National Post paywall, just enable incognito browsing to view the article)

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Truck side guards should be mandatory: Olivia Chow

The NDP transportation critic has renewed her calls for the federal government to implement a private members bill she introduced in the House of Commons to make side guards mandatory on heavy trucks in Canada.

It follows the deaths of several cyclists who died beneath the wheels of big trucks in Toronto and elsewhere.

Cambridge, Ont.-based Shu-Pak Equipment Inc. says it will now install the guards on all new trucks it manufactures.

Standing next to family members of a Toronto cyclist who was killed by a truck, Chow thanked Shu-Paks president David Tanner for making the move voluntarily.

Full story: Truck side guards should be mandatory, Olivia Chow says – Toronto – CBC News.

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City Council pursuing new safety measures for bike commuters

This is via the Cycle Toronto Facebook Page.  Cycle Toronto has been working hard pushing for all of these (see their letter to the Board of Health here).  Kudos to Jared, Siva, the Board and the many many wonderful volunteers of Cycle Toronto as well as TCAT and the Clean Air Partnership.

City Council has directed staff to report back to Board of Health on

1) Developing new standards to ensure safety of cyclists in construction areas;
2) Amending the municipal code to ban storage of construction materials in bike lanes;
3) Regular tow blitzes for cars parked in bike lanes
4) Better intersection markings to protect cyclists
5) Consistent snow clearing in bike infrastructure

View City Council Motion: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2013.HL23.7

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#CycleON: Is Ontario’s cycling strategy all talk?

It’s a good vision… but without money and commitment, it’s only a vision.  Let’s make it a reality, please?

It would be easy to dismiss Ontario’s new cycling strategy with a cynical, “So, what?” This province and its capital, Toronto, are, well, streets behind other jurisdictions in promoting cycling. Just putting out a policy document will not make it catch up.

The strategy, cutely named #CycleON and announced by the Ministry of Transportation on Aug. 30, is full of gauzy rhetoric and capital letters. “At the heart of the Strategy are a bold Vision, ambitious Goals and a set of carefully targeted Strategic Directions,” it pronounces.

Full story:  A start for Ontario’s cycling strategy that is streets behind – The Globe and Mail.

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Toronto’s 5 fittest city councillors do it by bike

Great article from the Star about Toronto’s 5 fittest councillors.

The best part, unsurprisingly, is that 4 of them stay fit by making cycling a regular part of their lives.

I’ve excepted parts of the article below:

Karen Stintz – The Runner

Stintz also bikes seven km to work twice per week — to make a public statement.

“I’m trying to normalize things like biking to work, because it still isn’t considered mainstream,” Stintz said. “I’m hoping to contribute to making cycling to work mainstream for people who might not consider it a way to get to work.”

Anthony Perruzza — The Devoted

“I’m a devout cyclist,” Perruzza said. “I cycle thousands and thousands of kilometres yearly. I just love it.”

In June, Perruzza participated in the 2013 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer , in which he rode to Hamilton and back. The two-day ride is about 200-km long. Proceeds help the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre .

Glenn De Baeremaeker — The Enthusiast

The first thing Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker does after getting out of bed early in the morning is put on his bike gear.

“Just get up and go,” he said. “Don’t think, because when you start using your brain, you say, ‘maybe it’s slippery or dangerous outside,’ and then you just don’t go.”

Kristyn Wong-Tam — The Traveller

Fitness is a lifelong journey, and Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam is on it, travelling by bike.

This month marks the fourth consecutive year in which Wong-Tam will go on a six-day, 600-km cycling expedition from Toronto to Montreal. She’ll cycle 100 km per day and camp out each night. The trip is organized by the Toronto People with Aids Foundation and is called the Friends for Life Bike Rally .

Full story: Meet Toronto’s five fittest city councillors | Toronto Star.

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