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The News Cycle for Friday, June 8, 2012

A Public Transit Adventure [Cupcake Ride]

A Public Transit adventure

I’ve used public transit bike racks in BC before and the ones on the TTC buses are exactly the same. You just push up on a metal handle, pull the whole rack down towards you, lift your bike into the wheel slots and then secure your front wheel with an expandable leaver thingy (yes, thingy).

 

Quote of the Day: ‘Oh my God, I never want to hurt a bike!” says Rob Ford [Posted Toronto]

Quote of the Day: ‘Oh my God, I never want to hurt a bike!” says Rob Ford

Mayor Rob Ford reacting to Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong’s concerns that controlled chipping of the Gardiner Expressway could damage the BIXI bike share station underneath, at Simcoe St.

 

 

 

Take a video ride through Toronto’s Bixi bike-sharing network [Posted Toronto]

What happens when you let a Scottish-Canadian graphics editor take a Bixi bike on a high-speed tour of Toronto? Thanks to the camera on his helmet, you’ll be able to see his ride and hear his opinions of the bike-ability of the city, the likeability (or lack thereof) of certain drivers and the need for better bike lanes. You may also hear some creative vocabulary. (Warning: this is not for those who would be offended by the word “tosser.”) 

Toronto Bike Month: Kickoff fest gets wheels turning at Christie Pits [The Star]

Toronto Bike Month: Kickoff fest gets wheels turning at Christie Pits

Tracy Rowan not only got a free bike tune-up and collected maps of cycling routes at Christie Pits on Sunday — she got to grind coffee by pedalling a stationary bicycle.

“I love this bike fest. It’s real multi-tasking,” says Rowan, 49, sniffing the bag of finely ground Haitian, Ethiopian and Guatemalan beans. “Quite bold. The way I like it.”

Faced with legal and financial challenges, BIXI bike sharing program in a cycle of uncertainty [Posted Toronto]

Faced with legal and financial challenges, BIXI bike sharing program in a cycle of uncertainty

 The Montreal company must sell the booming division that has been exporting the idea abroad, thus eliminating from the equation the only part that turned a profit. Its advocates say focusing on the balance sheet misses the point that thousands of people are changing the way they move around their cities. Its critics say the problem with BIXI is that it tried to be a business, when it should be a public service.

May Cupcake Ride Recap [Cupcake Ride]

May Cupcake Ride Recap

Despite a gloomy weather forecast, the slightly hazy overcast conditions created a nice reprieve from the sunny hot day we had the day before and made for a very comfortable May ride. … although many of us arrived hot and sweaty because we were rushing to try to get to the meet up point on time!

 

Ride for Jarvis [Cycle Toronto]

Ride for Jarvis

We will be meeting at 6 PM at Allan Gardens whereupon we will be cycling North on Jarvis to Charles St. East, East on Charles St. East to Church, North on Church to Bloor and then looping back South to Jarvis and Queen where we will turn and end up at City Hall where we will celebrate our cycling culture and show Toronto that we mean business.

 

Bike Month kicks off in Toronto [CityNews]

Bike Month kicks off in Toronto

Clean, two-wheel transportation is in the spotlight for the next few weeks as Bike Month kicked off across the GTA on Monday.

Dozens of cyclists celebrated the special month and Bike to Work Day on Monday by converging at Yonge and Bloor streets for a communal ride, or group commute, down to Nathan Phillips Square for an 8 a.m. pancake breakfast, organized by the city and Cycle Toronto.

Toronto-based bike maker shares in Giro d’Italia victory [Globe & Mail]

“People will always associate us with the first time a Canadian won [a professional cycling event]and did it on a Canadian bike. That’s pretty special,” Mr. White, Cervélo’s chief executive officer, said Monday.

Although bike manufacturers often benefit from a bump in sales when one of their machines ends up in the winner’s circle – notably Trek Bicycle Corp., the sponsor of past Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong – “the Giro is not going to do the same thing for us,” Mr. White said.

Bike to Work Day [Cupcake Ride]

Bike to Work Day

The Bike Month Group Commute is the kick-off event for Bike Month in Toronto (a month later than a lot of cities in North America).

This year I was able to wake up on time and joined the group commute at Yonge and Bloor to ride down to City Hall a la Critical Mass style.

I even got to meet Laurie Featherstone of Featherstone 2 wheels green delivery during the ride! Ok, ok, so I introduced myself in a sort of fan-girlish manner…

 

About the News Cycle

The News Cycle is a periodic post which brings together links to news, events and other things which may be of interest to Toronto’s cyclists.

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Presenting the Essentials of Rob Ford’s BikePlan

Here is information straight from the latest issue of Cyclometer that runs down the essentials of the Rob Ford Bike Plan.

There’s already hubbub about it because although it plans for separated bikelanes downtown, it also takes OUT bikelanes in Scarborough (on Pharmacy and Birchmount) – arguably an area that needs safe biking infrastructure way more than downtown does.  The plan also calls for a halt to the Environmental Assessment for a Bloor-Danforth Bikeway.

This plan is up before the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee this Thursday, June 23.  If you want to comment or request to speak, click here and follow the links at the top of the page.

The Mayor’s Cycling Network Priorities

The Mayor’s primary cycling infrastructure focus is on the development of 100km of off-street bike trails.

  • 30km of new trails already began construction in 2010 and will open in the summer of 2011.
  • Feasibility and detailed design studies are underway on most of the other trails identified by the Mayor.
  • A detailed multi-year Bikeway Trails Plan will be developed that will identify priorities and implementation phasing.
  • The report will recommend the submission of this Bikeway Trails Plan to the PWI Committee in fall 2011 for approval.

The Mayor also pledged that critical on-street connections should be completed, provided there is community support and they do not impede motor vehicle traffic. Staff are currently reviewing downtown bikeway network gaps.

Developing a Separated Bike Lane Network

A preliminary assessment has been completed of 14km of separated bike lanes as requested by PWI Committee in the downtown area. This assessment has found;

  • Several of the candidate streets could potentially accommodate separate bi-directional bike lanes (a two-way bike facility on one side of the street).
  • These separated bike lanes would have potential impacts on traffic capacity, parking, winter maintenance, TTC service, emergency vehicles, curbside garbage collection, and property access.
  • A project is proposed to convert the existing bicycle lanes on Bloor St. East, from Sherbourne Street to Broadview Avenue, into separated bike lanes in 2011 (1.6 km at a cost of approximately $50,000)
  • A comprehensive design and consultation process is proposed for separated bike lanes on Sherbourne St. and Wellesley St. with a goal to implement them in 2012.
  • The feasibility of implementing separated bike lanes in the Richmond-Adelaide corridor and within the north-south corridor between Peter and Simcoe Streets, connecting the existing Beverly St. bicycle lanes to the Waterfront will be assessed as part of a larger transportation operations study of this area – Transportation Services will report to the PWI Committee in September 2011 on the Terms of Reference for the study.

Bloor-Danforth Bikeway Environmental Assessment Study

The consultant retained for the Bloor-Danforth Bikeway Environmental Assessment Study began work in Summer 2010. The study was put on hold, pending direction from the new Council following the 2010 municipal election. The focus of the current bikeway report is on the Mayor’s cycling infrastructure priorities. For this reason, it has not been recommended that the Bloor St. EA be continued.
council photo

Bike Lanes to be Cancelled or Removed

The report seeks direction from Council in response to requests to rescind the approved bike lanes on Bloor Street West between Mill Road and Beamish Drive, these bike lanes were approved by City Council in 2010.

The report seeks direction from Council in response to requests from local Councilors to remove bike lanes on:

  • Pharmacy Avenue, between Denton Avenue and Alvinson Road, at a cost of approximately $120,000
  • Birchmount Avenue, between Kingston Road and St. Clair Avenue East, at a cost of approximately $90,000

Bike Lanes to be Modified

The report recommends a modification to the bike lanes on Dupont Street at the Lansdowne Avenue intersection in order to improve traffic flow and capacity at the intersection (cost: approximately $8,000)

New Bike Lanes Recommended

The report recommends the implementation of bike lanes on Dawes Road, from Danforth Avenue to Victoria Park Avenue, as part of the Dawes Road Revitalization Project. There will be no reduction in the number of traffic lanes or parking. The local Councilor and community support this project.
jarvis street

Jarvis Street

An update has been provided on the operation of Jarvis Street following the installation of bike lanes in 2010. Following installation of the bicycle lanes the 8-hour traffic volumes remained approximately the same, averaging 13,000 motor vehicles in both directions.

During the same 8-hour period, bicycle traffic has increased from approximately 290 to 890 bicycles, an increase of over three times. Motor vehicle travel times have increased between Charles Street and Queen Street by approximately 2 minutes.

Staff continue to monitor operation and will implement measures to mitigate the travel time impacts resulting from the installation of the bike lanes (the installation of a northbound left turn phase at Gerrard Street East is proposed to reduce congestion and delays at this location.)

Learn more about the count on Jarvis St. at Dundas (new!)

Learn more about earlier bike counts on Jarvis

 

This plan is up before the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee this Thursday, June 23.  If you want to comment or request to speak, click here and follow the links at the top of the page.

[Map of proposed separated bikelanes from Torontoist's great write-up of the plan.]

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Rob Ford’s BikePlan Revealed

The “new” Toronto BikePlan has been revealed (PDF link) and it is what is expected.

There is a good write-up about it on the CBC website, but here are the highlights (and lowlights):

  • Downtown Focus
  • Physically Separate Bikelanes on Bloor between Sherbourne & Broadview (2011)
  • Possible Physically Separate Bikelanes on Sherbourne & Wellesley (2012)
  • Studying feasibility of Physically Separate Bikelanes on Richmond or Adelaide Streets and in the north-south corridor from Peter Street to Simcoe Street.
  • Removal of bikelanes on Pharmacy and Birchmount
  • Halting of the Bloor-Danforth Bikeway Environmental Assessment (to devote funds for this to the above projects)

Physically Separate lanes are good, especially downtown, and especially with Bixi all over the place in the core… but removing bikelanes and halting work on EAs?  Not so good.

What do you think of the new BikePlan?

Here is a map of proposed separated bikelanes that Torontoist pulled from the PDF.  Thanks Torontoist! Torontoist also has a great write-up of the plan.

via Torontoist

[top photo of separated bikelanes and Bixi in Montreal by Bikeroo]

 

 

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City Hall wants to shut down Cycling Advisory Committee

It was rumoured to be happening, but now it’s official… the Rob Ford Regime wants to shut down the Cycling Advisory Committee .  The Cycling Committee is not the only one facing the axe… it is one of 21 committees (PDF) to be shut down… committees that are formed by experts in their chosen field to advise Council on matters, because Councillors do not have time to be experts in everything.

In case you think that this is to save money – the report states that “There are no financial implications resulting from this report. Support for advisory bodies and working committees is provided through existing resources in the City Clerk’s Office and relevant divisions.” (thanks to Ryan for pointing this out in the comments below) … so it’s NOT about saving money, it IS about preventing Torontonians from being involved.

For a Council that was supposed to be striving for accountability, transparency, and “respect for taxpayers”, it has gone out of their way over the past 4 months to close off city government from the people it’s meant to serve.

Councillor Adam Vaughan has sent out an “Action Alert” to alert people to this latest threat to democracy and let them know what they can do (this has since been picked up by the Bike Union as well):

Dear Cycling and Pedestrian advocates,

Over the years many of you have played an important role, advising City Council and City staff on advisory bodies.

Mayor Ford is moving to eliminate these groups and opportunities for resident input.

Two of the groups slated for elimination are the Toronto Pedestrian Committee and the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee.

Sustaining and building a vibrant city is complex.  In every decision there are hundreds of needs, ideas and perspectives that need to be considered in order to get to creative, innovative, solutions that make our City great for everyone.

We need you and your neighbours at the table with us – governing the City’s many agencies, boards, committees and corporations, serving on advisory committees and bringing your voices to Standing Committees.

The latest proposal to keep people out of City Hall, by eliminating formal advisory roles for taxpayers is on the agenda for the next Executive Committee.

Please come to the meeting and share your views:

Date: Wednesday April 20, 2011
Time: starting at 9:30am
Location: Toronto City Hall, Second Floor, Committee Room 1
To make a deputation at Executive Committee, contact Frances Pritchard of the City Clerk’s office to register. She can be reached at 416-392-6627 or exc@toronto.ca.

The full report is available online here:
If you can’t make it to the meeting, you can still let the councillors on the Executive Committee know how important these advisory committees are to you.

Mayor Ford   416-397-3673  mayor_ford@toronto.ca
Councillor Holyday  416-392-4002  councillor_holyday@toronto.ca
Councillor Ainslie  416-392-4008  councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca
Councillor Berardinetti 416-392-0213  councillor_berardinetti@toronto.ca
Councillor Del Grande 416-392-1374  councillor_delgrande@toronto.ca
Councillor Kelly  416-392-4047  councillor_kelly@toronto.ca
Councillor Mammoliti  416-395-6401  councillor_mammoliti@toronto.ca
Councillor Milczyn  416-392-4040  councillor_milczyn@toronto.ca
Councillor Minnan-Wong 416-397-9256  councillor_minnan-wong@toronto.ca
Councillor Palacio  416-392-7011  councillor_palacio@toronto.ca
Councillor Robinson  416-395-6408  councillor_robinson@toronto.ca
Councillor Shiner  416-395-6413  councillor_shiner@toronto.ca
Councillor Thompson  416-397-9274  councillor_thompson@toronto.ca
Please share this information with your networks and community.

Best regards,

Adam Vaughan

 

PLEASE EMAIL your city councillor and ANY or ALL of the ones on the Executive Council listed above, and let them know that you want Torontonians to have a voice in how they city we love is run.

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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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