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Once is not Enough – Ride Again to Save the Bike Lanes

Birchmount Pharmacy Bike LaneDate & Time:
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 – 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Location:
Meet at the Victoria Park subway station

The first ride to save the Pharmacy & Birchmount bike lanes on June 28 was a  success with many local riders joined by cyclists from across Toronto.

Everyone who took part agreed it is important to build on the momentum of the first ride to raise awareness in the neighbourhoods (no one we spoke to on the first ride knew there was a pending Toronto city council vote to remove the bike lanes) with a second ride and we hope you can join us.

Toronto City Council votes on July 13th to accept all or part of Mayor Rob Ford’s Bike Plan, which calls for the removal of the bike lanes installed in 2008 on Pharmacy Ave. & Birchmount Rd..

This is a matter of personal safety for everyone who uses the roads and we will ride on Wednesday to help save the lanes.

Please leave a comment to let us know your thoughts or whether you can make it or not.

You can also let the Mayor and the two local councillors, whose wards the bike lanes travel through, know how you feel by sending a message to the following email addresses:

Mayor Ford: mayor_ford@toronto.ca

Ward 35 Councillor Berardinetti: councillor_berardinetti@toronto.ca

Ward 36 Councillor Crawford: councillor_crawford@toronto.ca

Also please join our Facebook Group: http://ow.ly/5vTTS
Let’s Ride!


 



Posted: July 3rd, 2011
Author:
Filed under: Cycling Events, Cycling Issues, Cycling News
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Comments on Toronto Bikeway Network – 2011 Update

It’s less than a week since Mayor Ford’s Bikeplan was released and it faces it’s first formal review in a meeting of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee tomorrow, June 23, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. in City Hall.

If you can’t make it to the meeting y0u can submit your comments to the committee at the following site:
http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2011.PW5.1

For whatever it’s worth, I submitted the following comments:

To the City Clerk:

Please add my comments to the agenda for the June 23, 2011 Public Works and
Infrastructure Committee meeting on item 2011.PW5.1, Bikeway Network – 2011
Update

I understand that my comments and the personal information in this email
will form part of the public record and that my name will be listed as a
correspondent on agendas and minutes of City Council or its committees.
Also, I understand that agendas and minutes are posted online and my name
may be indexed by search engines like Google.

Comments:

I would like to register my comments on the “Bikeway Network – 2011 Update
Recommendations” as they are listed on the City of Toronto web site at the
following URL:

http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2011.PW5.1

I very much appreciate that the Mayor’s Bike Plan is solid effort to improve
Toronto’s cycling infrastructure in a tough economic climate and in light of
the Mayor’s mandate to cut costs.

However, the Bike Plan’s focus on off-street trails does not serve bike
commuters well. While all improvements are welcome, to concentrate improvements on
off-street trails, those in parks, hydro corridors and ravines, etc., leaves
commuters still needing to find a safe way to get from the trails to their
residences and places of work.  Cyclists still need the protection of a
well-planned system of on-street bike lanes throughout Toronto.

I would like to comment specifically on three of the points in the “Bikeway
Network – 2011 Update Recommendations”.

First:

1.f.)  Not proceed further at this time on work on the Bloor-Danforth Bikeway Environmental Assessment and direct that staff refocus the current available resources on achieving the elements outlined in this
recommendation.

We should continue the work on the Environmental Assessment. A
Bloor-Danforth Bikeway might be the most important piece of cycling
infrastructure in the city as it could form the backbone of a city-wide
network of bike lanes and trails.

Secondly, the following points:

5.         City Council provide direction regarding the possible removal of
existing bicycle lanes on Pharmacy Avenue, from Denton Avenue
to Alvinston Road.

6.         City Council provide direction regarding the possible removal of
existing bicycle lanes on Birchmount Road, from Kingston Road to St. Clair
Avenue East.

Council should direct that the Birchmount and Pharmacy bike lanes be left
intact for the following reasons:

1.   The Bike Lanes Do Not Impede Traffic: Toronto city staff have
concluded that there has been no significant adverse effect on traffic since
the bike lanes were approved by council in 2008. As a local resident who
uses Birchmount daily and Pharmacy weekly, I have never witnessed or been
in a volume-based delay on either road where the bike lanes exist.

2.   High Cost of Removing the Lanes: Mayor Ford has said Toronto is
“cash-strapped”. So why spend $210,000 to remove bike lanes for no good
reason? The Mayor and current city council were elected primarily because
of their promise to eliminate extra costs, trim budgets and “stop the gravy
train”. To spend money on the unnecessary removal of these bike lanes under
the current economic conditions would be, at very least, imprudent – if not
an incredible waste of money.

3.   Community Consultation Needed Before Making any Recommendations:
While I disagree with the contention of some people that the bike lanes were
installed without community consultation, if we accept the contention, it
would then be a “two wrongs” situation to remove the lanes without proper
and extensive community consultation. In particular, residents living
directly on Birchmount Rd. and Pharmacy Ave., those most affected by the
bike lanes, should be consulted.

4.  The Usage of the Bike Lanes must be reviewed in context of the Bike
Plan under which they were constructed: The criticism of both lanes, that
they are not well used, is unfair because they are a partial manifestation
of the previous Bike Plan, which was never fully implemented. Bike lanes
cannot succeed in isolation, as is the case with both of these lanes. They
must be connected to a network so riders can access them.
Given a connected network of bike lanes, including the Dawes Rd. bike lane
recommended in the Bikeway Network Update 2011, the proposed/under
construction St. Clair Ravine and Warden Woods bike paths, and the extension
of the Birchmount lane to Steeles Ave., cycle traffic would increase on both
lanes.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

Stephen Da Cambra

 



Posted: June 22nd, 2011
Author:
Filed under: Cycling Issues
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Your Ride & Prejudice

This post is inspired by Joe T.’s blog entry “The Last Thing Toronto Need is More Cyclists”. Joe makes the point that the term “cyclist” is often inaccurate because most cyclists are also drivers, pedestrians and/or transit users. As Joe puts it: “People who ride bikes are not “cyclists”… they are people who happen to ride bikes.” And if we had more of them, Joe suggests riding would become more mainstream.

Not a cyclist.

Photo courtesy of SpacingToronto


It’s a good read and the comments are equally as thought provoking. But the task of popularizing cycling by making it more pedestrian (forgive me) is very daunting. Why? “Cyclist” and “motorist” are labels used by others. Most riders don’t call themselves “cyclists”, just as most drivers don’t call themselves “motorists” – as Joe puts it, “when someone asks a car driver “so… tell me about yourself”, no normal person says “I’m a motorist!”.”

Unfortunately, the labels are often used negatively, like when riders complain that “motorists” won’t share the road and when drivers decry “cyclists” for always breaking the rules.

Worst of all, the labels engender prejudice.

Behind the Labels – Rider or driver; take away the wheels and what do you have? In both cases: a person. One person rides a bike, the other person drives a car.

Most altercations between drivers and riders are based almost entirely on the fact that one is a “cyclist” and the other a “motorist” – and the prejudice brought by each against the other based on the respective modes of transportation.

Looking at it another way: did you ever see a pedestrian give the finger to another pedestrian after being cutoff, blocked or forced to slow down while walking?   (Happens to me every time I go to the mall – mall walkers are the worst. ;) )



Posted: October 20th, 2010
Author:
Filed under: Cycling Issues
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