Ford’s Mind Made Up on Jarvis Bike Lanes

The mayor’s response to my email in support of Jarvis bike lanes (and no doubt to every other email sent to him concerning the lanes):

Thank you for your email regarding the bike lanes on Jarvis Street.  I appreciate hearing from you.

Toronto’s economy loses billions of dollars every year from gridlock and traffic congestion.  We need to make the situation better – not worse.   The Jarvis Street bike lanes experiment has been a failure.  Ninety-four percent of commuters now face longer commutes on Jarvis Street.   Over 15,000 commuters each day are suffering from longer travel times, for the sake of 600 additional cyclists.

The City should remove the bike lanes as soon as possible and improve travel times for thousands of daily commuters.  City staff have been directed to develop a low-cost plan to do so.   Bike lanes were never intended to be installed on Jarvis Street.  The original Environmental Assessment recommended against installing bike lanes – but City Council amended the report to approve bike lanes anyway.

As promised during the mayoral election, I am dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. Please feel free to contact my office again at any time.

Yours truly,

Mayor Rob Ford
City of Toronto

With massive public support (though Cllr. John Parker’s back-handed motion means we can’t officially provide it to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee) the mayor has yet to change his tune. Bicycles are a pain in his ass, we’re swimming with sharks who drive unnecessarily large vehicles and need to do so at break neck speeds.

About duncan

Duncan rides bicycles in the city of Toronto and contributes to the main blog of BikingToronto as well as writing and taking photos for his blog Duncan's City Ride.

Comments

  1. The solution is simple, cyclist must now take the entire lane when biking in the city.

  2. The bicycle is a vehicle and the cyclist has the same right that the automobile driver has to the public thoroughfares. Cycling lanes are intended to provide a safer solution for the cyclist and to increase the flow of traffic. As Philip suggests, it is time for the law abiding cyclists to uphold their rights and take the full lane while cycling in the city.

  3. I see that Ford is leaving out several crucial facts, or simply distorting the truth outright, in that letter.

    “Longer commutes” rarely exceed two extra minutes and re-timing the light northbound at Gerrard should almost eliminate that terrible, terrible delay.

    Bike traffic on Jarvis is considerably higher than 600.

    Bike lanes were, in fact, one of the proposals for the re-tooling of Jarvis.

    Ford’s shown he’s not interested in any points of view but his own, and he’s confirmed it with the falsities in that reply.

  4. As a rider who rarely uses bike lanes to begin with I was mystified with the initial call to put lanes on Jarvis. After seeing the numbers though, it seems like it’s been quite well received. The great destroyer of traffic flow never occurred.

    To now spend serious money to remove them when we’re broke is ludicrous by ANY definition.

    Mr Ford’s willingness to “listen” really does depend on his agreeing with what he’s hearing. Far be it from him to let facts get in the way. He and his lackey minion Minnan-Wong have misrepresented and flat out lied to the People of this City.

    Take those lanes Boys and Girls, take those lanes. If ever you get pulling over for it just tell you didn’t feel ‘safe’ so you took the lane. If every cyclist in the city did that, the Powers that be would quickly come to realize just how accommodating Toronto’s cyclists already are.

  5. Sounds like a nice opportunity for a morning and evening rush hour single-file ride down the middle of the right hand lane.

  6. I got the same reply to my email to Ford. Here is what I wrote back:

    Cyclists are commuters too. Many commuters are not citizens of Toronto. Why prioritize their needs?

    Cars shouldn’t be the most efficient way to get around the city – that’s how you increase car use, which in turn increases global warming and rates of asthma for people who live in Toronto – like me and my kids.

    An extra minute or two in one’s car does not constitute “suffering”.

    There is value to an extra 600 cyclists – how do you measure that value? You seem to regard it as negligible.

    Mayor Ford, I view you as someone who is out of touch with the needs of urbanites. You live far away and commute by car. That is not my lifestyle. I own two cars and could easily afford to be a regular “driver” – but I moved close to the core so I could avoid that lifestyle – living close to work is how I keep fit and reduce my carbon footprint.

    You have very little in common with me and many other Torontonians, yet you are making rules that turn Toronto neighbourhoods into thruways for suburban folks. If you don’t understand the character of Toronto neighbourhoods – the charm of living in a village in the City (like the Junction, which I call home) then you ought not make decisions that affect those neighbourhoods.

    Saba Ahmad

  7. Toronto is not losing millions of dollars because of grid lock.The drivers of cars who use Jarvis Street for easy access to the Gardiner Expressway to get to their Urban Homes.Leave the streets of Toronto to the people who live here.Stop catering to the 905ers

  8. In the videos you point to Cllr. Ford said we needed separated bike lanes. He’s right it’s Sharks versus Minnows out there – maybe we should focus on those separated bike lanes that have been proposed by Cllr. Denzil Minnan-Wong, get planters instead of construction abutments – make sure they’re wide enough to pass both directions – intermittent breaks so we can merge with traffic in order to turn – and then rally for more of the same.

  9. The council plans for Jarvis were going to make the street more people friendly, reminiscent of the old Jarvis, with plantings in the centre . If they are still on the table, there is no way Ford could get Jarvis back to the traffic flow he wants. Putting the centre/fifth lane back will cost $250,000. I’m sick of the waste involved in implementing all of his campaign promises. He’s going to bankrupt this city. Can we “de-amalgamate” the 416 (Montreal?) and recall Ford. I guess not.

  10. The original plan on Jarvis called for a boulevard of potted plants to replace the centre lane. So the original plan, which Ford supposedly endorses, would have had the same minor negative effect on traffic. Adding bike lanes made sense as it made better use of existing road space. You would think a conservative would approve of the utility of the revised plan: It fits more on the road, for far less cost.

    The bottom line is this: Ford opposes the Jarvis bike lanes because his opponents supported it.

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