On May 25 2009 Rob Ford made a speech about Bike Lanes. The spectacle media and knee jerk liberals reacted to the use of the word “ass” and laughed at the idea of widening sidewalks and separating Bikes from the highway like arterial roads in the “519″, wards in the City of Toronto – the regions of the city that have what I’m calling, a “Squiggly Grid” – which are all the suburban planning built after the second world war as part of the Interstate Highway System in America, which was mirrored here in Canada.
Youtube user HOOFandCYCLE posted a video on September 25, 2010 called “ROB FORD – ‘CYCLISTS ARE A PAIN IN THE ASS…’“, which I have edited and uploaded portions of for this article.
Here’s the part of the speech where he lays out his vision – which I think is a good one…
“… We have boulevards in Etobicoke, green, that are 4 or 5 yards wide” he says, “if we have to take some of the green space, widen the sidewalk and have a bike only lane, it will work…”
I’ve been out there in suburbia a couple of times. Once over in Scarborough, I biked up this huge wide three-lane-each-way road (McCowan Road?) with a centre turning lane. The houses backed onto the road in those curly cue culdesacs on each side of the road. I didn’t feel safe out there.
I think, like on the 400 series of highways, bikes should not be allowed on these roads – they are not built for us, they are highways with stoplights on them – damn straight. The traffic laws concerning bikes on these neighbourhood freeways enable a collective denial that allow us to bury our heads in the sand to the fact that these are dangerous killer roads running through neighbourhoods full of children and people who would chose cycling if it were any kind of option at all. The non-exclusion of cyclists perpetrates a myth that this transportation framework is not at fault for dividing communities and the individuals with-in communities, one from another.
This stretch of McCowan is a good example of what Mayor Ford is thinking. I imagine a wider boulevard and a two way Bikeway on the side closest to the street in this case, and the sidewalk over by the fences (a Bikeway should be wide enough in one direction to pass another cyclist, about 3 metres wide, so X2, 6 metres wide for a two way Bikeway). The city would have to appropriate about 2 metres for yard from every rate payer along here and could offer planting hedges in place of fences which are great sound barriers, help reduce green house gases and trees process the highly toxic heavy elements in car exhaust really effectively. Of coarse safety is probably a factor in the fencing as well as noise pollution – but the Bikeway also addresses boththose issues – more bikes equals less automobile traffic volume – and non-vehicular traffic is a neighbourhood watch program with out any meetings.
That done people would begin opening up their back yards to access the infrastructure, and it would look a whole lot nicer pretty quickly.
..to be continued…
Looking at maps of suburbia in the writing of this article I discovered another new way to get commuting cyclists through the Squiggly Grid (see comments at City of Toronto Transportation Grid: “Graph Paper” layout vs “Squiggly Grid”), Hydro Corridors! – like this one in Scarborough – that runs from the Don Valley at Eglinton Avenue to Pickering’s Brock Road.
I also made a map of my Bicycle-Freeway Vision called “Pickering to Don Valley Bikeway“.
Here’s an Image (links to Google Map for a closer look).
Posted: December 16th, 2010
Author: michael holloway
Filed under: Uncategorized
Tags: Squiggly Grid | 7 Comments »