Release: Mayoral Candidates Join Cycling Advocates for Morning Commute by Bicycle
Submitted by yvonne on 27 September, 2010 - 16:16
Toronto’s Mayoral Candidates Join the Morning Rush-Hour Cycling Commute
Cycling advocates aim to grow awareness amongst candidates of cyclists’ concerns with current conditions.
Toronto, September 27, 2010 - In an effort to share the daily experience of thousands of cycle commuters, the Toronto Cyclists Union led 8 of the Mayoral Candidates on a 30 minute rush-hour commute by bicycle this morning. Candidates were invited to share their experience & plans with the media at a 9:15am press conference following the ride.
Yvonne Bambrick, the Toronto Cyclists Union’s Director of Communications led today’s 20 person ride with the assistance of Toronto Police. The 30 minute ride, which stayed within the downtown core, allowed candidates to experience almost the full range of scenarios faced on a daily urban commute by bicycle. The ride took candidates on arterials with bike lanes, without bike lanes, on roads with construction, roads scarred by utility cuts, on minor arterials, and on side streets, though because of time constraints, candidates did not experience the less welcoming suburban cycling environment where traffic speeds are higher and few if any cycling facilities currently exist.
Bicycles and helmets were provided by local bike merchants Curbside Cycle & Urbane Cyclist, upon request by some candidates. Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, who was not fortunate enough as a child to learn to ride, was welcomed along and accommodated by bicycle rickshaw. Along for the ride were Joe Pantalone, Rocco Rossi, Himy Syed, Rocco Achampong, Dewitt Lee, and Daniel Walker - Keith Cole stopped by but could not stay, and Mark State joined us for the press conference.
Thomson had confirmed as recently as Friday, but canceled at 11pm last night. Ford said he was busy, and Smitherman expressed an interest in a one-on-one ride that has yet to be scheduled.
In cities across North America, cycling has become an increasingly frequent transportation choice and Toronto is clearly no exception when we look back on the record setting ‘summer of the bike’ that we’ve just enjoyed. Cyclists are also increasingly refusing to give up the convenience and predictable travel times that cycling provides and are continuing to ride year-round.
According to Toronto Cyclists Union Director of Communications, Yvonne Bambrick, “This mayoral race has unfortunately been burdened by some oft repeated factual errors and overblown assumptions about the costs and impacts of bike lanes for Torontonians. Mr. Ford has falsely and repeatedly claimed that the Jarvis St. conversion from 5 lanes to 6 lanes cost taxpayers $6million dollars when in fact this Transportation Services roadwork came in at under $60,000. Misleading statements like this, and others, are creating a false divide between citizens of this city – we should be working together to grow and improve transportation options for everyone throughout Toronto’s 44 wards.”
“Bike lanes are the most rapid way to increase the capacity of our roadways to safely move people - building bike lanes builds bike ridership numbers and provides people an additional transportation option. One of the biggest selling features of bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure is that they are an extremely inexpensive, and rapid transportation facility to put in place, compared to the enormous and ongoing costs of highways and public transit systems.”
“New York City, a place more choked than Toronto with automobile congestion, has in the past 3 years managed to find the political will and financial resources to create 200miles of on street bike lanes. Montreal, despite their far more severe winters, have an excellent network of often physically separated bike lanes across the city, and they make a point of clearing them of snow in the winter. Portland's Mayor Sam Adams, who has recognized the high return on investment for cycling infrastructure, was here last week explaining that his city put in their 300mile bikeway network for $60million - the same as the cost of 1mile of new freeway.”
“There are nearly 400,000 utilitarian cyclists in Toronto, and many more would choose to ride if they felt safe enough to do so. The number one request from would-be riders is to put in bike lanes wherever possible so that they have a dedicated space to cycle. Bike lanes serve everyone by adding more predictability to our streets, and by reducing the conflicts & collisions between cyclists and motorists. More people riding bicycles to get around in the city reduces congestion. Period. Imagine if Toronto's thousands of cyclists started driving tomorrow instead - that would be certainly qualify as 'traffic chaos'. Now imagine if we focused our city-building energy on creating Complete Streets in all parts of the city that provided dedicated space for people to confidently choose cycling transportation and leave their cars at home even a couple days a week... Toronto could easily see the number of cyclists double and have that many fewer cars clogging up the streets during rush hour.”
“The combination of additional bike infrastructure with a comprehensive and widespread public education campaign targeted to all road users about sharing the roads, would have a dramatic impact on the safety and functionality of our city streets, something of benefit to all Torontonians.” said Ms. Bambrick
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Print Ready Images are available here - Photo credit should be attributed to Martin Reis.
For further information, please contact Yvonne Bambrick, Toronto Cyclists Union
416 826 2964 (mobile) – email@example.com