Response to City Council Bike Vote
Submitted by Andrea Garcia on 14 July, 2011 - 14:24
This week was a huge disappointment for cycling in Toronto. While we move forward with protected bike lanes, the Ford administration sent a strong signal that people in cars matter more than people on bikes. Mayor Ford chose to ignore the facts and the community while making decisions based on an ideology that bikes don’t belong on arterial roads. Now there is much work to be done to get Toronto back on track to green and safe streets.
We believe cycling is not a political issue, but rather a matter of public safety. It was in this spirit that we chose to work with Councillor Minnan-Wong when he expressed his support for protected bike lanes. Unfortunately, in the end, the Ford administration opted to turn cycling into a political issue and shut out Torontonians who choose to ride a bicycle.
While we agree with Councillor Minnan-Wong that Toronto needs a network of protected bike lanes, we strongly oppose the notion that they emerge at the cost of infrastructure elsewhere. Though protected bike lanes will make cyclists in the downtown safer, this cannot come at the expense of safety on Jarvis, Pharmacy or Birchmount. Yet, this is the path the administration has chosen.
Though we lost two bike lanes in Scarborough, we won a small (but important) victory with Jarvis Street by delaying its removal for at least one year. This delay will allow us to continue organizing around Jarvis and ultimately challenge the decision. This wouldn’t have been possible without the many Torontonians who wrote to their Councillors, called the Mayor and attended City Council, many for the first time. We’d like to thank everyone for their involvement, especially those volunteers who flyered the Jarvis Street bike lane on weekday mornings leading up to the Council meeting. Your efforts were not wasted and they had a direct impact on delaying the removal.
There’s never been a more important time to become a member of the Toronto Cyclists Union. In the last 24 hours, we welcomed 50 new members and our organization is over 1,300-members strong. But we can’t stop here. Your funding has a direct impact on our ability to correct this. Let’s continue creating a strong cycling advocacy force in the City. Join today.