Posts Tagged ‘biking’
The Toronto Star‘s Andrew Livingstone writes about the new bike lane on Sherbourne.
[A]s part of $4.1 million upgrades along the street, the $2.5 million bike lanes will provide a necessary dedicated north-south route for the growing number of cyclists in the downtown area.
“We use them all the time,” said Meldon Lobo, 27. “Sherbourne is in much better condition than it used to be before.”
[. . .]
Sherbourne was touted as a safer route for cyclists than Jarvis St., where painted bike lanes, added in 2010 under former mayor David Miller, have been a hot-button issue for drivers.
Council voted 24-19 in October to remove the $59,000 bike lanes to restore a reversible fifth lane at a cost of $300,000 to improve commute times for drivers.
The Sherbourne lanes are the east route in what Minnan-Wong said will be a square network of dedicated lanes in the downtown core. Designs for Wellesley St. have been completed and he said construction will begin later this year.
The Toronto Star‘s Tess Kalinowski introduces the idea of the TTC taking over the Bixi bike-sharing program. I have to say that while the idea does appeal to me thematically–why not integrate all of Toronto’s transit networks?–I wonder whether the TTC can really take on Bixi with its debt of four million dollars. Noteworthy is the fact that the mass transit agency of Montréal, the city that introduced Bixi to Canadians, has chosen not to take on that city’s Bixi network despite its higher ridership (and, apparently, its own debt).
[Toronto Transit Commission chair Karen] Stintz said she will make a motion at this week’s council meeting requesting staff explore the idea.
“I absolutely see Bixi as being an integral part of public transit in the city,” the councillor for Eglinton-Lawrence told CP24 on Sunday.
It’s a natural fit, said Jared Kolb of Cycle Toronto.
“When you look at trips within our city, what public bike systems like Bixi do is they fill in the gaps for trips that are too short to take transit or too far to walk – that two-kilometre sweet spot,” he said.
Once the Presto fare card is launched across the TTC – something that’s supposed to happen by the Pan Am Games in 2015 – it could also be used to access Bixi bikes, suggested Kolb.
The Toronto Star‘s Patty Wimsa reported on the ongoing controversy about building a bike station at Toronto City Hall. This sound decision, like so many, has apparently been politicized by the city’s mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug. (So says the strongly anti-Ford Star, at least.)
The city spent $650,000 on a bike station under Nathan Phillips Square before the project was quietly shelved by staff in 2011, a decision some councillors say should have come back to council for approval.
“That seems very strange,” said Councillor Paula Fletcher. “The scope of work for the Nathan Phillips Square revitalization is part of a pretty public restoration. That should have been reported out.”
The station, with secure parking for 380 bikes, was a signature element in the revitalization and would have been one of the biggest in North America.
Council approved $1.2 million in funding for the station in 2010. The $650,000 was spent on design as well as electrical and mechanical servicing. The remaining money, $550,000, is still sitting in the budget, said city spokesperson Natasha Hinds Fitzsimmins.
[. . .]
Both Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford have said they will try to kill it when it comes up for approval at city council this month. They say the facility — complete with four shower stalls — is a waste of money and deprives the city of revenue-drawing parking spots. (The staffed station would charge fees for users but not earn a profit.)
“The Ford brothers should actually look at the drawings,” says Andrew Frontini, a member of the architectural team who won a design competition for the square. The showers are made of concrete blocks and finished inside with the “most economical porcelain tile you can get but that you can still clean,” said Frontini. As well, the storage area for the bikes is basically a metal cage.
[URBAN NOTE] “Judge Punishes Man for Blocking Bike Lane Removal By Allowing Him to Volunteer With Cycle Toronto”
Desmond Cole’s Torontoist article is funny.
Dr. Tomislav Svoboda (he’s the one in the black blazer) poses with family and friends at the College Park provinclal court yesterday.
When Dr. Tomislav Svoboda used his body to block the removal of the Jarvis bike lanes last November, he knew his act of civil disobedience would result in criminal charges. Yesterday afternoon, a judge agreed to drop those charges—namely, mischief and obstructing a peace officer—if Svoboda completes 50 hours of community service and writes a letter explaining his actions to the court within two months. Appropriately, Svoboda has chosen to do his community service hours with Cycle Toronto, a local bike advocacy group.
The agreement, formally known as “direct accountability,” means that for the next two years, the Toronto physician will be on record as having gone through a court diversion program. As long as he stays out of trouble during that time, he’ll walk away with no further record.
About two dozen of Svoboda’s supporters, including family, friends, and cycling advocates, showed up. They were too numerous to fit into the modest courtroom. To the astonishment of the crowd, the judge exchanged barely two sentences with Svoboda’s lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, before the deal was reached. His bewildered entourage shuffled loudly out of the courtroom, as court security officers scolded them.
[. . .]
Health care professionals and active transportation advocates have seized on Svoboda’s arrest to condemn the removal of the Jarvis lanes and call on city council to speed up the implementation of bike thoroughfares across the city.
Council rejected a last-ditch attempt to save the controversial bikeways Tuesday, voting 24-19 against a motion from Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam that would have kept the street in its current configuration.
Instead, the city will now proceed with council’s original direction, made last July, to remove the bikeways and reinstall a reversible fifth car lane on Jarvis. The work will begin after the completion sometime next month of the separated bike lane on nearby Sherbourne.
Going into Tuesday’s meeting, the vote on Jarvis was expected to be close. But despite a flurry of lobbying on the council floor, left wing councillors couldn’t convince enough of their colleagues to come onside.
In the end council members like Josh Colle, Ana Bailao, and Michelle Berardinetti, whose votes some thought could be swayed, sided with Mayor Rob Ford, who led the push to take out the lanes last summer.
[. . .]
Supporters of the Jarvis lanes argue that they’re a model of how drivers and riders can safely coexist. City data indicate bike ridership on the street has tripled since the bikeways were installed in September 2010, and rates of accidents involving cars, pedestrians, and cyclists have all declined. Meanwhile, car travel times have only increased by two minutes.
They also argue that, at an estimated $280,000, reinstalling the fifth car lane is a waste of money.