Toronto bike lane plan heats up again

Oct 2, 2012 | News

The bike lane on Jarvis St, which council plans to remove. COURTESY Secondarywaltz, Wikimedia Commons.

Cyclists in the city upset over bike lane closures

By Lisa Gillan

A controversial project by Toronto city council continued to create a stir among cycling activists Tuesday.

Last year council voted to get rid of the bike lanes on Jarvis Street downtown after ensuring separated bike lanes are put in place not far away on Sherbourne Street.

The meeting on Tuesday was the second last chance for debate in council surrounding the topic. The final date for discussion will be Oct 30.

In a post for The Toronto Standard, Justin Robertson, a freelance journalist from Toronto said, “In those two meetings (today and October 30) city councilors will hear deputations and have letters read to them from members of Cycle Toronto, local Jarvis Street residents and bike enthusiasts.”

Cycle Toronto is an advocacy group made up of cyclers from around the city. The group started the “Save Jarvis!” campaign in response to the plan to dispose of the Jarvis St bike lanes.

According to the group’s webpage studies done by the city have shown “following the installation of bike lanes on Jarvis Street, motor vehicle volumes remained the same while cycling volume’s tripled.”

Earlier this year, the group also posted the cost of removing the bike lanes on their website saying “through a request to City transportation staff, the Toronto Cyclists Union … can now confirm the cost of reconfiguring Jarvis Street at $272,000.”

Dianna Jackson, a pre-apprenticeship student in Humber’s horticulture program, uses downtown bike lanes from time to time.

“I don’t really feel too safe biking downtown,” she said. “There’ve been so many close calls.”’

Jackson said she has had a few dangerous experiences on her bike including being hit by a car door.

In an article in the National Post, Toronto Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong is quoted as having said, “This is a really important day for cyclists, we’re getting the first separated bike lanes,” referring to the proposed replacement bike route on Sherbourne.

But Jackson said the focus should be on opening more lanes, not closing existing ones, and organizers at Cycle Toronto argued a similar point on their website saying “it makes no sense to remove a bike lane from a street that works for all road users.”