Toronto Council Votes to Remove Jarvis St. Bike Lanes

On a Tuesday night preceded by heated debate in the city hall—and months of active participation from concerned residents through bike rallies, petitions and a whole slew of impassioned and informed editorials, Dave Meslin in particular—Toronto appears to be on track of being on the wrong side of sensible and sustainable transit for all.

It follows that a mayor who is smugly suburban, is driven by an uncompromising zeal for fiscal “prudence” and has a preternaturally myopic outlook on what a liveable city is, would vote in favour of removing a perfectly serviceable bike route. Never mind that the cost ($300,000) to remove the bike lanes goes against his creed of respecting the taxpayer above everyone else. It’s Rob Ford. His nonsense makes sense in a sad way.

What’s more concerning is the cynical disregard for the safety of cyclists by the twenty four councillors. Twenty four civic servants who have been placed in the City Hall to represent the interests of the people who live in Toronto.

I live on the west side of Toronto, so I don’t ride on Jarvis St. as frequently as many of the cyclists who commute downtown. I use it every Friday on my way to volunteering at Perram House, and even on my weekly ride, I feel much safer riding on the designated lane compared to streets like Queen and Bloor which have none.

I ride on Jarvis St. during the evening rush hour, when downtown office workers are eager to catch the Don Valley Parkway or the Gardiner Expressway for the weekend break. Yes, the motorists have to slow down a little in portions of the street that have been narrowed by construction work and they have to drive behind cyclists. But for the most part, the cyclists stay on their lanes, the cars in theirs and Jarvis St. keeps on moving at a steady clip.

I hate to imagine the kind of life that is ruined by being inside a car for an additional couple of minutes.

The votes are final, but expect a lot of resistance in the coming days. Ford and his ilk may think that their suburban ideal of cars-above-all will reign supreme in Toronto, but Torontonians have demonstrated a knack for ruining their parade in very persistent and imaginative ways.

The fight has barely begun.

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Last year, thousands of Toronto residents took part in a series of monthly bike rallies to show their support for maintaining the bike lanes on Jarvis St. These are some of the images from the inaugural rally:

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One comment

  1. michael

    I read the link to Toronto ruining its “parade”, sock puppets are really fun theater but they don’t mean much to an entity that has paid hundreds of millions in fines and admitted to or been convicted of crimes in more than the US. KPMG may be one of the big 4 in auditing etc. But their main focus, by temperment, is to avoid anything that would be considered a “social good”. One of the worst of global capital instruments as they purport to pursue efficiency and protect shareholder or public investments. Neither of which they do.

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