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posted by Joe on Thursday, November 30, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Wow... November went by fast... I'll post the most popular posts from November soon.. but for now, here's Octobers list. Check out anything you missed...

1. How To ENJOY Riding In The Rain

2. Streetcar Door Etiquette

3. CycleTherapy Fall Bike Auction

4. I Say Swap It, Swap It Good!

5. The Ootes Challenge, Part III - Ward 29 Electoral Race

6. Riding in the Rain: 22 Degrees in October

7. Martino's BikeLane (Video) Diary

8. Photos from BikeFriday

9. All I Need Now Is A Chainsaw...

10. E-Biking From The 'Burbs

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posted by Joe on Thursday, November 30, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

McCallion rejects bike lane plea (National Post)
"The roads were built for cars and trucks," Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion says.
Cycling in toronto: Biking thrills in a tunnel of love (Belfast Telegraph)
Chris Hardwicke, a local Toronton architect, has drawn up a blueprint for a futuristic network of overground tunnels, designed purely for the use of cyclists and in-line skaters.
From Bogotá to Mississauga Peñalosa works to create active citizens (Cycling Cog)
As parks commissioner in Bogotá he cleared the department of deadwood, "blazed a new network of walking trails, bike paths, parks both new and refurbished, and better transit links to all of them." He also turned the "Ciclovia", the city's regular Sunday bike ride on closed streets, from a 13-kilometre trek involving 150,000 cyclists and walkers through mostly affluent areas, into a city-wide, 91-kilometre event that attracts 1.5 million people of all income levels, every Sunday and holiday.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Miller eyes parking lot tax (Toronto Star)
Mayor floats possible surcharge as one way to use city's new taxing powers to fulfill his green agenda
Voices: Parking tax (Toronto Star)
The intent of this proposal is good, but a toll on all private automobiles and light trucks entering the city would address the problem more directly. Such a toll in London, England seems to work well; Toronto should do the same.
Eighteen Lost Years (SteveMonro.ca)
My friend Bob Brent put together a spreadsheet listing many TTC operating and financial statistics for 1988, and 1996 through 2005. Our ridership high came in 1988 just before the early 90s recession. Service was mercilessly slashed in the nadir of 1996 thanks to funding cuts.
For a man without a car, Rick Mercer gets around (Toronto Star)
Television host has driven just about everything, but at home in Toronto, he rides the Red Rocket
(He also rides his bike...)

Mayor Livingstone: $50 to Drive an SUV into Central London (Streetsblog)

THIS is what Miller should do, in addition to the Parking Tax mentioned above.

Rip them out (Telegraph.co.uk)
Traffic lights are an unnecessary evil, says Martin Cassini. We should let human nature take its competent course instead and cut down on stress and pollution.

Traffic Lights Replaced By...Courtesy? (TreeHugger)
Drachten, a small Dutch city with around 50,000 residents has removed almost all of its traffic lights. Major intersections have been converted to roundabouts, smaller intersections just let drivers work make decisions on their own. Basically, it's anarchy. Anarchy that has completely eliminated dangerous crashes and road fatalities and created a surge in bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

New Developments in the Don Valley worsen conditions for commuting, recreational cyclists

A few weeks ago the City of Toronto installed three speed bumps on the park access road leading from the back of the Sunnybrook Hospital facility on Bayview Ave to the bridge across the Don near the riding stables in Sunnybrook Park.

TTC introduces four more accessible bus routes

No mention is made of bikeracks on these new buses, but every new bus is supposed to have one now, aren't they?

Transit, environment, education top their list
"I would also like David Miller to put more bike lanes in the city. There aren't enough of them. I have to go on the sidewalk and it's illegal".

Take The Tooker Meeting
Thursday, Nov. 30, 7:00 - 9:00pm
OISE, 252 Bloor St. W.
2nd Floor

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 24, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

It was a beautiful day today.

The BikeFriday of November 2006 was not all that it should of been, and that was my fault. I've been busy renovating our bathroom (very doable without owning a car - you can expect an entry about that when I have it all done and nicely photogenic for you... ) and work has been very busy too.

Consequently, I did not promote it as much as I should have this month. I should have promoted it more, as November is on average, a little chilly, and less people tend to bike November in Toronto.

I rode along the Danforth from Woodbine and met Martino (who had biked in from High Park along Bloor) at Yonge & Bloor and rode and chatted down Yonge Street to City Hall before parting ways and heading to our workplaces.

Mucho mucho props to Vic who rode the High Park to Mississauga commute, and Darren J who rode from Yonge & Lawrence north to Yonge & Highway 7.

Anyhow, enough about the past - let's plan for the future.

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 24, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

No Jail Time For Participants In Deadly Motorcycle Stunts

Woman dies after losing control of her car

Car Flies Over Bluffs in Fatal Crash

Drive off bluffs kills motorist

Drunk driving suspected in fatal Ancaster crash

Woman hit by car

Man Dies After Car Goes Over Scarborough Bluffs

Police Officer Hit by SUV

Man critical after pickup crashes on Hwy. 401 Ajax ramp

Morning accidents slow traffic on Hwy. 401

Kingsway crash clogs westbound Gardiner

Doughnut shop became drive-thru in accident

Crash closes part of Hwy. 401 in Mississauga

Driver sought in east-end hit and run

Inspired by NYC's Streetsblog Weekly Carnage feature.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, November 23, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Things to do tomorrow, November 24th, a.k.a. BikeFriday.

Group Commute
There are group commutes happening all around the city and the GTA. If you're heading downtown, you can meet up with us at Yonge & Charles (just south of Bloor, by the Second Cup) between 8 - 8:15 AM before we ride to City Hall, or meet us in front of City Hall around 8:30 AM. There are non-downtown rides as well. :) If you don't see your bike commute route on the site... I'll gladly add it!

Get a Free Breakfast!

Visit the friendly folks at Grassroots for their monthly Bikers Breakfast! They'll be serving up cyclists between 8 - 9:30 AM at their 408 Bloor St. W. (at Bathurst) store! Tell them BikeFriday sent you. :)

Critical Mass
Join millions of cyclists around the world for the celebration of cycling that takes place in hundreds of cities. Bloor & Spadina - meet at 6:00 pm, ride at 6:30. :)



Image from BikeLaneDiary.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Shutting Queens Quay cost $1.3M
A survey found 71 per cent of respondents liked the changes and 68 per cent said they improved the quality of life in the area and thought the changes should be permanent. Fifty per cent, however, said the event made traffic worse.

I would love to see news articles call pedestrian traffic and bike traffic "traffic", and not just the city-killing car traffic it usually does.

University of Toronto Bike Bait program a success
New U of T anti-theft technology getting results
"The project is ongoing and successful," said UTPS corporal Peter Franchi, co-ordinator of the Bike Bait program. "We have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of bike thefts since the program's inception."

Leaders for today
"We need our young people to know they can change the world," said Trudeau, encouraging the high school, college and university students to combat global issues of poverty, AIDS and global warming with the choices they make in their everyday lives. Buy fair trade coffee, ride your bike, buy a hybrid car, he suggested.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Anyone else make it through all that rain last week on your bike?

Thursday, when Environment Canada says it rained for "20 hours straight" in Toronto, I somehow managed to get to work and then back home without getting wet at all.

There was a lull of about an hour in the morning when I biked in to work (and it seemed like a lot of others did too, getting downtown while the getting was dry...), and then when I left work at 4-ish, it wasn't raining again (I even saw a bit of blue sky...).

Friday morning was wet, but from about 10 am on it was beautiful, if chilly out.

I can't recommend the animated radar maps on the WeatherNetwork highly enough.... I often have a look at them to predict when rain is going to start (or stop).

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posted by Joe on Monday, November 20, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Guess what?

This friday, November 24th, is the last friday of the month, so it's BikeFriday!



Take part in a group commute to work, or post your own commute and find others going the same way.

Or, stop by Grassroots at 408 Bloor W. (near Bathurst) for a free Bikers Breakfast between 8 - 9:30 am.

Critical Mass is going as well - join a group of Toronto cyclist biking around downtown - a ride that takes place in hundreds of cities around the world! Meet at 6 at Bloor & Spadina - the ride starts at 6:30!

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 17, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I meant to include this in the news post below, but forgot (sorry Tuco).

Tuco has put together a great petition for the federal government asking for tax credits for cyclists, as well as other good incentives the government can take to encourage bicycle use. This would build on their recent initiative of making monthly passes for public transit (like the Metropass) eligible for tax credits.

Go and visit (and sign, if you support it) the Promotion of Cycling in Canada Petition.

Even better, email all your friends about it and blog about it, if you're all into the weblog publishing stuff. :) This is a All-Of-Canada thing, after all!

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 17, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

It's Friday again - time to catch up on all the destruction being wrought by cars on our roads.


Teen struck by pick-up in critical condition


Driver dies in car crash
Loses control on Gardiner; another woman killed in a Mississauga accident


Gardiner Reopens After Fatal Crash

Sports car driver in grave condition

Pedestrian hit by car

Man ejected in early morning crash

Soldier charged after fatal car crash


'Angel' comes to driver's rescue

Woman dead after three-car crash

Woman dead after collision in Mississauga

Two men sentenced in fatal motorcycle crash


Conditional sentences in road racing deaths

6 months house arrest for 2-death bike crash

Inspired by NYC's Streetsblog Weekly Carnage feature.

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 17, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Honk if you want bike lanes (NOW Magazine)
Ringing bells and honking horns at Yonge and Bloor turned afternoon passersby's heads as cycling warriors for Take the Tooker encouraged voters on election day, November 13, to choose bike-friendly candidates likely to push for a new lane on the Bloor-Danforth stretch from Kipling station east to Kennedy.

Making Toronto’s streets (Spacing Wire)
The report comes at an opportune time, when urbanists like Christopher Hume and Glen Murray are talking about the need to make Toronto’s streets into destinations rather than thoroughfares. A key step in accomplishing this goal is to get the city to incorporate pedestrian and cycling improvements every time it rebuilds a street anywhere in Toronto, not just on occasional projects where there is an active local community who can push the city to think broadly.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, November 16, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Great Take The Tooker Ride (Bike Lane Diary)

Great photos from Tino of Saturday's TakeTheTooker ride.

Take the Tooker Brings Awareness to Pre-election Cycling Issues (BlogTO)
What's cool is that when even a temporary chalk-drawn bike lane is installed along a stretch of Bloor, motorists seemed to drive within the lines and cyclists had their own path. Maybe we can chalk it up in the meantime while waiting for a more permanent solution. Pray it don't rain.

For the record: Mayor Miller (Bike Lane Diary)

I’ve always been a strong believer that bicycling is an essential part of Toronto’s transportation strategy.

The 2nd draft - Tax Credits for Cyclists Petition (Tuco Rides)
I've basically shifted the focus away from "give us a tax credit" to "give us something!" and I list a few initiatives the gov. could take to promote cycling as a climate change solution. Any obvious initiatives that I've left out I'd love for you to mention.

The new council on cycling and walking (TCAT / BikeToronto.ca)

Keep track of how closely the mayor and the new council keep to their "Active Transportation Promises"

`It's not over' in Ward 29 (The Star)

"My campaign is exploring asking for a recount, and other challenges," Alexopoulos said, though she didn't elaborate on what she meant by "other challenges."

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark



New York, New York:

New Bike Markings For Brooklyn’s Fifth Ave. This Month
The markings are an interesting innovation for New York City in that they direct motorists and cyclists to share the middle of the road as equals. Drivers aren't supposed to blast their horns at cyclists riding in the travel lane and cyclists aren't supposed to try to slip in and out of the door-zone between moving traffic and parked cars.


Cyclists and Pedestrians: Fighting Over the Scraps
Pedestrians and cyclists are crammed into the margins fighting over the scraps of public space that have been left to them. The real problem are the rows of parked cars hogging up street space throughout the city.


Birth of a Class III Bike Route


These Shared Lane stencils are an entirely new type of bike lane marking for New York City. They are modeled after San Francisco's "Sharrows."


Gridlock Sam Tells the Story of NYC’s First Bike Lanes
It seems to be a good moment to check out this short interview in which Gridlock Sam Schwartz tells the story of how New York got its first bike lanes in the early '80s and why Mayor Ed Koch ultimately ordered that they be taken away.


New Bike Stencils Completed on the Lower East Side
As on Brookyn's Fifth Avenue this weekend, it looks like DOT has finished installing the new Class III bike route stencils on Clinton and Delancey Streets.


Amsterdam:

Dutch Parents Get Behind New Bicycle Trend
Jennifer van den Broeke tried toting her son and daughter around Amsterdam on her old bike with two child seats, but the weight buckled the wheels and the stand snapped. That was when she decided to join the growing Dutch army of pedaling parents using so-called transport bikes. The transport bike — called a bakfiets (pronounced backfeets) in Dutch — is making a comeback decades after butchers, bakers — maybe even the odd candlestick maker — first began using them to carry their wares around the narrow streets of this nation’s towns and cities.




Danish Bike Cargo Photo Gallery
How do you measure a city's bike-friendliness? Do you count the number of lane miles, daily commuters or annual injuries?


Copenhagen:

Notes on Bicycling in Copenhagen
there are bikes everywhere. Thirty-six percent of Copenhageners commute by bicycle. It's an astonishing number considering that this isn't exactly Miami Beach. It is cold and rainy for much of the year. The city is, however, extraordinarily flat.


Beijing:

Beijing’s "No Car" Days: How to Win Friends and Not Influence Traffic


San Francisco:

Take the Lane, It's The Law

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

TakeTheTooker Events This Week
First of all, we will be doing some flyering at the Worldchanging Book Launch... Later on in the week, we will be having a Take The Tooker planning meeting, to decide what we will be doing after the Election and through the winter

Steve Monro's Winners and Losers
First, a huge round of applause to Joe Mihevc who not only won in Ward 21 against all of the anti-St. Clair rhetoric, but won with over 50 percent of the vote.

Ottawa 'spits in the eye' of TTC
Newly re-elected Toronto councilman and TTC chairman Howard Moscoe reacted angrily today when he learned that Toronto's transit system will receive less than 5 per cent of Ottawa's $40 million boost for transit security.

Voices: Commuting fun

I commute by bicycle all year, every day, no matter what the weather (yes, even when it snows). I always look forward to starting my day with a bike ride, or ending a particularly stressful day with a few pedal strokes. It's fun, keeps me healthy, and it's incredibly convenient when compared to taking the TTC (I get to go wherever I want, whenever I want) or driving (I never have to worry about parking).

My commute is great: I work at Yonge/Eglinton and (gasp) I choose to live at Yonge/Eglinton. A ten minute walk is a great way to start and end the day.

I live in the downtown area and was commuting to Markham, spending 90 minutes on transit each way, for about nine months. The time could have been spent doing so many other things. It motivated me to find a job downtown. Since September, I work downtown and can walk to work in 15 minutes. I spend more time with friends and family, save money and help the environment. I love it.

I enjoy my commute to work because I ride my bike to work, not only am I getting some good exercise, I get to pass about a hundred cars that are waiting in line at traffic lights or stops signs. And on the way home I can take a more relaxing and less busy route.

PM targets stoned drivers

This is all fine and good, but what about drivers who talk on the phone when driving? What about drivers who drive dangerously although sober and not high?

Fare cards will remove payment gridlock
The prospect of time saved should appeal not only to mass transit riders but also to those who drive their cars to work in the morning.

Of course... it's good to make everything about how it conveniences car drivers. That was sarcasm.

Worldchanging Tour: Toronto

Worldchanging: A Users Guide for the 21st Century is a groundbreaking compendium of the most innovative solutions, ideas and inventions emerging today for building a sustainable, livable, prosperous future.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 14, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

(I did a quick post-election post earlier)

Chasing Case (Spacing Votes)
Alexopoulos’ strategy is simple: to be accessible and responsive to her constituents. She said people are embracing her at the door because “they are so happy to have a progressive alternative, finally.”

Sexy public transit, part II (Spacing Wire)
Rapid transit lines spread out all over the GTA in the next 10 years, baby. Just look at the map above. It’s called a regional approach to public transit in the GTA.

Highway Tolls May Not Unlock Gridlock (AM640)

It begins - the fearmongering about possibly tolling roads. It works in other major cities in the world. Why not here?

Cycle Messenger World Championships coming to Toronto (Unknown Toronto)
The international messenger community has awarded to Toronto the honour of hosting the XVI Cycle Messenger World Championships in 2008, probably to be held in August/September (it's often held on the Labour Day weekend to make it easier for people to attend without losing pay).

Let's ditch anti-car policies (The Sun)

I'm not surprised that the Sun is publishing something like this, or that it's written by John Dowling, who looks like one of the selfish car drivers who almost kill me every day trying to pass me too closely to save a few seconds of driving time. If our streets weren't already choked and dominated with cars, then I wouldn't have to disagree with this poor attempt at journalism.

Know of news I missed? Link to it in the comments. Thanks!

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 14, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Quick notes from yesterday's election:

Miller won. That's good, considering Pitfield said she liked cycling yet drove her SUV to City Hall every day.

Gord Perks won in Ward 14 (Parkdale-HighPark). He's very environmental and very pro-transit.

Joe Mihevc won in Ward 21 (St. Paul's). This should put to rest any notion that that area is against the St. Clair streetcar row, as Mihevc had very organized groups rallying against him, yet won with 57% of the popular vote. Let's hope the ROW is very successful so ROW streetcar lines can be added throughout the city.

Case Ootes won by only 20 votes in Ward 29 (Toronto-Danforth) over Diane Alexopoulos. Can we get a re-count?

You can probably find a ton of great info over on Spacing Votes or on major news sites.

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posted by Joe on Monday, November 13, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Support for tolls on rise (The Star)
45% would pay to use roads if money went to ease gridlock.

Transit Toronto Commentary: A Grudging Endorsement for Miller (Spacing Votes)
David Miller at least gets the importance of public transit in Toronto. He may not have been able to implement the improvements that should have taken place since 2003, but he is working towards those improvements in politically pragmatic fashion.

St. George Street - Almost unrideable (Bike Lane Diary)



Canadians Enjoy Their Daily Commute (Epoch Times)

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 10, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Road rage leads to shooting

Senior hit by car

Man dies attempting to cross Highway 400

Four die in packed tourist minivan

Woman dies after tire strikes car

Port Perry collision kills motorist, 76

Police Charge Pedestrian Hit By Car As Huge Traffic Safety Blitz Begins


Inspired by NYC's Streetsblog Weekly Carnage feature.

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 10, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Sexy public transit, part I
The expensive and inefficient Spadina subway extension doesn’t address the diverse and urgent transportation needs of Toronto, and does little to enhance the quality of life for all Torontonians. However, a massive city-wide BRT/LRT network is a huge step in the right direction.

Do lazy people move to the suburbs?
“Someone who does not like to walk is more likely to be obese and is more likely to live where one can easily get around by car,” says U of T economics professor Matthew Turner.

Who else likes bikes on Bloor?
“I have always loved the idea of a dedicated east-west bike route and think that Bloor-Danforth is a logical fit for one of the locations, but also think that there should be ones parallel along say Eastern, Lawrence, Sheppard and Finch."

Police Charge Pedestrian Hit By Car As Huge Traffic Safety Blitz Begins

It's good to know people can run over other people and face no consequences. I think that being hit by a car is punishment enough for crossing against lights, etc... How about the police ticket all the selfish drivers who don't want to wait for pedestrians at signalled crossings? Oh, that would make too much sense.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
This Friday, you will be able to see stars in Toronto! Those crazy kids at Newmindspace are putting together a twinkly, glowing installation of LED's and helium to create an artificial starscape, along with several other interactive installations on Front Campus at the University of Toronto.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, November 09, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Pedestrian safety target of new police traffic blitz
The cruellest months for pedestrian deaths are just beginning in Toronto and already more than half of all traffic fatalities in the city were on foot when they died.

A better way for the ROW?
Vaughan returns to the oft-raised issue of the lane widths on the re-constructed St. Clair, and asks — quite reasonably — why they need to be as broad as they are. Looking at the sections yet to be built, Vaughan believes it would be possible to narrow the vehicle lanes in order to buy extra space for bike lanes and sidewalks, even while leaving the segregated ROW in place.

The dark secret of Toronto Mayor David Miller
Not reported in the newspaper was the follow-up question: who are the councillors who are to blame for holding up the bikeplan? Miller was frank, and he was specific. No mincing words here. “Case Ootes,” he replied.

Is commute best part of your day?
If you really want to enjoy commuting, get a bike, the report suggests. Nineteen per cent of workers who rode their bicycles to work reported that it was the most pleasant activity of their day.

A first draft of the petition - tax credits for cyclists
“Physical inactivity levels in Canada remain a serious public health burden. Fifty-five percent of Canadians do not meet minimum guidelines for regular physical activity necessary to attain health benefits. Physical inactivity increases the risk of chronic disease, premature death and disability.”

Pace yourselves for Toronto's 2007 international walking conference
Next year's Walk 21 conference, to be held Oct. 1-4, is expected to attract 400 delegates, marking the eighth year for the event and the second time that it has been held in North America, a news release stated.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 08, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Just a note about part of a Star article I posted earlier.

Miller is quoted as being against tolls:

Speaking to a pro-transit crowd, Miller said he's not in favour of tolls. The mayor took a lot of heat for floating the idea in 2003 but said he's had plenty of time to think about it since. "In London they have an extensive network of transit and it gives everybody a real choice. But that's not true in many parts of Toronto."
I'm for extending a Right-of-Way Streetcar Network out into Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke as much as Miller is, but he's forgetting something huge.

Downtown, where most people in Toronto are pushing for a "toll" like London's Congestion Charge, has EXCELLENT transit. Put in a congestion charge like other world class cities (London and Stockholm have it, San Francisco and London are considering it) for the downtown area where everything is accessible by transit or walking.

Charge private automobiles entering the Bloor/Jarvis/Front/Spadina rectangle - have anyone driving in park outside and do a 10-minute walk to their destination or have them hop on the TTC - it's only a 5 minute walk MAXIMUM from the borders of the Bloor/Jarvis/Front/Spadina rectangle to a subway station.

What do you do with the money? Put it towards that ROW streetcar expansion in Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke.

It just makes sense.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 08, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Take the Tooker makes it in the Globe and Mail

Mayoral `debate' on cycling, planning

An editor at Eye Weekly said Miller told the magazine three years ago cycling would be a high priority. Yet only 26 kilometres of bike paths have been built since he was elected three years ago; woefully short of the planned 1,000 kilometres. "That's half as much as under (former Mayor) Mel Lastman," Miller was told.

Make Like Lawn Bowlers
A well-organized group of upset cyclists, dressed in lycra and wearing brightly coloured helmets, who made their case at committee hearings again and again might just make the difference, he suggested. "You have to make it more difficult [for politicians] not to do these things.

Start here for Bikes on Bloor
The absence of bike lanes in the initial design is also troubling because it simply does not reflect reality. Bloor Street is a popular street for cyclists, and it is up to the City to decide whether or not it wants to make it safe.

Take The Tooker Best Activist Campaign
This city may have lost its most dedicated bike and climate change activist when Tooker Gomberg passed away two years ago, but his legacy lives on in the fight to build a bicycle expressway in his name along the route of the Bloor/Danforth subway line.

Take the Tooker, This Saturday

There is another ride planned... stay tuned to the Tooker site for details.

Vote for a healthy, safe and prosperous Toronto!

A fantastic post on GoGreenFlow with a great list of election information links on promoting a green and bike-friendly Toronto.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 08, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I was very upset at the culture of the automobile that has taken over Toronto last night. More specifically, I was upset at all the seemingly braindead individuals who almost killed me as I was biking home.

You would think that when it is dark and pouring rain, that drivers would be extra careful around a cyclist - but instead they were bigger asses than usual. I actually lost count (it was over 10) of how many drivers passed me with less than 6 inches of clearance... speeding... in the pouring rain.

I was so mad when I got home. Mad that drivers can be so damn selfish that they can't slow down for a few seconds to give cyclists some clearance and safety. Mad that I am biking all around the city, rain or shine, warm or cold, because I'm doing my bit to keep the air a little cleaner and the streets a little safer.

I'm doing it so my kids can breathe cleaner air and live in a safer city. I'm doing it so your kids can breathe cleaner air and live in a safer city. I'm doing it so the kids of drivers can breathe cleaner air and live in a safer city.

For my efforts, I am almost killed every single day.

This city is backwards. It is not following the transportation policies of great cities - world class cities like London, Paris, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, and San Francisco, just to name a few. These are cities who realize that a great, efficient public transit network as well as encouraging cycling and walking makes a city great and livable and world-renowned.

I am still upset about this, so in my role as a transit pioneer and cycling soldier, I give you this pledge - to do my best to break and destroy the dominance of the automobile in this city.

I am only one man, but I can do it with your help.

This blog, BikingToronto, was the start. Daily posts about bikes in Toronto - whether it's about what I'm doing, or events, or about things in other cities that we can emulate.

BikeFriday is the next step - let's get people paying attention to bikes once a month instead of just once a year during BikeWeek.

The next step is inevitable. There is always more we can do.

Bike every chance you can. Do it with friends. Be safe. Change Toronto.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 07, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Here’s a few items about this site that I thought I would compile all into one post.

Bad and/or Unfortunate News

After a few months of life support, a complete re-install of windows and disk-reformatting, our home computer is now, I fear, pretty much dead. I’ll continue to try to bring it bad from the digital graveyard, but I won’t be able to post from home for the near-term. Tracy and I have been eyeing the Apple MacBooks since the summer, so it may be finally time to get one. I won’t get a white one, because I think white Apple products look like Hello Kitty toys… but we’ve gotten a ton of friends urging us to consider Apple computers – and they are supposed to crash less and be better about viruses than Windows-based machines...

Getting a laptop will also help in our continual efforts to de-clutter. Hey, when you live in a small condo, the struggle is constant. Thankfully there’s not very much room to stick things we don’t need.

The Good and/or Better News

BikeFriday – I’ve got most of the news for November 24th up. I’ve got to add some Group Commute info still, and the City Hall coffee event may happen again, but we’ll see how the weather forecasts are co-operating.

Also in BikeFriday news, Walter from The Bicycle Company named BikeFriday found the site. He has suggested the idea of having a Toronto BikeFriday owners BikeFriday event, and said great things on his blog:

It turns out there are a bunch of Toronto, Ontario, cycling advocates putting together just about every arm of pro-cycling work including Critical Mass, recreational rides, and benefits to commuters into one handy-dandy little do-it-yourself package. Almost makes me wish I was there!

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posted by Joe on Monday, November 06, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I swung by Metro Hall early on Thursday morning for the newmindspace / saveourclimate black balloon event that I mentioned earlier. Basically, they filled 3000 black balloons with helium, which is the same amount as how much carbon dioxide the average Canadian spews into the atmosphere every day. I took some photos:







I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed by this event. All the balloons were weighed down and covered Metro Square with a smattering of blackness, but I was going there with the impression that the entire mass of 3000 balloons would be all attached together and floating over the square, symbolic about how much CO2 is put into the air by you, by me, by every Canadian.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think it would be way more of a visual impact – a huge floating black cloud.

I guess some people have problems letting tons of balloons up into the atmosphere, but they shouldn’t, since apparently balloon latex is made from tree sap, and they degrade in the same amount of time as an oak leaf does.

Otherwise, good stuff came out of the event – the Mayor put in an appearance, Rick Mercer came by (on his bike!), and I found out that SaveOurClimate has a blog.

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 03, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I read this article yesterday but didn't get around to posting about it. Thanks to the Spacing Wire for reminding me of it.

Christopher Hume of the Star pens a great article yesterday in which he delves into why despite the best intentions of city planning staff, the city is still being planned around the needs of cars and not the needs of people:
Toronto is talking about a new vision for its streets but the tools to achieve it are missing. The new vision wants more people out of their cars, on public transit, on foot and bikes. But almost all the institutional mechanisms for making and changing streets in light of those ideals are geared to an older vision, one primarily oriented toward moving cars.... You have to change a culture. But I think it's a culture that's ready for change. There will be institutional resistance — that's inevitable — but people are beginning to realize that it's not just about making the city prettier. It's not just about planting flowers, though flowers are terrific. It's about making the city more sustainable, accommodating and cared for."
Personally, I'm seeing signs that this is correct - that more and more Torontonians are ready for change... whether it's things like biking over the Gerrard Street Don Valley Bridge with 5 other cyclists on a -7 degrees-with-windchill morning (like this morning), or the increased support for car-free events like P.S.Kensington, or even the increased interest of transit projects like the St. Clair ROW and subway expansion schemes.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, November 02, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

A Korean newspaper reports:

Nothing is more exhilarating, efficient and enjoyable than getting on a bicycle zipping through the crowded streets of New York City, provided the rider does not mind assuming the role of transit pioneer and cycling soldier… there is a daily battle taking place on the streets of New York City between automobiles and bicycles.

Photo: Cody Lyon, Ohmy News International
Via Streetsblog.

I've been feeling like I've been more and more at war with the car drivers of this city, especially over the last week. Dangerous passing, inattentiveness and general being selfish slaves to their cars have "put my back up" lately.

After checking out the newmindspace event on my way to work this morning, I paced another cyclist up University from King to College and effectively took the lane with his help, screwing any drivers behind us.

It felt good.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, November 02, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Interesting post over on TakeTheTooker right now:

At the recent YIMBY event, not only did some TTT folks run into Mayor Miller, but talked to him about the possibility of a Bloor-Danforth bikelane.



Thankfully, instead of political babble, Miller said Case Ootes "has got to go".

There's another TTT ride happening this Saturday too. Come out and show your support.



Past Entries about the Ootes Challenge:

Part III - Ward 29 Electoral Race
Part II - Ootes still trying to get Cosburn bikelanes removed
Part I - "In Toronto, People Won't Get Out Of Their Cars

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 01, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The amazing folks at newmindspace.com are teaming up with the World Wildlife Fund / SaveOurClimate.ca to put on a free, all day event TOMORROW (Thursday, Nov. 2nd) at METRO HALL that'll bring the city's attention to what our daily activities are doing to our planet.

(I know this isn't directly related to biking, but I know that I've become a lot more environmental having to breathe the exhaust from the hundreds of cars that are right beside me every single day as I bike to and from work... oh yeah, and I'd rather my kids grow up with cleaner air and the world not being a barren scorched desert.)



Basically, what's happening is they are building a giant black cloud out of many many many black balloons filled with helium. They are using the same amount of helium as the average amount of greenhouse gases the average Canadian puts into the atmosphere each and every day.

Here's the email I just got from the newmindspace newsletter (with minor edits by me):

This is for everybody, even if you didn't make it to the planning meeting you are more than welcome to come! We need lots of help and we would love to see you there.

We need the most help at 5 AM tomorrow morning, which is approximately 12 hours from now. The two things we will need the most help with:

Inflating balloons
Drawing the giant Panda mural
(If you are interested in doing the mural, please wear something you won't mind getting chalky. It washes out but it's still kind of messy.)

We will meet at Metro Hall Square which is at King St. W + John St. The square itself is the large concrete plaza in between Metro Hall and Roy Thompson Hall.

The best way to get there is to take the Queen streetcar to John and walk south. The King streetcar will not be running yet.

Remember to dress for the weather! Thankfully it isn't going to be super-cold, and there will be coffee, hot chocolate + some kind of snack available.

If you absolutely can't make it for 5, come by during the day :)

Another thing you can help with: If you have a blog, PLEASE write about the event.

If you have any questions, e-mail us or call 416 875 4795 (preferred).

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 01, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I mentioned Darren's post about Markham bikeroutes and bikelanes on Monday, so I thought I'd point you to his site again, as he took his camera along for some photographic evidence production. :)



Great pics Darren. Hopefully these will not only encourage more suburban cyclists to get out on the roads (and out of their cars, since cars seem to go pretty slow, judging by the above photo), but that more cyclists will encourage Markham to post more bikeroute signs and install more bikelanes.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 01, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Interested in getting involved in helping a continuous east-west bikelane get installed on Bloor-Danforth?

There's a meeting tonight to discuss future directions, especially over the next two weeks before the municipal election on Nov. 13th. Here's more information from the TaketheTooker newsletter:

Dear Take The Tooker friends,

The municipal election is on Monday, November 13, and time is running short. Who we vote in is critically important!

To ensure a City Council that is proactive in making Toronto people and bike-friendly, we invite you to be part of this strategic bicycling initiative -- one which many believe will significantly shape a greener, cleaner, healthier city.

Meeting and Flyering - Wed. Nov. 1, 6 - 8pm

It's short notice, but your presence at this Take The Tooker planning meeting is vitally important.

6:00pm - Meeting at OISE, 252 Bloor St. W. (either 2nd or 3rd Floor - please check) Note: If you can, please bring light food or drinks to share.

6:30pm, some/all (?) will head to All-Candidates Meeting at Bishop Morocco Secondary School, 1515 Bloor St. W. , to flyer people.

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