BikingToronto - Information about Cycling in Toronto <data:blog.pageTitle/>



posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 04, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Now, I'm not an expert in how the city allocates funds for cycling... I do know that of the whole cycling budget, some goes to the Parks & Rec department for trail upkeep, and some goes to the roads department for bikelanes... and some goes other places, but all the news stories about the 2010 budget has great news for cycling infrastructure:


  • - Next year Toronto will spend $217.6 million on new subway cars that will hold more passengers - the beginning of a 10-year program to buy a total of 360 new subway cars;

    - The city will spend $72 million on new buses, part of a 10-year program to buy 390 new buses.

    - Construction of the Sheppard East light rail line will gather speed, with spending of $163 million.

    - Plans call for $22.6 million of spending next year on new bike lanes and paths.

Looking back at old blog posts about the subject, I dredged up some old cycling budget numbers:

2010 - 22.6 million
2009 - 8.6 million
2008 - 5.5 million
2007 - 3.0 million

I hope I'm not wrong about this being a HUGE increase, but maybe someone better versed in municipal budgets could shed some more light on this?

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Posted via web from bikingtoronto's posterous

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posted by Joe on Thursday, June 25, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

From Rowena Santos, who you may remember ran for City Council in 2006 in Ward 14 Parkdale-High Park

Fellow Cyclists,

As many of you know, the proposed 8% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will directly impact you and future cyclists. By the end of 2010, the HST will apply to all things bicycle: bikes, helmets, bells, lights, tune-ups, etc.

We are having a press conference in front of Queen's Park to show cyclist solidarity and make sure that the government understands that an 8% tax hike on all things bike is NOT how we roll. We'll have a great line-up of people speaking on the issue but most of all, the presence of cyclists and their bikes in front of Queen's Park.

Attached is a flyer (jpeg). Please spread this around to your networks and get folks on facebook to be part of the event. We'd like to see as many cyclists ride in to Queen's Park for the press conference to begin at 10am. Let's get this message across before it's too late.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly.

Ride or be Rode!

For More Info
santosr@ndp.on.ca
416-305-0698

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posted by Joe on Monday, June 15, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Give some props to City Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong... after years of defending auto-centric planning and transportation initiatives, he is learning how to ride a bike after missing out on it in his youth:

Denzil Minnan-Wong looks kind of sheepish. He has a confession to make.

The 45-year-old Toronto councillor, and perhaps the most ardent defender of the car at city hall, doesn't know how to ride a bicycle.

Yep, the man who grew up in Don Mills – where he still lives – known for its quiet leafy suburban streets, never learned the skill that most kids master by 6 or 7.

"Regrettably, my parents never taught me how," he said, adding they were very protective and concerned about safety. "And the longer you wait, the easier it is not to learn." (more at the Toronto Star)

We can hope the learning to bike will make Denzil a little more willing to look at things from a non-car perspective.

Good job Denzil! Welcome to cycling in Toronto.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, March 05, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

On March 9, 11, and 23rd The provincial legislature will be having public hearings about proposed changes to the Highway Traffic Act, including the definition of "E-Bikes" or "power-assisted bicycles" (you can read some more details in this BikingToronto post).

The Toronto Cyclists Union has released their position on the proposed definition of E-Bikes (which seems to include both bicycles with a small electrical assist as well as motor-scooter style bikes with removable pedals - like the accompanying photo):

The Toronto Cyclists Union believes that e-bikes/bicycles should be nothing other than traditional style bicycles, primarily powered by pedalling, that have minimal power assist – not capable of exceeding 20kms/hr, and simply available to boost the cyclists ability to get up hills and keep the cyclist moving when they need a short break on longer distance rides.

Any electric ‘bike’ that resembles a scooter should be considered an e-scooter and be subject to the rules that apply to that type of vehicle.

The Toronto Cyclists Union strongly recommends the following:


- That support, encouragement and resources for the implementation of additional cycling infrastructure across Ontario accompany any e-bike promotion initiative pursued by the MTO
- That the MTO do more to promote traditional cycling as an active form of transportation in tandem with, and perhaps even as a priority over, e-bikes
- That both the Driver education training guidelines, and Driver’s License testing be updated to include much more content (tbd) regarding how cyclists use the roadways, and the need/requirement to share the road.


Read more at the Toronto Cyclists Union website.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, February 19, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

In March (March 9, 11, and 23rd, to be exact), Queen's Park will reviewing amendments (in Bill 126 - PDF file) to Ontario's Highway Traffic Act in public hearings, including amendments concerning "E-Bikes" or "Power Assisted Bicycles", including what they are:
"power-assisted bicycle" means a bicycle that,

(a) is a power-assisted bicycle as defined in subsection2 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations made under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Canada),
(b) bears a label affixed by the manufacturer in com-pliance with the definition referred to in clause (a),
(c) has affixed to it pedals that are operable, and
(d) is capable of being propelled solely by muscular power;

[summary courtesy of Cyclometer]

Other parts of the E-Bike amendment include provisions that people under 16 can't operate them, that they must have all the proper lights and safety equipment, and that helmets are mandatory.

You can read the amendments for yourself in the online document (PDF file) here. It's the first paragraph under "Miscellaneous Amendments" on page "iii".

My first impression is that they're trying to legislate E-Bikes as if they are like motorcycles. That's applicable for some types of E-Bikes (like the one pictured above), but definitely not all.

What do you think?

More info about times and dates of the hearings:
The Clerk's Office has confirmed the details for the hearings. They are as follows:
The two sessions are scheduled for Feb 23rd and 25th, Toronto. When the house is in session, the meeting notices are posted the Thursday before the committee is going to meet. So in this case, you can expect the notice to be on the website on Thursday Feb 19th. Here is the link:

http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/committee-proceedings/committee_business.do?locale=en&BillID=2118&CommID=&ParlCommID=8856&BusinessType=Bill&detailPage=notices

Locations/times: Queen's Park, Room 151, in the centre hall, off to side in grand staircase. Monday February 23rd will be 2 - 6pm, and Wednesday February 25th will be 4 - 6pm.

Things can rapidly change so it would be advisable to call the phone number 416-325-3509 or go into the link to ensure that the hearings are still taking place.

Written submissions are also being accepted until 12:00 noon on February 20th.

[info courtesy of Cyclometer]


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posted by Joe on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



You may have seen the news that Toronto's proposed 2009 budget means things like a 4% increase in property taxes, more money for social programs and keeping TTC fares frozen at current levels.

If you're like me, then all of the above is interesting, but you're also curious about how cycling infrastructure is addressed in the proposed $8.6 billion budget.

Here's what the press release says:
  • Open 70km of additional bike lanes; increase the number of bike stations and bicycle lockers ($0.210M gross, $0 net)
This is in keeping with the overall plan to finish the BikePlan by 2012... you can see the 2008 progress of the BikePlan in this PDF from the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee.

[thanks to Duarte Da Silva for the press release link]

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, February 05, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Sun is reporting that Rob Ford is again up to his anti-cyclist antics, but this time he's against charitable fundraising for the Heart & Stroke Foundation too:

The time has come for Toronto council to seek alternatives to closing two major expressways for an annual charity event, says Councillor Rob Ford. ...

"It really upsets a lot of people," Ford said. "I don't think anybody is against charity. I know I'm not. It does raise a lot of money, but it does inconvenience thousands of people." ...

Ford yesterday questioned why the event couldn't be moved to Exhibition Place.

"I don't see why they have to close down major arteries in the city," he said. Ford said the closures hurt businesses because they discourage people from going downtown.
I'm not worried that Rob Ford will convince any of his fellow Council members (who matter) to agree with him. I think he just likes seeing his name in the news, so he makes outlandish statements.

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posted by Joe on Monday, November 26, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark



The Executive Committee of City Council is meeting today, and the Toronto Coalition of Active Transport (TCAT) is trying to get the issue of funding the BikePlan for a 2012 completion back on the table, after the Budget Committee decided that the Bike Plan was important, but not important enough to finish by when Council wants to have it finished by:

TCAT continues to call on City Council to take immediate action to get the Bike Plan implementation back on track by:

  • Committing a minimum of $6.2 million to the 2008 Transportation Services cycling infrastructure budget
  • Ensuring that the $200,000 Parks, Forestry & Recreation 'bikeway network expansion' funding that was cut in 2007 as a cost containment measure be reinstated to that budget
  • Providing a minimum of $4 million in the 2008 Parks, Forestry & Recreation budget for repairing multi-use pathways in Toronto's Parks, to begin addressing the $20 million back-log
  • Moving forward the Parks Forestry & Recreation funding for bikeway network paths from the 2013 to 2017 into the current 5 year plan
  • Establishing a staff position in Parks, Forestry & Recreation that is dedicated to ensuring the integrity and connectivity of the pathway network

To read TCAT's letter to the Executive Committee click here.

Please take a few minutes this weekend to write to Mayor Miller, members of the Executive Committee, and your local councillor, and tell them you support TCAT's budget recommendations for implementing the Toronto Bike Plan by 2012.

Write to:

Executive Committee Members:

Please also copy TCAT (info@torontocat.ca) on any letters or e-mails you write.


More on the TCAT site, as well as on BikeToronto.ca

[photo credit]

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 23, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark



Eye columnist and Spacing contributer Dale Duncan has a nice piece in Eye this week about bikelanes. Specifically, the frustration that comes with seeing some city politicians talk about being "green" but then not supporting funding for the Bike Plan. Adding bikelanes to Toronto's streets is relatively cheap and easy to do, yet for all the plans, the money is still missing:
It’s strange to hear our city councillors claim that they’re going to make Toronto a green leader in one breath, and then treat cycling as an issue that doesn’t really have to be taken seriously in the next. When, on Nov. 14, Councillor Gord Perks moved to add $17.9 million to the cycling infrastructure budget over the next five years so that it would be possible for the city to meet its own goals, the budget committee shot him down. It’s as though there is a disconnect between plans that are approved and the money that is then dedicated to implementing them.

Agreed, Toronto continues to face troubling times financially, but somehow the city has found the money to pay for other, much more expensive projects. Take the Dufferin Street extension, priced at $32 million, or take a $35.6 million loan the budget committee recently agreed to provide for the construction of a new conference centre at the CNE. This isn’t to say that these projects aren’t necessarily worthwhile, but to prove that when council really wants something, it can often find the funds for it.
It should be noted of course, that some politicians are trying to get funding put through - Gord Perks, Glen De Baeremaeker and Joe Mihevc have been particularly noteworthy in trying to talk their colleagues into putting money where their mouths are.

Know of another councillor who should be recognized positively?

[photo credit]

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark



The Star already has reader-submitted opinions up stemming from the article this morning:
Toronto likes to boast that it is a world-class city, but it is absolutely parochial when it comes to its cycling policy. You can go to Tokyo and see full-service parking lots holding thousands of bicycles that are used as primary sources of transportation within the city. You can go to Europe and see thousands of kilometers of bicycle paths that are used as primary transportation routes by millions of bicycles. It's about time that Toronto learns that bicycles are not simply used for recreation, but are a primary all-season sustainable means of transportation that needs to be treated with more respect that it currently is.
[Joe Cooper, East York]
Check it out - they'll probably update the page as more readers submit. Even better - add your own opinion about if community councils should be able to veto bikelane installation.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Star has a "Speak Out" feature up about this morning's article about City Council working around local community councils who may oppose bikelane installation.

Go and have your say about "Should community councils be allowed to veto new bike paths authorized by the city?" - they post most comments on their website and a select few in the paper version.


UPDATE: The Star has reader feedback on the website now.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark


The Dundas East Bikelane at Jones [photo credit]


The Star has a short article this morning on City Council's plan to eliminate community councils from the Bikelane approval process - meaning that every January, City Council can decide which lanes will go in that year without having anti-cycling councillors holding up the process in their wards:

Toronto should be able to add 50 kilometres of bike lanes to city streets in 2008 if a bureaucratic speed bump is flattened out, says the chair of the bicycle committee.

City council voted 38-3 yesterday to work toward streamlining the process that bounced approval of new bike lanes back and forth between community councils and the works committee.

A city staff report to come in January will recommend cutting community councils out of the process, said Councillor Adrian Heaps, who chairs the cycling committee. Councillors who oppose bike lanes have often managed to stall approval at that level, he said.

Heaps argues that since new transit routes and road construction don't need blessing from community councils, bike lanes shouldn't need it either.

There are 50 km that have been identified as having "low opposition" on Council, so there are plans to okay them in January for installation in 2008. This should help catch up on the Bike Plan.

More at the Star.

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 16, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Star is reporting today on the Bike Plan falling behind schedule:

Though it's been cited as a key part of the Toronto's transit strategy, the city keeps falling further and further behind on its bike plan.

At the outset, there were to be 1,000 kilometres of bikeways – a mix of lanes, signed routes and park paths – in place by 2011. Six years later, less than a third are built and the deadline's been pushed back to 2012.

"It's sort of like New Year's resolutions," said Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, who bikes to city hall from Scarborough. "It's one thing to write them down, it's another to implement them.

More at the Star, and news about BikePlan funding was in the BikingToronto post from earlier today

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 16, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark



Tammy Thorne of Spacing just posted about the Budget Committee backing down from increasing the Bike Plan Budget to get it done by 2012.

While the original amount budgeted for 2008 was $3 million, the $5.5 million approved (while a substantial increase of 83%) falls short of the $7.7 million that some people say is needed to get the plan back on track to a 2012 finish.

The city’s chronic shortage of money has killed a move to add almost $18 million to complete an ambitious bike plan by 2012.

City council’s budget committee voted only to support the project in principle, with a report to come later on whether it’s affordable without cancelling other important projects.

The city’s 2008 capital budget allocates $5.5 million next year for bike lanes, but that should be raised to $7.7 million, said Franz Hartmann, executive director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance.

Councillor Gord Perks’ bid to add $17.9 million to the bike plan between 2009 and 2012 ran into opposition on the budget committee.

“I don’t want to increase the budget by $17 million right now,” said Councillor Shelley Carroll, the budget committee chair.

The Spacing Post also has some good advice for Toronto cyclists who want to get proper funding back on the table, maybe via the Council Executive Committee (email link to Exec. Committee Secretariat):
• contact your local councillor and ask them to support funding for completion of the entire Bike Plan
• contact the Executive Committee if you want them to up the funding for bikes.

More at Spacing Toronto

[
photo credit]

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posted by Joe on Thursday, November 15, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Over at Eye Weekly, Dale Duncan has summarized some of the deputations from the public and organizations at Tuesday's Budget Committee Hearings (these are summaries, not verbatim):
Smog from cars kills around 440 people a year according to Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. The most effective way to get people to keep their cars at home is to give them alternatives. So how about moving forward with our Bike Plan? Since the plan's approval in 2001, only 20 per cent of the funds needed to complete it have been spent.
(Franz Hartmann, Toronto Environment Alliance)

The CAA doesn’t speak for me. I’d rather drive my SUV — yes I own an SUV — on a bumpy road with a bike lane than a smooth road without one. We need more than just bike lanes, we need promotional programs, ads that say “walk more, pollute less” on the TTC. Health care costs are rising, but we don’t have to go to the gym, we just have to walk. I’m here to urge you to spend more.
(Dr. Judy Adler)

More at Eye Weekly.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Martin Koob has posted a great synopsis of yesterday's Budget Committee hearings - and it sounds like some City Councillors are listening to and interested in the needs of Toronto's cycling community.

Here are some excerpts from Martin, but check out his full post for much more info:
...In the morning several people showed up to make deputations to the Budget Committee in support of putting the funding in place to ensure that the Toronto Bike Plan can be completed by 2012. The Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation (TCAT) submitted their deputation which included an analysis of the Capital Budgets of the Parks Forestry and Recreation Division and the Transportation Services Division. It found that the 2008 - 2012 five year capital plan as proposed would not achieve the goal of completing the Bike Plan by 2012. You can read their deputation on the TCAT website: 2008 Capital budget submission.

...

During the day Councillor Gord Perks Ward 14 Parkdale-High Park, a member of the Budget Committee, worked to ensure that the funds to complete the capital projects in the Bike Plan were in the 2008 - 2012 time frame... [including] a request that all the funding for bike plan related Parks Forestry and Recreation trail projects be moved forward from the 2013 - 2017 5 year plan into the 2008 - 2012 time frame. This ... has to be introduced formally as a motion at the budget committee tomorrow, November 14th.

...

Councillor Adrian Heaps Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest, the chair of the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee (TCAC) approached me at one point during the afternoon as I sat in the gallery and said "We're making progress". I think we actually are. It doesn't mean though that the cycling community can relent in keeping on the pressure to see action on the Bike Plan, but rather feel re-energized to keep pressing on.

More at BikeToronto.

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 09, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

On Tuesday, November 13th, there will be public hearings about the City of Toronto's budget for next year.

How does this impact cyclists? It's all about the money for expanding the bikeplan to its full 1000+ km by 2012.

Thanks to BikeToronto for analyzing the numbers for Toronto cyclists:
Since the budget was just released on the 29th it has taken a bit of time to find out exactly how cycling related budget lines have fared in this proposed budget. The two budgets that have the most impact on the Bike Plan projects are those of the Transportation Services Division and the Parks Forestry and Recreation Division.

The presentation by staff at the budget launch showed that the Transportation Services Cycling infrastructure budget would be $3.0 million in 2008, no increase over 2007. However the analyst notes indicate that this budget will get an increase to 5.5 million in 2008 ($4.55 million to be spent in 2008 and $950,000 to be spent in 2009).

However, this annual rate of funding is still short of the funds that would be needed to complete the bike plan by 2012. The proposed 5 year capital plan 2008 - 2012 shows $30.1 million being spent on cycling infrastructure. That budget pays not only for bike lanes and off-road paths in hydro and rail corridors but also it contains the funds for the other items that are paid for out of the Cycling infrastructure budget such as Bike Parking projects, bridges and crossings, project management or any of the amenities that go with trail projects.


More than half of the funds needed to complete the Bikeway Network and the other parts of the Bike Plan are in the Capital plan for the years beyond 2012. The remaining $38.104 million needed to complete the bike plan are in the 2013 - 2017 Capital plan.

To complete the Bikeway Network by 2012 the budget committee needs to move those funds into the 2008 - 2012 capital plan.

If you believe in the possibilities of a full bikelane network encouraging more Torontonians to bike in our city, consider speaking to the Budget Committee next Tuesday during the public hearing session.

This is the only opportunity to voice your support for political funding of projects that improve the cycling environment in Toronto.

To find the public presentation and analyst briefing notes visit the City’s web site by clicking here.

To sign up to make a deputation on November 13th, contact the committee secretary at mmacdona@toronto.ca or 416-392-7340.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark




There's a new committee in town, and it's called the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee. The new "TCAC" replaces the old Cycling Committee in the interests of becoming more efficient and effective, and it's role is to advise City Council on all things bike-related in our fair city.

The changes from the old to new committee is nicely summed up by BikeToronto:
The committee will consist of 8 members at large and there will no longer be representatives of the local cycling groups nor a representative of the Toronto Pedestrian Committee on the new Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee. There had been attempts by cycling community members to have amendments made to maintain the representatives of these groups and have a more frequent meeting schedule (See previous article). These were ultimately unsuccessful. At the June 19th, 20th, 2007 City Council meeting, the revised terms of reference were passed without the amendments proposed by those in the cycling community.
If I remember correctly, there was much "concern" in the cycling community about the proposed changes - as advocates thought the city was not interested in hearing what they had to say. The stated objectives of the changes were to make the committee more efficient and effective (I've heard anecdotal evidence about the old committee being disjointed and unproductive), and all we as citizens can do is hope that these objectives are achieved.

City Council recently (Sept. 26th) approved the list of the 8 citizens who will make up the Cycling Advisory Committee:

1. Paulette Blais;
2. Dr. Chris Cavacuiti;
3. Sonia Khan;
4. Chris Hardwicke;
5. Margaret Hasting-James;
6. Aaron Hershoff;
7. Fred Sztabinski; and
8. Tammy Thorne.

Their terms are set to expire on Nov. 30th, 2010.

See the Council Document (PDF file)

The Cycling Advisory Committee information is on page 47 of the document.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark



The Globe and Mail has an intriguing article today about a bunch of cycling and pedestrian initiatives due to come up before the City Council Works Committee next week:
A pedestrian-only street, a city-spanning bike lane from Etobicoke to Scarborough and automated cameras to bust illegal left-turners - all those and more innovative schemes are about to hit the city council agenda as transportation planners experiment with low-cost ways to ease Toronto's congested traffic.

"What we're trying to do, it requires a public mind shift," Mr. McPhail said yesterday in an interview. "The public out there has to realize that the way they've been travelling historically ... just cannot continue."

Works committee chairman Glenn De Baeremaeker, an avid cyclist and key ally of Mayor David Miller, said the report would win council's support.

"To me it's a revolutionary document that's going to be the transportation bible for the next decade," Mr. De Baeremaeker said.

Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, I encourage you to contact the Public Secretariat and all the members of the Works Committee and let them know you want them to make Toronto more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly.

Councillors on the Works Committee

Glenn De Baeremaeker, Chair
Shelley Carroll
Adam Giambrone
Mark Grimes
Chin Lee
John Parker

Use this handy email link to email all of them at once :)

[image by Gabi]

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Attention All Pedestrians, Cyclists, Bladers and Transit Users: South Kingsway on TPC Agenda

[This is courtesy of TCAT, and I mentioned this back in July too. ]

Responding to a letter from the Toronto Urban Renewal Network (TURN), the Toronto Pedestrian Committee (TPC) will be considering a motion to re-open the South Kingsway/Queensway Environmental Assessment (EA) on Wednesday, September 12th at 3:00pm. At issue is the opportunity for the City to use almost $1 million to make progressive pedestrian, cycling and transit access improvements that meet the City's Official Plan, Pedestrian Charter and Bike Plan or simply re-construct the 1950s style interchange virtually "as is".

Bill Saundercook, the local Councillor who declared the EA dead in July, will chair the TPC meeting. The TPC is comprised of citizen appointees and two councillors (see www.toronto.ca/tpc/#members). The meeting is open to the public so TURN requests that you attend in person and/or phone TPC members in advance requesting that they support the motion. This could well be the last chance to bring this fast and dangerous car-oriented area into the 21st century by making it much more people-friendly. For further information, contact Marty Collier at marty.colliersympatico.ca .

Thanks,

Marty Collier

Member, Toronto Urban Renewal Network (TURN)

**********************************

Toronto Pedestrian Committee Meeting
Wednesday, September 12 at 3pm
City Hall, Committee Room 3


Full TPC Agenda for Sept. 12th ( South Kingsway is Item #2)
http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/2007/agendas/committees/tp/tp070912/agenda.pdf

Background on South Kingsway pedestrian improvements
http://www.toronto.ca/involved/projects/south_kingsway-queensway/index.htm


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posted by Joe on Tuesday, May 01, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

(Cross-posted to I Bike T.O.)

Mike Smith of NOW Magazine, who moderated the NOW Bike Forum a few weeks ago, weighs in with his thoughts from the evening and how cycling will become the priority it needs to be - cyclists making themselves heard:
It almost seemed [City Councillor Adam Giambrone] was dropping a hint: get noisey now. The experience of a participant named Paul who was involved in the successful push for a Dundas East bike lane made the point.

While prior proposals faced stiff opposition, "the difference was community organizing," he said. "There are a lot of people out there with rusty bikes in the basement. If you create a bit of a movement, there's more support." He also pointed out that while Business Improvement Areas have staff to help them organize, cyclists don't.

Egan agreed. "Dundas East was really interesting. The traffic implications were greater than most projects," he said. "If the community is behind it, it makes it easier. Whether staff should lead that, that's a good question."

Darren Stehr, no friend of Giambrone's, actually agreed:
"We've had too many projects stall," Stehr said. "We go to the public and there's opposition. Even a mild outcry and the councillor gets cold feet and pulls back." He confided to the audience that many projects have gone under simply because cyclists haven't organized, while over-cautious merchants and motorists have.
So, we have to get organized and we have to get vocal.

That may mean bringing an organ to bike events to play those anthemic songs they play at hockey and baseball games - like We Will Rock You, or that "Charge!" one... the options are endless...

Now, who has an organ? :)

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posted by Joe on Friday, April 20, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

From the BikingToronto Inbox today:

Hello all, Sandra Bussin need to hear from you regarding safety for pedestrians and cyclists on Leslie St. between Queen and Lakeshore Blvd.

As you may know, the South East Toronto Bicycle User Group (a.k.a. Dundas EAST) met several times. They are asking for bike lanes on Leslie Ave. so that pedestrians and cyclists, children and seniors can enjoy a safe connection to the Loblaws / Price Chopper retail district and the wonderfully renovated Martin Goodman Trail from Leslieville and beyond. Eastern and Leslie are dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. Last year Isaac Morkel was killed on his bike while crossing Eastern at Leslie by a truck making an illegal left turn.

Unfortunately, Leslie St. is split between Councillors Fletcher (supportive of bike lanes) and Bussin in the Beaches (not supportive of bike lanes). Eastern has the same challenge.

Sandra Bussin, deputy Mayor and Beaches Councillor is not supportive of bike lanes on Leslie or Eastern as outlined in the Now Magazine article a few weeks back.
Here's an excerpt from the article:

http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/2007-03-22/news_story5.php

Then there's Bussin's opposition to lanes on Leslie. "Sandra has the other half of that," Fletcher says, referring to the fact that Leslie divides their wards, "and she doesn't support it."

Bussin says Leslie is too complicated, and the lights at Loblaws only make it worse. "The original plan is the wise one: having a lane on Knox. It provides that north route and it's only a block and a half east of Leslie."

Bussin calls Fletcher's Eastern bike lane "industrious," but she's skeptical. "To use [bike lanes on] Eastern as a tool to stop traffic is not a good idea. It's going to create confusion, and trucks will go on Queen."

Bussin suspects that Fletcher's bike lane proposal is an attempt to fend off an influx of mega-stores. Coincidentally, Toronto Film Studios on Eastern has recently sold its site to big-box developer SmartCentres. A monstrous Canadian Tire already sits on Leslie awaiting its official unveiling.

"I don't think you should be using cyclists to traffic calm in an attempt to stop big-box deliveries," says Bussin. She further questions the approach of "rallying activists'', noting that the best solution is to leave the matter of box stores up to the oracle at the OMB. Ha!

But David Dunn of the city's transportation services says it's "not impossible to accommodate bike lanes on Leslie.'' If it can be done on Eastern, which has more than twice the traffic and is two metres narrower, it can be done on Leslie. "But it's very busy and there's lot's of turning movements."

IF YOU ARE SUPPORTIVE OF MAKING LESLIE AND EATERN MORE BIKE AND PEDESTRIAN FREINDLY PLEASE CONTACT COUNCILLOR BUSSIN AND EXPLAIN WHY - ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE IN HER WARD.

THIS IS AN INVITATION FROM HER TO YOU . . .

Good Morning Residents,
Drop-in to my Constituency Evenings at Community Centre 55 —97 Main Street at Swanwick Avenue.
Due to the Mayor's Special Budget meeting scheduled for this Monday, the Constituency Evening has been changed to Monday April 30th from 6-8 PM.
I look forward to meeting you. Sincerely, Sandra
********************************************************************************
SANDRA BUSSIN
Speaker, Toronto City Council
City Councillor, Beaches - East York - Ward 32
100 Queen St. West, Suite B28
Toronto ON M5H 2N2
sbussin@toronto.ca
PHONE: 416-392-1376
FAX: 416-392-7444

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posted by Joe on Thursday, April 19, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

BikeToronto is reporting that A.A. Heaps is one step closer to joining the Toronto Cycling Committee - pretty good news since the "TCC" has been silent since September, due to last November's elections:
At its March 26th, 2007 meeting the Striking Committee of City Council has recommended that Councillor Adrian Heaps - Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest be the Council member appointed to the committee. (See Decision Document Item ST 4.1) He has expressed interest in supporting cycling in his responses to the TCAT election survey. There was one other Councillor who indicated they wanted to be the appointee to the Cycling Committee, Cliff Jenkins - Ward 25 Don Valley West. (Councillor Jenkins did not respond to the TCAT survey. ) This appointment of Councillor Heaps will not be official until it is approved by Council. The next opportunity to do this will be at their April 24th Council Meeting.
Cliff Jenkins would be a good choice as well, as he actually pursues bikelanes in his ward, such as last year when he was exploring the possibilities of a bikelane on Mt. Pleasant... actually the 2nd time he proposed it, as it was turned down in 2005.

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posted by Joe on Monday, April 16, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Nice (and pretty large) article in the Star over the weekend about actually implementing the bikeplan over the next few years:

The age of cycling is upon us. Toronto Mayor David Miller announced last month the city will resuscitate its plan to build more than 1,000 kilometres of bike lanes across the city by 2012. More money and staff have been thrown in for the first time in years.

A growing number of councillors see cyclists less as large flies on their windshields and bicycles more as a clean, healthy and – most importantly – legitimate form of urban transportation.

"The political stars are aligned," says De Baeremaeker, who pulls up into his underground parking space at city hall on his 21-speed. He dutifully parks it between Councillor Maria Augimeri's black Honda Accord and the empty space reserved for Councillor Gord Perks, a TTC fanatic who doesn't have a driver's licence. "If we don't get it done now, we never will."

Lots of time spent with Glenn De Baeremaeker in this article, a year-round cyclist who gets to City Hall every day from Scarborough on two wheels.

This article offers yet more hope for cyclists and Torontonians who want safer streets, cleaner air and more humane neighbourhoods (as opposed to those dominated by cars). Let's hope the politicians deliver what they think they can.

Mayor Miller says it will happen.

"It's very connected with climate change and when people see it's connected, people will make sure it happens," he says. "It's a realistic – if ambitious– goal. It's the right goal."

What's ambitious for Toronto would spell failure in other cities. Berlin boasts 860 kilometres of separate bicycle paths. In Copenhagen, one in three trips is on a bike.

"Those improvements have been over the last 15 to 20 years. The city wasn't built differently. They've just taken a lot of car lanes away," says Guillermo Penalosa, executive director of Walk and Bike for Life, a local non-profit agency. He's also the former parks and recreation commissioner of Bogota, where 280 kilometres of separate bicycle lanes were built in three years.

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posted by Joe on Friday, April 13, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark


(photo courtesy of BlogTO)

Okay... I was going to write up a nice re-cap of the NOW Bike Forum on Wednesday night, but BlogTO has already done a great job - so read that. :)

A few observations from me:

1) The whole thing was generally optimistic. While cycling is often the forgotten child of Toronto road uses, and while at present we are perceived to be "losing the fight", there is enough optimism, enthusiasm, energy and planning in the cycling community that I believe most of us got a "dark cloud with a silver lining" vibe from the whole evening.

2) Adam Giambrone, although pretty unpopular with some segments of the cycling community, came off pretty well. He acknowledged that bike stuff is underfunded and that there has been political laziness when it comes to cycling issues, but also offered a lot of hope:
  • that community councils and opposition (Case Ootes comes to mind) can no longer halt bikelane creation because although a bikelane may be in one part of the city, it benefits the city as a whole.
  • that city cycling staff has recently been increased from 1 to 5 employees
  • that 25-28 km of bikelanes will most likely be built this year
  • that all new buses the TTC is getting now will have bikeracks - meaning every single bus in the system will have racks by around 2011.
  • that they are looking at ways to get bikeracks on the new generation of streetcars - either on the outside or the inside
  • that there are plans to incorporate temporary bikelanes into the temporary King St. Transit Mall planned for next summer
  • and, that he'd be totally fine with taking all the parking off of Bloor West in his Ward to allow for the first part of the Tooker Bikelanes to be implemented
Finally, if you haven't seen it yet, NOW Magazine is all about bikes this week - the post previous to this one has links to all the stuff.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark


"From the city's perspective, it looks like it's come to its end," said Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38, Scarborough Centre). "We tried to shake the bushes and look under rocks and try every ... combination we could to assist that very worthwhile, small, non-profit group. "But the city just has nowhere it could fund it from," he said.
The Toronto Star
Here's a simple idea from a guy (me) that apparently an entire city bureaucracy with recently granted funding powers can't come up with to support a "very worthwhile, small, non-profit group":

The Toronto Parking Authority takes in over $90 million dollars in revenue every year from parking spaces in this city - with a profit of about $40 million (source: 2005 TPA Annual Report - PDF Format)

To produce $80,000 - you could add a 0.2% increase to parking fees. That's 1/5th of a penny for a $1/hour parking spot. 3/5ths of a penny for the city's most expensive spots which are $3/hour.

Oh, and this idea adds to the cost of operating a private motor vehicle in Toronto - don't we want to be The Greenest City in North America? I don't think we do - because there's a ton of simple solutions to provide cheap and plentiful bikes to all Torontonians, but no politician seems to want to think about it for a couple minutes.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

From the Toronto Coalition for Active Transport (TCAT):

The City of Toronto’s 2007 Operating budget process will soon get underway. This is another opportunity to ensure that the budget related items from the TCAT Plan for Active Transportation will be approved by City Council (you can see the plan at www.TorontoCAT.ca. The TCAT candidate survey found strong support for the TCAT Plan for Active Transportation among all the members of the Budget Committee and a majority of the Executive Committee. However with some of the members the support was qualified when it came to Operating budget items to hire staff. Now is the time to convince the Councillors that it is important to support the TCAT budget recommendations and ensure they are incorporated into the final 2007 municipal budget.

TCAT supporters can get involved in the budget process by making in person or written deputations to the Budget Committee and by contacting the members of the Budget Committee and the Executive Committee by phone, letter and e-mail letting them know how important it is that they keep their promises to support Active Transportation.

We have prepared a draft letter to send to Councillors on the Budget Committee encouraging them to support the TCAT Platform and the related budget items. You can modify the letter or use it as is, but please take a moment to let Councillors know Active Transportation is important! The letter can be found at the following link along with the e-mail addresses of the Councillors on the Budget Committee. http://www.torontocat.ca/OperatingBudgetLetter.html

The 2007 budget process is very different from past years. One key difference is that the Budget Committee and the Executive Committee will be the only committees having deliberations on the budget - that means these Councillors have a significant influence and need to be reminded that Active Transportation is important. The other key difference is that there will be just one opportunity for the organizations and the general public to make deputations to advocate for programs and services in the Operating budget. The day for deputations will be on March 29th, 2007 starting at 9:30 am. To sign up to make a deputations in person call 416-392-6662 to get on the list. You can also sent written deputations via e-mail to mmcdonna@toronto.ca or by fax to (416) 392-1879. Of course, you can send an e-mail to your Councillor, the Mayor, the Executive and Budget Committees any time before March 29th.

For more information on how to get involved in the 2007 Capital Budget process and for contact information for the Mayor and Councillors go to the following web page. http://www.torontocat.ca/2007OperatingBudget.html

If you or your organization are planning to make a deputation or contact Councillors please let TCAT know with a quick email to info@torontocat.ca - if we know who is deputing we can coordinate efforts!

Thanks for your continued support and help in making Toronto a more cycling and pedestrian friendly City.

Please forward this letter to your members and any others you think would be interested.

TCAT Steering Committee
Politicians pay attention to feedback from their constituents. If people take the time to phone or email them about something, it shows them that people care enough about the issue.

Useful links:
TCAT 2007 Operating Budget Information
TCAT draft letter to your Councillor
The Mayor's email
The emails of the Budget Committee and the Committee Clerk

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, March 27, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Mayor and City Council are trying to be good, announcing "Green Plans" and "Bold Ideas" that have the goal of "slashing the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 and a whopping 80 per cent by 2050":

Miller and city council [unveiled a plan] that sets ambitious targets for reducing emissions that lead to climate change, increasing so-called green energy usage and encouraging retrofitting of city homes and businesses to make them more energy efficient. The targets would be for both the city government itself and the community at large.

There isn't a lot of time or space in this plan given to cycling in Toronto, but what it does say is that a "potential action'' is completing the city's bikeway network by 2012. This is "potentially significant" (my quotes) because although the Bikeway Network is notoriously behind schedule, having it completed (495 km of bikelanes, 249 km of off-road paths and 260 km of signed routes, all on a rough 2 km grid to make every Torontonian within a 5 minute ride of it*) in 2012 is only one year behind schedule.


*You can see the entire Bikeway Network chapter of the City's BikePlan, which mentions these km numbers, if you're interested [it's a PDF file].

I'm a little concerned that completing the Bikeway Network is only a "potential action" and not more important. It would be easy for the Mayor and Council to meet their smog reduction goals by promoting cycling more - and since they're very concerned about all this money that the Federal and Provincial governments are NOT giving the City - it's a cheap way to make a significant impact on smog reduction.


(the following bit is my favourite part of this post... I like it even better than the above part where I throw my opinion around...)

Thankfully, the Mayor wants your input. He wants you to contact him and tell him what you're willing to do, and what you want him to do:

...the man some refer to as the "green mayor'' yesterday put forward what he calls some "bold ideas,'' and he wants the public to help him draft an action plan for improving the environment.

Let's take him up on his invitation. Email your Mayor (he works for you!) and tell him that you want the Bikeway Network completed. Tell him you want cycling to be given as much attention as public transit receives from his administration.

Tell him that getting Torontonians to use a bike instead of a car one day a week will immediately reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. Tell him he will be hailed as a visionary if this happens, and it's really easy (and cheap!)

Tell him about BikeFriday, while you're at it. It's this Friday. ;)

(Pollution Illustration is from Eye Magazine)

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Dear Politicians,

Want to get the most bang for your political dollar? Here's a simple math lesson for you:

Cost of Infrastructure:
One km of Subway: ~$250,000,000
One km of "Light Rail Transit : ~25,000,000
One km of Bikelanes: ~$100,000

Cost of Vehicles:
Subway Train (6 cars): ~$18,000,000
Streetcar: ~$7,500,000
Bike: ~FREE

Everyone who wants to bike buys a bike.

They will buy bikes... as soon as they feel safe enough on the streets. Build cycling infrastructure and watch the number of cyclists in Toronto explode. It's the easiest way of becoming your oft-mentioned "Greenest City in North America".

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posted by Joe on Thursday, March 15, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Inside Toronto put out a great little article last week about the City's budget, and put a lot of focus on the $3 million (rather than the $6 million promised) in the 2007 budget for bicycle infrastructure.

There has been a lot of hue and cry about the misguided and uneducated comments by Rob Ford about cyclists always being at fault in car-bike accidents, and this has perhaps overshadowed comments about bikelanes made by other councillors. Thankfully, Inside Toronto included some of these, starting with Ford's:

"Roads are built for buses, cars and trucks, not for people on bikes. It's their own fault at the end of the day if they get hit. You shouldn't be in the middle of traffic riding your bike. If you want to ride your bike you've got beautiful parks. That's where you should ride your bike."

Rob Ford

(Ford's comments drew fire from several of his colleagues... Giorgio Mammoliti pointed out that Ford had previously opposed spending any money on a bike path linking the northwest of the city with the downtown.)


"Instead of my car being in front of Councillor Ford's car at a stoplight, or me turning left to pick up something at the variety store, my bike zooms along the side of the road and he can zoom past me," he said. "If we can get 50 to 60,000 people onto bikes, not only does it protect themselves and their families to have a cleaner, softer option to get to work, they help every single person who's in a car."
Glenn De Baeremaeker



"If I thought for one minute, hundreds of thousands of people would start using their bicycles, I would be supportive, because people would be encouraged to get out of their cars," he said. "But that hasn't happened along Cosburn. So we're in a situation where there's an impression that as far as the public is concerned we're doing something for the greening of Toronto when in fact the experience has been that along Cosburn all we're doing is creating greater waiting times at major intersections. So it's fundamentally dishonest."
Case Ootes


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posted by Joe on Monday, March 12, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Rob Ford is getting another 15 minutes of infamy.

After making more stupid comments (it's a habit of his) about how he thinks that a cyclist is at fault if they get hit by a car, he's been featured in very widely read blogs such as BoingBoing and TreeHugger, as well as countless cycling blogs around the internet.

A lot of people have posted links to his contact information, so I will too... he's an elected official, after all.

I'm personally demanding an apology and for him to announce that bikes are legal vehicles and deserve respect and space on our roadways.


Rob Ford
Phone: 416-397-9255
Fax: 416-397-9238
Constituency Office: 416-233-6934
councillor_ford@toronto.ca
Ward map

Executive Assistant
Andrew Pask
416-397-9255
apask@toronto.ca
Administrative Assistant
Amanda Maternicki
416-397-9255
amatern@toronto.ca

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posted by Joe on Saturday, March 10, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

There was a great article in NOW magazine last week about the seemingly gemini-esque features of the Mayor and City Council.

Despite professions of wanting to be a "green" city, cycling in Toronto has been virtually ignored, despite being by far the cheapest mode of transportation to promote (the infrastructure is cheap, no vehicles to buy, etc.) and promotes health among Torontonians:

The city's bike plan calls for 484 kilometres of bike lanes in a 2,074K overall network, including parks and shared lanes. Currently, there are 68.6K of bike lanes. Last year, 5.6K were "installed".

A staff report last year made clear the reasons for delay: no funding, no planning staff, no political support. It called for the bike lane budget to be doubled, to $6 million.

Last week, the budget committee recommended and the executive committee signed off on the status quo: $3 million in capital funding. Enough for just over 25 kilometres.

Makes you wonder why the members of the budget committee and the mayor publicly supported a $6 million budget in last year's election survey by the Toronto Coalition for Active Transport (TCAT).



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posted by Joe on Friday, March 09, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Ah, I kind of pity Rob Ford. He's way out in Etobicoke-land... his braincells always under assault by carcinogen-laced car and truck exhaust...

From the Star, and picked up by BlogTO:
"I can't support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day."

-Rob Ford, Toronto City Councilor

I'd like to invite Rob to check out archive of Toronto's Weekly Carnage - it's not just cyclists in there... most of it is other people in cars dying, and pedestrians dying. Using your logic it's their fault they were killed because they were in a car, or going for a walk.

And for the record, roads have been around for FAR longer than cars have been. Thousands of years longer... the Roman Empire had a fantastic road system, and not one car! Not even a moped!

Even here in Toronto, roads pre-date cars.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Mayor Miller has just launched the "One Cent Now" campaign - trying to get 1 cent of the 6% Goods & Services Tax returned to Canadian municipalities to recoup at least some of the economic benefits that cities produce for the benefit of rural Canada.



It's something Miller mentioned when he won the election in November - that to support effective and efficient public transit (among other things), some of the economic activity that Toronto produces (something like 20% of the GDP of Canada) should be returned to Toronto.
"It's a call to the federal government to help build the kind of Toronto, the kind of cities and the kind of Canada that all of our citizens deserve," Miller said about his GST push. "A Canada that is forward looking. A Canada that is sustainable, economically and environmentally. A Canada that understands our people live in cities and that we must, in turn, give back to those communities at least a portion of what they pay in taxes."
Check out the website, and sign the petition. There's a pretty good FAQ over there too.

Most likely, none of this money will go to cycling programs or infrastructure in Toronto. It will probably all go towards public transit. If it gets cars off the road, then I'm all for it.

There SHOULD be atleast some going to cycling. Cycling is, other than walking, the cheapest form of transportation for a government to promote.

Cars make for high-maintenance roads - subways and streetcars are expensive too. A person with a bike (which they buy themselves) can go just about anywhere with minimal impact on roads and the environment.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Just got this in my email from the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation - if you can make it to City Hall this afternoon, the Cycling Budget needs your support!

I highly recommend signing up for the TCAT newsletter, if you're into this kind of thing. :)

~~~~~

Yesterday, two members of the TCAT Steering Committee attended a Budget information session at City Hall. We gathered information on what the proposed 2007 Capital Budget includes for Active Transportation and the news is mixed. In terms of pedestrian issues, the 2007 Capital Budget is quite positive in fulfilling some of our platform/questionnaire demands. In terms of cycling the news is not so good, some major cycling items remain underfunded. The one bright spot for cycling is the addition of staff to work on the cycling infrastructure. More detail on the status of all items is listed below and at the bottom of this email is a letter that could serve as a model.

On Wednesday Feb 14th, starting at 2 p.m. the Budget Committee is hearing deputations from the general public. Please contact the members of the committee to ensure that cycling plan is fully funded.

Deputations in person: call 416-392-6662 to get on the list.
Deputations via e-mail: send to clerk@toronto.ca

-----------------------
Letter submitted by the Ontario Smart Growth Network

February 8, 2007

Subject: Build Active Transportation in the 2007 Capital Budget

Dear Councillor Carroll and Members of the Budget Committee:

On behalf of the Ontario Smart Growth Network (OSGN), I am writing to ask you to support the following investments in Active Transportation in the City of Toronto Capital Budget. During the 2006 municipal election campaign, you completed the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation (TCAT) election survey and did support the following items. It is critical that projects that support walking and cycling are properly funded in the 2007 budget.

1) $6.0 million to the Transportation Services cycling infrastructure budget for the implementation of the Bikeway Network on urban streets

2) $1.5 million in the Parks Forestry and Recreation budget for Bikeway Network expansion on parks and trails.

3) $3.63 million for the Crosswalk Improvement Program to improve the safety of crosswalks on major arterial roads.

4) Increasing the budget of the "Missing Sidewalk" program to account for inflation over the period since the date the program was initiated.

The city needs follow through on its commitment to improving crosswalk safety and to providing sidewalks on all major roads to encourage walking as a form of transportation. Unsafe crosswalks and missing sidewalks reduce accessibility and are a danger to public health.

In 2005 over 29 kilometres of bike lanes were planned in Toronto, but only 1 km got built. The Toronto Bike Plan has been consistently underfunded since it was adopted in 2001. It is time to turn words into action by providing adequate funding for cycling as recommended by City staff in the Toronto Bike Plan 3-year implementation strategy released in August 2005.

The failure to adequately support cycling and walking in Toronto's budgets is inexcusable. More pedestrians and cyclists on our streets would improve air quality, decrease gridlock, decrease the costs to maintain roads and make our streets safer. On behalf of the 57 member organizations of the Ontario Smart Growth Network, I urge you to invest in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

Yours sincerely,

Janet May

Network Director

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

You may remember that my first post of 2007 was about progress on the Metropass Affinity Program - especially since the exact name and concept was adopted by the mayor's campaign team as part of his transit platform in the run-up to the fall election.

I met with TTC Chair Adam Giambrone and Vice-Chair Joe Mihevc yesterday, along with the people from the Sierra Club who have been financially supporting and doing the administrative work of the MAP.

It was my first time "in" City Hall (that is, where all the councillor offices are) and it was pretty cool. Someone in Giambrone's office bikes to work too - which is impressive, as winter is finally hitting Toronto.

While I won't let out too much news here just yet, I can tell you that Adam and Joe are fully on-board with the concept and goals of the Metropass Affinity Program (namely, to get more people using transit instead of their cars, to get more people buying Metropasses, to encourage business at Toronto stores, and to help de-smog our air). Still to be worked out is exactly how the city or the TTC will be involved, and what kind of financial obligations there will be, since there will be a lot of administrative work if this little idea of mine from a couple years back becomes very successful.

It's a significant step towards continuing the Mission Statement ("to do my best to break and destroy the dominance of the automobile in this city") that I published in the fall. I don't take Mission Statements lightly... so you can expect a lot more.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, December 21, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Dear Biking Toronto readers:

Joe has kindly asked for a status report on the "promotion of cycling" petition before we all take breaks from blogging and cycling politics over the holidays.

So here's the story:

The petition was conceived on Nov. 4, 2006.

It was placed online at http://www.gopetition.com/signatures.php?petid=10170 on Nov. 16. As of today (Dec. 18) it holds over 2400 signatures, including those of former Canadian Olympic cyclist Curt Harnett, and well known coach Ziggy Martuzalski.

The Memorial Muse (in Newfoundland) wrote about the petition on November 30th.

Get Out There Magazine –both the western and eastern editions - will be writing about the petition in their Jan/Feb issue.

Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow has agreed to present the petition to Parliament when we are ready to hand it over to her. An official petition must be in the traditional paper and ink format, with written signatures, and so we are planning to spend January and February collecting signatures, and handing the completed petition to Ms. Chow in March 2007.

To that end, we are searching for businesses across the country to offer themselves as "signing sites' for the paper version of the petition. So far the Toronto and Winnipeg locations of Mountain Equipment Co-Op have agreed to do this, as well as both branches of Grassroots in Toronto. If you would like to offer your place of business as a signing site, or if you are simply someone who thinks they can get lots of friends to sign, write to me at tucorides@gmail.com and I will send you the petition as an attachment. You could print it off (as many copies as you need), get people to sign, and then snail-mail it back to me in February.

The written version will contain the names of Curt Harnett, current Canadian Ironman champion Jasper Blake, and former Lance Armstrong teammate, and current T Mobile rider, Michael Barry.

To everyone who has helped out with this petition by emailing their friends and saying "Hey Sign This!" thank you so much.

Happy Holidays,

Chris (Tuco)


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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 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 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 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 Tuesday, October 31, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

A few days before the most recent BikeFriday on October 27th, I scoured the internet for as much email contact info I could find about candidates in the upcoming municipal elections. Most of these I found from the wonderful whorunsthistown.to site.

I emailed all candidates (even the incumbents) about BikeFriday, to see if they’d like to bike downtown with the cyclists in their ward they’ll be hopefully representing, or even setting up a little bike-friendly stand along a cycling route with a little giveaway.

A couple of Parkdale-HighPark (Ward 14) candidates rode with Tammy (who I think is planning a Spacing Votes post about it) on the Queen West ride… Rowena Santos (who also took part in September’s BikeFriday …), and David White - which looks good on them, as now we KNOW that they’re willing to get up early to support a bike-friendly event.

Major props to Patrick Kraemer of Ward 30 (Toronto-Danforth), who is going up against Paula Fletcher. Patrick set up a table with juice and muffins on the Danforth just west of Coxwell. He was out there early in the very dark morning, offering goodies to people on two wheels.

It just so happens that Ward 30 is my ward. While I voted for Paula Fletcher in the last election, I haven’t really heard boo from her on anything else but the whole "Stop the Plant" initiative (and I’m on her mailing list). Cycling issues have been non-existant. I suspect that she feels that now that the Dundas East BikeLane is in, she can forget about cycling initiatives.

I’m seriously considering voting for Patrick now. Below is a photo of his juice/muffin stand that he sent me, as well as a picture of him and his bike from his website.






It should be noted here that staff of Cesar Palacio (Ward 17 - Davenport) helped BikeFriday get the Dark City Coffee Event on Nathan Phillips Square. Thanks guys!

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posted by Joe on Monday, October 30, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Two different perspectives on bikeplans:

The Spacing Wire focuses on a recent quote from Mayor Miller about how the Bike Plan has failed and how to have it succeed in the future:
"... the only way for the bike plan to succeed…is we have to bring the cycling community together with the neighbourhoods and get some strategic routes in the bike plan first. It has to be a political exercise, not a money exercise. We tried to do it with money and it hasn’t worked because of local opposition so now we have to try to work together with communities and cyclists,"

Meanwhile, up in York Region, Darren J has been noticing new bikeroute signs in Markham on his commute to work, with a possible bikelane even being added at one spot:
...this is a valuable first step. Not only can these lead to better or more extensive bicycle infrastructure in certain places, but the simple designation of Bike Routes is significant. This means the city has recognized that these roads are being used by cyclists.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, October 24, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Okay, “BikeSpace” may be a bit of a cheesy name, but it’s what I thought of in regards to the awesome job that the Spacing Votes blog is doing covering cycling issues in the run-up to the municipal elections on November 13th.



Here’s a rundown of a couple of recent posts that you should check out if you haven’t yet:

City Council Cycling Report Cards
A great rundown of the winners and losers on the current council in regards to cycling. This post ranges from the hardcore cyclist Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38 – Scarborough Centre), who is known to bike year-round, to the auto-loving bike-haters like Case Ootes, who not only is actively campaigning against the Cosburn bikelanes, but also put up a stink about the Dundas East bikelanes a few years ago, and they aren’t even in his ward!

Take The Tooker Auto-Emailer
A great post about a new feature on the Take The Tooker Website, in which you can email all council candidates in your ward to ask them to support a Bloor-Danforth BikeLane, or you can customize the letter to push for bikelane improvements in your ward!

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posted by Joe on Friday, October 06, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

As reported in the Allderblob:

In Ward 29 (Toronto-Danforth), a previously a two-horse race between Mel Lastman lackey and anti-bikelane and Esso stockholder Case Ootes and Diane Alexopoulos (although there are 6 candidates in Ward 29 in total) has gained new definitely pro-cycling candidate!

Hamish Wilson has joined the race. A driving cycling force behind the TakeTheTooker Bloor-Danforth Bikelanes, Hamish is on the Toronto Cycling Committee and has frequent cycling articles in NOW magazine.

If you live in Ward 29, learn more about Hamish, but above all, vote on November 13th. There's a lot of apathy in municipal politics because people think it doesn't matter, but it effects you the most - it determines how safe your streets are for your kids to play on, it effects your garbage and recycling pick-up, and it effects how easily you get around the city.



The Ootes Challenge - to prove that Toronto CAN be a city where the car (and planning for cars) doesn't suffocate everything else on our streets, since Ootes has insisted that in Toronto ...people won’t get out of their cars. It doesn’t happen. This isn’t that kind of city.

(if you missed them, you can also read parts ONE and TWO of the Case Ootes Challenge.)

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