Toronto Cyclists Deserve Better!
UPDATE MAY 16 2006: This petition has been sent, as far as we know. Now for the results to pour in. Anyone willing to hold your breath?
The city of Toronto has an official Bicycle Master Plan. It calls for the implementation of nationally standard 1.5 meter (5-foot) bikelanes on some 1000 km of streets throughout the city, over a 10 year period. City council passed the plan “in principle” several years ago. The intention is not to tear up streets to put in the plan, but as streets that are on the plan come up for regular resurfacing, to install bikelanes at that time.
Royal York Road in the west end of the city is one such street. A northern stretch of the road already has bikelanes, as does a southern stretch. In between is a 1.6 km piece of road without bikelanes. Now that it’s its turn for resurfacing though, a powerful local “ratepayers group” that includes a former thug, bootblack and whipping boy for the corrupt conservative government that until recently ran this province, has thwarted plans to install the bikelanes. They have the local councillor, Peter Milquetoast, quaking in his boots. The result? No bikelanes on this stretch of Royal York Road.
At city council on the day of the vote on the issue, May 19 2005, some fast action on the part of the pro-cycling councillors cooked up a scheme to slip a pseudo-bikelane into the mix: since the ratepayers have nixed the width required for 3.3 meter car lanes plus 1.5 meter bikelanes, the bikelanes will just have to be smaller. There’s room for a 1.25 meter “edge stripe” on both sides. We’ll paint that on the road and call it a bike lane. We’ll put up a sign at the start and finish of the skinny “bikelanes” warning cyclists, and hey presto, problem solved!
Some didn’t see it that way. Some say national standards are there for a reason. Some say this acceptance of a sow’s ear for a silk purse sets a dangerous precedent for the Bicycle Master Plan in the future.
Read the petition here. Read the comments made by the folks who’ve signed it. And sign it yourself if you agree: Toronto Cyclists Deserve Better!