How did Toronto -- a great global city of glass highrises and extensive transit -- come to be the only city in North America actively removing bike lanes? This city has 20,000 daily cycle commuters [PDF], and a population density that is well above San Francisco's. We're talking about Jane Jacobs' adopted home city here, removing bike lanes.
The answer, of course, is Mayor Rob "Bicyclists are a pain in the a*s" Ford and his coalition at City Hall. Toronto took the opposite tack of virtually every other city on the continent last summer when the city removed a bike lane from Jarvis Street, on one of the most important north-south thoroughfares.
Now the city is threatening to take out another one, reports Jake Tobin Garrett at Network blog Spacing Toronto:
According to a press release put out by Cycle Toronto today, the City will be creating an Options Report for Dupont Street that may include, with pressure from a certain councillor, the removal of the bike lanes.
From the mouth of Cycle Toronto: "Cycle Toronto strongly disagrees with Councillor Palacio’s intention to remove cycling infrastructure on Dupont Street. The Dupont Street bike lanes provide a safe passage under the Weston railway bridge, a location where a cyclist was killed and several others injured in recent years."
According to Ben Spurr over at Now Toronto, Dan Egan, Manager of Cycling and Pedestrian Infrastructure, said that Transportation Services has not be directed to remove the Dupont bike lanes. However, given the current climate at City Hall and past actions that have seen councillors sneak in motions to remove bike lanes without public consultation (Jarvis, anyone?), cyclists can be forgiven for being a little jumpy on this issue.
With the removal of the Pharmarcy and Birchmount bike lanes last year, Toronto actually had a negative amount of bike lanes installed in 2011. This is something that we cannot let continue in 2012. We have to move forward.
Elsewhere on the Network today: Mobilizing the Region reports New Jersey's debt-burdened transportation system is preparing for another round of borrowing, despite Governor Chris Christie's pledges to the contrary. Seattle Bike Blog shares a video exploring Vancouver's evolution as a bike friendly city over the past 30 years. And UrbanIndy tries to imagine a plan b, should the area's grand plan for regional transit fail to win state support.