Images credit Martin Reis
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was elected on a platform of "Respect For Taxpayers", but that hasn't stopped him from spending $400,000 of taxpayers money to rip up bike lanes that are purported to be slowing traffic. Last night, Toronto's Bike Nation turned out to demand some room on the road. More than a thousand cyclists and supporters rode up Jarvis Street to Toronto City Hall, chanting "We just want to share." As bike activist Dave Meslin said:
There's a word most of us learned in kindergarten. It's called 'sharing." What we have behind us is called a complete street. Complete streets bring people together instead of dividing them. City Hall is trying to divide us and we're not going to play that game.
But Rob Ford doesn't like sharing, or safety. He has said about bike lanes:
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.
So he and his supporters on Council are determined to kill more cyclists by mixing them with cars on a five lane road, instead of giving them a little space on a four laner. (The fifth middle lane was bi-directional, and caused a serious number of car accidents because it was the only one in town like that. It was not removed to create the bike lanes, but to improve safety)
Andrea Garcia of the Toronto Cyclist's Union notes that it isn't just about traffic, but about politics. She is quoted in xtra:
"Last week Ford sent out a strong signal that people in cars matter more than people on bikes. As other world cities add lanes to their bike networks, our city is taking a step back in the movement toward public safety... Things need to change. Pretty soon, Rob Ford will be on the wrong side of history."
Activists are considering more drastic actions. Dave Meslin says he will "put his body down on the road if the trucks come to take out the lines." More in Xtra
Toronto resident Richard Florida tweeted "How has it come to this?" In fact, it is going to get much worse. Next up on the block: Libraries and historic preservation.
More on Rob Ford and Toronto bike lanes:
Toronto Bike Lanes: How Did It Come To This?
Watching The Dismantling Of Everything Green In Toronto
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