Five years ago, when Toronto got its new bike share system, I thought it would be strangled at birth, what with its coverage of a very small area downtown that made it almost useless for commuting, and a new anti-bike Rob Ford coming in as mayor. Then it did run into financial trouble and was taken over by the city, and the TD bank rode in to the rescue. And five years since it was founded, the bike share system is finally getting the expansion it needs to survive and prosper.
That's TD Canada Trust CEO Tim Hockey in front of the Toronto-Dominion Centre (yes, Americans who use TD bank, that's what it stands for), the great Mies Van Der Rohe designed complex of buildings, in a great photo by Dylan Leeder. He tells Jonah Brunet of Dandyhorse Magazine:
Hockey describes himself as as "a neophyte student of urban planning" and he certainly understands some of the current thinking regarding the promotion of active transportation: “You first have to start with the pedestrians". This is in a city where traditionally people on foot or bike are seen as impediments rather than participants.
Hockey believes expansion is essential to increase the value of Bike Share. “What you want is the ability to reach farther out, to be able to draw more people to – and from – the core,” Hockey says. The current Bike Share network focuses only on downtown, with the northernmost row of stations running along Bloor. There are no stations west of Dufferin or east of the Don Valley Parkway. For Hockey, the program needs to expand beyond this zone in order to serve more residential populations. “I firmly believe that if you build it, they will come,” he says.
While today’s city planners and environmentalists certainly understand the value of putting pedestrians and cyclists first, the average voter appears to still side with the “convenience” of the car. Hockey cautions that Toronto’s transportation infrastructure needs to stop being thought of as an issue with opposing sides: “There has been this unfortunate dialogue about the war on cars or the war between bikes and cars. And I don’t think that’s in any way helpful.”
This does not sound like a bank CEO to me. More in DandyHorse