Looks like Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will get rid of the Jarvis Street bike lanes after all.
Although the bikeys promise not to give up without a fight, Council voted Wednesday evening to rip them out by the end of the year and put the reversible middle lane back in.
While it would break my heart if I was a Toronto taxpayer to see $300,000 wasted reversing this plan (which should never have been implemented by the former administration of David Miller in the first place) it is the right thing to do.
It is right for vehicular traffic, which needs all the resources we can give it.
And it is right for cyclists, because anything that discourages cyclists from braving downtown Toronto traffic is bound to save some of their lives.
(Why am I more concerned about their safety than they are themselves?)
One councillor who opposed the removal of the bike lanes said the cyclists are going to stay there anyway, bike lanes or no.
Does that mean the cyclists were there before and will remain?
Well, city officials say their numbers have tripled since the lanes were installed.
Which is it?
Those city officials didn't give specific numbers, just that 'three times' ratio.
But when the bike lanes were first introduced last summer the numbers were minuscule.
So three times nothing is nothing.
And as I alwasy say, let's count again in February.
Remove the emotion, and the facts are clear - as I said in the Pottery Road piece a few days ago, bikes and cars cannot mix safely.
Sure, it is the car driver who is (almost always) at fault in a collision (although that bicycle courier I saw die against a concrete pole on Yonge Street some years ago did that all on his own).
But - like that bicycle courier - it is the cyclist who is virtually always dead or seriously injured.
Recreational bike paths are a different issue. Like soccer fields, baseball diamonds, any public facility, it is a matter of priorities and budgets.
But as a means of commuting?
Toronto isn't Copenhagen; it isn't even Montreal.
Never gonna happen.
If City Council can find the budget to build dedicated, segregated bike commuter lanes for the tiny handful of people fortunate/wealthy enough to live in downtown Toronto within biking distance of their jobs (I assume these people have the facilities and time to shower when they DO get to their jobs), then be my guest.
It is a collosal misallocation of tax dollars, to the benefit of a minute fraction of the population.
But at least it won't be MY tax dollars.
Other than the fact that my Ontario and Federal taxes might somehow get mixed up in this scheme.
Damn; why did I have to think of that?...