Angry Robot

An Open Letter to my Mayor and City Councillor About the Jarvis Bike Lanes

I sent the following letter to Mayor Rob Ford and my local Councillor, Mary Margaret McMahon. You should do something too, the vote is tomorrow or wednesday.

Dear Mayor Ford and Councillor McMahon,

I am writing today about the removal of the Jarvis bike lanes.

As a driver and a cyclist, I understand the frustrations of both groups. Toronto has terrible commute times, and it’s very important that we do something to improve them. But eliminating the Jarvis lanes will not improve matters. Existing cyclists will clog up the curb lane, forcing cars into the passing lane. It will needlessly endanger the cyclists and frustrate drivers. City planners found peak transit times have increased by only two minutes since these lanes were built. The city’s staff considers them a success, and casual surveys of motorists on Jarvis indicate the majority want the bike lanes to stay.

When I’m driving a car, I like bike lanes because they keep bikes out of my way. And the more bikers on the road, the fewer motorists. As a cyclist, I know that bike lanes are safer and encourage more people to take up cycling. Bike lanes are a win for both groups and while it may take a few years for bike lanes to reach optimal use numbers, I encourage you to have the patience to plan for our city’s future and not for the present.

Toronto’s population is increasing by 100,000 people a year. New condo buildings are springing up in every neighbourhood in the city. We cannot continue increasing our city’s density and expect all the new residents to drive, as we have no more road space for cars. We need strong alternatives, and cycling is one of them. Let’s build for the future by building strong transit and a functional bike network, not retreat into an impossible past by pulling up newly built bike lanes at the taxpayers’ expense.

Thank you for your time.