Now that Rob Ford is the new Mayor of Toronto, he has finally allowed some of Council's more right-leaning Councillors opportunities to lead the various City Departments. And though that's a great thing for Toronto and Toronto taxpayers, sometimes you see some City Councillors do stupid things that can only be the result of them going mad from their new found power.
The Councillor I'm referring to in this article is Ward 34 Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a Councillor that campaigned on stopping tax increases and ending the war on the car, but now proposes ignorant ideas for Bike Lanes that will cost Torontonians a fortune and only increase traffic congestion.
Here's the story from the Toronto Star:
City to build curbs for separate bike lanes downtown
Ford’s team has voiced “no opposition” to a comprehensive plan put forward by the newly minted public works and infrastructure committee chair, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, which would see an connected network of curbed cycling routes along busy roads such as Sherbourne, Wellesley and Richmond Sts.
“I think there’s a misconception that Mayor Ford has an opposition to bike lanes. He wants to create bike safety. He wants it where it makes sense,” said Minnan-Wong, adding that both the cycling community and local community groups support the plan.
“This shouldn’t be about ideology. It’s about making a pragmatic choice and recognizing that cyclists need solutions and those solutions don’t have to conflict with cars.”
The separated lanes will affect parking in some areas, but cars could be accommodated by constructing the bike route next to the sidewalk. Cars would be able to park next to the curbed bike lane, adding yet another layer of safety.
Minnan-Wong’s plan has two major north-south and east-west routes, and extends to the lake at Queens Quay. Smaller roads such as St. George, John and Beverley Sts. would be used to provide a seamless network.
Most of the streets affected already have bike lanes, with some minor additions needed to connect the existing patchwork. The one big exception is Richmond.
A two-way bike lane would need to be constructed along that one-way street, which would likely mean removing one of its four lanes, Minnan-Wong said. Not ideal, but necessary to connect the network.
It’s a perhaps ironic twist that Ford — who once argued to council that “roads are built for buses, cars and trucks” — and his administration are pressing forward with not just bike lanes, but protected ones, in the core.
Even though Minnan-Wong opposed the Jarvis bike lane and the University bike lanes, he still proposes to remove a lane of traffic from Richmond in order to add even more?? And with Richmond being one of the most critical routes for traffic to cross the downtown core, Minnan-Wong has clearly lost his mind with power and needs a serious reality check.
Thank goodness for Rob Ford. The Globe and Mail is now reporting that Ford has not even discussed this plan with Minnan-Wong (contradictory to what the Toronto Star noted and Minnan-Wong implied), and has noted that this is not a priority for him right now.
Here's the story from the Globe and Mail:
Ford pedalling away from downtown bike-lane network
Building a separated bike-lane network in downtown isn’t a priority for Mayor Rob Ford now or any time soon, according to his office.
“Right now, it’s just a proposal. It’s just being discussed,” Adrienne Batra, the mayor’s press secretary, said. “We’re trying to stay focused on the bigger-picture issue right now, and that’s the budget.”
Mr. Ford has yet to discuss the idea directly with Denzil Minnan-Wong, the councillor who pitched it last year.
Mr. Minnan-Wong is now chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, which oversees cycling infrastructure.
However, Ms. Batra said Mr. Ford is willing to take a closer look at the scheme, “as long as it sticks to a few principles: safety on the roads, [it] doesn’t create traffic congestion and the community agrees to it.”
Mr. Minnan-Wong raised the proposal during a wide-ranging meeting on his portfolio with the mayor’s staff earlier this week. “They were open to discussing the idea,” the councillor said.
What a disgrace...
Hey Minnan-Wong, wake up and remember why you were re-elected! Sure you're in for this term, but your stupidity will get you tossed to the curb so fast in the next election, that your bicycle will travel back to the future.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/carfreeworldview/4059278466/sizes/l/ by Christa . Bike by the Sea on flickr