We speculate about how the vote will break down when the Jarvis bike lanes go in front of council next month

We speculate about how the vote will break down when the Jarvis bike lanes go in front of council next month

(Image: Bitpicture) 

The Jarvis bike lanes will be on the city hall chopping block next month, and when the vote goes down we’ll be watching. The bike lanes have been a political lightning rod ever since Rob Ford and co. came to power, and the mayor has usually been able to get council to vote with him on the all the biggest issues. Case in point: the fate of Jarvis Street is much more controversial than that of the Fort York bridge that Ford and his allies had no trouble killing (Mike Layton couldn’t get half of council to support rescuing the bridge). But according to a bit of intelligence from city hall blogger Matt Elliott, there’s a small chance council might just save the bike lanes.

From Elliott’s “Ford For Toronto” blog:

Making a bunch of assumptions based on current voting patterns — along with some statements councillors have made since this issue resurfaced, e.g. Mary-Margaret McMahon’s comment on Twitter –, council currently breaks down with 17 in favour of keeping the Jarvis lanes, 15 opposed and 13 unknown votes. Six of the uncommitted councillors need to break for maintaining the status quo for the Jarvis lanes to win the day.

Of the unknowns, Councillors Mammoliti, Nunziata, Kelly, Palacio & Grimes are likely to flip-flop on their earlier position and support the removal of the lanes. It’s hypocritical and barely justifiable, but that won’t be enough to stop them.

Of the remaining eight, the best bets for cycling advocates are Councillors Matlow, Bailão, Colle, Moeser, Robinson and Di Giorgio.

Admittedly, Elliott’s numbers are highly speculative; the only thing we know for certain is that this vote is going to be intensely tight. And given that of the six councillors Elliott identifies as potential cycling advocates, we’d bet only half of those might actually vote to save the bike lanes when push comes to shove. That leaves the pro-Jarvis forces outnumbered. Plus, we expect Ford to whip the vote pretty heavily on this one, especially given the emails he’s been sending out to cyclists to explain his stance (drivers face a short delay—the problem is actually the lack of a left turn on Gerrard Street, but, hey, no matter—the bike lanes must go!).

In short, while the numbers show some cause for cyclists to remain optimistic—and we expect latte-swilling, two-wheel advocates to fight hard for Jarvis—lately Canadian politics have made number crunchers look a touch sheepish when the actual votes come in.

City Council Scorecard: How to save the Jarvis bike lanes [Ford For Toronto]