George Smitherman coddles the car crowd, suggesting the city put bike lanes on hold
George Smitherman is a thoughtful lover when it comes to drivers—he likes to take things slow. According to the mayoral front-runner, the city’s 2001 bike plan, which aims to build 500 kilometres of on-road bike lanes across the city, is moving way too fast. “What’s necessary is for everyone to take a time out here,” says Smitherman in an exclusive interview with Toronto Community News, going on to say that the nine-year-old plan hasn’t been communicated properly to residents and that drivers, caught unawares, are digging in their heels.
Despite the slow seduction of motorists, he still managed to distance himself from fellow candidate Rocco Rossi, saying he’s still up for bike lanes on major roadways. Says Smitherman:
In terms of suggesting bicycles should be relegated to crescents and cul-de-sacs, this is akin to saying you’re not in favour of the city of Toronto being a modern city… I don’t think it’s leadership to take the language of the war on the car and flip it on its head and say, “The war on the car has had its go at city hall. I’m going to advance the war on the bike.”
Smitherman has yet to take a position in the war on the run-on sentence.
• Mayoral candidate calling for ‘time out’ on creation of new bike lanes [Inside Toronto]
7 thoughts on “George Smitherman coddles the car crowd, suggesting the city put bike lanes on hold”
Smitherman needs to suck it and stop pandering to the inconvenienced Rosedale crowd and remember it’s the Dtnwers who supported him in the first place and Jarvis needs to stop being a freeway and be accessible to those on 2 wheels also
we vote and pay taxes
Seriously get his big ol butt on a bike and pedal around the city- TO needs more bike lanes not less
I read somewhere (ibiketo?) that Smitherman’s ask for time-out is about the same as asking for cease-fire in the ‘war on the car’.
Really? A ceasefire? Against the cars, or against bikes? Cars kills (on average) three cyclists a year in Toronto; cyclists have killed exactly zero people (either drivers or passengers) while they were in a motor-vehicle. Are drivers afraid that their kill rate will gown if more bike lanes are installed? Is Smitherman trying to ‘extend the hunting season on cyclists’ for motorists? Whom would this cease-fire actually benefit?
The Bike Plan, approved in 2001, was to be ten-year plan. Nine tears in and we’re less than 30% implemented. How has this been any different than a cease-fire already? Another delay? No wonder nothing gets done at City Hall.
Smitherman also talks about educating the public as to why the city even needs a bike-plan. I’ll bet that is because he doesn’t even know. Every year, the city cuts, and under-funds, the ‘Promotions’ spoke of the bike plan’s budget. This the very same mechanism which should have been funded and already telling everyone in the city why bikes, and why this city has a bike plan, and to encourage more people to ride, and to sell bike tourism — that is Toronto as a destination for tourists… Can’t happen without a budget.
So answer me this: is Smitherman proposing a one-time propaganda spend, or to fully fund cycling promotion on an on-going basis? No answer so far.
According to the 2006 Census, 1.7% of people in the City of Toronto ride their bike to work. Good for them! I hope to be one soon.
But that still means that 98% of us don’t bike to work.
Even with the the most beautiful bike lanes in the world, the vast majority of probably won’t bike to work.
The priorities of the next mayor should be things that matter to the majority, not special interest groups like the cyclists.
The priority should be making Toronto a competitive place to do business. If we don’t do that, our jobs might continue their exodus to the 905. And let me tell you, it’s a LONG bike ride to Vaughan.
Josh D, bike lanes CAN be one of those things that make cities ‘a competitive place to do business’ – they add another way for people to get to work. Not just young, hip types that are easy to scorn either, but all types of people.
I also don’t understand how cyclists a are “special interest group”: they are no more of a special interest group than drivers, pedestrians, people with brown hair, etc. They don’t all belong to a secret club, they’re just people who happen to use bike lanes.
And I’m not even a cyclist, I just dislike the divisive tone of terms like ‘war on the car’.
I live on Church and Wellesley and I am 100% opposed to the bike lane on Jarvis. I use this route regularly to drive north to get to work and south on weekends to drive out of the city.
I do not live in Rosedale. I am just a regular middle-class person who uses a car to get to work.
Gutting the centre lane in Jarvis will not improve traffic. It will only make it worse.
I live along the bike lanes, they make the roads civilized for pedestrians and for neighbourhoods. Smitherman is flip flopping as usual.. yes to bike lanes now no let’s stop and think about it. Where does he stand??? Downtown roads are not express lanes for the suburbs.. some people live here. move to mississauga and leave TO alone if you want to live in your vehicle
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