Public works committee votes to scrap Jarvis Street bike lanes
Jarvis bike lanes, we hardly knew ye. Yesterday, the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee voted in favour of removing eight kilometres of bike lanes throughout the city, including the somehow controversial bike lanes on Jarvis Street and the Scarborough bike lanes on Birchmount Road and Pharmacy Avenue that Michelle Berardinetti ran against last year. Although PWIC chair Denzil Minnan-Wong celebrated the day as “a positive day for cyclists,” we suspect local cyclists feel differently (see: the two-wheel enthusiasts who convened at city hall to express their frustration).
The Grid has the story:
Councillor for Ward 27, where Jarvis is located, Kristyn Wong-Tam expressed both her surprise and disappointment in the decision, stating that Ward 26 Councillor John Parker—who put through the motion—did not consult her [or] her ward beforehand.
Admitting that the bike paths on Jarvis are not perfect, Councillor Wong-Tam said that her staff were initiating a plan to correct the problems during the summer.
Now, the most important questions going forward are: (1) whether the motion will pass when it goes to city council in July (it almost certainly will) and (2) what to do with Jarvis if—read: when—the bike lanes are removed. We spoke to Minnan-Wong’s office this morning, and the answer to the latter seemed to be restoring the reversible middle or adding left-turn lanes going both ways to improve traffic flow. Given those choices, we’d probably prefer the latter.
We’re not quite sure how this became a lightning rod issue for both sides of the debate, but Toronto’s cyclist community is angry about the new “war on the bike.” And it just so happens that there’s a critical mass bike ride starting today at Spadina and Bloor at 6 p.m. Looks like the city can look forward to even more peace, love and understanding on our streets. Oh wait, that doesn’t sound likely at all.