Mayor David Miller (2006 TCAT Election Survery)
19. Eliminate delays in building the Bikeway Network
Active Transportation requires a network of bike lanes and paths that span the city. To enable this to happen each bike lane project should be approved and built in the year that it is proposed for construction by city staff. Transportation Services staff have proposed projects for 2007 and 2008. Projects for 2009 and 2010 have not been determined yet. There is still a backlog of projects proposed for 2005 and 2006. If the backlog of projects is to be cleared up and the future projects are to be built on time the Mayor will have to play a leadership role to ensure that the issues plaguing the implementation of the Bikeway Network, as recommended in the Toronto Bike Plan, are resolved.
How will you show leadership and what measures will you take over the next 4 years to to deal with the delays plaguing the implementation of the Bike Plan to ensure that the bike lanes proposed over the next 4 years go through the approval process and are constructed on time?
Mayor Miller's Comment: "I've always been a strong believer that bicycling is an essential part of Toronto's transportation strategy. That’s why we have developed the Toronto Bike Plan which is a comprehensive cycling promotion strategy encompassing: bicycle friendly streets, a bikeway network, safety and education, bike parking, and promotion of combining cycling and transit.
One of the keys to promoting cycling is to give people a safe place to ride. Currently, Toronto has 90 KM of bike lanes, and the Bike Plan calls for 1000 KM to be built by 2011.
Under my leadership, the City of Toronto has aggressively promoted cycling as not just a method of transportation, but a way of life. Every year, I launch Bike Week which is a week-long series of events that promotes biking around Toronto. The City also issues a cycling newsletter, encourages residents to form local cycling committees, and has launched the "door prize" campaign to educated motorists and taxi drivers about the need to check for cyclists.
We've started a number of pilot projects - like putting bike racks on the front of buses, and increasing the amount of transit parking in front of subway stations - to encourage people to combine cycling with transit. In fact, next year the bicycle infrastructure budget will double to $6.2 million. For as long as I am Mayor of Toronto we will continue to pursue an aggressive bicycle promotion strategy. When we talk about funding issues it is important to note the context in which they occur. Toronto has more people than Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut put together - and yet we lack the powers and funding sources of even the smallest of these jurisdictions.
Toronto lacks support in critical areas. For example, in 2006 alone, the cost of delivering programs that the province once provided -- such as social services, the Ontario Drug Plan, affordable housing and transit -- cost the city an astonishing $731 million.
A recent Conference Board of Canada study determined that Toronto is underfunded by $1.1 billion a year. This is counter-productive - for our citizens, for our city and for our nation.
To unleash Toronto's true economic potential and compete with the world's greatest cities, I argue that just a small portion of the vast wealth Toronto generates for Canada should be invested back into the city."
In the end, he and council, including all those who supported an increase before the municipal (election) voted for 3 million [http://www.toronto.ca/budget2007/pdf/capbudget_feb8.pdf] ...
So, you get the picture! That's a big budget cut. Actions speak louder than words. Furthermore, there are no Federal nor Provincial zero-carbon transit strategies nor initiatives. Nothing to promote cycling!
So remember, whatever Miller will announce in future for cycylng is likely just that: talk.
I say: Make space for bikes! (Just a few ideas below, feel free to add yours!)
Remove parking, traffic lanes if you have to, close streets to traffic every Sunday, reduce the number of cars entering Toronto on a daily basis, lobby the federal government for side guards on trucks, crack down on illegal parking in bike lanes by making them tow-away zones, create east-west -- north-south cycling corridors, provide incentives for employers and city staff to use cycling as a means of transport to work, create safe routes for children to bike to work, provide bicycles parking facilities at all schools in Toronto, get on a bike yourself Mayor!
(Yeah, I know he has no money. But there is no political will either. So maybe we just need to get together and do things ourselves.)
Graphic by Martin Koob (biketoronto.ca)