Tonight was a mass ride to publicize the fight to save the Jarvis bike lanes, which are scheduled to be removed at some point in the future (after the completion of the Sherbourne bike lanes). There was a pretty good sized crowd at the start.
June is a local resident. She has lived near the corner of Jarvis and Carlton for decades, but never ventured out on a bike until the bike lanes were put in. She said that most local residents don’t drive much, and the restoration of the 5 lanes of traffic only serves those who use Jarvis as a quick route to get to and from downtown.
Councillor Shelly Carroll also spoke. While she did not come out explicitly in favor of retaining the Jarvis bike lanes, she noted that in her ward in North York, many people have started using the off road trail network. She urged us to find our natural allies: the urban farmers, anyone with outdoor activities for kids.
Let me tell you a short story about Councillor Carroll and bike lanes. Several years ago, there was a fight to put bike lanes on Annette St. in Ward 13. This was a significant case since the majority of local residents polled by city staff were strongly in favour. The opposition was led by one particular local merchant who clearly had the ear of the local councillor, Bill Saundercook. Shelley Carroll was on the PWIC at that time, and I was there making one of many deputations in favour. At one point, the merchant was speaking and he said that there was a severe shortage of parking along Annette, and that “there were rarely any free spaces”, and so a further reduction in parking would be catastrophic. At this point, she said wait a minute, and called up Google Maps Satellite view (street view wasn’t live back then) and projected an image from her laptop that clearly showed that there was plenty of street parking available. Granted the argument was somewhat specious, and she was not necessarily saying that she was in favor at that point, but I was impressed at how she tried to use a little logic to counter anecdotal testimony. At that point, I decided that if she ever ran for major, she’d have my vote. Unfortunately she stayed out of the last election, and we all know how that turned out.
At this point, I had to cut out early, but the rally continued its way to City Hall.
A great evening for a ride for a good cause.