Wheely Good Thing

By Paul

January 31, 2023

The pandemic sucks. Divisiveness, avarice, price gouging, you name it, people have found a way to exploit it.

Then again, incredible acts of kindness, love and caring have also been on display. With the avalanche of crappy news these days, it’s difficult to find a ray of sunshine in the perpetual storm clouds.

One silver lining is the Active TO Cycling Network pilot project. I remember shaking my head when it was proposed that cycling lanes on Yonge Street between Davisville and Bloor would be installed. Bike lanes on one of the busiest roads in Toronto?

Good thing I’m not in charge. The bike lanes have been such a success that Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee have recommended that they be made permanent. This will transform this stretch of Yonge Street into a permanent cycling thoroughfare, allow for expanded restaurant patios and hopefully more pedestrian space.

This is a long way from the 2010 declaration by then-mayor Rob Ford who declared, in his very first press conference as mayor, that the “war on the car” was coming to an end. Interesting framing, that phrase.

First, it’s very American. There’s a war on everything south of the 49th. War on drugs. War on illegal immigration. They’ll fight for anything. Everything is a battle. And when fighting doesn't work, they build a wall.

But it's not a war of car versus bicycle. When a two-ton vehicle collides with a 30 pound bicycle ridden by a 160 pound person, it’s no contest. The vehicle is going to win every time.

Why is there a war in the first place? Why do the “rights” of car and truck drivers hold sway over bicycles? Why is it a problem to provide safe bicycle lanes to a person that has every right to be on the road as a person driving a motorized vehicle?

Don’t get me wrong. I love to drive. There’s nothing like hustling a Dodge Challenger at the limit on Mullholland Drive in Los Angeles. But alternatives to cars have to be available.

Amsterdam just unveiled a new parking lot. For bicycles. It can hold 7,000 bikes and it’s adjacent to their central train terminal.

And just because it’s Amsterdam, they put it underground. That is, they put it under water so there’s no loss of downtown surface space.

If Amsterdam can build this kind of structure for bicycles, how about Toronto get off its duff and get the Rail Deck Park going.

It’ll be studied to death. There will be a million reasons not to build it. The air rights over the tracks belong to a developer (of course). But wouldn’t it be great if John Tory could make this happen in his last term as mayor? He now has “strong mayor” powers. How about a park flex, John? You've got a great start on cycling in Toronto. How about the Rail Deck Park for a destination for all of those cyclists?

It may be cold, but we get some lovely scenes.

Mono trail with sunlight


January 31, 2023
Be sure to check out Dana's blog, Time to Write. I like to think I'm a pretty good writer. Dana is an AMAZING writer.
  • Gorgeous photo of the trees with the sun shining behind! I love reading how thoughtful and well researched your posts are, Paul.

    We have bike lanes on some streets in Newmarket. I’m all for them except when they make them where cars and bikes have to go single file with one another. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.

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