Legal challenge could stall Jarvis bike lane closure
Published Tuesday, April 3, 2012 3:34PM EDT
A Toronto cycling group is threatening the city with legal action over its decision to remove bike lanes from Jarvis Street.
The Toronto Cyclist Union released a legal opinion Tuesday suggesting the lanes were removed in haste and should be re-installed.
City Council voted last year to remove the painted lanes on Jarvis and replace them with an extra lane of traffic – reversing a decision made a year earlier to add the lanes.
"We really feel strongly that the decision to remove them was based on ideology and not facts and evidence," said Toronto Cyclists Union representative Andrea Garcia.
The legal statement makes the case that a "Schedule C Environmental Assessment" was required before the Jarvis bike lanes could be removed. The union said on Tuesday that the city must immediately undertake the assessment.
According to the cycling organization, the Schedule C assessment would address potentially negative environmental effects of removing the bike lanes and adding a reversible traffic lane in their place.
The cyclist union said in a statement released Tuesday that City Hall should halt any steps to revert Jarvis Street to its pre-existing condition until the environmental assessment is completed.
No action should be taken until council can make a decision with the proper information, said Garcia.
"We think the street is working for everybody, for cars, cyclists and pedestrians, so it's just a big waste of money to reconfigure it," she said.
The union says that if the city does not respond to their request within 10 days they will contact Ontario's minister of the environment.
A legal battle is simmering between the city and cyclists over bike lanes removed from Jarvis Street.