Vote to save Jarvis Street bike lanes falls flat
An attempt to save the embattled Jarvis Street bike lanes fell flat Wednesday afternoon when Toronto city council voted 28-9 in favour of removing painted lanes from three streets.
Council voted in favour of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's plan to replace the painted lanes on Jarvis, Birchmount Road and Pharmacy Avenue with a lane on Sherbourne Street separated by a concrete barrier.
Council did approve a motion to keep the Jarvis lane until its Sherbourne replacement was finished next year.
Coun. Joe Mihevc said he was saddened by the decision, which he says will hurt the environment and the city's economy.
"I don't think any city in Canada has actually removed a bike lane. But here you have it, we are doing it now in Toronto," Mihevc said on Wednesday.
"It is a really sad day for bicycling in the City of Toronto."
Council debated the bicycle network for four hours on Tuesday before running out of time to vote on the issue. The debate resumed Wednesday morning but was marked by arguments, insults and asides.
At one point security was called to the council chamber to remove some members of the public, who had attended out of support for the Jarvis lanes.
The Jarvis lane cost $75,000 to install a year ago and will cost about $200,000 to remove. Ridership on the Jarvis lanes has grown from 300 cyclists a day to 900.
Ford also wants to create a 100-kilometre network of trails separate from roadways.
Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti says the decision should be considered a win for city cyclists, who will now safe bike lanes separated from dangerous roadways.
"For the first time ever in the city's history we have a bike plan lane. I don't know what the big concern is. This is a good thing," Mammoliti told CP24.
"We are removing bike lanes in areas we think are more dangerous than anything else. The chair has come up with an idea that segregates bikes lanes, and to do it on streets that are less dangerous."