Thursday, April 15, 2010



There is good news and bad news about this proposal to put bike lanes along University, Toronto's major ceremonial avenue.
If the silly leftist majority of Toronto council actually does something that dumb, more Torontonians will wake up to the fact we are ruled by loonies. Could make election day more challenging!
Is there nothing that councillors won't do to screw motorists?
The bike nuts see this a wonderful summer pilot project which will lead to more bike lanes on more Toronto major streets.
I think they have bit off more than the long-suffering public can chew.
For starters, roads must be built to a far higher standard than bike paths. Paths in parks are a good idea and don't have to have an intensive underpad. Bike paths on the side of roads that are so costly to construct is economic lunacy. Yet a bankrupted city has to pay around $4 million a year because the bike nuts, generally socialists who don't give a damn about citizens/motorists, want bike lanes to run down every major street in a sprawling city.
Second, traffic is already obscenely congested because of all the shenanigans of council's left, such as interfering with turns, signals, intersection constrictions, the measle epidemic of stop signs, one-way mazes, mischievous bus stop locations etc.
Since all TTC vehicles other than subway trains use this congested network of roads, any interference with the traffic flow of cars and trucks also interferes with the flow of buses and streetcars. Surely that is elementary, but not to the stolid Dr. Watsons of council.
This proposal has brought an interesting reaction from Giorgio Mammoliti, who is running for mayor. Mammoliti has been a florid expensive MPP and now councillor, and he has never seen an expense account from the public that he hasn't wanted to goose in his favour, but his idea of a $20 or $30 registration fee for bikes is interesting.
After all, if the cyclists want to have more rights on the roads, let them pay for it, like the motorists do and do and do.
It should be a token $10 for kids and seniors, but $30 is appropriate for adults. The registration number would be useful in soothing the epidemic of stolen bikes. And, of course, enforcement could be non-aggressive, except for adults riding bikes in bike lanes.
I hate to have more bureaucracy and more forms but if the cyclists want to ride with the big boys, then they have to pay their share, and it would be nice if they honoured the traffic rules too.
As I wrote in columns last year in June and May, there really isn't that great a use of bike lanes, except by in-your-face activists and politicians.
After all, in the old line about our weather, Canada has 10 months of winter and two months of bad skiing. So who in their right mind from early December to late April is going to use bike lanes on a regular basis?
You have to be as nutty as Councillor Glenn DeBaermaeker who rides incredible distances to City Hall each day to plan the next goofy wasteful scheme to rob the taxpayers.
So let the city measure the use of bike lanes. It is routine to put a rubber tube gadget down to measure the flow of cars along a street. Let them put the same gadgets on bike lanes, and if the bikes and riders aren't heavy enough to trigger them, let them do an eyeball count.
I have found on the expensive bike lanes that hinder traffic on Royal York Rd near where I live that cyclists are a rare sight. I'm with the Toronto Star columnist who counted only 15 bicyclists on a trip along Wellesley, down Sherbourne to the waterfront, then along the waterfront to Yonge St.
Of course the time of day would have a lot to do with it. And the weather. Except the roads are hindered by the bike lanes on cold wet days, whether it's night or rushhour.
The bike community, of course, have figures about use that are so exaggerated, they should make a councillor laugh, except most of our lefty/mushy politicians don't live in the real world with the rest of us but in some strange creation where the championship of ideas is more important than the cost, where grumbles from taxpayers are put down to malcontents who don't know how lucky they are to live in a community ruled by enlightened civic deep thinkers.
The reason bikes lanes are important is they are iconic symbols for the left and a thorn for the motorists and residents who already pay more than their share of this city's operation, that is if you want to pretend that this city really works.
Councillors at the committee when the bike lanes for University were approved put a great deal of importance on the fact that only one person, a motor league official, showed up to protest such a decision. Except the comment in the media was hostile. And there are many people in this city who can't take the time off work to attend a city committee meeting which can last most of a day, although it often seems like a week. There was also a poll that showed considerable opposition to bike lanes, although they got more support than I expected. Maybe people didn't understand the question. There is also the problem that most people don't answer polls, which makes them of limited value.
The anti-car jerks of council are so strident, they actually planned to put bike lanes on the Front St. extension, which was killed as a project because the anti-car jerks drove the cost so high. So why do I bring up bike lanes on those proposed ramps? Because legally you can't ride bikes on the Gardiner expressway, so these were bike lanes to nowhere.
Suitable, somehow, because that's the general direction of this council's majority. If only they would stick to the basic business of running a city, which is too boring for them, so as a result we have an infrastructure that is rotting and rusty and sinking. Too bad those councillors won't follow.

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