Friday, May 14, 2010



Toronto motorists will take a slim victory even if it's caused by absentees and a dumb mistake. Still, the commendable vote turning down bike lanes on University Av. is just more proof that this council and its globe-trotting mayor should be pictured in dictionaries to illustrate the word dysfunctional.
The word means malfunction in structure. And that it is. Verbose, awkward, stupid, bureaucratic, posturing etc. etc. Think of any insult and throw it into the mix. The socialists, gliberals and inept pensioners on this council should all be put out to pasture this fall, but I doubt we will be that fortunate.
My views on bike lanes are well-known. Just in case, I wrote about them again in columns last year on May 22 and June 3 and this year on April 15.
I have always felt the same about bike lanes, an incredibly expensive way to screw up traffic and accommodate a few cyclists for about the half year when the weathe is tolerable. I was accused by one friend/fanatic who rode to a downtown hospital of waiting until my son Brett took his honeymoon to launch one attack on bikes, because Brett often bikes to work.
If you want to bike to work, fine by me. Just don't do it on main streets during rushhour and expect motorists, cops and the bureaucracy to accommodate you with your own special reserved space.
This idea of an experiment this summer with bike lanes on University Ave. - which would have been the ultimate in the cyclist crusade - was almost welcomed by me as a concept so silly that it might actually trigger a successful revolt by council's minority and the public against the costly spread of bike lanes through a city road network that already didn't work.
But it got rejected in a squeaker of vote with Councillor Paula Fletcher, a bike-lane supporter, voting against, blaming fatique and the fact she just doesn't quite know how to operate the two voting buttons that she has pushed for years.
It also got defeated because 17 of the councillors weren't there for the evening vote. I suspect some concocted excuses just so they could duck the issue. For lefties, voting against bikes is a little like kicking a saint, but they must have known in their gut that it was a bizarre misused of road space and that many voters in their wards would be furious.
Ducking a vote is almost as bad as taking a bribe. Hiding in the toilet or pretending that you have to show visiting relatives the town is a betrayal of your voters who expect that for $100,000 a year, you might actually stay in your seat.
It's important for every councillor to vote on such issues, no matter what excuse they can dream up, because bike lanes are almost iconic in their symbolism. Just how far does a city go in contorting its infrastructure to accommodate a mouthy minority when the huge majority of users of city streets, including transit with hundreds of thousands of passengers, will be delayed.
My wife and I drove along Bloor St. at 7.30 a.m. recently for early medical appointments. Normally we would take the subway but I was going on to the cottage, and you can't take transit to the Kawarthas. It's something the lefty bitching about motorists forget. Many people make a number of calls in a day, not just one trip to a job. And you can't deliver couches and cases of pop on the bus.
So there we were zipping along Bloor except for blocks where there were one or two cyclists or perhaps an illegally parked car. You put two people on two bikes in one block of Bloor and effectively you close one lane of traffic. Sure, as the cyclists say, there is only one person in many of those cars but there are far more cars needing to use that disabled lane than there are cyclists.
I won't praise Fletcher for pushing the wrong button to be with the winning 15-vote majority. But I will the others: Ainslie, Ashton, Del Grande, Grimes, Hall, Holyday, Kelly, Lindsay-Luby, Minnan-Wong, Moeser, Nunziata, Palacio, Parker and Perruzza.
The 13 who wanted the lanes (in this case the number really is evil) were: Augimeri, Davis, De Baeremaeker, Gimabrone, Heaps, McConnell, Mihevic, Moscoe, Pantalone, Perks, Rae, Saundercook and Vaughan.
We should also condemn the 17 who were absent. This was a major issue, certainly so in symbolism, and you expect councillors to be around unless they're in ER. Mayor David Miller wasn't there because most of the time he is busy burnishing his image in the world, not this city. Then the rest: Milczyn, Bussin, Carroll, Cho, Di Georgio, Feldman, Fillion, Ford, Jenkins, Mammoliti, Lee, Ootes, Shiner, Stintz, Thompson and Walker.
It would be nice if most of those were absent all the time from council. Same with the unholy 13. Come to think of it, even though there are some bright, hard-working honourable conservatives, it would be useful and appropriate if most of council's 45 members never returned.
What we need is more of them running for mayor, because then we get stuck with only one.

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