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My Toronto Wish List 6

College Street in Toronto

Earlier this evening I had a conversation with Ward 19 candidate and Rogers Sportsnet host Sean McCormick. He told me about his platform, and I briefly told him what would win over my vote.

Unfortunately, it’s not very efficient for Mr. McCormick to have a 30 minute conversation with me about what I would like to see change in the city and in my ward.

So consider this post a “wish list” for a Toronto City Councillor. These are the things that I would like my councillor to fight for on behalf of me in exchange for my vote. For like-minded readers, please feel free to add your own suggestions through comments or e-mail and I will update the article.

Dear Prospective Councillor, here is my wish list:

  • Complete the West Toronto Rail path to Strachan Ave, and then to Union Station

  • Install protected bike lanes on Strachan Ave to provide safer access to the Martin Goodman trail

  • Install protected bike lanes (bi-directional) on a main east-west arterial downtown (Richmond or Adelaide)

  • Add more contra-flow bike lanes on residential one-way streets (or provide exemptions to designated residential one-way streets for bicycles)

  • Add protected left hand turns from bike lane on major roads (in China, cyclists can turn from the right side of the road safely with traffic signals)

  • Support a by-law that makes it mandatory for apartments and condos to allow bicycles inside the units to make it more convenient for cyclists

  • Implement “bike counters” on major biking streets to showcase the number of daily cyclists

  • Support bike sharing programs, and in particular the upcoming BIXI program

  • Push for better enforcement of cars parked in bike lanes + increase in fines

  • Support pedestrian-only streets – Queens Quay, Kensington Market or Yonge Street are good candidates to start with.

  • Support a revenue-neutral carbon tax at the provincial level to help discourage unnecessary driving

  • Push to remove downtown restrictions on pedal taxis (currently they can’t operate on parts of King, Queen, Gerrard and Front)

  • Support the 3-foot passing law being proposed by the NDP at the provincial legislature

  • Support hiring of a cycling ambassador to the City of Toronto

  • Support strict liability to protect the most vulnerable users on our streets

  • Implement “Idaho stops” (yield) for cyclists

  • Install bike boxes at “tight” intersections – Queens Quay is a good example (westbound at Spadina) where cyclists get “squeezed” by cars

  • Implement more “no right turns on red” (for automobiles only) at major intersections to protect pedestrians and cyclists

  • Support congestion tolling on cars entering the city

  • Support and encourage Toronto businesses to be more bicycle-friendly

Our Reader’s Wish List:

    Kevin Love:

    1. Bloor Street bicycle lanes. Fully separated Dutch-style lanes. Yes, this means the car parking has to go.

    2. Seamless multi-modal transit. This means bicycles on the subway during rush hour in a dedicated bicycle subway car. Which means capacity on the Yonge line being freed up by beefing up the parallel Richmond Hill GO line so that GO trains run every five minutes during rush hour.

    3. The Eglinton and all other Transit City lines to be built with fully-separated bicycle lanes as part of the LRT right-of-way.

    4. Restore the BIXI program to its initial launch of 3,000 bicycles, instead of the current BIXI-lite of only 1,000. As Paris demonstrated, there is tremendous synergy in going big right away.

    5. TAXES!! GIVE US TAXES!! Road tolls of 25 cents/km. Parking lot tax of $2 per car parking spot per day. Increase the existing Toronto Personal Vehicle Tax of $60 per year to $600 annually. A congestion charge of $10 to drive a car into Toronto. Use the money to build Transit City and the bike infrastructure.

    6. I remember when Yonge Street went car-free during the summers in the 1970′s. It was great. Bring back a car-free Yonge!

    James D. Schwartz is the editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com.

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    • http://www.georgesawision.com/ george sawision

      James you have posted some good requests.I hear you and have been fighting for many of your “wants” well before 2006 when I ran for council.Much was promised by Joe Pantalone during that election and most of those promises regarding bikes have been broken.I am running again for council and fully understand how cyclists have been abandoned.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13186428862833389619 Kevin Love

      Nice wish list. I have a few items myself.

      1. Bloor Street bicycle lanes. Fully separated Dutch-style lanes. Yes, this means the car parking has to go.

      2. Seamless multi-modal transit. This means bicycles on the subway during rush hour in a dedicated bicycle subway car. Which means capacity on the Yonge line being freed up by beefing up the parallel Richmond Hill GO line so that GO trains run every five minutes during rush hour.

      3. The Eglinton and all other Transit City lines to be built with fully-separated bicycle lanes as part of the LRT right-of-way.

      4. Restore the BIXI program to its initial launch of 3,000 bicycles, instead of the current BIXI-lite of only 1,000. As Paris demonstrated, there is tremendous synergy in going big right away.

      5. TAXES!! GIVE US TAXES!! Road tolls of 25 cents/km. Parking lot tax of $2 per car parking spot per day. Increase the existing Toronto Personal Vehicle Tax of $60 per year to $600 annually. A congestion charge of $10 to drive a car into Toronto. Use the money to build Transit City and the bike infrastructure.

      6. I remember when Yonge Street went car-free during the summers in the 1970′s. It was great. Bring back a car-free Yonge!

      A few comments on your existing wish list:

      Item #15 – We already have strict liability laws in Ontario. I refer you to Section 193 of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act.

      From:

      http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90h08_e.htm#BK291

      “When loss or damage is sustained by any person by reason of a motor vehicle on a highway, the onus of proof that the loss or damage did not arise through the negligence or improper conduct of the owner, driver, lessee or operator of the motor vehicle is upon the owner, driver, lessee or operator of the motor vehicle.”

      Item #9. While you are looking at the HTA, notice that police officers have the power to tow away and impound cars parked in the bicycle lanes. That’s Section 134.1. Forget ticketing. Every car parked in a bike lane is immediately towed away and impounded. And the car owner has to pay big-time to get it back. That’s the law right now; all we have to do is enforce the existing law.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

      Thanks for the ideas Kevin. I have added them to our “readers wish list”.

      Regarding the HTA laws you are referencing, there is a difference between a law being written on paper, and the enforcement of a law ;)

      I think you would agree with me that there isn’t a whole lot of justice for cyclists who are injured or killed in collisions with motorists. I think you would also agree that parked cars in bike lanes is rarely enforced – especially when you compare enforcement of the curb lanes on downtown east-west arterials at rush hour (e.g. King street).

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13186428862833389619 Kevin Love

      I agree. Which is why my last words were “all we have to do is enforce the existing law.”

      The law allows police to tow away and impound all cars parked in bike lanes. The fact that the Toronto police fail to do so is a police disciplinary and management issue.

      So here is my wish: I wish for a police force that upholds and enforces the law.

    • Anonymous

      Kevin: the reason bikes are banned from subways is not due to lack of space in the train, so much as lack of space in the downtown stations.

    • http://twitter.com/GSawision george sawision

      years later nothing has changed and peoples requests like this fall on deaf ears