Rob Ford on removing the Jarvis Street bike lanes
In the wake of the Public Works Committee's decision to scrap the Jarvis bike lanes, a number of cycling advocates have taken the time to email the mayor regarding his support of their removal. Pasted below is the standard response that they've received. Although it's a stock email, it's nevertheless intriguing on account of Ford's characterization of the "experiment" as a failure and his general reasoning as to why: a threefold increase in cycling traffic still pales in comparison to the vehicular traffic facing delays.
No editorial from me on this one. Having heard a number of comments asking why Ford is not swayed by the increased traffic numbers, I thought I'd give the floor to the man himself. And, for those wondering how the City Council vote on the matter might shake out, Matt Elliott does some speculative number-crunching on his blog, Ford for Toronto.
Here's the email from the mayor.
Thank you for your email regarding the bike lanes on Jarvis Street. I appreciate hearing from you.
Toronto's economy loses billions of dollars every year from gridlock and traffic congestion. We need to make the situation better - not worse. The Jarvis Street bike lanes experiment has been a failure. Ninety-four percent of commuters now face longer commutes on Jarvis Street. Over 15,000 commuters each day are suffering from longer travel times, for the sake of 600 additional cyclists.
The City should remove the bike lanes as soon as possible and improve travel times for thousands of daily commuters. City staff have been directed to develop a low-cost plan to do so. Bike lanes were never intended to be installed on Jarvis Street. The original Environmental Assessment recommended against installing bike lanes - but City Council amended the report to approve bike lanes anyway.
As promised during the mayoral election, I am dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city.
Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. Please feel free to contact my office again at any time.
Mayor Rob Ford
City of Toronto
Photo by Martin Reis in the blogTO Flickr pool.