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Battle over Jarvis bike lanes continues to wage on

Posted by Derek Flack / April 19, 2012

Jarvis Bike Lanes TorontoThe City of Toronto is ticking to its guns on plans to remove the Jarvis Bike lanes. Despite receiving a well-publicized legal opinion from the Toronto Cyclists Union that suggests an Environmental Assessment is required to eliminate cycling infrastructure on the street, the Sun reports today that Transportation Services has come to the conclusion that no new study is required.

"After careful consideration and assessment, in short, and respectfully, we are unable to agree with the conclusions in your letter," wrote Transportation Services acting general manager Andrew Koropeski in a letter to the union. So the big question becomes whether or not the Bike Union will take the matter to Minister of the Environment, a course of action it previously indicated it would pursue if the City rejected its request.

Is this the end of the line for bike lanes on Jarvis? It's possible — but I sure wouldn't bet on supporters of the lanes just packing it in on account of this news.

Photo by Martin Reis in the blogTO Flickr pool



Rob Ford Is Greater Than God / April 19, 2012 at 03:22 pm
Explanation / April 19, 2012 at 03:41 pm
Can one the proponents of the bike lanes explain why they cant use or create bike lanes one block west or east of Jarvis?

Why does it HAVE to be Jarvis?

Let's share the roads. replying to a comment from Explanation / April 19, 2012 at 03:45 pm
Because it is a wide enough street, and in much better shape than Sherbourne. If you're driving and it bothers you, why not just go over a block in either direction? There are other streets nearby.
Gordon replying to a comment from Explanation / April 19, 2012 at 03:46 pm
Why do we have to remove bike lanes that were installed and not move on? They're in. Why waste half a million to put the road back to five lanes that didn't work in the first place?
Four lanes works. Leave it alone.
Dan / April 19, 2012 at 03:47 pm
Can one of the opponents of the bike lanes explain why drivers can't use any other roads in the city?

Why aren't 4 lanes of traffic on Jarvis enough? Do we really need more?

Cause it looks like the current configuration allows everyone to share the roads. Not just drivers.
Mike / April 19, 2012 at 04:07 pm
So if an Environmental Assessment is done, who's paying for it?
Blah / April 19, 2012 at 04:18 pm
Paul / April 19, 2012 at 04:22 pm
&@*% the bike lanes!
Explanation replying to a comment from / April 19, 2012 at 04:25 pm
That's a good point. I don't drive by the way. So it really doesn't effect me personally. I'm an unfortunate TTC client.

I just find the discussion polarizing for little reason. I understand the need for vehicles and trucks to get in and out of the city in good time. They will pollute less and if you have them using a major artery, it would make it safer on other roads.

My sense, and its just my personal feeling, is that this is all about egos and making a point (for both drivers and bikers and politicians) more than doing what is the best for the majority of road users on TO.

The only way forward is to have a comprehensive bike network, assess ALL options, and if Jarvis proven to be required in that process, then it should be used. But failing a big picture plan, these types of discussions that involve just a small piece of the big picture, are a waste of time.
stopitman replying to a comment from Mike / April 19, 2012 at 04:29 pm
The city would presumably have to pay for it... I'd assume by going to the Minister of MOE they can order the city to undertake the EA since it's a city funded road and project.
JarvisResident replying to a comment from Explanation / April 19, 2012 at 04:43 pm
The biggest reason in my world is that the City just spent a lot of money putting the bike lanes in and it seems like a waste of tax dollars to spend a lot of money taking them out again. As someone who lives on Jarvis and both drives and cycles, the bike lanes haven't affected my travel time either way.

So if the City is really as cash-strapped as some would have us believe, why would we waste money taking out bike lanes that aren't causing a problem? Doesn't sound very respectful of our tax dollars to me.
Tommy / April 19, 2012 at 04:50 pm
Just a reminder that this whole mess started with the plan to improve Jarvis to make it more pedestrian friendly and more of a destination street, instead of pseudo-highway. It was always in the plan to go down to 4 lanes - originally the 5th lane room was going to be filled in with sidewalk. Instead, it was suggested to save money, and build a bike lane - win, win, or so we all thought.

Now it's a big "bikes vs. cars" debate, and the original plan of city building is lost because of Ford's rhetoric. This is why we can't have nice things.
Tom / April 19, 2012 at 04:54 pm
We had nice things. We had a road that worked for the majority of users. It was destroyed by a petty and vindictive Mayor. Finally things are being returned to normal and separated bike lanes are being created to serve that method of transit on roads that can actually use them. Win, win.
Antony / April 19, 2012 at 06:12 pm
"You" had a road that worked for drivers to drive through.

Local residents, students, and workers had a crappy, noisy, dangerous street. A street that wasn't "normal" by any standard.

That was the whole point of the Jarvis Revitalization project - to make the road a street again.

I honestly don't care if the bike lanes are removed. Spend the millions to move the curb lines in and widen the sidewalks.
Antony / April 19, 2012 at 06:14 pm
And you know what - drivers still have 4 freaking lanes! That's practically the whole right-of-way!

Any complaints about "oh, it's so much slower than it was before" ignore that the GTA is growing every year, and there's no space for more cars. Of course driving is getting slower every year!
Holidaysmouth / April 19, 2012 at 06:58 pm
Damn Pinko's roads are for cars and not bikes, get off the roads. Once again voters, i highly stress do not elect bike riding pinko's to city council on 2014.
John / April 19, 2012 at 07:00 pm
Can one the proponents of the bike lanes explain why they cant use or create bike lanes one block west or east of Jarvis?

Sure. I live on Jarvis. It's my street and I cycle on it every day. If you can't share, take another route.
Nice English / April 19, 2012 at 07:12 pm
"Battle... Continues to Wage On" might be the most poorly-written headline in BlogTO history.

Ron replying to a comment from John / April 19, 2012 at 07:20 pm
Hi John.

Bikes lanes should exist on every street that has space to accomodate them. They keep bikes out of cars' way, and cars out of bikes' way. That's good for everybody, and that's why a lot of car drivers support bike lanes. It's strage to think there are motorists out there who'd rather go back to sharing their lanes with cyclists on Jarvis. I'm a driver and I hate sharing lanes with cyclists. Bike lanes are awesome.

Also, your question begs a similar question: If there are car drivers who hate the bike lanes, why can't they just drive one block west or east? It'll save the city a lot of expenditure on bike lane removal ($272,000 to be precise). Isn't saving money what we elected Rob Ford to do?

rp / April 19, 2012 at 07:20 pm
...for some reason, many people seem to think that removing the bike lane is the equivilant of banning cyclists from Jarvis. Cyclists will continue to use Jarvis with or without bike lanes, so leaving them as is makes more sense for drivers, cyclists, and the city's bottom line....
Alphaplus / April 19, 2012 at 09:44 pm
Since the Rob Ford fans love to insult everyone so much and call people names, I'll say this:

If you don't understand that modern, successful cities in 2012 build bike lanes, complete streets, improved site furnishings, slow zones etc. in lieu of dedicating every goddamned inch of ROW to auto-exclusive asphalt, then you are an Epsilon-minus sub-moron who needs to travel more. Your thoughts are literally out of date, useless, and harmful to society. Perish them. Got it?
Grant / April 19, 2012 at 10:53 pm
I think it's time the City of Toronto is held accountable for not adhering to the alternative transportation guidelines in the provincially mandated growth plan. The province created policies that directs the city to create alternatives to cars. This is part of the agreement for increasing development downtown. How much longer will the boom in condo development last? Section 37 benefits should be used for things like sidewalk and bike lane upgrades. When the province wrote all the flowery language about "smart growth" , "walkable" and "sustainable" cities,
the expectation if you read this stuff is that the city to actually supposed to build a bike lane or two downtown, not take the out.
Gabe replying to a comment from Grant / April 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm
Whatever Grant! The condo boom in Toronto will last as long s it needs to, as long as it can. Let it's run it's course, you'll learn. Obviously you're still naive.
MER1978 / April 19, 2012 at 11:53 pm
Isn't it fun how they're throwing up massive new condo buildings downtown every day + yet infrastructure that benefits people who actually live downtown doesn't seem to be a priority for anyone.

If all the angry people from the burbs don't want us to have a downtown relief subway line... maybe they'll be happier if we resurrect the Bay + Church streetcars to bring the Yonge subway ridership down to something less dangerous + awful.
Online Deals / April 20, 2012 at 01:43 am
ya sure that's my dream bike ever
SJB replying to a comment from Explanation / April 20, 2012 at 08:43 am
YES, share JARVIS! IT has to be JARVIS as it's a thoroughfare for bikes as much as it is for cars! THAT's WHY!
Xavier / April 20, 2012 at 09:13 am
I thought the idea was to replace the bikes lanes on Jarvis with separated bike lanes on Sherbourne. So looking at the change as a whole actually improves cycling infrastructure. Shouldn't this make everyone happy?
Tom / April 20, 2012 at 09:16 am
No biker complained about the cost to install the bike lane. Only now that the road is being made better for the most people do they complain. Bikers are narcissists. Use the special lane being created specifically for you.
Alex replying to a comment from Tom / April 20, 2012 at 10:16 am
I think you mean selfish, narcissistic doesn't really apply here (unless you saw all the bikers looking at themselves in their mirrors the whole time they biked down the street).

I don't get it, won't this make traffic on Jarvis slower? Instead of being separated from the cars the bikers will be in the car lanes, and cars will either have to slow down and go behind them until the bike or car turns, or they will have to slow down and pass them. Either way it will slow down the right lanes in both directions. I barely drive at all, but passing a bike makes me super nervous and I wish we had bike lanes on all the roads so I wouldn't have to worry about it.

Spending thousands of dollars to make traffic slower and the street less safe just seems ridiculous. Where were council's brains when they approved this?
Tom's Dad / April 20, 2012 at 11:15 am
Tom, my son. Installing the bike lanes on Jarvis cost the city $59,000. That's a lot of money, yes. But to remove them and return Jarvis to five lanes will cost the city an additional $272,000. Separated lanes on Sherbourne are being built whether the Jarvis ones are removed or not. Do you really think it's worth $272,000 of your tax dollars to take bike lanes off Jarvis?
BitMedler / April 20, 2012 at 11:25 am
I have to agree with the others in regards to the cost being my sticking point. At the end of the day, ending the gravy train doesn't include wasting money removing something for no other reason than to make a point.

I didn't think this was good placement in the first place - I'd rather see improved infrastructure on Sherbourne in the form of a full repave and fully separated bike lanes - benefitting both drivers and cyclists.

IMHO, the only way to bridge this divide is to go back to our roots - roads were built by the insistence of bicycles and everybody benefitted. Adding a bike lane on some of the most dangerous pavement in the city only irritates both and puts us at odds with each other.
Tommy replying to a comment from Xavier / April 20, 2012 at 11:26 am
There has been no progress on the Sherbourne lanes, and frankly I'm not expecting there ever to be given the climate at city hall. It's important to remember that Kristyn Wong-Tam put forward a motion to ensure that the Jarvis bikes lanes will be removed ONLY when the separated Sherboune lanes are installed. This was shot down by Denzil Minnan-Wong and the rest of council. The two projects are not connected to each other in any way.

For all who oppose the Javis lane in favour of Sherbourne, remember that cyclists have non-Sherbourne destinations too. Certainly Sherbourne is a convenient way to get to the lake shore, as well as connect up into Rosedale, and further north, but no one is going to detour out of their way just to use it. We need a local network of bike lanes, not just separated bike highways.

In terms of ride-ability, Jarvis is far superior due to better road surface, less gradient, safer neighbourhood, and the trees that provide shade in hot weather.
Micki replying to a comment from Tom / April 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm
Not really Tom. Have you tried to bike Sherbourne? The intersection at Bloor is SO dangerous. The Jarvis bike lanes slow traffic by (on average) ONE MINUTE and the road can handle it. Sherbourne is not as wide so using a lane for bikes makes no sense. Not to mention that it costs more to take them out than they cost to be put in.
Tom replying to a comment from Micki / April 20, 2012 at 01:17 pm
So now it's one minute huh. You bikers keep picking numbers out of thin air. First it was 5 minutes and then that didn't quiet anyone complaining because they knew better, then 2 minutes was tried and now you assert it is only 1 minute more? You are delusional if you believe that bullshit. Jarvis wasn't designed for bike lanes, it was forced on that road by Miller in order to attack the drivers who commute through the city to work. 2 hundred thousand is a small price to pay to fix the road for good.
Micki replying to a comment from Tom / April 20, 2012 at 02:16 pm
A) I'm not a biker. Don't assume things about people you don't even know; you know what they say when you assume.

B) The numbers I quoted were from a study about whether the lanes should be removed that COUNCIL commissioned. I am not pulling numbers out of thin air. And please be respectful, we're all human beings here. Just because I hold a different view does not make me delusional.

C) Whether it was "forced" on us by Miller or not, the fact remains that they are there now. Why spend over 200K to remove something that cost so much less to put in? That's gravy if ever I saw it.

D) I would much rather drive Jarvis with bike lanes to decrease the risk of a cyclist getting hit and possibly killed. At least if cyclists have a lane, the risk goes way down. Saving lives here Tom. Or if you're not concerned with injuries and deaths, you'll be saving yourself a lawsuit.

As one of the commentators mentioned earlier - quite rightly - just because there is no bike lane doesn't mean cyclists won't use Jarvis anyway; except that now it will be that much more dangerous. Jarvis is 4 lanes and can accommodate the bike lane. Sherbourne is not as wide which means this will be a more dangerous ride, plus the intersection at Bloor is a nightmare to cross.
Tom / April 20, 2012 at 04:28 pm
You are delusional if you believe that traffic is only slowed by 1 minute on Jarvis. The definition of delusional being the continued belief in something that is proven untrue. Sorry if I hurt your feelings but you are wrong. I would rather drive down Jarvis with 5 lanes. We managed before quite well. Not a lot of deaths or injuries either. The risk goes way down if they use the Sherbourne bike lanes too. No risk to them there. Explain why it was ok to spend the money to put in the bike lanes that ruined Jarvis for most commuters and yet it's not ok to spend some money to fix the problem? You like having bike lanes on Jarvis because you are a petty vindictive shit who wants to inconvenience drivers and make commuting a pain. You get your precious bike lanes, complete with separation barriers too one street over. That is a fair compromise.
Alex replying to a comment from Tom / April 20, 2012 at 04:47 pm
You can't call someone else delusional and then repeatedly mention non-existent Sherbourne separated bike lanes in your post. No one knows when (or if) the Sherbourne lanes will ever be put in.

As someone mentioned above the whole point of the Jarvis renewal (including the bike lanes) was to make the street better for the local community, not people using it as a thoroughfare. I imagine slowing down the traffic to make it safer for pedestrians and bikers was what they had in mind. You can't force people who actually live there to change their street for you just because you don't want to spend an extra 5 or whatever minutes driving through their neighbourhood.
realityCheck / April 20, 2012 at 04:53 pm
I'm not against bike lanes on Jarvis... though I don't quite understand why there need to be bike lanes on both Jarvis and Sherbourne. What I will say is that it is stuff like this that is driving Ford's polling numbers higher. Many people don't buy the argument that you can only bike on streets with bike lanes. Sorry, I bike and I don't limit myself to just bike lanes. Good work guys. You are doing your bit to get Ford re-elected. Ford is a bad mayor. Period. But quite frankly, many of his opponents come across and whiners.
effofftom / April 20, 2012 at 09:02 pm
Commuters along Jarvis should pay the expense. Road tolls would cover the cost of returning the old system. Seems reasonable. In general, we should follow suit with other cities like London and charge a congestion charge for driving within the downtown core.
Flom replying to a comment from Tom / April 21, 2012 at 02:09 am
"Not a lot of deaths"

How many deaths are acceptable? What amount of deaths require a bike lane?

And why would you rather drive sharing your lanes with bikes, than have the bikes out of your way in their own lane?

_n replying to a comment from Tom / April 22, 2012 at 01:59 am
Tom sounds like a Troll. Don't feed him.
Alex L / April 23, 2012 at 04:11 pm
Really, it's not a cars vs. bikes issue, it's a residents vs. commuters issue. I doubt that outside of the old City of Toronto that any councillor will vote to keep the bike lanes. Which is sad, because cycling saves space on the roads and is healthy for fitness.

We really have to accept that driving downtown is slow and we should instead focus on improving the quality of life of those who live there. Residents walk and cycle in the area all day long, while commuters use the street for two to four hours of the day. With all of the traffic lights on Jarvis, the speed is slow anyway. Adding one lane of traffic will not reduce the amount of idling traffic either. The commuters still have to go south of Queen Street where it is four lanes anyway and you'd have to tear down all the buildings to make it five lanes.
Gary / November 2, 2012 at 07:24 pm
I just walked down Sherbourne Street (5:15pm Fri. Nov 2, between Wellesley & Carlton) where the new Separated Bike Lanes have been installed.
Guess What.... in three different places there were cars pulled over into the bike lane and parked with there flashers on......I thought that is what a separated Bike lane was designed to stop.

I do not ride a bike , but I have lived on Jarvis St. for over 15 years. One thing I have noticed since the bike lanes have been installed is a dramatic reduction in car accidents on Jarvis St.
google / June 20, 2014 at 05:22 am
ride a bike , but I have lived on Jarvis St. for over 15 years. One thing I have noticed since the bike lanes have been installed is a dramatic reduction in car accidents on Jarvis St.
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