Bike lanes narrowly defeated – how the councillors voted

If bike sharing in Toronto, bike rentals and a consciousness of biking is to succeed Torontonians do need places to ride. The issue of bike  lanes has been part of  Toronto politics  for many years.  Despite this level of interest 1/3 of councillors missed the crucial vote. Pay attention to who your councillors voted (if they bothered):

Friday, May 14, 2010

Third of councillors skip bike-lane vote

Proposal Defeated

Natalie Alcoba,  National Post

A plan to create bike lanes on University Avenue this summer was killed in a vote by city councillors this week. Brett Gundlock, National Post Files

More than one-third of city council missed the vote on Wednesday that killed a proposal to create bike lanes on University Avenue.

Proponents on either side said yesterday they expected a close vote, but appeared stunned nonetheless over a decision that came down to a mis-vote by a bike-friendly councillor.

Councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth) accidentally voted in favour of a motion to quash the University bike lane pilot project, which would have handed over two lanes of traffic to cyclists for the summer as an experiment. The rules didn’t allow her to correct her vote because it would have changed the outcome.

The motion passed 15-13.

It appears that uncertainty over when the decision would be made was partly to blame for 17 empty seats.

Council had rejected earlier bids to extend the meeting, so many councillors left assuming the issue would be dealt with the following day. In the end, the 28 remaining councillors pushed through to complete the agenda.

“That’s why sometimes it’s not a good idea just to keep going,” said Councillor Peter Milczyn (Etobicoke Lakeshore), who would have voted against University lanes had he not had to host his wife’s relatives from out of town.

“Council is scheduled for a particular time and sometimes people have city obligations, sometimes personal obligations.”

Mayor David Miller had left early to host the Mayor of Torino, to attend the launch of a photography project about life in Toronto’s high-rises, and, his spokesman said, he had made personal commitments after 8 p.m.

Councillor Karen Stintz (Eglinton-Lawrence) had to look after her children and David Shiner had to go home because of back problems; mayoral candidate Giorgio Mammoliti was voting on an issue in Emery Village, while Rob Ford, also running for mayor, was answering phone calls in his City Hall office.

“It’s unfortunate the full council wasn’t there to vote on that important issue, but at the end of the day I was happy with the outcome,” said Councillor Mark Grimes (Etobicoke

Lakeshore). He voted against the lanes because he thinks they would hamper ambulance service to area hospitals.

Ms. Stintz said she would have voted in favour of the initiative because she believes it was worth giving it a try before deciding whether to install lanes permanently.

“It’s not a transportation initiative, it’s a political initiative,” said Councillor Milczyn. “It’s basically staking a flag on the ground, saying this belongs to us. You know, a bike lane on University Avenue, from nowhere to nowhere, really doesn’t make any sense.”

Councillor Anthony Perruza (York Centre) said the issue has become such a “political hot potato” that he voted against it, even though he is an avid cyclist and believes separate bike lanes are necessary for safety.

Others maintain that the friction on the roads is manufactured.

Councillor Gord Perks (Parkdale-High Park) blamed “opportunists who are out there trying to create [an] issue out of what really is an issue around providing safe transportation for people who choose to ride bikes.

“If we provide better bicycle infrastructure, we take more people out of their cars, free up road space and make the whole system work better,” he said.

Yvonne Bambrick, with the Toronto Cyclist Union, could hardly hide her disappointment on Wednesday night. However, she said the failed vote may have been a blessing in disguise if the lanes would have fanned the flames of anti-bike sentiment.———



-Paula Fletcher (Toronto Danforth)

-Paul Ainslie (Scarborough East)

-Brian Ashton (Scarborough Southwest)

-Mike Del Grande (Scarborough-Agincourt)

-Mark Grimes (Etobicoke-Lakeshore)

-Suzan Hall (Etobicoke North)

-Doug Holyday (Etobicoke Centre)

-Norm Kelly (Scarborough Agincourt)

-Gloria Lindsay Luby (Etobicoke Centre)

-Denzil Minnan-Wong (Don Valley East)

-Ron Moeser (Scarborough East)

-Frances Nunziata (York South-Weston)

-Cesar Palacio (Davenport)

-John Parker (Don Valley West)

-Anthony Perruzza (York West)


-Maria Augimeri (York Centre)

-Janet Davis (Beaches-East York)

-Glenn De Baeremaeker (Scarborough Centre)

-Adam Giambrone (Davenport)

-Adrian Heaps (Scarborough Southwest)

-Pam McConnell (Toronto Centre-Rosedale)

-Joe Mihevc (St. Paul’s)

-Howard Moscoe (Eglinton Lawrence)

-Joe Pantalone (Trinity Spadina)

-Gord Perks (Parkdale-High Park)

-Kyle Rae (Toronto-Centre Rosedale)

-Bill Saundercook (Parkdale-High Park)

-Adam Vaughan (Trinity Spadina)


-Mayor David Miller

-Peter Milczyn (Etobicoke-Lakeshore)

-Sandra Bussin (Beaches-East York)

-Shelley Carroll (Don Valley East)

-Raymond Cho (Scarborough Rouge River)

-Frank Di Giorgio (York South-Weston)

-Michael Feldman (York Centre)

-John Fillion (Willowdale)

-Rob Ford (Etobicoke North)

-Cliff Jenkins (Don Valley West)

-Chin Lee (Scarborough-Rouge River)

-Giorgio Mammo (York West)

-Case Ootes (Toronto Danforth)

-David Shiner (Willowdale)

-Karen Stintz (Eglinton-Lawrence)

-Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre)

-Michael Walker (St. Paul’s)

* In favour of deleting University bike lanes from package of new bike lanes

** Voted against deletion


2 thoughts on “Bike lanes narrowly defeated – how the councillors voted

  1. votejohnrichardson Post author

    “Buttongate” – kills bike lanes:–fletcher-blames-fatigue-computer-system-for-mis-vote

    Fletcher blames fatigue, computer system for mis-vote

    May 13, 2010

    David Rider

    Cyclists make their way north on University Ave. opposite the now-cancelled summer bike lane pilot project. Under the plan, two lanes would have been removed and replaced by protected bike lanes from Richmond St. W. to Wellesley St. W./Hoskin Ave.

    Councillor Paula Fletcher is blaming fatigue and city hall technology for her University Ave. mis-vote that has cycling advocates mourning the loss of the ultimate in bike lanes.

    It was late Wednesday — almost 10 p.m. — and councillors had been at it for more than 12 hours when voting began on Councillor Suzan Hall’s motion to strip the controversial University Ave. pilot project from a package of new bike lanes.

    Deputy speaker Gloria Lindsay-Luby told the 28 councillors in the chamber: “It’s Councillor Hall’s motion deleting the bike lanes on the pilot project on University. Please press your buttons. This is for deletion.”

    In a momentous twitch of the finger, Fletcher, a fierce advocate of bike lanes and this proposal to bring median-hugging, protected lanes to busy University for the summer, pressed the green “Yes” button — tilting the balance 15-13 in favour of killing it.

    “It had been a very long day . . . and I thought I was voting on the whole enchilada” of more than 30 kilometres of bike paths and lanes, including University, Fletcher (Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth) told the Star on Thursday.

    “I realized what I had done and I pushed the red button” to vote “no.” But, when the results were put up on a screen, she was a “yes.”

    A councillor howled “Paula!” and she admitted her initial mistake but added: “I pushed the red button!” and asked for a re-vote. Lindsay-Luby ruled that wasn’t allowed if it would change the outcome — the amendment would have failed on a 14-14 tie.

    Fletcher said that when she pressed the red button she was still seeing a flashing message indicating voting was open, and wants the technology investigated.

    John Elvidge of the city clerk’s office says councillors can change their votes until all have voted. Results are then locked in, he said, with maybe a “millisecond” lag before the computer system indicates voting is closed.

    “We don’t think there is a problem with the system,” he said.

    Toronto Cyclists Union executive director Yvonne Bambrick watched from the gallery as the project, putting lanes behind solid posts from Richmond St. W. to Wellesley St. W./Hoskin Ave. for three months, suffered its strange death.

    “It’s a pretty significant let-down that the most innovative and forward-looking project, when we would finally have physically separated bike lanes in Toronto — the ultimate in protected space for cyclists — should fail in this way,” she said Thursday.

    Still, Bambrick doesn’t blame Fletcher. “There’s disappointment, not anger,” she said. “People make mistakes. It’s a distracted, busy environment (at city council) and the meeting had gone long.”

    Bambrick noted that, had Fletcher voted as she had intended it’s possible the subsequent vote on the whole package could have been defeated, meaning no new lanes.

    “It would have been all or nothing,” she said, adding she’s hopeful the University Ave. project will be proposed next year.

    The #bikeTO Twitter feed was buzzing Thursday about what one user dubbed “buttongate.” Some ridiculed Fletcher but others were angrier that 16 councillors and Mayor David Miller — a proponent of the project — weren’t there to vote.

    Miller spokesman Stuart Green said: “After hosting the mayor of Torino and then attending the Thousandth Tower (film) event in the rotunda, (Miller) had a personal commitment scheduled for after council was supposed to have ended,” at 8 p.m.

    Mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi, who had said it was “sheer madness” to put the lanes on University and remove two car lanes, was crowing.

    “I’m delighted that sanity has prevailed and I have won my first council vote,” joked Rossi, who wants bike lanes put only on secondary roads.

    Faye Lyons of the Canadian Automobile Association said her organization is “pleased” the project was killed because the city hadn’t adequately studied its potential impact on vehicle flow.

  2. Pingback: Ward 29 Bikes – Commute to city hall May 31 « Vote John Richardson – Independent Judgment For Toronto Danforth – Ward 29!

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