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
Natalie Alcoba, National Post
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.
BIKE LANE VOTE
VOTED AGAINST BIKE LANES ON UNIVERSITY*
-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)
VOTED FOR UNIVERSITY AVENUE BIKE LANES**
-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