After years of lobbying and studies, an inconclusive committee debate, and several hours of council deliberation, Toronto's full council endorsed the introduction of protected bike lanes along Bloor Street for a one year trial period by a surprising 38 to 3 margin!
The lanes, separated from traffic by a painted buffer, bollards and/or parked cars, are expected to cost roughly $500,000 to put in. They will come at the expense of parking on one side of Bloor, and the net loss of revenue to Toronto Parking as an outcome would be $840,000 a year. The pilot is intended to be put in place by "late summer" and a report on the results of the installation is projected to be made in the third quarter of 2017.
A week earlier Mayor John Tory voiced lukewarm support for the bike lanes, saying he would want the trial results studied "carefully from every single standpoint." During the debate, however, he was clear that conducting the trial would be "the right thing to do" and that it wasn't a "revolutionary idea."
The idea that the council has been waging a "war on cars" was popularised by Rob Ford in his 2010 election campaign and Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti told the meeting that bike lanes on Bloor would mean this war would continue. Councillors Jim Karygiannis and Stephen Holyday joined him in voting against the lanes. But even Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong, who spoke of his fear that lanes could "creep" along Bloor and onto the Danforth in his riding ultimately backed the trial.
Ward 4's John Campbell (Etobicoke Centre) had been leaning against endorsing the proposal in the days running up to the vote, concerned at a negative potential impact on local businesses. The day before the vote, however—encouraged by the CBC's Matt Galloway and, reportedly, by his daughter—Campbell rode in to city hall along Bloor Street, tweeting along the way.
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