Toronto “bike wars” debate rages

The latest dispatch from the battle on Toronto’s streets between cyclists and cars comes to us courtesy of Lisa Rochon in the Saturday edition of The Globe and Mail. This ongoing tension has been alternately referred to as “bike wars” and “war on the car” – depending on your perspective on the issue, I would guess. If you’ve not read any of the debate so far, check out Shawn Micallef’s take. It’s a good starting point with some links to articles from The Star and NOW. (Adding to Micallef’s piece: I’ve driven on Eastern Avenue down by the Beach before and after the bike lane introduction. Frankly, traffic moves better now. The new turning lanes have improved flow. And there’s no more lane changing by drivers which was the main cause of traffic backing up before the bike lanes were installed.)

Rochon looks at Copenhagen’s bike system to back up here argument that Toronto City Hall isn’t doing nearly enough for cycling culture in the city despite their proclamation otherwise. She outlines many of the initiatives undertaken by the city, including an entire department under the transportation portfolio tasked with managing a $15M budget for cycling projects.  Matthew Blackett wrote about the same for The Toronto Star and Spacing website back in May. The timing of Rochon’s piece coincides with the city’s bike saftey blitz week.

And for those who enjoy reading about policy setting on cycling issues, you’ll find a short report here on Bike Summit 2009, described as a day-long conference on cycling policy co-hosted by the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation (TCAT) and the Clean Air Partnership. The article highlights four suggestions proposed by a speaker from the Netherlands to make cycling more accessible in the city.

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