Council votes to remove Jarvis bike lanes
Published Wednesday, July 13, 2011 10:15PM EDT
City council has voted 28-17 in favour of removing the bike lanes on Jarvis Street.
In a related motion, council decided to delay the removal of the lanes for one year until a separated bike lane is installed on Sherbourne Street.
The contentious debate over the bike lanes streteched on for two days at City Hall.
Including Wednesday's meeting, councillors debated the issue for more than nine hours.
In the end councilors also voted to remove bike lanes on Birchmount Road and Pharmacy Avenue in Scarborough.
The vote was witnessed by dozens of cyclists who crammed city hall to express their displeausre. Police were dispatched in case the crowd got out of control, but no incidents were reported.
"I'm saddened by it," Coun Joe Mihevc told CP24 following the vote. "I don't know if any city in Canada has actually removed a bike lane, but here you have it. Today we are removing three and it is a really sad day for bicyclists in Toronto. We are going backwards and this doesn't bode well for the environment and it doesn't bode well for the economy."
The bike lanes on Jarvis Street, between Queen and Isabella streets, cost $75,000 to install, but the cost to remove them could be as much as $200,000.
The installation included the removal of the reversible centre lane of traffic, reducing Jarvis Street to four lanes from five.
Since the lanes were installed, daily ridership along the route has grown from 300 cyclists to 900, but traffic studies have shown a slight increase in travel time for motorists between Mount Pleasant Road and Queen Street.
About 30,000 motorists use the road every day.
One of the councillors pushing for the bike lanes to be removed was Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong.
He said it would be safer for cyclists and motorists to have separate bike lanes away from major streets.