Phone Rob Ford to save bike lanes: Facebook group
City council will debate new cycling plan this week
A Facebook group is calling on concerned cyclists to bombard the phone lines of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Monday in advance of proposed changes to the city's bike lanes.
"Rob Ford claims that he prides himself on being available by phone to all his constituents," the page says. "Even the ones that did not vote for him. Let's take him at his word."
City council will begin debating on a new cycling plan this week that could include the removal of bike lanes on Pharmacy Avenue, Birchmount Road and Jarvis Street.
The Facebook page provides Ford's phone number.
"I say we call the mayor and make it known that Toronto's cyclists, Toronto's would-be cyclists(who are just waiting for a safe way to ride), and the people who care about safety, want to be heard," the page says.
Several people posted that they had attempted to phone the mayor with most saying they had either left a voicemail or spoken with a member of his staff.
The Facebook page claims that usage on the Jarvis Street bike lane has increased over 300 per cent over the last year with no impact on vehicle traffic.
And the city released a report in April that showed changes in travel time along the street was negligible.
Study impact of creating more bike lanes
Last month, a report to the city's public works committee recommended the construction of a series of separate bike lanes in the downtown core.
This would include a separate bike path along the Bloor Viaduct between Sherbourne Street and Broadview Avenue.
Cycling advocates say protected lanes — which place a physical barrier between traffic and bicycles — are safer and would increase the number of people using bicycles to get around.
The report also said the city should study the impact of bike lanes along other downtown roads, including Richmond Street and several others. It also recommended the elimination of some existing routes, including those on Pharmacy Avenue and Birchmount Road.
If the plan is fully implemented, the city stands to install 13.9 kilometres of separated bike lanes downtown. Staff estimate that the maintenance costs for the separated lanes at about $200,000 per kilometre per year.
Ford said in June he supports the plan to remove some bike lanes, and said residents have been calling him to demand the Jarvis Street bike lanes be removed.
"I want to get rid of the bike lanes on Jarvis," said Ford. "A lot of people [have been] calling me and they want to get rid of them. I do what the taxpayers want me to do. They want them gone, so we're gonna try to get rid of them."