After the disgraceful decision by the City’s Public Works Committee meeting last week to remove the recently installed bike lanes on Jarvis St, I decided I needed to try to speak directly to the mayor. After all, he claims that he listens. Below is the letter I have sent to him. I will also be writing to my city councillor to let him know that I can’t support a council that would vote for such backwards policies and planning.
Dear Mr. Mayor,
I’m writing to you as a citizen and taxpayer of Toronto. I found last week’s committee decision to remove existing bike infrastructure on Jarvis St, Pharmacy Ave, and Birchmount Rd distressing and confusing.
You campaigned on a promise of cutting out wasteful spending, yet this recent move, as well as your decision to cancel transit city, would cost the taxpayers money for absolutely no reason.
The bike lanes on Jarvis harm no one and help many. City of Toronto reports have made it clear that vehicle traffic was barely affected – and will be even less so once traffic lights are adjusted – and bicycle traffic tripled. The installation of bike lanes was originally part of a larger plan to revitalize the street in an effort to make it more liveable for the residents of the area. They pay taxes too.
Furthermore, this decision was made with no opportunity for public consultation, nor consultation with the local councillor. How can you say you’re listening to taxpayers when you don’t bother to ask us what we think?
I often hear you tell people that you will do what the citizens of Toronto want. Well I’m a citizen of Toronto and what I want is to travel safely to my destination by bike or foot. I want to live in a city that values the needs of all citizens equally.
Installing bike lanes on city streets achieves several goals: it alleviates gridlock by reducing the number of cars on the street and allows cars and bikes to travel more quickly in their respective lanes; it reduces pollution; it promotes healthy activity; it reduces the burden on our public transit system; it provides safety for cyclists and encourages cycling; and it keeps pace with the rest of the world which is striving for innovative and clean transportation alternatives.
As mayor, you’ve got a unique opportunity to make the city a better place through true leadership and innovative thinking. Toronto can and should be a place that other mayors look to for inspiration. You get to choose what your legacy will be, Mr. Mayor. How do you want to be remembered?