two weeks ago we had our municipal elections here in Toronto, Canada. there was record voter turnout, and the anti-bike, anti-immigrant, red faced, short-tempered politician sadly won with a huge margin. now our bike community has to figure out what to do with four years of a mayor who threatens to remove bike lanes, cancel transit-building plans and protect the god-given right of driving by removing vehicle registration taxes.
it didn’t take long for our friend in New York, bike snob NYC, to catch wind of this and weigh in on the topic.
The same month as Toronto reached our goal of subscribers in order to finalize plans to implement Bixi here next year, we elect a mayor such as this. One of the reasons is that the Greater Toronto Area includes all the suburbs around the main city, meaning one mayor must represent the car-driving suburban working class as well as the densely dwelling urbanite who bikes and uses transit. These are simplifications of the problem but you see my point. We are a bunch of cities in one. It’s a shame that the city of Toronto proper can’t be it’s own entity as there’s no way one political perspective will ever be able to speak for everyone.
Here’s an illustration of who voted for whom, from the Torontoist website:
Toronto has such a huge number of people who bike every day. You might not even call them “cyclists” as it’s just a part of their life, and you don’t call everyone who drives a car a “car driver”. We are a bike friendly city mostly by the virtue that there are always so many bikes on the road. The discouraging thing is that when horrible things happen and people get hit or die on their bikes, there is no support for them. Most drivers don’t even get charged! We have little infrastructure for safe routes. It seemed that in 2010 we were finally starting to see some of that change (we got a bike lane on Jarvis, sharrows on College, Dundas and others, bike boxes, and Bixi) and then we elected Rob Ford.
sigh. Let’s see what happens in 2011…
by Kathleen from Toronto Canada.