Over this past Thanksgiving weekend, many of us spent time putting away our summer furniture, closing up our patios, and as we sunk a bit deeper into the Fall season, we began to recognize that Winter is just around the corner.
It’s the opposite of that thing called “Spring Cleaning,” which also comes about as one season turns into another.
But do you know who doesn’t seem to understand the turning of the seasons? The City of Toronto.
Why else can you explain their 365-day commitment to bicycle-lanes in the downtown core, even though we suffer some of the harshest winters on the planet?
Yeah, alright, lay it on me.
This is one of those posts that I know people will object to, although to be perfectly honest, I’m not expecting more than maybe 15-20% in disagreement.
I’ve made my feelings known: I’m not a fan of dedicated bicycle lanes.
But it’s not because I’m a snob, or a “rightie,” or any of the things that people who don’t like bike lanes are often labelled.
It’s because, to be perfectly honest, I’m logical.
Did you watch that video?
Did you see ANY bikes in that bike lane?
That’s a short, random sample. It’s only three minutes, but we didn’t see any bikes.
So I’m of the opinion that to take a lane of traffic away, and hand it over to bikes, is only logical if the usage necessitates it.
What’s the ratio of cars to bikes? Put a number to it, if you can.
Is that reasonable?
Maybe it’s 200-to-1, or maybe it’s 400-to-1. Either way, it’s not enough to necessitate a dedicated lane for bikes.
Now throw that whole “winter” thing into the equation, and I understand the logic even less. For a quarter-year or more, about 95% of cyclists won’t ride, or can’t ride, and yet the dedicated bike lanes remain.
Toronto suffers from traffic congestion, and has for many years. At the current moment, it’s only getting worse.
So how does taking a 4-lane road, and a major east-west artery in Richmond Street, and shrinking it down to three lanes make any sense?
I’ll be honest here: I don’t have the answer to the question, “How do we solve Toronto’s gridlock.”
But I know that taking away a lane of traffic does not help.
And I would imagine that bike lane will be a lonely, lonely place come wintertime…