University Avenue Bike Lanes…..Not So Fast…


3 minute read

May 14, 2010

How the hell is this possible in today’s day and age?

A Toronto City Councilor “mis-voted” on a major issue involving dedicated bike lanes on University Avenue.

“Yes” is the opposite of “No,” but one City Councilor still couldn’t distinguish.

Perhaps she should go back to University…


Sorry, that was an awful pun.

But how could I leave it alone?  A grown woman, who is conceivably well-schooled, can’t vote correctly at a City Council meeting?  I’m not sure if this was a true/false, yes/no, or A/B type vote, but I’d like to think that a public figure who is entrusted by millions of Torontonians might be able to get the vote right the first time around.

Of course, this didn’t stop the woman from petitioning for a “re-vote” or a vote-change!

Here is the article as it first appeared in the Toronto Star…

Mis-vote derails University Ave. bike plan

Councillor Paula Fletcher casts vote for the wrong item

There won’t be bike lanes along University Ave. this summer, thanks to an accidental mis-vote by councillor Paula Fletcher.

City council voted down the proposal 15 to 13. Fletcher accidently voted in favour of an amendment to remove University Ave. from a larger bike lane plan.

Had she voted the way she intended there would have been a tie. From there, councillors would have been left to vote on the larger bike lane plan, including University. This would likely have passed.

“I feel terrible,” she said afterwards. It’s a very unfortunate thing and it’s unfortunate that we’re not allowed to get the vote changed. . . And I have to live by that and I’m truly sorry.”

The controversial pilot project to put European-style separate bike lanes along the median lanes of University was announced last month. Mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi called it “sheer madness.”

It would have seen two car lanes removed — one northbound, one southbound —–between Richmond St. W. to Wellesley St. W./Hoskin Ave. for three months. Cyclists would have been separated from cars by a three-metre buffer and dividing posts.

Daniel Egan, manager of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure for the city, estimated the project will cost between $30,000 and $40,000.

Preliminary studies predicted there would be minimal traffic impact as University Ave. has “excess capacity.”

Fletcher said several councilors immediately approached her promising to tackle the issue once again next year.


Well, I’m sure you all know how I feel about this!

As a dedicated car-driver, I’m not in favour of any of the proposals for bike lanes on downtown Toronto streets.

It’s not because I hate cyclists or love cars, but rather because I think that there is enough gridlock in Toronto already (due to poor roads and public transit, but those are topics for other days…) and reducing the car lanes on Jarvis and University for new bike lanes will only make things worse.

But at least I’m not the bad guy here!

The bad guy, or girl, in this case, is Paula Fletcher!

How could she possibly vote “incorrectly” on the University bike lane proposal?

Sure, there were probably several issues up for voting that day.

Maybe she left her glasses at home.

Maybe she brought her child to work, and he had a peanut-butter sandwich which got all over the voting card and low-and-behold, she filled in the wrong bubble….with peanut-butter…

Maybe she was in a hurry to go to a fancy lunch on tax-payers’ money, and the oversight could simply be blamed on a growling tummy!  Wait, I shouldn’t say that.  That’s not fair.  Who knows if this lady is just another Christine Nunziata

There are a host of other silly, made-up excuses that we could offer up to explain this tragic mishap.  But I’m wondering why we weren’t treated to an excuse directly from the horses mouth!

Give us something other than “It’s a very unfortunate thing….and I’m truly sorry.”

Clearly, I’m not in favour of these proposed bike lanes.

But not only was the outcome of this 15-13 vote satisfactory to me, but we also get a fantastic story about another inept Toronto politician who can’t tell day from night.

So who’s everybody voting for in the Mayoral race?

I’m thinking Rocco Rossi…

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. Justin

    at 11:08 am

    Having attended a few council meetings, I can understand how something like this could happen. I find that the voting can go quite quickly, and when you add amendment motions and other such things, it can become confusing. It doesn’t make it right, but I can understand that it happened the way she describes.

  2. LC

    at 1:25 pm

    Serves them right. And I’d bet money that they’d go well over their $40K budget. Suddenly it will cost $1.5 million for a pilot project….

    I’d vote for Rossi if he cancelled his plans to sell Toronto Hydro – ie. the ONE resource the city owns that actually generates a profit. No pun intended.

  3. Meh

    at 2:45 pm

    I don’t see how you can be concerned with gridlock when you do your own part to create gridlocks by parking illegally…

    No parking locations are there usually to increase traffic flow during peak times and near intersections to keep turning cars from blocking straight through traffic.

    You cause gridlock

  4. David Fleming

    at 3:20 pm

    @ LC

    That’s right – I forgot about Rossi’s plans to sell Toronto hydro! There have been a few politicians to step up and suggest this. I don’t understand why. Their visions are so short-sighted. Money in the hand now is worth so much more to them than long term prospertity. What’s the adage? “Give a boy a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a boy to fish, feed him for life…”

  5. IanC

    at 4:35 am

    Sure, there is gridlock now! Can’t be worse than in China, and other parts of Europe – where people can get around on personal bikes nicely and not so well in in single vehicle cars.

    Keeping the status quo won’t speed things up for motorists. However, giving this City some hope of a connected bike network will give those that have the option of hopping on a bike an opportunity to beat the gridlock – and live in a treasured downtown. Should we deny those people, a potentially growing group, a safer gridlock solution just because not everyone can partake in the rewards?

    And there is a lot of room for a growing biking community… Seeing a bike whiz past you in gridlock might make one or two people consider a bike! They might even build more bike-friendly condos!

    I know that everyone can’t bike, and some businesses have to make deliveries, but for that reason should we give up?

    With condo maintenance fees going so high, not owning a car is one reason for justifying the monthly expense (and renting out the spot if you have one!). I would be one that would think twice about paying $$$x per square foot and $$$x per month if I lived downtown and had to buy a car. I’d drive it to my new home on the outskirts of central Toronto (I would still like to be near or accessible to a subway).

    I am not saying that bike lanes will be 100% utilized at first, but give it some time. When they start connecting to each other – they will be used. Maybe someone is thinking ahead.

    Can everyone tell that I just bought my first adult bike on Friday?

  6. McBloggert

    at 8:25 am

    @ MEH

    I can’t for the life of me understand why you read the blog when you clearly don’t like the author of it! Every post you make is negative and generally directed at the author; maybe time to move on and find a site that aggravates you less?

    Perhaps it is Howard Stern syndrome; those who identify themselves as hating Stern, listen twice as long as the ones who like it. The reason; wanting to know what he will say next…

  7. Krupo

    at 10:46 pm

    I just biked up University today. I don’t need no stinkin’ bike lane.

    I do appreciate the effort to make us feel more European and liveable, but with minimal training/experience anyone can handle traffic on a bike. The fear mongering and former-Attorney-Generals-getting-away-with-vehicular-death don’t help though.

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