“Well, actually, I’m wearing pinko for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything, ...”
—Don Cherry

At 460 Yonge Street there is a proposal to build a tower with two floors of retail, one floor of commercial space, 599 condo units and only 156 parking spots for the condo residents.

Instead of giving the condo residents a parking spot, the developer will provide them with 10 parking spots for car sharing and bike racks for 608 bicycles.

Do the developers, left wing politicians, environmentalists and city planners actually believe that thousands of condo owners will buy and ride bicycles? In all weather? For all 12 months?

It appears to me to be an idea that suits socialist dreamers and capitalist self-interests rather than something based on reality.

Can you see this scene happening on King Street West during rush hour?

As long as I have lived, Toronto has had cold, wet and snowy winters. Despite global warming, I can't see our weather improving.

The reality
“Cyclists are a pain in the ass.”
—Rob Ford  25 May 2009

Toronto councillors are battling now between the progressive bicycle and transit lovers and the pro-car forces lead by Rob Ford. The pro-car forces have human nature on their side.

Rob Ford defeated George Smitherman to become mayor of Toronto

A car hits a group of bicycle racers

Cars and bicycles do not belong on the same roadways. It is too dangerous for the bicycle riders. If the city wants to encourage bicycles, then they need to build a comprehensive system of bicycle paths, secure parking areas and dedicated bike lanes.

Bicyclists have to carry around their helmets and night-time lighting package. While riding, they need to carry around a heavy lock and chain as bicycle theft is a big problem.

Bike lanes
A comparison of the amount of dedicated bike lanes that exist on city streets.
Montreal: 730 kilometres
Copenhagen: 443 kilometres
Chicago: 320 kilometres
Toronto: 114 kilometres

The Complete Streets concept
City planners hate cars and believe that if a city has more density, it can afford to build better public transit and the city will become a cleaner and healthier place to live.

The "Pinkos" and the "Greens" are promoting the Complete Streets concept where cars share city streets with subways, taxis, delivery trucks, buses, LRTs, scooters, motorcycles, bicycles, E-bikes (the silent killers), pedestrians and the local wildlife.

Great idea but it depends on a greatly improved transportation structure that may come into existence thirty years from now—long after I am dead.

Until then, I contend that it will remain far too impractical to reduce the number of motor vehicle lanes on our major city streets to accommodate bicycle riders.

Condo owners—Bixi's last cash cow
Bixi was Toronto's bicycle rental program that was bleeding cash and was close to closing up shop.

Within days of starting up, it was cars 5, Bixi 0

Bixi's critics, including Mayor Ford, believed that the bicycle rental scheme was a failure and should have been scrapped.

Its supporters claim that all it needed was more bicycle rental stations, over a far larger area, for Bixi to become far more popular and become profitable. All it needed was very deep pockets to fork over lots of cash.

In 2013, things looked bleak for Bixi until Kristyn WongTam, city councillor for Ward 27, made a deal with three condo developers to donate a total of $1,000,000 to Bixi. In return for this Section 37 money, the three developers got permission to provide fewer parking spaces in their new developments than what the city required.

The first $1 million was composed of $500,000 from Canderel, from a project at Yonge and College Sts., $200,000 from Diamond Corp’s 159 Wellesley St. E. project, and $300,000 from Lanterra’s transformation of Sutton Place.

Bike Share Toronto

In 2014, Bixi's owner filed for bankruptcy so Bixi was taken over by the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA). Its new name is Bike Share Toronto

Prices for 24-hour passes are $7.00; 72-hour passes from $12 to $15. Prices for monthly memberships will be $18, and annual memberships will be $90. Corporate memberships are available. (2014 figures.)

Meanwhile, the TPA was looking for a corporate sponsor for the program.

Bike lanes coming to Yonge Street?
02 October 2013
Maybe in a few years. Bicycles and motor vehicles don’t mix so bicyclists are demanding bike lanes on Toronto’s major streets.

So why should condo owners care what a tiny group of bicycle enthusiasts and a handful of city councillors think? Because condo owners are going to be heavily affected by what the city planners approve.

Developers are building far too few parking spaces in the downtown condo projects and are demanding high prices for the limited spots that they build. This will result in thousands of condo residents having nowhere to park a car.

So one of two things will happen. Condo owners will buy bicycles to commute around the city, more or less year round. Occasionally they will use car-sharing programs, the TTC, Uber, they will rent a car or hail a cab and be quite happy living without owning a car.

Will the morning rush hour on Toronto Streets look like this?

If this happens, there will be thousands more bicyclists on Toronto’s streets.

It is also possible that thousands of new condo owners will own cars and need to rent commercial parking spots or they will demand street parking permits from their city councillors.

First we take Eglinton
The city planners are proposing that once the LRT is built along Eglinton, it should have wider sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes leaving only two lanes for motor vehicles with two more lanes open, in certain sections, during rush hours. Then they wanted bicycle lanes on Bloor Street. (That plan failed and then got off the ground as a pilot project in 2016.)

Then we take Yonge
“There are a lot of psycho cyclists out there, and the majority are becoming psycho cyclists. It’s not the cars that are going crazy — not the pedestrians — certainly not the motorcyclists. It’s the psycho cyclists.”
—York Centre Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti

Now the bicycle enthusiasts are eying Yonge Street, all the way from Lake Ontario to Steeles Avenue.

Cycle Toronto held a meeting at the Northern District Library one evening in 2013 to start planning on what bicycle riders feel is needed to make bike riding a safe alternative to driving cars or using the TTC on Yonge Street.

City councilors Karen Stintz and Josh Matlow participated while Kristyn Wong-Tam  and John Filion sent messages of support.

For Yonge to become bike-friendly they want:

Far more bicycle parking racks at the subway stations and major intersections.

The Bixi rental program to be greatly expanded.

Dedicated bicycle lanes on Yonge Street.

A safe way for bicyclists to ride through the Yonge Street and 401 intersection.

Improved snow removal.

Road improvements.

So cars need to be restricted to accommodate an expected increase in bicycles and pedestrians.

By 2016, the city planners were talking about expanding Yonge Street sidewalks and making Yonge a two-lane road for motor vehicles.

Who loses?
“Cars are not scared of you, they don't care about the traffic lights. Those riding the e-bikes too. Almost every day I see a traffic accident. It is also difficult to find a place to park a bike because it is easy for it to be stolen.”
—Monica Chen   Shanghai bicyclist

Since the very thrifty Chinese are buying cars and abandoning bicycles as fast as they possibly can—the city of Shanghai banned bicycles from its major downtown streets in 2004—do you really think that Canadians have been struck by some crazy fever making us want to go back in time?

Will tricycles and handcarts replace the Ford F150 pickup?

Will fruit markets deliver?

If the bike craze dies, the downtown condo residents will be screaming for parking and that is when they will realize that they are the ones who ended up paying a huge price for a failed bicycle revolution.

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