Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Letter to Rob Ford: city infrastructure

His Worship Rob Ford,
Mayor, City of Toronto,

I am writing you as a home owner and tax payer of the City of Toronto. I have lived in the Toronto area most of my life. I grew up in Etobicoke and Mississauga and now live in the Bloor and Ossington area. I have travelled and experienced getting around in many cities: Tokyo, Montreal, Warsaw, Prague, New York, San Francisco to name a few.

Toronto is falling further and further behind in how we move people in and out of the city. The reality, weather the City wishes to admit it or not is that cars, and the infrastructure that serves them is not the answer. As Toronto's population increases, traffic congestion will skyrocket. I work in Liberty Village and traffic congestion is getting out of control here. There are currently 5 new condos under construction, once completed it will be a giant slow moving parking lot. The solution is not to get rid of bike lanes, or street cars as there aren't any to get rid of. The solution is to get people to stop driving and into transit and alternative modes of transportation like cycling.

This is not a war on the car, this is reality. The removal of any cycling lanes in the city, sends the message that it's ok to get into your car and drive wherever you need to go. This will only increase traffic congestion. It is cars that cause traffic, not transit or bicycles.

Thank you for listening,
Paul Tichonczuk

I got a canned response very quickly:

Thank you for your email regarding the bike lanes on Jarvis Street. I appreciate hearing from you.

Toronto's economy loses billions of dollars every year from gridlock and traffic congestion. We need to make the situation better - not worse. The Jarvis Street bike lanes experiment has been a failure. Ninety-four percent of commuters now face longer commutes on Jarvis Street. Over 15,000 commuters each day are suffering from longer travel times, for the sake of 600 additional cyclists.

The City should remove the bike lanes as soon as possible and improve travel times for thousands of daily commuters. City staff have been directed to develop a low-cost plan to do so. Bike lanes were never intended to be installed on Jarvis Street. The original Environmental Assessment recommended against installing bike lanes - but City Council amended the report to approve bike lanes anyway.

As promised during the mayoral election, I am dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. Please feel free to contact my office again at any time.

Yours truly,

Mayor Rob Ford
City of Toronto