TORONTO, Ont. – City council voted Tuesday to tear up the contentious Jarvis Street bike lanes, despite a last-ditch motion to stop the removal of the cycling route.
City council voted 24-19 against a motion to preserve the controversial bike lanes.
The bike lanes will be scrapped in November and a centre reversible lane will be reinstalled after a separated corridor is installed on Sherbourne Street.
Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, whose ward includes Jarvis Street, argued that the bike lanes do not affect traffic.
“We cannot let the fifth lane come back into this community,” she said.
“The cycle lanes right now do work and we don’t want to see them go.”
“There will be some outrage from the local community that I represent,” she said.
— Kristyn Wong-Tam (@kristynwongtam) October 2, 2012
Mayor Rob Ford said his office has been inundated with complaints.
“We’re doing what the taxpayers want us to do for the Jarvis lanes,” he said. “This is the direction we’re going on. I’m watching their money.”
“I think it has slowed down traffic and people wanted to get rid of the bike lanes,” he said.
But Coun. Mike Layton said the bike lanes did not impede on the flow of traffic.
“Why would we say that taking out a lane that doesn’t have an impact on speed would be a good idea to increase the likelihood of an accident for cyclists?”
Council continues to put public safety at risk and votes to needlessly removed Jarvis bike lane. Very disappointed.Waste of money.
— Mike Layton (@m_layton) October 2, 2012
The removal cost is pegged at nearly $300,000. The installation cost about $86,000.
Wong-Tam dismissed the vote as fiscally irresponsible.
“I think of all the things that we can be investing in the city,” she said.
“This is not one way to go.”