May 2023 City Council Update

With three councillors running in the mayoral by-election, May’s meeting unfolded over three full days. There were several items that impact the safety and comfort for people who bike in the city. 

Ride a bike. Save the planet.

Encouraging more people to take active modes of transportation is integral to meet the city’s TransformTO targets as well as reducing traffic congestion by reducing the number of single occupancy cars on our roads. The adoption of IE3.3O TransformTO 2022 Annual Report: Laying the Foundation for Net Zero by 2040 represents a move towards improving the standards and processes that need to be followed across City departments and agencies to ensure that TransformTO Net Zero Strategy goals and targets are met. This should make it easier to expand the cycling network. 

We provided our support for this direction but expressed some concern over recent decisions that have added additional barriers to TTC riders, people who bike, and fans of ActiveTO. Read our submission here.

Road Safety & Equity. Without Safe Infrastructure Neither is Accomplished

DM6.2 Fine Equity: Balancing Toronto Transit Commission Fare Evasion and Parking Fines - Without administrative justice, inequities will continue to be perpetuated and negatively impact equity deserving groups. The current fines for TTC fare evasion on the Toronto Transit are disproportionately high (with fees beginning at $195 and increasing up to as much as
$400) compared to just $30 for failing to pay outright for parking. The cost to take the TTC is just $3.25 ($3.35 as of April 3, 2023), versus the cost for hourly on-street parking, which ranges between $1 and $4. The current fine structure disproportionately penalizes transit riders compared to drivers. This is neither administratively fair, or equitable in the application of administrative justice. Who wouldn’t want to improve this administrative injustice? Take a look at who voted against an item that should have gained unanimous support (you might be surprised to see a Mayoral candidate) Read our letter here.

DM6.3 Micro-mobility Couriers - Cycle Toronto remains very disappointed in this member motion by a cyclist living with mobility issues. The past few years has seen an explosion of e-bikes, scooters and other e-powered micro-mobility devices on our streets and sidewalks. Some of these vehicles, which range in size, weight and speed are legally allowed in bike lanes, but none of them are allowed on sidewalks. Cycle Toronto does not condone the dangerous behaviour of people using mobility devices. Ever. We are committed to applying an equity lens in how we respond and what solutions we advocate for. We remain resolute in our position that the most effective solution to improving road safety is to build streets that are safe by design, not by relying on enforcement, or through licensing. This motion, which targets food couriers, a population whose employment is precarious, vulnerable, and undervalued. Read our position here. Because this item was adopted, on June 28, 2023 the Infrastructure and Environment Committee (IEC) will be discussing a report with recommendations on how to deter dangerous illegal behaviour by those who operate motorized or motor-assisted vehicles on sidewalks when pedestrians are present, such report to include a jurisdictional scan of other municipalities around the world struggling with similar issues.

We will be working with Gig Workers United, our Alliance partners, our Advocacy Committee and city staff to discuss what sustainable and equitable solutions we should be uniting behind. On November 23, 2022 a twenty year old international student who worked as a food courier was killed by the driver of a Ford 150. Between 2006 and 2022, a total of 512 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles vs. 0 by bikes.

EX4.10 Transit Priority Measures to Support Scarborough SRT Bus Replacement Read our letter of support of implementing RapidTO priority bus lanes so that transit riders who rely on Line 3 will not be stuck in traffic. The good news is that City Councillors were swayed by the public feedback and advocacy work of TTC Riders and found the $2.9 million needed to complete the design for the busway which will reduce the commute time of those who take public transit.

IE3.7 High Park Movement Strategy - Great news! Our advocacy efforts paid off.We successfully got the support of Councillor Gord Perks who made a successful motion and powerful speech to City Council which approved full road closures at all times as the long term strategy for travel network improvements in the park, and maintaining car-free week-ends and holidays. Additionally, the city will be piloting special dedicated practice times for cyclists who want to race along the loop. Watch the Councillor Perks lead the debate on removing cars in the park.

IE3.8 Cycling Network Plan: 2023 Cycling Infrastructure Installation Update - great news for residents of Scarborough. City Council approved the installation of Road Safety Improvements Project on Scarborough Golf Club Road. As for residents of Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park neighbourhoods, the Millwood Road Safety Improvements Project was approved but the proposed second northbound cycle track on the west side of the Leaside Bridge, won’t be implemented until the Overlea Boulevard cycle tracks are completed by Metrolinx, which aren’t currently planned until 2028. Read our letter of support.

MM6.7 Recommitting to Taking Action on Impaired Driving in Toronto - Read our letter of support for the motion but calling for the implementation of complete streets. Impaired driving is unfortunately just one form of distracted behaviour that leads to unnecessary death and serious road injury. While educating drivers on the importance of practicing safe driving behaviours is important, it isn’t working, nor is police enforcement. We must redesign our streets and roads within Complete Street Guidelines.

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