Cycle Toronto Board of Directors Update
It may be summertime, but there is no shortage of opportunities to advance safe cycling in the City’s many planning processes. Here’s a sample of what the Board’s Advocacy Committee has been following:
First of all, we are supporting Cycle Toronto staff and volunteers to provide input into the new Bike Plan 2015, led by the City’s Transportation Services Department. Our ward group leaders have been essential in identifying priorities and working with Councillors to gain support for specific projects.
Secondly, we’re working to make cycling a higher priority in the Complete Streets Guidelines being developed by the City’s Planning Department. Cycle Toronto has had some concerns about the status of dedicated cycling infrastructure in this process given that, in many cases, spaces shared by motor vehicles and bicycles are not adequate and safe options.
On yet another City track, we are hopeful that the Public Works Committee chair, Councillor Jaye Robinson, will be successful in bringing forward a Comprehensive Road Safety Plan for Toronto, inspired by successful Vision Zero traffic safety initiatives in Sweden, New York City, and around the world.
With all these parallel processes driving forward, Cycle Toronto is speaking up at every opportunity to make sure that cycling safety and active transportation infrastructure are considered priorities. Perhaps with the creation of a new Sustainable Transportation Director position in the Planning Department, we will see – one day! – bike infrastructure taken for granted on our streets, just like sidewalks.
In the meantime, the Advocacy Committee has identified a need for Cycle Toronto to create a series of public position statements. We’ll be developing policy statements starting with Bike Boulevards, Bike Parking, Use of Sharrows, and Shared Space. Watch the Ring & Post for updates!
At our last Annual General Meeting, the membership voted for bylaw changes to bring Cycle Toronto’s Working Groups (supporting our Bloor, Danforth, and nascent Yonge campaigns, among others) into the governance framework of the organization, reporting to the Board through the Advocacy Committee. These Working Groups are key mechanisms for coordinating advocacy efforts across ward boundaries on issues affecting larger corridors, areas of the city, and common infrastructure elements such as trails design.
The board’s governance committee is taking a page out of DiverseCity’s book and developing a strategy to increase the diversity and representativeness of our board. Toronto is a great and diverse city and we want to make sure our organization’s governing leadership reflects the varied experiences, backgrounds, and skill-sets found in our community and our membership. If you are interested in participating in this effort, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cyclists and other road users have heard about the changes to the Highway Traffic Act that went into effect with Bill 31. We recently read that the tougher penalties for distracted driving, dooring, and various other infractions (including for cyclists) will go into effect in September, along with the new one-metre passing rule. We have questions about the implementation of other Bill 31 changes, though. For instance, what does it mean that cyclists can now ride “along” crosswalks but not “inside” them? How will police enforce the one-metre passing law which must be adhered to “where practicable”? Cycle Toronto is grateful for the pro bono legal resources available to us and we will reach out to cyclists when we have answers.
Speaking of education and outreach, we’re really proud of the new partnerships that Cycle Toronto is developing to support “Scarborough Cycles.” With funding from the Metcalf Foundation, Cycle Toronto has undertaken a new two-year collaboration with the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, CultureLink, the University of Toronto’s Cycling Think & Do Tank and local partners to develop two bike hubs in Scarborough. Watch out for more updates on this project in the Ring & Post!
The board is planning to continue its transition to a governance board this year and examine ways that the board can better support revenue generation initiatives. To this end, the board will hold its planning retreat in early October.
Fundraising & Membership
The Board’s Fundraising Committee has been working to develop our fundraising strategy, including a major-donor-relations plan. We’re so proud of our staff for hitting the 3000 member mark, for partnering with bike shops to deliver new membership streams, and for putting on a fabulous Bike Month this year with more events than ever. We would like to encourage members to opt-in to the automatic monthly membership which helps us reduce the time it takes to maintain our membership base. Remember: Only by growing our membership can we strengthen our voice with the City!