April 29, 2016

Streetfight in Toronto

Full house at PWIC
If there is one word to describe Monday, April 25, it is Streetfight! It all started with a packed room at the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting, which debated the Bloor Street bike lane pilot project. 30 community members took the opportunity to depute (26 supporters and 4 opponents), including some children and youth. Given the large number of speakers, deputations were cut from five minutes to three. In spite of this demonstration of support, 243 letters sent to PWIC (most in support), and 9,309 Bloor Loves Bikes pledge signatures after removing duplicates; the committee was deadlocked and sent the motion to next week’s city council meeting without recommendations. (link to motion & webcast) Councillor Holyday constantly questioned supporters which indicated his opposition to the pilot project, while Edward Keenan’s Toronto Star article called out Councillor Robinson’s objection over insufficient information. Councillors McMahon and Perruzza supported the pilot, while Moeser and Lee were absent.

April 21, 2016

Review - Two Wheel Gear Backpack Pannier Convertible

As a way to become more familiar with hauling stuff by bicycle (a.k.a. quaxing), I got my first rear luggage rack from Bateman’s Bicycle Shop. This then prompted a search for a pannier. I wanted something that could be easily carried off bike, which lead to the discovery of Vancouver based Two Wheel Gear. Thanks to Two Wheel Gear and their president Reid Hemsing, they sent over their newest product – a Backpack Pannier Convertible – to do a review from a Toronto perspective and introduce it to the city.

April 19, 2016

Time to give Bloor pilot the green light!

It’s hard to believe work on Cycle Toronto’s Bloor Loves Bikes campaign started a little more than a year ago. A lot has happened since my last update in March (I lied about that being the last before the vote). For starters, the vote at the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) got delayed by two weeks to April 25 due to the inability to get quorum on April 11. With this delay means more time to collect signatures. Thanks in part to another e-blast done by the David Suzuki Foundation, the Bloor Loves Bikes pledge now has almost 11,000 signatures; exceeding Cycle Toronto’s original 10,000 goal! Cycle Toronto recently encouraged members to thank Mayor John Tory for being supportive of the campaign in January when he took my question on CP24’s Ask The Mayor show.

April 15, 2016

Community Building under the Gardiner

In November 2015, Project: Under Gardiner was launched with a $25 million donation from Judy and Wil Matthews.[1] It is a 1.75 kilometre or 10 acre linear park which goes underneath Toronto's Gardiner Expressway – currently undergoing a $150 million rehabilitation – from Liberty Village (west of Strachan Avenue) to CityPlace at Spadina Avenue, with community hubs planned along the route. The project is expected to start construction in October 2016 and open in July 2017. To learn more about this project from a cycling perspective, I took part in the first Under Gardiner walking tour on Sunday, April 10 hosted by Jake Tobin Garrett of Park People and attended by dozens of local residents. Representatives from Public Work (the engineering firm leading the project) and Waterfront Toronto were also present.
Map of Project: Under Gardiner

April 09, 2016

Sowing the Seeds of Social Shift

From the 19th century Industrial Revolution to the 1960's Civil Rights Movement, civilization has seen periods of significant social change. Naomi Klein's book "This Changes Everything" and recent events like the Leap Manifesto town hall and Black Lives Matter tent city prove this shift is happening right now. Let’s take some time to discuss the book, the recent events, and how everything is interconnected.