December 30, 2022

My Highlights from 2022

Having tallied up this year’s numbers for Toronto’s bike lane installations, it’s time to reflect on some of the other highlights of 2022. With two elections, a return to the office and in person events, a new place, some long distance rides, and the first international trip since COVID-19, it’s been quite the crazy turn of events. Let’s dive in!

One of the Berber villages we hiked through in Morocco

January’s headline was the major snowstorm on January 16 and 17. While some reports had cited 36 centimetres of snow fell, others noted as much as 55 centimetres. In any case, many of the bike lanes were not cleared almost a week after the storm passed, while City Council debated the snowfall event at their April 6, 2022 meeting. A report on future learnings is expected to return to City Council in early 2023.
Davenport Road one week after the major snow storm

The Russian invasion of Ukraine may have stolen the headlines for February, but the winter months featured a large number of public consultations including the Durham-Scarborough and Dundas BRT projects, arterials such as Sheppard East, and neighbourhood bikeways such as Bartlett-Havelock-Gladstone. One project – Renewing Overlea Boulevard – will help connect the Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park neighbourhood improvement areas.

Overlea bridge rendering (via City of Toronto)

March meant a return to the office three days a week at their new location in Vaughan and a new two wheeled perspective in the form of electric kick-scooters.

That month saw a debate on the Midtown Yonge Complete Street Pilot which got extended to January 2023, as well as a focus on the Bloor bike lanes in Mississauga. A third public meeting was held that month along with a ride which saw 80 to 100 people from Mississauga and Toronto take part to show support for the bike lanes on both sides on Etobicoke Creek. That focus on Bloor prompted the publication of my first ever op-ed in the Toronto Star at the end of that month.

Ride for Bike Lanes on Bloor at Etobicoke Creek

April saw me join several members of the Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition (TCBC) and planner Al Rezoski on a ride along the proposed Loop Trail. While I dropped off at Finch West station, the ride included a visit of Toronto’s first protected intersection near York University. I later did the Loop Trail in August with Helen and Mozzie which was brutal on the Mozzmobile (cargo bike).

Mark, Al, Arthur, and Albert during the Loop Trail ride

May marked a big move in which Helen and I moved into our condo in Rosedale. It also marked even more consultations – including one on filling that annoying gap along the Humber River Trail – and a discussion on the future of Parkside Drive. A final decision on Parkside is not expected until at least 2023.

The Mozzmobile in the new condo

June unfortunately saw the scrapping of ActiveTO on Lake Shore West. A lot of controversy was triggered by a letter signed by Toronto Blue Jays CEO Mark Shapiro, though it was recently revealed that recently defeated Councillor Mark Grimes was responsible for “ghost writing” it.

RIP ActiveTO Lake Shore West

That month saw my first in person public consultation since the pandemic began – this one about the Broadview Avenue extension – as well as some fruit picking.

Broadview Avenue Extension public consultation

Mayor John Bauters of Emeryville, California made good on a Twitter bet by visiting Toronto for a ride with local cyclists on July 3, 2022. Something he did in several other cities this year. The month was bookended by a 90 kilometre loop ride around Scarborough.

Group photo of the ride with Mayor John Bauters (via Councillor Bradford's office)

The police presence in High Park was August’s highlight which prompted Dave Shellnut to organize a huge rally which saw 800 cyclists take over the Bloor-Parkside intersection. While I couldn’t attend due to some election candidate outreach work for TCBC, there were other events such as a Bike Rave and (sadly) the only Open Streets TO event for the year. Let’s push for expanding Open Streets in 2023 and beyond!

Open Streets TO in August 2022

In September, I returned to Moncton for the first time in three years and managed to get a bike ride in. A place which unfortunately witnessed a cyclist fatality in October. One other September milestone was my first century ride in years when I biked from Downtown Toronto (and back) to do the 50 kilometre Tour de Mississauga which over 2000 people participated. Toronto really needs to organize an annual group ride that is not a fundraiser. 😉 Finally, the month saw me discuss the bike plan and city budgets on the Bike Talk podcast.

Start of the 50 km Tour de Mississauga ride

October’s highlight was the municipal election which saw nine new councillors elected. Seven wards did not have an incumbent, one incumbent – Cynthia Lai – died just days before the election, and TCBC endorsed candidate Amber Morley defeated Mark Grimes in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. Ahead of the election, two events were held to build support for road safety. These were #ActivismTO – which took over Lake Shore West to call for the reinstatement of ActiveTO there – and a road safety rally along Yonge Street.

#ActivismTO on October 1, 2022

The CUPE education workers labour dispute was November’s big moment given the Ford government introduced anti-strike legislation and invoked the notwithstanding clause to override the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Fortunately, the government backed down over a threat of a broader general strike and a deal was reached and ratified with the education workers.

Hundreds of people took part in an emergency rally supporting CUPE education workers

After the strike, it was off to Morocco for our first international trip since COVID. Will aim to get some content about the trip put up in January, though there was no cycling involved.

Tizi M'Zik - at 2500 metres above sea level - was the highest point of our hike

Last, but not least, the year wrapped up with the annual Cycling Good Cheer ride along Yonge Street!

Group photo of the Cycling Good Cheer ride (via Dave Edwards)

Thanks to all of you who advocated for safer streets in Toronto this year and look forward to accomplishing more great things in 2023.

For other cycling yearly reflections, I encourage you to check out these posts from Jun N and Dave Shellnut.

1 comment: