So Toronto City Council - so often Hamilton's shining light for forward thinking-municipal governance - managed to approve the reduction of Jarvis street to two lanes each-way, with the addition of a painted north-south bike route and sidewalk widening. Woo Hoo.
Excuse my lack of enthusiasm, but this modest $100,000 measure took eight whole hours to debate. Eight hours! I attended the morning session yesterday and I have to say that the ignorance on display was astounding.
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong had the audacity to suggest that Jarvis cyclists could use the Don Valley Trail instead of Jarvis. "There are lots of other options for cyclists," he suggested.
The Don Valley Trail, for those of you familiar with downtown Toronto, is accessible between Lakeshore and Pottery Road by two steep flights of steps. It runs about a 1.5 kilometers to the east of Jarvis. It is not a viable alternative.
Mayor David Miller, in his opening remarks, mentioned that he had just paid a visit to Seoul, Korea. He explained that the local council had just closed a downtown expressway as part of their ongoing efforts to expand their bike lane network.
"We are not proposing anything anywhere near as courageous as that," he noted.
Still, it took Toronto City Council all day to approve the measure.
For the first time since I moved to T.O from Hamilton three years ago, I have the feeling that my old hometown might actually be able to lead the way on sustainable development matters such as this. One thing is clear - Hamilton should stop looking to the east for its inspiration.
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