Ootes doesn’t like bikes

Okay, this isn’t exactly a breaking news headline, I admit, (in fact, it could be called an understatement) but check out the latest anti-cycling installment from the weird world of Ootes-land, in the Beach-Riverdale-East York Town Crier:

Ootes pushes to get rid of bicycle lanes
Bikes slow down cars, forcing traffic on side streets, says report

Why does the Town Crier add “says report” when, in fact, the City of Toronto report says that the bike lanes had “little, if any, impact on traffic operations”?

A summary of the City’s report can be seen here.

As for slowing down cars, the biggest increase for car travel time was under a minute and this was only during the morning peak period. The rest of the increases were mere seconds. I think the best descriptor for this “increase” would be, negligible.

The lanes on Cosburn were installed in 2004 in spite of stiff opposition from Councillor Case Ootes. At the council meeting to approve the lanes, it was Ootes who moved a motion asking for a detailed report on the impact on traffic after the bike lanes are installed.

This is a tactic used by anti-bike Councillors to slow down the installation process.

This Map of Ward 29 shows the existing bike lane on Cosburn Avenue (solid red line) and proposed bike lanes (dashed red lines) to connect the bikeway network. (Dashed blue lines are proposed signed routes). Thanks to biketoronto.ca for the image.

So it would seem, since Councilllor Ootes didn’t get the report he was hoping for — that would be one showing utter chaos and mayhem caused by the bike lanes — he is now blatantly trying to have them removed.

The Town Crier reports:

Councillor Case Ootes wants to poll residents in the area around Broadview and Coxwell Aves to see if they are in favour of keeping the bike lanes or not.

His motion went to council in late July, but was deferred until the next council session in September.

Why wait for a poll? If you would like to tell Councillor Ootes what you think of his plan to remove the bike lanes, you can email him directly at councillor_ootes@toronto.ca . On the flip side, Councillor Paula Fletcher in the adjacent ward states the obvious and presents a voice of reason:

“It’s safer for pedestrians, kids and people on bikes.”

She said that bike lanes force cars to slow down, which makes it safer for everyone including students from Cosburn Middle School crossing the road.

But it is the slowing down of traffic that Ootes has a problem with.

“This is an attempt by left wing councillors to slow down traffic and force people out of cars,” he said.

“People won’t get out of their cars. It doesn’t happen. This isn’t that kind of city,” he said.

Finally, I think Fletcher should be congratulated for having the guts to counter hyberbole with hyberbole:

“If you are simply a slave to the car, why not remove all the bike lanes?”

Councillor Fletcher also points out that the lanes are part of the City’s overall bike plan to help people commute safely and promote cycling.

13 comments

  1. “Councillor Ootes, the Dutch embassy in Ottawa called. Something about being placed on the ‘no fly list’ and your visa being revoked …”

  2. Ugh… where to begin? People won’t leave their cars because “it’s not that kind of city,” so let’s just remove all the alternatives.

    Good call.

  3. Maybe whoever does critical mass should take it to Ootes’ ward and circle his neighbourhood. He probably thinks he has no opposition to this in his area. But the southern half of his ward is bike friendly i would think. it’s got the friggun’ Big Carrot. Those hippies are all over bikes.

  4. Anyone know who is running in his ward in the next municipal election? It would be great if the city’s cycling advocates can mount a campaign to get him defeated.

  5. I emailed Ootes. Here’s the reply from his Constituency Assistant:

    Dear Jeff,

    Thank you for writing to Councillor Ootes. I will ensure that he reads your email. I would like to provide you with the Councillors reasoning behind his stance on the Cosburn Bike lanes. Councillor
    Ootes supports well-thought out and planned road transportation that includes public transit, bike lanes and motorized vehicles. However, some bike lanes end up defeating some of their intended purposes. For example, the bicycle lanes on Cosburn Avenue. Recent surveys conducted by city transportation staff indicate that cars and trucks, which have now been reduced to 2 lanes (from 4) are delayed as a result of the bike lanes. It is important that we encourage people to use public transit, and alternative modes of transportation, including biking and walking. However, automobiles
    are a fact of life and idling vehicles create more smog/emissions than cars which are moving, which is obviously a negative effect. If traffic is allowed to flow instead of being stopped/stalled, this is better for the environment, in the long run. Also, there are many existing east-west biking routes already in place in this area. There is a definite negative impact to smaller, neighbouring streets
    when motorists (wishing to avoid bike lanes on a major thoroughfare) choose to use these streets which do not have bike lanes.

    Thank you again for writing to Councillor Ootes.

    Sincerely,
    Jacquie Grech

  6. It seems to me Ootes doesn’t know what kind of city this actually is.

  7. The other candidates in Ward 29 are Diane Alexopoulos (she has a website), John Richardson and Darryl Smith.

    …Friday the 29th is gonna be SO much fun!

  8. Wow, thanks for posting that response Jeff. Good to know that bike lanes are actually bad for the environment and that cars are a “fact of life,” as opposed to a fact of poor planning and lack of foresight.

    Ootes has sure set me straight.

  9. Councillor Ootes was also against the Dundas bike lanes, and at one point was trying to get rid of them.
    He backed off after the last election, but clearly has an agenda…

  10. this makes me so mad!! when was the last time you heard someone say “that city was great, no bikes!”… instead people love Berlin and Amsterdam, why? because they are bike friendly!

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