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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Parking meters appear on Jarvis — an opportunity to honour courageous city councillors

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Today the Jarvis Street bike lanes are being removed after a contentious fight over the return of the much-needed fifth, reversible lane of parking traffic. We are not sure why parking meters have appeared on the side of Jarvis last week, but we are sure they won’t interfere with the incredibly critical fifth lane of parking traffic. The fifth lane of parking traffic is needed, Karen Stintz told us, so working moms in North Toronto could be with their kids. We get that. We need the fifth lane of parking traffic to keep Toronto moving. To keep Toronto’s economy going and Toronto’s moms with their kids for longer times, rather than stuck in parking traffic. The desperate need for this fifth lane of parking traffic has made us internationally famous. Toronto is on the map, and it’s moving again.

Perhaps the parking meters will somehow help the fifth lane move even faster. We don’t know, we’re not traffic engineers, we just don’t want moms blocked by parking traffic.

The battle was fierce, and there is still blood on the curbs fighting for the fifth lane of parking traffic. It was a battle worth having. Worth all the political capital spent and worth, in fact, $1.3 million (as the local councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam points out, this civic exercise included a $950,000 environmental assessment for the bike lanes, $86,000 to install lanes, and now $275,000 to reinstall the very much needed middle lane of unencumbered, free-flowing parking traffic).

We at Spacing have used the appearance of these parking meters as an opportunity to honour the councillors who took courageous steps and went against their previous, misguided pro-bike lane statements. At a ceremony later this week, we will unveil now-covered parking meters dedicated to Josh Colle and Ana Bailão, for their leadership in these confusing times where it’s hard to know what lane to pick in the supermarket, let alone a busy street like Jarvis. Councillor Michelle Berardinetti, who was also one of the three to take a courageous stand, will have a traffic light named after her in her Scarborough ward, where bike lanes have already been removed on Birchmount & Pharmacy, so instead we will dedicate another of these surprise Jarvis parking meters to Councillor Jaye Robinson, for much ado about being an independent on Mayor Ford’s executive.

Three cheers for a liberated Jarvis! Never again will the fifth lane of parking traffic be blocked. Remember the councillors who took these courageous, rebel stands in 2014.




  1. What, nothing commemorating the courage of fiscal conservative John Parker, who boldly spearheaded the squandering of $1.3M of Toronto’s precious tax money in the pursuit of making Jarvis safer for vehicle storage? Why, he even risked the wrath of his lord and liege Rob Ford – whose campaign platform included a pledge to leave the Jarvis lanes alone because it would cost too much money to revert them.

    Such bravery should not go unrewarded.

  2. Love the parking lane strike-out.  I drive on Jarvis all the time, the biggest impediment of traffic was left hand turns, and drivers parked on the bike lane. 

    What a waste of money. Place some no left turns on some intersections or dedicated left turn lanes, sync the lights, there had to be a better solution… 

  3. Those bike lanes shouldn’t of been put in the first place. It is the usual cyclist group that thinks they should get their way all the time. It is ok to block pedestrians and other road users. Yet blocking a cyclist is the biggest crime on the universe.

    When a bike lane is blocked, those cyclist will cry like babies instead of changing their route.

    When a road gets blocked due to construction or an accident or a festival…car drivers and buses/streetcars will divert. Take a different route

    When a sidewalk is closed/blocked…most pedestrians will cross the street and use the sidewalk on the other side of the street.

    Yet cyclists are not willing to compromise. It’s a specific group of downtown cyclists. Those same cyclists who do not stop at a stop sign. try to sneak in between stopped cars (red light) and the curb instead of waiting behind.

    It is the same cyclists who think they should get their way all the time.

    It is the same cyclists who refuse to wear helmets because it messes their hairdo and who refuse to slow down when going over streetcars.

    It is the same cyclists who refuse to use Markham, Palmerston or Euclid as alternative to Bathurst.

    It is the same cyclists who refuse to use the humongous amount of alleys/laneway downtown as alternatives to the busy main streets.

    It is the same cyclists who choose which laws of the roads they obey and which they do not.

    As a cyclists who lives downtown and has TWO jobs (one Scarborough, the other in North York) in the suburbs and uses Matilda to go to those jobs (Matilda is my bike), I am embarrassed by these cyclists.

    Fear mongering to get your way just makes you look like a douchebag. Learn to compromise

  4. Jack, your attitude is the reason why we can’t have nice things, as cyclists.

    Sure, running reds is dumb. Why is it wrong to take Bathurst, as a cyclist?

    It’s not illegal to ride on the road. Stop acting like it is.

    Why would you, as a bike commuter, be pro getting rid of a bike lane. Because you’re annoyed at “downtown cyclists”?
    Because you want the road to be less safe for yourself and others?

    That’s literally what you’re advocating. You want the road to be more dangerous because you are annoyed at hipsters. Thanks for fighting the good fight.

  5. Jack: go to anger management class.

    If you are going to generalize abou every cyclist can I generalize about every driver? Those stupid drivers who refuse to take transit! Those idiotic drivers who drive 70km down side roads beside schools! Those goddamn drivers who make right turns without looking! Those imbecile drivers who take a vehicle to the corner store instead of getting off their lazy asses! Those ungrateful drivers who have a 3000 pound armor of protection complaining about 2 minute delay on Jarvis so that a cyclist can be safe!

    Of course, Jack, I know that my generalization is only reflects a small portion of drivers, but why not paint everyone behind the wheel with the same brush, just as you did with cyclists?

    There’s two sides to the douchebag coin, Jack. Your side landed up this morning obviously.

  6. Jack, 

    Your use of ‘it’ to describe cyclists rather than ‘they’ tells me a lot of what I need to know.

    For the rest: I could attack your points all I want, but what I really want to say is that I think you missed the whole point of this article. We were ‘sold’ not for an extra lane of traffic, but for parking. 

    I have a hard time believing you’re a cyclist, what with all the fear-mongering you’re doing yourself. 

  7. I’ll be biking on Jarvis anyway, with or without bike lanes. And if there are not bike lanes, cars will either have to pass dangerously close beside me or move at my speed. I don’t think this makes for a faster commute for anyone.

  8. Thanks for the heads up on his NSFW link – cause for removal of post, but since folks have already commented, just the link has been taken out.

    Avoid the troll like you’d avoid the noid!

  9. Can the parking meter for Bailao be sponsored by Steam Whistle? Or do you think Grey Goose os more appropriate Too soon? 

  10. But wait, the Sherbourne separated lanes are nowhere near done. (Neither are they, in my judgement, any kind of improvement over the old painted-line lanes.)

  11. Jack- lets demonize people because that solves things doesnt it? The reason roads are slow is because of too many cars, not bikes.

  12. I would have thought that they would have at least been honest. It’s one thing to do something ridiculous but it’s unethical to do something even more ridiculous and lie about it.

  13. How about instead of blocking the sun with yet another condo in downtown Toronto, we build an underground parking lot, (or 3-level above ground structure) near or on Jarvis Street so we can keep the bike lanes and the ballerina moms will have somewhere to park their cars?

  14. Ed, 

    you are right in both account. In the section where it is done, I have seen twice cars sitting in the “separated” bike lane (a police car and a taxi), which forces cyclists to get out of bike lane , which is more dangerous now than it used to be because of the curb. Admitted, now the bike lane is almost flush with side walk, it is fairly easy to veer into the sidewalk if the bike lane is blocked. Is that what is meant to be the right way to ride on these lanes? Oh, not to mention these separate lanes are way too narrow, making passing a rather dangerous maneuver.  Frustrating to see even supposedly  a good thing can be so badly executed in this town.

  15. Seems to me it’s time to reprise a Parking Day event (see ) on Jarvis. 

    Running a Parking Day event on Jarvis (some Monday or Friday morning during rush hour, say, or whenever the former bike lane is open for parking) would be an amazing way to raise awareness about complete streets and respond to the removal of the lanes. Perhaps various organizations, including Cycle Toronto, Spacing, the Critical Mass folks, literary urbanists like me, etc. could set up tables and so forth in the display space so graciously created by our councillors.

  16. A decisive victory for old and fat people who are afraid of biking. 

  17. The extra lane is for Ana Bailão to [allegedly] safely drive home drunk.

  18. And this is really the kicker, isn’t it? Despite all the griping and road-raging about how the bike lanes made it harder to drive down Jarvis, the fact is that removing it will only be done in order to make way for parking in the right. The centre lane was always blocked up by drivers waiting to turn left. Drivers actually benefitted from a better-organized street with the bike lanes and the removal of the centre lane. Now it’s just going to be back to the former chaos.

    Now there’s some smart policymaking. Thank you, City Council!

  19. I find this shocking – after all that talk about how the bike lanes were “slowing down” Jarvis (despite actual empirical evidence indicating the impact was at best, minimal – 2-5 minutes each way, during rush hour), as the justification for removing them, our City, in its infinite brilliance has decided that the best way to address the concerns raised by the installation of those bike lanes is the remove them and replace them with STREET PARKING?????? Seriously?

    How the hell does street parking improve traffic flow? Kind of renders having the 5th lane back kind of pointless, doesn’tit? This town is run by morons. To all you North Toronto Ford supporters who lobbied him to kill this lane so you can get your 2 minutes back? Screw you – I hope the on-street parking slows you down more than the bike lane ever did.

  20. Well, city hall has to make up that $200k they just flushed down the drain, from removing the bike lane somehow.



  21. Cool, what else can we do to spread name recognition to help these councillors in the next election?


  22. ” This town is run by morons. To all you North Toronto Ford supporters who lobbied him to kill this lane so you can get your 2 minutes back? Screw you – I hope the on-street parking slows you down more than the bike lane ever did.”

    Quoted for truth.
    This fixed gear hero knows bike lanes are important for those that cannot intermingle with traffic like a experienced fixed gear rider can.
    Bike lanes help those that are just starting out find a “safe zone” they can learn about the streets while also empowering themselves via clean transportation.

    Fixed-Gear hero out.

  23. I will still ride on Jarvis, occasionally. I will ride far enough out in the available lane to avoid being doored by parked cars. If you want to pass me, CHANGE LANES.

    Cars parked in the bike lane on Sherbourne will be reported to Central Traffic, and I will hang around and wait for the tow truck. I will re-report every five minutes as necessary.

  24. By the way, Mr Dakasic, those opponents of the lane erasure were wearing helmets despite the mess it makes of their hair; and I presume most of us stop (not just slow down) when overtaking a streetcar discharging passengers. How we go over streetcars I have no idea … I am not that good at trials riding.

    “It is the same cyclists who refuse to wear helmets because it messes their hairdo and who refuse to slow down when going over streetcars.”

  25. Why the hate on parking? In my experience folks don’t just park for no reason – these folks you hate so much are eating at a local restaurant, shopping a store, or maybe visiting a friend. These are the things that make a City vibrant. Sure a bike or transit works for some – but it doesn’t work for everyone. Convenient parking is just one of the pieces of the puzzle that has made Toronto’s downtown a place that people want to visit.

    Folks that think everyone else can and should live the same way as them are just immature.

  26. Hey Jumpy, nobody hates parking – the removal of the lanes was bait and switch though, always about the need for a 5th lane, never about parking. Huh.

  27. Am I the only cyclist which loves on street parking? It tends to produce a pseudo bike lane between the parked car and the live lane which is very wide and comfortable. Yes there is a concern of being doored, but if you pay attention it is nothing to worry about.

    I am much more peeved about parked cars as a driver. It means you get people driving right up to the car before merging, slowing down traffic for everyone.

  28. No parking during the rush hours – parking is permitted at other hours. Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah because it is what happens on every other street in the City.

  29. BR Ashley – do you have a number for this Central Traffic service? Would love to program it into my phone to make similar reports when I (frequently) see cars stopped in the Sherbourne lanes.

    And Ben, I personally feel much less safe when I have to watch out for doors to the right and cars to the left. I’ll take dealing with only one of them any day – even when it involves double-decker buses.

  30. Ben, 

    I am with you. You just need to always keep a good distance from the parked cars though, lest getting the door prize, and watch out for cars pulling in or out of the parking spots.

  31. Parking on major streets and avenues – rush hour or not – is one of the biggest contributors to congestion in the city. It is absolutely ridiculous to waste a million dollars taking out a bike lane “to ease congestion” and then put in parking spaces.

  32. They aren’t “Adding” parking so much as reinstating it. There was the same parking set up on Jarvis before the bike lanes. 

  33. in 2011, Toronto City Council voted to remove the 2 km of bike lanes on Jarvis Street in 2012 **when** the new separated bicycle lanes on Sherbourne Street are **completed.** (wording from link below).

    Yet they’ve barely **started** work on north-bound bikelane from King to Gerrard, Maybe some smart lawyer who could take action against the city for not following its own motions?

  34. Maybe we can dedicate cyclist deaths to these courageous councillors.

  35. A lot of people are forgetting the economic importance of the car industry in Southern Ontario. Sure, cars are immoral and toxic. But they are also what makes Toronto so successful. Polemic time.

  36. Don’t particularly support or not support these bike lanes. But if they are gone, it’s because they never had broad based support and actually served as one of the flash points that actuallty helped bring Ford to office. I don’t like the fact that Ford is mayor. But the previous mayor did a very poor job of convincing large portions of the electorate that: a) due process had been followed leading up to the decision to install these lanes; and b) that they were a plus for the city. The unfortunate thing about democracy is that everyone has a voice, even people who don’t agree with you. That, and the fact that things can always be overturned in the next election.

  37. Biking is important, no doubt. However, a councillors vote on whether to keep one bike lane in all of Toronto is worthy of vilifying that person?  Give me a break. Obviously, some folks don’t have a lot on their plate to be concerned about.