Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Open Letter regarding the Annette Street Bike Lanes

Ms Toft:

It was with sadness and anger that I read about the decision not to install bike lanes along Annette Street through the Junction. I moved to the Junction in March of 2007 from an area just west of Little Italy at College and Dovercourt. I had been riding my bike to work at Adelaide and Spadina for several years and wondered how the move would affect my ability to bike commute. I began bike commuting again in May of 2008 and it became quickly apparent to me that there is really no safe way to get from the Junction to downtown. Dundas is extremely busy with traffic often moving at an unsafe rate of speed. It has also recently been dug up by the gas company (Runnymede to Quebec St) and given the state of Roncesvalles (with a similar patch job that is obviously several years old) it is unlikely to be repaired any time soon. Annette, is also busy with high speed traffic and the area between Clendenan and Runnymede should be safer given the presence of several schools and a community center, but the traffic moves extremely quickly along there despite the curve in the road.

The community was consulted regarding the bike lane installation and at the September 15, 2008 meeting 81% of respondents supported full bike lanes and city staff endorsed the bike lane proposal. A great deal of work, time, and attention went into consulting those affected by this decision and to have what was clearly a well supported idea overturned at the last minute by a city Councillor acting on behalf of a Councillor that couldn't even be bothered to show up is insulting to those that gave their time and energy to their community.

I would like to take the time to remind you of the following:

- Staff studies taken at 3 different times (daytime, evening, overnight) show that even with the reduced parking capacity, there will be sufficient parking capacity to meet the demand.

- It is likely that parking will not be quite as convenient as without the lanes. However, we feel that it is no longer practical in the heart of a big city for drivers to expect to always find a parking spot within a few steps of their destination, when sufficient parking does still exist mere steps away.

- Many of the shops on Annette – including those we understand are most upset by the proposed Annette lanes – are unique in terms of the products and services they offer. They should not feel threatened by this proposal.

- Cyclists are consumers too, and keeping cyclists on a route with shops and services will benefit local businesses.

I sincerely hope that the decision to downgrade the cycling plan for Annette St to a 'shared roadway' will be overturned at the October 29, 2008 meeting and the original plans for the bike lane will become a reality. The Junction is an area undergoing a wonderful revitalization right now and new, young families seem to be well represented. Many of them cycle, many of them cycle with their small children. I would like to see their safety a priority and their decision to leave their car at home taken seriously.

Please forward this email to all Councillors regarding the above item for the Oct. 29/30 Council meeting.


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Mandie Hayes

4:33 AM  

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