Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cycle and the City

This article from The Star discusses a great new project popping up next week in Montreal - bike rentals. Montreal is a great city for biking; why can't Toronto be too? Sure we have a couple bike lanes around the university and some great senic bike trails...but what about people trying to get around the city? Instead of worrying about the streets, we worry about the sidewalks.

I don’t understand why there is such a need to expand sidewalks in the city; people are going to walk three and four-abreast no matter how big sidewalks are, and making them bigger is just going to add to the congestion. Try walking down the streets in Little Korea in the evenings – you won’t be able to pass a gaggle of teenagers no matter how big the sidewalk is.

Expanding sidewalks would be great, but isn’t the biggest deal. If people would just use a bit of common sense and courtesy, there wouldn’t be a problem on sidewalks. It’s those who refuse to give way to others, walk three abreast with SUV strollers and stop in the middle of the sidewalk to tie shoes and talk on phones who are the problem.

Let's add some bike lanes. Or if we’re not going to add bike lanes, why not try and fix up the side of the roads a bit so when you’re biking down them (instead of biking on the busy sidewalk) you don’t have things breaking and falling off your bike from all the gaping holes and bumps that surround sewer grates. My rear light has fallen so many times I had to tape it on – and that’s just from an easy ride down Bloor street!

We should follow Montreal's ideas and do more for cyclists in the city. Especially if, as the article states, Toronto is to follow suit with the rental program! No one is going to want to rent bikes if they have no safe place to ride them.

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