Transportation - Cycling - The inauguration of a separated bike lane on Sherbourne street
12, June, 2013
Toronto has fallen behind, Christopher Hume attests in his article in the Toronto Star, because this new bike lane is a self-deceiving half-measure.
The reason for such ineptness, is that both levels of Government in Ontario have overlooked and undervalued costs in conventional transport economic evaluation, and the economic benefits of alternative transportation. Our priority has been to move cars, not people. The effect has been transportation imbalance that has contributed to road congestion, healthcare costs, lost productivity, and environmental decline in energy conservation and emissions reduction.
We have subsidized auto transport by quantifying and monetizing only traffic congestion costs, but ignored the impacts on urban and social objectives. Studies in Europe, where there is high level of congestion, show that cars used within EU 27, externalize about 373 billion e per year. In US, people who do not drive subsidize drivers by paying over $267 taxes yearly to fund roadways.
Estimated cost of auto-transport in Ontario is over $8 billion per year, yet a bike trip vs. one car trip that saves individuals and society $2.73 per mile, it is allocated only 1-2% of the total transportation funding.
Economic efficiency and equity can not survive in our cities under such unsustainable and regressive subsidies without investing and balancing options toward a multi-modal transport system. In Toronto cycling infrastructure has been confronted with tokenism and conflicts, instead of treating it as a means of quality of life and sustainability. Unless we institute changes under the Planning Act to introduce Provincial Legislation for Alternative Transportation Infrastructure in our cities, nothing will be resolved under the continuous contradictions and improper planning that have plagued Toronto for years.