Thursday, May 25, 2023

Tonight's tonic: "Debunking three big myths about bike lanes...and why every North American city needs as many bike lanes as they can possibly build"

Tonight's tonic: "Debunking three big myths about bike lanes" by Taylor C. Noakes, a public historian and independent journalist.

I couldn't agree more with these facts.  Enough of the neo-con nonsense that Mark Saunders is spouting in this election, which is just being pushed to divide Torontonians against Torontonians simply to win political power - the sleaziest game so often played by conservative politicians these days.  

"Some Toronto mayoral candidates question their efficacy — but every North American city needs as many bike lanes as they can possibly build..."

"If you’re having a hard time deciding who to vote for, let me make it easy for you: anyone advocating removing bike lanes from any part of the city should be immediately disqualified. They are not a serious candidate — they simply do not understand fundamental aspects of how cities work. 

"Bike lanes have a greater passenger capacity than lanes for vehicular traffic. The average single lane of private motor-vehicle traffic has a capacity of between 600 and 900 vehicles per hour, representing between 600 and 1,800 people (and it’s closer to the lower end of that range because most cars have but a single occupant).

"By contrast, the average two-way protected bike lane (which typically occupies less space than a single lane of traffic), has a capacity of 7,500 people per hour.

"Congestion isn’t just a problem of people not getting where they need to go in a timely manner; it’s also a problem of pollution and emissions. Congested traffic is a major source of the carbon-dioxide emissions that are fuelling the climate emergency.

"A common yet utterly debunked argument against bike lanes is that, because they often replace street parking, they are therefore bad for small businesses. I always thought this was a particularly ridiculous argument, given that most cars travel too fast for most drivers to get a good look at what’s inside a shop window.

"People who use bikes as their primary means of conveyance are in fact better stimulators of local businesses than are people in cars. A recent study from Transport for London provides some truly jaw-dropping insight into just how much economic stimulus can be created by re-orienting city streets to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists.

"Over the course of a month, a cyclist or pedestrian will spend 40 per cent more than a motorist. Improvements to the public realm that facilitate pedestrian or cyclist access can increase retail sales by as much as 30 per cent. Installing bike-parking infrastructure can yield as much as five times the amount of retail spending per square metre than the same allowed to car parking. Cyclists and pedestrians were also shown to visit the small businesses of their local commercial thoroughfares more frequently than motorists did — frequently twice as often."

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