A new battle is already brewing in Ward 35 following the Oct. 25 election of Michelle Berardinetti over incumbent Adrian Heaps.
The new councillor has said bike lanes are not a priority, and have even caused Pharmacy Avenue residents to move from the area due to inability to access their driveways.
Darren Stehr, a cyclist and blogger for torontocranks.com, disagreed.
“I live on Pharmacy Avenue and I heard about some people having problems driving out of their driveways,” he said. “It’s bizarre because now [with the bike lanes] you have a two-metre space between moving cars and the sidewalk. It’s easier to get on to the streets.”
The bike lanes have reduced traffic along the streets from two lanes to one lane on each side.
In Berardinetti’s election pamphlet she blamed the bike lanes for making traffic worse.
“We used to have daily fender benders,” Stehr said. “Now it’s more organized and traffic has calmed down.”
The site has comments from other cyclists like Martin, who lives off Birchmount Road and said the bike lane there improved road safety by pushing the traffic onto Warden “where there are more lights.”
Heaps, the former chair of the Toronto Cycling Committee, and an avid cyclist, advocated for bike lane expansion. With him off council, Stehr said he’s worried these plans are now in jeopardy.
Berardinetti’s plan to move bike lanes off the roads and into ravines is more dangerous, he said, because cyclists will be competing with people and animals for sidewalk space.
“A lot of people use bikes to go to work and to do shopping. [They] don’t have time to go to a ravine and use off road trails that are far away from main streets,” Stehr said. “They’re not going to use it.”
Berardinetti could not be reached for comment.