In just a week, a transformed city council will take power under the leadership of Rob Ford. Should cyclists distress? Perhaps. But there is cause for celebration in east Toronto.
This year’s municipal election gave rise to a number of excellent candidates, and Ward 29 was no exception. Local candidates Chris Caldwell, Jennifer Wood, and Jane Pitfield all took very supportive positions on cycling, as did Mary Fragedakis, who will now represent Ward 29 at City Council.
In Ward 32, residents delivered an undeniable landslide victory to Mary-Margaret McMahon, and with that victory comes a renewed sense of responsibility where cycling and the environment are concerned. Both Fragedakis and McMahon participated in the Bike Month Group Commute last May and have been unequivocal in their support for cycling.
These new councillors match nicely with the return of incumbents Janet Davis (Ward 31) and Paula Fletcher (Ward 30). The latter, who hashed out a narrow victory to keep her seat, has the greater challenge of establishing herself as a pro-cycling councillor, especially after her misvote on the proposed 12-week trial of separated bike lanes on University Avenue. But both are clearly distinguished from the bike lane requiem touted by our newly elected mayor.
So as a new administration takes over at City Hall we can at least look to the four Wards that border Danforth Avenue from Broadview to Victoria Park to offer a balanced perspective where the needs of cyclists are concerned. That balance is seemingly more important than before, and it is reassuring that their voices will be backed by the collective and growing support for cycling that exists within our extended community.