As a progressive person in the United States, I look to our neighbor to the north as a model for what the U.S. might be like with more sensible laws, including transportation policy. So it’s always disappointing and/or reassuring when I read about backwards-thinking Canadian conservatives.
The most colorful recent example is Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who has consistently put himself on the wrong side of history when it comes to transportation issues. Soon after taking office in December 2010 Ford declared Toronto’s Transit City transit plan “dead” and immediately began fighting the construction of the Crosstown LRT light rail line. Fortunately the project is moving forward now and is slated for completion by 2020.
Ford also established himself as an outspoken opponent of urban cycling. “What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks,” he said as a councilor in 2010. “Sooner or later you’re going to get bitten… Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes. My heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.” A few months earlier he had said, “It’s no secret, okay. The cyclists are a pain in the a– to the motorists.”