““The predominant movement pattern in the city centre will be on foot … It is vital that the public realm is easily accessible, pleasant and safe.”” —Dublin, Ireland In a draft report on the future of the Irish capital’s core region, planners note the increase in population will require reducing private vehicle use, repurposing limited road space for transit users and pedestrians. In Toronto, Mayor Rob Ford wants to spend more than $4 billion extra to move a planned light rail line underground, more than doubling the cost, because surface transit might inconvenience car drivers.
““We can’t have a strong economy if we’re not looking after people socially as well. … If anybody thinks that you can pull off one of those elements without the others, they’re fooling themselves.”” —Markham, ON: Conservative Mayor Frank Scarpitti discusses new sustainable development and rapid transit initiatives in the Toronto suburb, all while celebrating three straight years of property tax freezes. A few kilometres south, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is going in the opposite direction, cutting taxes by gutting transit and cancelling social programs.
“We’ve seen a 58 percent increase in bicycling over the past four years, and local companies are realizing that providing a welcoming environment for people who bike is yet another way to attract top talent.” —San Francisco, CA: Mayor Edwin Lee kicks off the city’s Bike To Work events this spring. At the same time, Toronto mayor Rob Ford was announcing the cancellation of the city’s own popular Bike Month events, and cutting 900km of bike lanes from the city’s transportation plan.
““Philadelphia has a growing 50 and older population. It is essential for our Administration to utilize innovative approaches to assist older Philadelphians navigate daily obstacles.”” —Philadelphia, PA: Mayor Michael Nutter commends the AARP’s Walkability Study, surveying the city for challenges facing older pedestrians, aiming to make the city more walkable for all residents. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has commissioned a study to eliminate specialized crossings in the city’s busiest pedestrian areas, because of minor impacts on vehicle drivers.
“I’m thrilled if I could shine a light on some of the work of these community volunteers.” —Calgary, AB: Mayor Naheed Nenshi becomes the first Mayor of Calgary to act as grand marshal of the city’s annual Pride Parade, attracting a record number of participants and parade-goers. Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford went out of his way to avoid the city’s week-long Pride celebrations, expected to attract more than a million participants, and even left the city for the weekend Pride Parade. Ford and his allies have called for funding for Toronto’s Pride Week to be stopped.
“The groups that will benefit from this funding are what make Lower Manhattan a dynamic 24/7 neighborhood, not just a place to live or work.” —New York, NY: Mayor Michael Bloomberg announces $17 million in new funding for non-profit social service agencies. These organizations provide a wide range of programs and services for youth, seniors, health care, education, recreation and culture, all services that Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford wants to eliminate to balance lost revenue from his ill-advised tax cuts.