Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bikes Mean Business!!

Last week our event Bikes Mean Business was a huge success!

Left to Right:  Brandon (Ward 30 Bikes), Jared (Cycle Toronto), Billy (Chair of Danforth Mosaic BIA and owner Red Rocket Coffee, Councillor Fletcher, Sylvia (Ward 30 Bikes), John (owner of Allens' and Dora's)
- photo credit: Councillor Fletcher's office

This event was a collaboration between all the east end Ward groups within the #DanforthLovesBikes working group and Cycle Toronto. We pulled people from across the community and wider city to discuss and celebrate the amazing economic benefits of bike-friendly streets!

Yvonne Bambrick, author of The Urban Cycling Survival Guide and Executive Director of the Forest Hill Village BIA kindly MC'd our event.

Yvonne Bambrick introduces Billy Dertilis Chair of Danforth Mosaic BIA and owner of Red Rocket Coffee
The turnout was great - we had Dora's packed!

Councillor Janet Davis (Ward 31) and Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30) front and center

First to speak was Councillor Paula Fletcher who gave her full support for studying bike lanes on Danforth. She talked about the collaborative work going on to improve bike parking (Danforth BIA + Ward 30 and Ward 29 bikes + her office), and she talked Bike Share.  It's coming to the east side - scheduled for this year! And she reassured the audience that protection the viaduct lanes is something she is still pushing for.

And then we went right into the research and the facts.  Matthew Lynch from the World Council of City Data and from Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank spoke to the pure statistics that have shown that bikes are in fact really good for business (full presentation in this link).

Nancy Smith from the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation who also spoke to the research and facts. (A Danforth research study can be found here)

Councillor Mary Margaret McMahon (Ward 32) followed up as did Councillor Janet Davis (Ward 32) who both gave enthusiastic words of support for a bike friendly Danforth that includes bike lanes!

Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati Manager of Cycling Infrastructure Programs from the City of Toronto staff kindly came out and spoke to the packed room about the 10 year bike plan and the process for consultation and collaboration. We were so fortunate to have city staff join us!

And then our host for the night spoke.  John Maxwell owners of both Dora Keogh's and Allens:

John Maxwell business owner speaks to the crowd
A strong supporter for a bike friendly Danforth his words were particularly moving.  He agreed with all the research that was presented, but added... there is more to life than business, right?  He ended his speech with very thoughtful words about life just being better with people friendly streets.

Billy Dertilis owner of Red Rocket Coffee and Chair of the Danforth Mosaic BIA added with more words about businesses that do want to see a bike friendly Danforth. It was really fantastic to have local businesses sharing their support.

Jared Kolb from Cycle Toronto wrapped up the night speaking touching on the concepts of working through change.

What a night!

After all the speakers everyone had a chance to enjoy drinks and to chat.  It was so good to see local Danforth BIA Executive Director Susan Puff in attendance, as well as owners of the Second Cup on Danforth and Dough Bakeshop.  Riverdale Cleaners was there too.  I saw some members of the Playter Estates Residents Association taking it all in, and a few from DECA. I'm sure there were many many more  there too.   The crowd was really diverse.

So behalf on all of us who planned this event, thank you to everyone who joined us that night!

- Ward 30 bikes

Presentation Resources:
Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank: Cycling Economies

TCAT Bike Lane Economic Impact Study for Bloor Street Toronto 


NYC Statistics and Facts from Bike Lanes and Street Redesign

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