In response to a City Council resolution to remove the Jarvis
Street bike lanes that were installed in July 2010, and add a fifth
reversible centre lane, the Toronto Cyclists Union sought a legal opinion whether the Project would be
subject to screening under the Municipal
Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA). The opinion, prepared by Laura Bowman of Iler Campbell
LLP, concludes that the removal of the bike lanes would trigger
a minimum of a Schedule B assessment either on the basis that the
Project involves the reconstruction of Jarvis Street for a
different purpose, use or capacity, where the cost is less than
$2.2 M (Category 20) or as a road related work, where the cost is
less than $2.2 M (Category 41).
The opinion also argues that given the likely adverse
environmental impacts of the Project, and the significant public
interest, it should be subject to a more thorough Schedule C
assessment. The opinion highlights a range of impacts of
decommissioning the bike lane, including:
Social effects, such as increasing the risk of car/bike
collisions and the nuisance effects of increased car traffic;
Reduced transportation efficiency due to increased commuting
times and increased transportation costs;
Bio-physical environmental impacts due to increased air and
noise pollution; and
Loss of cultural heritage due to a user experience that is
inconsistent with the street's history.
The Cyclists Union has requested that the City elevate the
assessment of the Project to a Schedule C environmental assessment
and has given the City until Friday, April 13 to respond. If they
do not receive a response, they state that they will submit a
request for a Part II Order under the Environmental Assessment Act to the Minister
of the Environment.
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