Demaras Racing supports the freedom to drive, and rallies against attempts to ban the car in a city with pathetic public transit. This week’s Toronto Star article by David Rider really showed that the war on the car is real, and is fueled by ideology and hate. Give it a read.
High Park will remain closed to cars on weekends and holidays while city staff work on a plan to eventually ban private vehicles altogether from the landmark greenspace popular with pedestrians and cyclists. Toronto city council voted 18-7 Thursday for the compromise plan after fierce debate in which opponents called it a radical “war on the car” measure despite the fact that park users will see only minor changes in the short term.
“City staff will go in and start making physical changes so that cars and pedestrians and cyclists aren’t bumping into each other, and do the technical work so that we can get, in a few years, to a completely car-free High Park,” said Councilor Gord Perks, whose ward includes the park. He proposed the successful motion.
The plan includes new separated bike lanes in some places and changes to parking including additional “family priority” spaces and others for people with mobility challenges. Perks noted conflict in High Park triggered calls ranging for a permanent vehicle ban to no vehicle restrictions. His council opponents, he said, “are stuck in a world that hasn’t existed in 50 years — where people could drive freely to wherever they want to go.
“At High Park, there are just too many people trying to get in there to accommodate all of the cars so we needed a better path that fit with our Vision Zero and climate goals.”
Full closure to vehicles won’t happen until city council debates it in the future. City staff noted that a parking lot at the edge of the site remains open, that WheelTrans vehicles will continue to access roads through the park seven days a week, and that they are looking at options for shuttles to help people move around after private vehicles are prohibited. Councilors rejected a staff suggestion to increase vehicle access by replacing the current weekend ban with one only on Sundays.
Councilor Stephen Holyday (Ward 2 Etobicoke Centre) branded the plan “another example of war on the car” by activists who want to create a change for the sake of a change.
Councilor Anthony Perruzza (Ward 7, Humber River—Black Creek)held a campaign event at High Park shortly before the council debate, failed to convince his colleagues to open the park to vehicles seven days a week. Calling himself an avid cyclist who “loves slipping into his Spandex, feeling tight all over,” the Ward 7 representative said he thinks any restrictions on drivers in High Park “is hate for cars — it’s ideological.”