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Published on Sep 25, 2010

In a now locally infamous address that meanders as much as a riverbank bikepath, TORONTO's then-populist suburban councillor/mayoral hopeful, the late ROB FORD, shares his thoughts on proposed active urban transport infrastructure during City Council's pivotal JARVIS STREET BIKE LANE debate on May 25, 2009. (The citizen-safer infrastructure on Jarvis was installed despite FORD's opposition, but immediately after his 2010 mayoral win, a "clever" plan to scrape the painted bike lanes from a dangerously antiquated downtown thouroughfare was hatched, under the direction of FORD-appointed Public Works and Infrastructure Committee Chair, Denzil Minnan-Wong.)

This official video recording of his full speech during Council's debate on the matter illustrates FORD's propensity for divisively attacking Torontonians who had simply answered the City of Toronto's official plea to, when possible, move more responsibly within our hometown, to help mitigate the gridlocked metropolis' costly congestion and smog problems. The ever-campaigning Rob Ford again demonstrates that he had no real comprehension of modern urban transportation issues, nor any realistic, fully thought out solutions - just scattershot rants that so-resonated with already angry, otherwise long-disengaged members of the electorate.

This and other direct attacks on "cyclists" helped set the tone for the regressive urban transportation policies that would characterize Mr. FORD's bizarre, often impaired stint at the helm of this city.

Personal note: As former co-chair of the City of Toronto Pedestrian Committee in the early 2000's, I had many friendly conversations with then neophyte-councillor ROB FORD. In fact, I am one of the downtown, bike "courier" friends Rob mentions that he had spoken with, in his Jarvis rant.

He always seemed to me to be, in unguarded moments at least, a truly caring but insecure, approval-seeking little kid, who was in way over his head.

I also know how much he loved this city that both he and I enthusiastically call home. And that makes it doubly sad that his golden opportunity - to help make TORONTO a better place for all citizens to live in the 21st century - was so tragically squandered.

Despite scathingly critical differences expressed in recent years, our thoughts and prayers remain with the family and friends of my troubled, larger-than-life pal, ROBERT BRUCE FORD.

-Wayne Scott - H&C

PS/ It should also be remembered that a mere three months after this Jarvis bike lane debate at City Council, a former Ontario attorney general ran down and killed with his car, a stationary Toronto bike messenger. Although that alleged vehicular assault was captured on video and was observed, at least in part, by seventeen eyewitnesses who were interviewed by police, all criminal charges were dropped against the well-connected driver, so that the vehicular homicide case never even went to trial. The still controversial handling of the motor vehicle slaying of cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard came a year to the day after this Jarvis bike lane rant, in the midst of Toronto's 2010 municipal election which saw ROB FORD elected mayor.

PPS/ History will put all of this in better context. Please stay tuned. OXO

NB/ This description of said video was last updated for publication on Apr 15, 2018


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