Published On Thu Mar 11 2010
DENISE BALKISSOON/TORONTO STAR
There’s a fresh new bike lane on Simcoe St. Just six months old, it was meant to calm the nerves of cyclists travelling the busy stretch under the GO lines and the Gardiner.
Instead, it’s a parking lot.
As convention season heats up in Toronto, every major taxi company has cars sitting in the Simcoe St. bike lane, waiting to pick up fares from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
On Wednesday, a uniformed police officer ushered taxis into the centre’s parking lot. He didn’t chastise them for clogging the bike lane, or for idling, which carries a fine of up to $5,000. When the Star asked him to clear the bike lane, he said he’d “call someone.”
Minutes ticked by. A cyclist stopped to make the same request. “I’m pissed off and frustrated,” said the cyclist, Daniel Hall. On his way south to the ferry docks, Hall was attempting to use the lane for the first time. Instead, he found cars backed up all the way from Bremner Blvd. to Front St.
The officer finally said he’d notified parking enforcement. While waiting for them to show up, the Star chatted with a few drivers. When told it was illegal to stand in a bike lane, some said, “No it’s not,” and others, “It’s only for today.”
Beck and Royal taxi dispatchers said they’d get their cars to leave the lane, but no one did.
Twenty minutes after the officer called for parking enforcement, no one had shown up. So, the Star called and was told a car would be sent out.
Thirty-five minutes later, the lane was still full of idling cars.