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Jarvis Bike Lane Removal Interrupted by Protesters

Power scrubbing to resume tomorrow after sit-in halts a work crew today.

Since this morning, flashing cameras and microphone-wielding reporters have been stalking the southerly progress of a single power-scrubbing vehicle (official name: Stripe Hog) as it makes its way down Jarvis Street. It has been in the noisy, grating business of what our current government might call an act of pragmatism: power-washing away the bike lane on Jarvis.

In the minds of many, however, it is power-washing away progress, and Toronto’s cyclists weren’t about to passively watch a cherished piece of local infrastructure vanish. Alerted to this morning’s operation by the Jarvis Taskforce, a local pro-Jarvis advocacy group, some cyclists took the lane to protest its removal—not by riding in it, but by sitting in the path of the work crew.

They’ve been at least temporarily successful: the truck has left Jarvis, work incomplete, and is scheduled to return tomorrow.

The strategy today saw a handful of protesters, about four in all, take turns sitting in the path of the oncoming scrub truck. As the truck skirted whoever was in front, the next protester took up a position up ahead—a sort of leap-frogging of the truck as it tried to advance down the street. (Among those protesters is arts and culture writer Steve Fisher, who writes for several local outlets, including Torontoist; his protest is independent of that work, and we learned about it, along with the rest of the world, as it was happening. We’ve asked Steve to write a first-person account of how and why he decided to participate in the protest; you’ll be able to read that tomorrow morning.)

Activists have planned further action on Jarvis, starting with a 5:30 p.m. vigil at the intersection of Jarvis and Wellesley tonight. They say they’ll be back on the street tomorrow before the scrubbing truck returns.

Work crews installing lights for the returning reversible fifth lane on November 6.

Though the decision to remove the bike lanes was justified by a need to ease congestion and smooth the flow of car traffic, elsewhere along Jarvis the installation of new parking meters promises an altogether different use of that space. Having heard as much as we have from our government about “gridlock” on the street, one could forgive Toronto’s cyclists for feeling more than a little insulted this afternoon.

Additional photos are available here.


  • James D Paterson

    One word, acronym, actually, comes to mind: lol

    I laughed at the part where the truck went past the “protester” and continued south of him. Alright, Mr. Blair, time to rally the boys and get your beatin’ sticks out.

  • NicolasBeeberman

    Toronto’s approach to transportation is archaic. The smog last week was as bad as Mexico City or Beijing on a bad day, and the city only promotes more cars on the road through actions like this. I have a friend who has asthma who couldn’t go outside because it was the air quality was so bad he couldn’t breathe properly. Fuck cars!

    • oz oz

      I hope you do know that most of our smog comes from coal fired electricity plants in the US North East (Ohio Valley) and not cars. The air pollution caused by cars is a drop in the bucket compared to what come from coal fired generators.

      • James D Paterson

        But if he knew that, then he’d have no reason to comment on this article with his end all statement of “fuck cars”, and we’d all be with one less comment.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing! Now you guys, re-paint the lanes overnight, stump that silly truck when it shows up for work tomorrow morning..

    • Jack Yo momma Krasovakov

      them re-painting would be illegal. Take an alternative road, you don’t always get your own way Mr. Adolf.

      • Anonymous

        Mr.Adolf? Wow. Overreact much?

      • vampchick21

        Goodwin’s Law spotted!

    • oz oz

      Or instead of applying all the effort to a lane you will end up losing. We direct our energies at trying to get the Sherbourne bike lane completedd. I am sure all the people protesting on Jarvis are willing to volunteer on Sherbourne to help get that lane competed faster.

  • Jack Yo momma Krasovakov

    1) Removal of Jarvis Bike lanes will not kill anyone or put anyone in danger. Use another road. Jarvis is not the only road available.

    2) These bunch of downtown cyclists think Jarvis should be their way and ONLY THEIR WAY, what about the people who drive downtown to work, who come from Scarborough, North York, East York, Markham and even Pickering?

    3) If I am driving to my girlfriend’s place at Bathurst/Queens Quay area, I will take Kingston Road, Woodbine, Lake Shore, Gardenier and exit at Spadina. If Gardenier was blocked/closed I would take Lakeshore. I have other alternatives. Cars/ttc/etc… do that all the time. WHY CAN’T CYCLISTS LEARN TO TAKE ALTERNATIVES.

    4) When my gf goes home from work (Bathurst/Bloor area), she takes Palmerston/Tecumseth south to Wellington, west to Strachan, South on Strachan into Coronation park, using the Coronation park trail thing to home.

    5) Jarvis belong to EVERYBODY. as my tax dollars were used there and I have always lived in Scarborough. Jarvis belong not only to just people who live within 1-2km from Jarvis, it belongs to people from outside downtown that use Jarvis. Not just a bunch of hypocritical cry baby cyclists.

    6) I am a cyclist. I am also a car driver. This bunch of terrorists who think it should be their way or the highway are no better than any of the dictators that we had from 1900-2012. Fidel Castro, Jack Layton, Sadam Hussein, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Adolf Hitler and so forth.

    • Anonymous


    • Anonymous

      Guess those people who drive in can now navigate around the on-street parking instead.

    • Boy is My Face Red

      This is like shooting fish in a barrel.

      1) Riding in mixed traffic is dangerous, but we all deal with it. That’s not the main issue here.

      2) When they start making bike lanes take up the entire street then it would be ONLY THEIR WAY. Right now we just want to share.

      3) Awesome dude, however there are no alternatives for cyclists. You can count the number of lanes in the city on one hand. There are hundreds of streets.

      4) Not really an argument, I’m glad you have a girlfriend though.

      5) Cyclists are not people, wait a minute.. is this one of those trolls I’ve heard about?

      6) I guess I should have read the entire thing before writing all this to a dude sipping coconut rum and laughing at me for caring.

    • Anonymous

      Godwin. Game over.

    • Val Dodge


      It’s funny that you think cyclists should learn to take alternative routes even as you claim that two roads with bike lanes is one too many.

    • chemical_echo

      Peaceful protesters are now terrorists.
      I wish all terrorists acted like that.

  • Martin Reis

    Here are more images from today… a fine day i the bike lane.

  • Bill

    in 2011, Toronto City Council voted to remove the 2 km of bike lanes on Jarvis Street in 2012 **when** the new separated bicycle lanes on Sherbourne Street are **completed.**

    does anyone know a smart lawyer who could take action against the city for not following its own motions?

    They’ve barely **started** work on Sherbourne north-bound bikelane from King to Gerrard, so what’s the hurry about removing the Jarvis bikelane??