The city’s cycling committee doesn’t usually raise Torontoist’s eyebrows. After all they’re usually the ones on the short-end of the stick, getting their requests for more funding, better safety programs and a greater say in road and community design ignored by council at large. But at next Monday’s committee meeting, they’ll be discussing something that troubled us.
As part of the city’s street furniture coordination proposal the promotions sub-committee of the cycling committee would like to ask the cycling committee to consider an ad-funded system of bikes that residents and visitors can use for short trips, a la bike-share, but funded by ads for yogurt, mutual funds or god knows what else. Examples include the Smart Bike by Clear Channel which will apparently be launched in Washington DC very soon.
The problem is the city’s got a decent bike lending program in the form of BikeShare and the only hurdle that Bikeshare faces is a lack of funding. Torontoist doesn’t think that a program like BikeShare costs too much to run, and instead of getting more visual clutter and ad creep we’d be supporting a home-grown way of getting more Torontonians on bikes. This proposal is yet another clear example of how the city is unwilling to defend and invest in its public spaces and instead seeks an easy way out of its trouble by ceding parts of our streets and sidewalks to private, corporate interests.