The 2018 Municipal Election Cycle

October 2018:  A question heard in the cycling community ahead of the Mississauga municipal election (October 22, 2018) was... 'How can we make cycling an election issue?'  Mississauga was planned and built as a car-oriented suburban city with a sprawling mall and parking lot at its core, and wide high-speed roads separating communities.  Transition to an urbanized, multi-modal transportation environment will be slow and difficult for many reasons and will require sustained political will.  In fact, the 2018 update to the 2010 Cycling Master Plan is paced for an additional 27-year rollout of 18km/year (new infrastructure) to 2045.

Because MCAC is a citizen advisory committee appointed by the present Mississauga Council, we are unable to collectively vet or endorse candidates for elected office in a municipal election.

Independent cycling advocacy groups in other Ontario cities are politically active: conducting bike rides for municipal candidates, reviewing cycling policies in their platforms, and rating the candidates as a result.  Good News!  This indicates that support for cycling as a safe, active transportation option is rising on municipal agendas.

CASE STUDY:  In the City of Toronto, there was high-profile mayoral campaign discourse regarding the role of cycling in city-building.  In any city, the cycling topic can be most impactful at the mayoral campaign level, given the city-wide network & safety context.  Ward boundaries should be a non-issue in the debate, although in some cities the ward boundary proves to be yet another (political) barrier to connecting or extending cycling infrastructure.

UPDATE:  October 18, 2018 - Today, the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT), in partnership with 8 80 Cities, Friends and Families for Safe Streets, Cycle Toronto, and Walk Toronto, released the results of their election survey: #BuildTheVisionTO.  The survey asked candidates to commit to 15 road safety priorities for building streets where people of all ages and abilities can get around actively, sustainably and safely.  The answers were overwhelmingly positive.

TCAT Press Release (includes map of the 25 wards and response distribution).

MCAC monitored the Toronto mayoral race in regard to cycling policies, because:

1.  Citizen infrastructure is not (yet) in place in Mississauga to conduct a comprehensive candidate survey and push politically for priority-based cycling infrastructure and a basic network (also known as a minimum grid), such as advocacy groups are doing in Toronto.  Lack of media coverage in Mississauga makes this challenging as well.

2.  DNA of the Toronto mayoral race can be partially traced back to the Strategic Plan of the City of Mississauga.  Jennifer Keesmaat, a mayoral candidate, was lead consultant on the strategic project (Our Future Mississauga) 2007-2009.  The Plan has five (5) pillars: move, belong, connect, prosper, green.  As MCAC has emphasized at presentations to Council, e.g. Supporting Cycling Culture in Mississauga (Dec. 2016; 24p PDF), a cycling network and amenities could enable the City to achieve multiple objectives outlined in the Action Plans for each pillar.

But Mississauga hasn’t met the targets in the 2010 Cycling Master Plan, which committed to an annual increase in cycling infrastructure of 30km/year for 20 years.  From 2010 to 2016 (7 years), 80 km of cycling infrastructure in total was constructed in Mississauga, including 12 km of sharrows which MCAC does NOT regard as infrastructure.  The final number for 2017 is still being ascertained; the target number for 2018 is only 9.5 km.

3.  The campaign platform of Jennifer Keesmaat included four (4) Key Safer Streets policies in support of cycling and walking, consolidating what many GTHA cycling advocates have long promoted:  1) Reduce the speed limit to 30km/h on all residential roads;  2) Transform Toronto’s 100 most dangerous intersections within two (2) years;  3) Ensure areas around schools are safe by design within two (2) years;  4) Make a Vision Zero approach a requirement of every infrastructure and development project involving roads and sidewalks.

Of note to MCAC is the urgency with which unsafe conditions were planned to be rectified with these policies.  One of many MCAC concerns with the updated 2018 Cycling Master Plan is lack of urgency, with an opportunity-based 27-year timeframe, even assuming serious funding is sustained over three decades by subsequent councils.  Priority connections in our City of Barriers may not be constructed, nor dangerous intersections made safe, for decades.

4.  While Mississauga Council has adopted a Vision Zero Framework (February 2018), several safety issues in new infrastructure during Summer 2018 have been highlighted in the MCAC articles below.  The main mayoral candidates in Toronto talked about Vision Zero.  Will Mississauga pass the Budget necessary to start implementing Vision Zero ?

5.  The City of Mississauga's Road Safety Committee (revived with the support of MCAC, among others), may be the best avenue to implement protections for Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs).  The Toronto mayoral campaign brought such terminology and concepts into the mainstream GTHA lexicon, especially since Mississauga has little local media.

6.  The Mississauga Moves Transportation Master Plan study is geared to 2041.  The City has conducted many cycling-related studies and master plans, all off in the future.  Recognition of cycling as a more-immediate method of city-building is a positive coming out of the Toronto campaign and media, especially if there is rapid implementation.

7.  Beyond the GTHA, many municipalities are starting to make progress.  Guelph has its first cycling-protected  intersection as does Waterloo, where CycleWR made cycling an election issue.  There are several protected intersections in Ottawa (a Gold-level Bike Friendly City as of 2013).  The Town of Ajax just moved up to Gold this year and levers cycling to promote tourism and business development.  Having municipal campaigns beyond Toronto spotlight cycling issues is helpful in raising awareness of cycling advocacy, and providing encouragement for Mississauga.

LOCAL ADVOCACY TIPS:  The Share the Road Cycling Coalition is a provincial cycling advocacy organization working to build a bicycle-friendly Ontario.  STR maintains an advocacy webpage with materials and tips, plus a digital Cycling Advocacy Toolkit (10p PDF) for the October 22nd municipal election, including questions for candidates.

► Consult the interactive Mississauga Ward Map to identify your electoral ward boundaries.

Ride James Ride!  Relay through Mississauga

August 2018:  Thanks to the Mississauga cyclists who came out to join the ride-along with 10-year-old James Potvin and his dad Chris, who departed from Whitby on Saturday, August 18, 2018 to begin a 1000 km cycling journey to Coney Island, NY.  Their goal was to increase awareness and raise funds for Autism.

Two dozen Mississauga cyclists joined James (photos) in a casual relay to accompany and encourage James from Marie Curtis Park just east of the Etobicoke Creek, along the Waterfront Trail westward through Mississauga to the Clarkson GO Station, where Day 1 of the long journey ended for James and his dad -- 90 km in total!

MORE:  See the Ride James Ride website to donateFacebook page.

Councillor Jim Tovey - Remembered as a Champion for Cycling

January 16, 2018:  The MCAC is saddened by the sudden passing of Ward 1 Councillor Jim Tovey last night.  Jim was a strong supporter of MCAC's Community Rides, and it was clear to us when he joined us on rides in Lakeview and Port Credit that he was dedicated to serving his community and proud to point out all the positive changes taking place on the Waterfront.  He was a champion for cycling as part of every new development in his Ward, and advocated for cycling safety.  This is a very significant loss for the entire City of Mississauga -- Jim was a visionary and a city-builder advocating for a liveable multi-modal future.

MEMORIAL RIDE:  Our Jim Tovey Memorial Ride tracing Jim's Waterfront Vision took place in Lakeview on June 2, 2018.  ► View the POSTER.

Photo at left:  Jim speaks to cyclists during the first Community Ride through Lakeview and Port Credit in June 2013.  Jim joined almost all the rides MCAC ever held in Ward 1.

Council Resolution (April 25, 2018) (1p PDF) about the Memorial Ride and other Tributes to Jim Tovey.

OBITUARY: "Following a private family service, a Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider online donations to The Compass Food Bank" in Port Credit.

NOTE: The Lakeview Waterfront Connection, a restored wetland, conservation area and a future cycling destination, was inspired by Councillor Jim Tovey, and will be named after him.

Mississauga News (April 25, 2018):  Lakeview Waterfront Connection to be named after late councillor Jim Tovey.

Jocelyn Lovell Memorial Ride: August 13, 2016

The Community Ride to the Ontario Summer Games venue at Lakeside Park took place on Saturday, August 13, 2016.  We attended the Road Cycling Competition.

This Ride was dedicated as a Memorial Ride for Jocelyn Lovell, the Canadian cycling champion (and Mississauga resident) who died in June 2016.  A ceremony of appreciation and remembrance with Mayor Bonnie Crombie, and Councillors Chris Fonseca and Jim Tovey (Ward 1) took place at the Lovell home in Port Credit with Jocelyn's wife Neil (photo).

► View the POSTER and City Press Release.

MCAC citizen member Roy Buchanan made the following remarks on behalf of the Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee:

"We would like to thank Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Ward 3 Councillor Chris Fonseca and Ward 1 Councillor Jim Tovey, for their support in facilitating today's ride, dedicated to Jocelyn's memory, in conjunction with the cycling events at the Ontario Summer Games.

"Today, while the Olympics are taking place in Rio de Janeiro, and the Ontario Summer Games are taking place locally right here in Mississauga, it is fitting that on this bicycle ride in our series of Mississauga Community Rides, that we pay tribute to an athlete who is an icon in the history of Canadian sports: Cycling champion Jocelyn Lovell.

"Jocelyn passed away on June 3 this year at the age of 65, after a life that included dominating the world of Canadian road cycling in the 1970s and early 1980s.  He won a number of national titles, gold medals in the Commonwealth and Pan Am Games, and competed in 3 Olympic Games.

"Jocelyn's victories inspired many others to take up cycling, not only in competitive sports, but as a healthy recreational activity, as around that time many cycling clubs sprang up across the country, most of which are still active and growing such as my own Brampton Cycling Club which has many Mississauga members.

"There is no doubt that Jocelyn would have continued for many years in competitive cycling, but his career was tragically cut short in 1983 when he was struck by a truck while training.  It is a credit to his incredible will and perseverance that he survived this collision. But he suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic.  He met this challenge with courage, far more courage than he had already shown as a cycling champion!

"After recovering from his injuries to the extent that he could, Jocelyn became a fierce advocate for spinal cord research.  Soon after his injury, he served as head of the Mississauga Chapter of the Canadian Spinal Cord Society.

"In tribute to Jocelyn, the Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee is making a contribution to Spinal Cord Research through Jocelyn's organization."

To conclude, we gave Jocelyn a hometown salute with bike bells and then the Memorial Ride to OSG began!