Guest post from @timfalconer at AFUITBS, and a response | #TOpoli #bikeTO

… the bad news is: a lot of things in Toronto are going to get much worse before they have a chance to get any better. By shrinking the planned expansion of transit (and even cutting back on existing service), by making our streets more inhospitable to cyclists and by completely ignoring pedestrians, Ford ensures that our roads will become even more congested.

But the good news is: Ford’s government by vengeance ensures that voters will react by giving a strong and clear mandate to a city builder with a vision of Toronto as a place that works for everyone, not just those behind the wheel. And someday Jarvis will become a cultural corridor because those are the kinds of streets great cities nurture. I’m pretty sure that’s what William R. Johnston would want for his old ‘hood.

Tim’s analysis of what makes Team Ford tick (vindictiveness, immaturity, utter lack of reflection) makes a lot of sense, and I wish I could share his optimism about what will come afterwards. Anyone with even a smidgen of progressive sensibility and more than a handful of brain cells can anticipate the damage this bunch is going to do if we don’t act to stop them.

Unfortunately, recent history suggests that periods of far-right scorched-earth governance aren’t followed by efforts to repair the damage. The best we can hope for are centrist-leaning technocrats who talk a good game but don’t really do anything substantive to roll back the pain. Thatcher gave way to Blair (Major didn’t really count). Bush to Obama. Harris/Eves to McGuinty. Mulroney to Chretien/Martin (this last analogy may be a bit of a stretch in that Mulroney doesn’t really fit in with the axe-wielding far-right barbarians, but if there was a meaningful policy shift when he was succeeded by Chretien, I must have missed it).

The last thirty years, unfortunately, have seen the goalposts moved steadily down the field. Whenever we manage to oust the crazies, all we get in the interim is feckless damage control.

If there’s a solution to this, and an effective way to reclaim what’s been lost, I’m all ears.

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