Removing the Jarvis bike lanes will be more expensive than initially thought.
According to city staff, reverting the street to its original five car lane configuration will cost $272,000, up from an original projection of $200,000.
Taking into account the $86,000 the city spent on installing the bike lanes in July 2010, the total cost of recent work on Jarvis could reach $358,000.
That's no small amount of money for a mayor hell-bent on cutting costs.
In a decision that outraged the cycling community, city council voted last July to remove the bike lanes, which Mayor Rob Ford said impeded car traffic but bike activists argued were popular with downtown riders. At the same meeting, council voted to remove bike lanes on Birchmount and Pharmacy Ave. at an estimated cost of $210,000.
The Toronto Cyclists Union's Andrea Garcia says the new cost projection proves the planned fifth car lane on Jarvis will be a "Gravy Lane."
"Although city staff have released data showing that Jarvis Street works for all road users, Mayor Ford and his administration are prepared to throw away over a quarter million dollars of taxpayers' money," Garcia said in a press release.
Mark Towhey, the mayor's policy director, appeared to refute the new cost projection Wednesday on Twitter, writing "false" in apparent response to a tweet from bike activist Dave Meslin. Towhey did not respond to a request for clarification.
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, whose ward encompasses the disputed stretch of Jarvis, says that reverting the street to a car-first thoroughfare will kill plans to beautify the street to make it more friendly to pedestrians and local businesses.
"Not only does it not meet the objectives for urban revitalization, it is also a waste of money," she said. "We haven't planted a single tree. None of that money is going into the streetscape improvements."
City work crews will remove the Jarvis bike lanes once separated bike lanes are installed on nearby Sherbourne. The Sherbourne lanes are part of a planned downtown network of separated bike lanes and are scheduled for completion in the summer of 2012.