Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ride Line 9


A high pressure petroleum pipeline known as "line 9" runs through Toronto, roughly parallel to Finch Avenue for most of its length. Historically, the pipeline has carried crude oil from terminals on the East coast to the refineries in Sarnia. Enbridge, the owner of the pipeline, proposes to reverse the flow and have the pipeline carry diluted bitumen, tar sand, from Alberta to refine on the East Coast.

We know that the Earth's mineral resources will not sustain the kind of high energy, high consumption culture and lifestyle symbolized and enabled by the private automobile for much longer. Trying to keep on with business as usual, squeezing the last oil out of our planet, will come at a high cost to the world, to the living things on it, and to us and our cities. Line 9 goes right through some of the most ecologically sensitive and the most heavily settled part of Ontario. As the energy industry wrings the last drops of fossil energy from this planet, pipes such as line 9 carry more and more dangerous and corrosive substances.

Cycling culture offers an alternative to this ugly escalation of extraction, consumption, and waste. To demonstrate this alternative visually, I propose a bike not bitumen ride along the line 9 route, through some of the beautiful and diverse parts of Toronto. I tentatively propose it for the first Saturday of October: early enough to be warm for the ride. A Saturday one week after critical mass, should provide an opportunity for the greatest participation. An afternoon ride, starting at 3:00 pm, should take place in the light; the ride should take about two and a half hours at an easy pace.

The route I propose for this ride follows the route of line 9 closely, from Islington Avenue near the Humber to Leslie Street in the East.

For reasons of safety I am changing the ride start point to Jane and Finch, specifically Jane at the recreational trail crossing, just north of York Gate Mall (about a block North of Finch on Jane). Also, the ride will stop at Dufferin until 4:30pm, to give anyone who wants to join us after the Ice Ride a chance to do so there and then. 

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