Facebook users push to rename Vancouver bicycle route after Layton

Late NDP leader was an early advocate of urban cycling

Could 10th Avenue be renamed after Jack Layton?

Vancouverites are adding their names to an online petition hosted on the fundraising and charitable site Causes, a Facebook application, in an effort to rename the residential avenue and bike lane after the federal NDP leader who died Monday from cancer.

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At 1 p.m. Friday, 700 people had indicated they liked the cause and 342 individuals had signed on to rename the 10th Avenue bike route Jack Layton Way.

Jack Layton was a cyclists and an environmentalist, Barbara Anderson told the Courier.

Im hoping that since we have a very progressive councilor one that says they are progressivethey might look favourably on this proposal. I thought it would really strike a chord in Vancouver because so many of us are cyclists. It seems to be so appropriate.

Anderson, a Vancouverite who lived in Toronto and who cycles the route daily, launched the online petition Tuesday evening. Her Facebook profile shows a picture of Layton beside Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Once 1,000 people have signed on, Anderson intends to contact city hall.

Se also wants to see 10th Avenue eliminated of vehicle traffic to become a dedicated bike lane.

Catherine Lubinsky commented on the petition to note the cancer treatment and research centres located on West 10th Avenue near the Vancouver General Hospital. Perhaps with this dedication, well remember and practice the practices that kept Mr. Layton and many other cancer sufferers alive and well, she posted.

Inge Mueller-Langer wrote, If we want Vancouver to be the Greenest City, we should support someone who was [way] out in front of cycling in cities. Jack used to cycle around Toronto more than 30 years ago, when I first met him.

In the early 1980s, Layton became a vocal and public advocate of cycling and urban commuting, often taking to a tandem bicycle with his wife and NDP MP Olivia Chow.

As a city alderman in Toronto, he created the citys first cycling committee. As reported this week in the Toronto Star, he ran the committee out of his office with the goal of researching urban cycling and giving city cyclists a voice. The committee eventually received public funding.

In 1987, Layton participated in a race with two other councillors. One travelled by car, another by public transit and Layton commuted on his bike. Layton won the six-kilometre demonstration, underscoring his decision years earlier to relinquish his car and instead travel nearly exclusively by bicycle, according to the Star.

The citys bike routes do not have independent names but are identified by the street itself or another geographical characteristic, as in the cases of the off-Broadway, Central Greenway or Mosaic bikeways.

A street naming committee, staffed by public servants from different civic departments including engineering, emergency response and the archives, has the power to change names based on proposals from the public. Suggestions are then approved by council.

The 10th Avenue bikeway is a seven-kilometre route running east-west from Victoria Drive to Trafalgar Street.

mstewart@vancourier.com

Twitter: @MHStewart

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