Toronto looks ready to OK a major increase in cycling infrastructure

Torontonians might see new installations of cycling tracks and bike lanes across the city before the year is out. On Thursday, city council will vote on recommendations from Transportation Services to install approximately 25 kilometres of additional cycling infrastructure, for a total of 40 km approved for installation in 2020.

 

 

Transportation Services notes that the proposed plan is flexible and that installations can be adjusted based on changing traffic volumes, and the evolving needs of residents and businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Transportation Services report focuses on three main priorities:

  1. Installation of designated cycling tracks on Bloor Street West from Shaw Street to Runnymede Road.
  2. Installation of designated bicycle lanes on Varna Drive from Ranee Avenue to New Heights Court.
  3. Expansion of the city’s ActiveTO projects to create more space for cyclists — this is to ensure people are able to get around while practising proper physical distancing.

 

 

Social media reaction is mixed, with some supporting the proposal, others questioning the cost, and others calling for a bike lane on Yonge Street to help prevent subway overcrowding.

 

 

If the recommendations are approved, the cycling network would be expanded quickly by installing temporary infrastructure (e.g. by repurposing curb lanes) along several key corridors in the city. Bloor Street East, University Avenue/Queen’s Park Crescent, and Dundas Street East would be among the first installations.

“Expanding bikeways will help increase mobility options for people as the City starts to reopen and the need for travel increases,” the city report notes. “Key parts of the cycling network will be expanded, through the accelerated installation of routes in the Cycling Network Plan, to enable people on bikes to move around Toronto safely, with connections to the places they need to go, with particular attention to those that mirror major transit routes.”

While most of the ActiveTO projects are proposed as rapid installations with temporary materials and minimal change to the street design, the report suggests a more transformational approach for Danforth Avenue. This is in order to support the street character and local economy, keeping in line with the objectives of the Danforth Avenue Complete Street and Planning Study, which is currently underway.

In that regard, the report also proposes a cycle track for the Danforth from Broadview Avenue to Dawes Road.

 

 

In addition to the bike infrastructure, the city announced earlier this month that traffic-calming measures, such as signage and temporary barricades, are being put in place at intersections on specific neighbourhood streets. The move is designed to encourage slow, local vehicle access. These roads will essentially be shared spaces for all, including pedestrians, runners, and cyclists.

 

 

Click here to see a map of the proposed cycling network installation.

Article exclusive to TRNTO