Bike Lanes on Lawrence Avenue - why all cyclists should care
The essay below is from Veronica, a cyclist active in Bike 25, a group working towards implementing the bike plan in Ward 25.
On Wednesday March 10, 2010 the City of Toronto will be holding a Public Open House to discuss planned bike lanes for Lawrence Avenue East, from Yonge Street to Bayview Avenue.
At first glance, it would appear that this is another 'bike lane to nowhere'. But viewed in the larger context of the Bikeway Network, this is the first piece of a planned bike lane on Lawrence Avenue stretching from Avenue Road to past Port Union Road. While it's unfortunate that this bike lane is being assembled in pieces, I think that its important that cyclists keep their eye on the prize.
Even in its truncated version, this piece of bike lane links Lawrence subway station with the Toronto French School, York University's Glendon Campus and intersects Bayview Avenue quite close to Sunnybrook Hospital, the destination for a large commuter cycling contingency. If one continues further east along Post Road, it links to the existing Don Valley trails.
As for the argument that money should not be wasted on bike lanes in the suburbs because nobody cycles there, consider the following:
- residents do cycle in the inner suburbs, often under much more hostile conditions. Getting buzzed by a vehicle is not pleasant. Getting buzzed by a vehicle traveling at 70 kph, is even more unpleasant. Cycling infrastructure is even critical in these neighbourhoods;
- based on discussions with neighbours, there are many more that would like to cycle but don't because they feel unsafe doing it. Many argue that painting lines on the road do not make cyclists safer and there's truth to that. But bike lanes make people feel safer, so they are more likely to cycle and statistics have shown that more cyclists on the road does increase cyclists' safety creating a positive feedback loop;
- if we are to reduce the number of cars in the downtown core then we need more inner suburb residents commuting by bicycle instead of driving into the core. This will not happen unless cycling infrastructure begins where these trip originate from.
In the past I have personally attended public meetings and/or written to councillors in support of bike lanes, most recently for Jarvis Street and Annette Street, even though I would use these routes only occasionally. I did so because when I do happen to go that way it would be useful to have a bike lane and because I know that every bit of bike lanes constructed, no matter which part of the city, helps get us one step closer to completing the Bike Network. And every bit of Bike Network constructed gives people who want to use bicycles as a means of transportation greater choice as to where to live in the city and still get around safely.
Now the inner suburb cyclists need the assistance and support of the downtown crowd. Please help us lobby for cycling infrastructure in our neighbourhood.
Wednesday March 10, 2010
Blythwood Junior Public School
2 Strathgowan Crescent
7 - 9 pm
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