Bloor study likely to piggyback on Dupont EA, but actual infrastructure still some years away

The public works committee has passed a motion for a combined environmental assessment for Bloor and Dupont streets. The motion still needs to pass City Council. Public works was probably the main hurdle, it being dominated by Ford's appointees, and that passing the EA at Council will be easier.

Councillor Janet Davis' amendment to extend the EA to the Danforth failed. There was also nothing in the motion approving a pilot project for Bloor. It's not clear if City staff can implement a pilot without Council approval, though it doesn't seem likely since staff probably won't take any risks on such a high-profile corridor. Councillors along the corridor will be very careful not to upset local merchants.

It seems odd to combine Dupont and Bloor in one EA. This is probably a strategic move in order to facilitate it getting passed by Council. The Dupont EA was already going to start next year so it seems that it was more politically palatable to include Bloor in that EA rather than try to create a separate EA with its own budget requirements.

Interestingly, Berardinetti, Grimes and Parker voted down Davis' motion, but Councillor Minnan-Wong voted for it. But on the final vote for a Bloor EA without the Danforth, everyone but Minnan-Wong voted for it. It's not a secret that Minnan-Wong would likely not vote for it, but it's interesting that some councillors would not want to extend it to the Danforth. For some of them it would be too close to their own backyard, even though a Danforth bike lane would be less disruptive to car traffic than on Bloor.

Timeline

Even in a best case scenario, actual implementation is some years away. The EA will likely start in 2014 and would probably go for at least a year. Any actual construction, if the EA recommends bike lanes and if Council approves it, would likely not begin until 2016, if the current EA for Richmond-Adelaide is any indication. And even then it's still completely possible that the new Toronto Council will get cold feet and delay or shelve any implementation.

There are some idealists (a minority if this blog's comments are to be trusted) who think that we can prioritize Bloor Street ahead of any other project (such as Harbord) and only complete Harbord after Bloor is "done". Given the likely timeline for Bloor, if these idealists got their way, we would have no new bike lanes from this administration and likely for even longer.

I think few cyclists would agree to such a deal. Something is usually better than nothing.

Comments

Not going to happen with the current administration at city hall.

Sadly, the young woman pulled under the truck on Spadina the other day has died. Tell me we don't need separated bike lanes.

Funny about the Danforth study being shot down. Danforth is generally more spacious than Bloor.

So lets see in the last year of the Miller administration a study is approved of Bloor Street bicycle lanes in a time frame that guarantees the study is not completed before the next municipal election.

No commitment to a trial period no commitment to install the lanes. The study is stopped one year later.

4 years later in the last year of the Ford administration a study is approved of Bloor Street bicycle lanes in a time frame that guarantees the study is not completed before the next election.

No commitment to a trial period, no commitment to install the lanes. Both studies look like political theatre for public consumption before a pending municipal election.

There is no commitment to do anything.

When the City is serious it commits to do a project subject to an Environmental Assessment like on Richmond Adelaide separated bicycle lanes.

My guess, nothing will come of this other than maybe stencilled bicycles on pavement.

Support from local residents and BIAs is essential in getting any of this done, and there is some reason for optimism of course , but broad public policy regarding bicycle infrastructure in Toronto is still too weak to support serious change.

The approval of the staff recommendation at PWIC is a small victory, but even if Council approves it, we would only be picking up where we left off when the last EA was scrapped.

In the event that there was an eventual vote at Council to install bike facilities on Bloor, there is no reason to believe it would carry as things stand now. With three or more years to change the way our city supports cycling, there is a lot of work to do, but we may be slowly moving in the right direction.

I don't understand why bike lanes need environmental assessments. Do some feel having them is harmful to our eco-system or our health?
Do we really need another report collecting dust on the shelf?

In the U.S., having to do a EA delays or cancels many bike paths or lanes projects. It also adds to the cost and provides a platform for anti-environmentalists.

Actually, Danforth is one of my preferred city cycling spots. When I do get the opportunity to ride recreationally, I will often cycle down Harbord to Parliament, then up Parliament and over the bridge to the Danforth, and then on as far as I feel like. The road is particularly spacious and I find the traffic manageable.

Good spot for a bike lane...oh well.

Cheers,

Ian

http://cyclinggotham.blogspot.ca/

The artists' rendering has the separation in the bike lanes done by a series of spaced poles, rather than a solid wall of concrete or a set of planters, whatever.

As a cyclist I would far prefer separated poles to a solid barrier, even though a solid barrier would be more reassuring in certain ways, as it allows me to exit the separated lane more easily, which I think is important.

Does anyone know if there is a "standard" approach to separation, e.g. are spaced poles more common than solid barriers? Does the City have any preference for one design over the other. How do they compare cost wise? Are there safety differences that have been noticed? Any information on this would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Ian

http://cyclinggotham.blogspot.ca/

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