Challenging the City for foot-dragging on downtown north-south route

The saga for a north-south route continues as the City drags its feet on planning safe intersections. John Street bike store, Urbane Cyclist, isn't taking it lying down.

The City first decided to ignore cyclists in the John Street EA. This was accomplished by fudging the numbers so that it looks like a lot fewer cyclists took the route when in actuality it's a key north-south route for people biking from Beverley. The City pretended that the cycling mode share was a solid 2% no matter the time of day, weekday or weekend. Very suspicious. When activists did their own count (I helped) and showed that rush hour mode share for cyclists was much higher (over 30%!) the City was forced to revise their numbers.

Still, the City forged on with the plan to "pedestrianize" John Street (while not actually excluding motor vehicles), making the street much less useful as an effective route for cyclists. Particularly when John will be closed off for the many events taking place at CityTV. Urbane Cyclist and Don Wesley petitioned the Province to ensure that the EA properly accounted for cyclists. The Province denied the request saying that the City was working on alternatives:

I understand that the City will be undertaking a separate Class Environmental Assessment study for cycling infrastructure in the (east-west) Richmond/Adelaide corridor. This study includes consideration of north-south cycling options from Beverley Street to the waterfront. [emphasis mine]

The City promised that proper cycling routes would be created on Peter and Simcoe.

Now that the Richmond/Adelaide EA is well underway, it continues to be unclear if they plan to actually build a connected north-south route with safe and effective intersection crossings. Urbane Cyclist, through lawyer Ian Flett, has notified the City that they're concerned that it hasn't kept up their end of the bargain.

According to your schedule, you intend to address “intersection treatments” early in the New Year. Our client is very concerned that this important aspect of the study has been left so late.

The public meetings on November 18, 19 also addressed Peter and Simcoe Streets, but noticeably didn't address any intersection treatments. Of particular concern is how cyclists are going to get from Beverley bike lanes to Peter bike lanes, and also how cyclists are to cross busy intersections on the Simcoe bike lanes without any traffic lights. Some of the documentation even suggests that the intersection treatments will be left to the "future". If that's the case, it's anybody's guess when we'll get a connected, complete north-south route.

It's unclear what Councillor Vaughan thinks of this. Vaughan included Peter and Simcoe in his office's own Ward 20 bike plan. My email a couple weeks ago to Vaughan hasn't been returned yet.


In regards to fudging the numbers, I noticed that they were also measuring bike traffic on Sherbourne over the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend. I remember because I tweeted about it -->

Bicycles will continue to be low priority until we get a Mayor and administration in 2015.

City staff has decided already there will be no crossing for cyclists at Simcoe Street. This is clear because both of the City's preferred alternatives for Simcoe ended at Richmond Street with no proposal for extending the bicycle lanes on Simcoe, north of Richmond under either scenario.

This decision occurred without any consultation whether a crossing of Queen Street could be accommodated at Simcoe.

The north south connection decision has already been made, it will be at Peter Street.

John Street is to be pedestrianized; cycling commuter traffic is not wanted. Simcoe has no provision for lanes north of Richmond. Duncan doesn't go north of Queen Street.

City Staff represented that the intersection connection issue would be dealt with at the October consultation session, which actually occurred in November. That didn't happen.

You can be thankful to City staff that we will have another round of public consultation for the predetermined conclusion, Peter Street. There will then be a public process when the decision is made at Council to decide the route of this project before an insignificant section of it is installed on a pilot project i.e. test period. After that there will be a consultation process about the outcome of the pilot project.

And every time there is another consultation process there is another chance to kill it.