Comparing bike lane plans: Councillor Vaughan versus Councillor Minnan-Wong

Councillor Vaughan's proposed bike lanes:

The regular bike lanes would be 1 km on Dan Leckie, 1.4 km on Bremner, and 1.3 km on Blue Jays Way, for a total of 3.7 km.

Compared to the full protected bike lane network, proposed by Councillor Minnan-Wong and the Toronto Cyclists Union:

The protected bike lanes would be 4.7 km on Harbord to Wellesley, 3.3 km on Richmond, 2.4 km St. George / Beverley, 1.2 km on Simcoe, and 3.4 km on Sherbourne.

Two actually complement each other! But I don't think anyone, other than Councillor Vaughan, thinks that one set of bike lanes would be a substitute for the other. Vaughan likes to mention this "alternative" as a way to show he supports bike lanes, even though most of his suggested route is all not that busy nor all that connected. Still they'd be useful so I'm not sure why we aren't just asking for both plans, instead of letting Vaughan dangle it in front of cyclists as treat as he takes away Richmond and John.

Will we just be happy with scraps off the table of our rich masters, or demand a place at the table?


Vaughan's plan requires a pedestrian/cycling bridge from Portland to Dan Leckie. This would be great! Is such a bridge likely to be built?

I also think Peter/Blue Jays Way is better as a cycling artery than John. If John is being planned as a slow, pedestrian-friendly street, then full separation is overkill (in fact, why not make it a Naked Street?). Full separation is needed more on arterial roads where users are focused on getting through fast. John Street should not be treated like a thoroughfare -- neither for cars nor for cyclists.

These plans are indeed complementary, and both should be built.

What is the source for Vaughan's plan? Saw Goldsbie tweet from the Spacing party but is it spelled out anywhere?

If the City is willing to hammer on Phoebe St. to make it an effective 'jog' onto Blue Jays Way, then I don't see separated John cycle tracks as worth pursuing.

The Bike plan that was proposed by the Ward 20 Cycling group was put forward last summer and adopted by works committee. It has been suspended pending Alan Heisey's plan (now re-branded as Councillor Minnan Wong's) which is being re-considered for a second time now.

Your map does not capture the full extent of the Ward20 proposal. Nor does it identify new proposals that have emerged from the community and local businesses since.

For the record I have no objection reviewing existing lanes on Harbord/Hoskin, Beverley/St George. And I have always supported separated lanes on lower Simcoe. Additionally Richmond and Adelaide were already under consideration for bike lanes as part of an area transportation plan. The same study was also exploring whether to turn the streets back into two streets as they were before Toronto started building expressways.

Unlike the W20 plan which seeks to add bike lanes on 15 new streets as opposed to the 3 new streets under the Heisey Minnan-Wong plan, the W20 plan proposes ten new links between existing bike paths too. The major moves would create 3 new north-south routes from Queen Quay to the centre of the city, primarily along Portland (the ped/cycling bridge already under construction - major work begins in Aug), Rees/BlueJay Way and Peter Street and Simcoe (all the way to Elm). New east-west routes would include FortYork and Bremner, Wellington (across Spadina and through a Park) from Simcoe to Portland, and Richmond /Adelaide (separately or as a corridor) The W20 plan also adds new access to Kensington Market and sustains support for Bloor and Dupont as major routes.

Again I have no trouble studying and hopefully implementing better bike lanes on existing routes; I have no opposition to working on Richmond. The only concern I have is cancelling the John Street Cultural corridor and that projects heavy emphasis on a strong pedestrian realm (especially when streets on either side of John are wider and better connected to the lakefront bike routes which bring a lot of commuter cycling into the downtown.

I also expect any design changes to existing streets to include a conversation and consultation with residents who live in the neighbourhoods where proposed design changes are suggested (we do it for all projects in the ward)

My residents have made it clear. Better bike lanes are welcome; more bike lanes are the priority. As a lifelong cyclist I could agree more.


The map for the W20 proposal is posted on the wrad20 website

According to Adam Vaughan's map, he is supporting Bloor bike lanes. Is this new?

Looking at the map that Councillor Vaughan posted, I really think this is all a big fuss over nothing. The only contentious part of the Minnan-Wong plan is a short little section on John. Bike lanes are not the beginning and the end of a nice city, and if it would really ruin the overall plan for John St., I see no reason why we couldn't do without that short little section.

Besides, if all the other Ward 20 proposals come to light, there will still be a perfectly good connection between the Beverly lanes and the Richmond lanes.

We can easily come to a solution here that satisfies all parties, and we as cyclists do not have to dogmatically align ourselves with a particular plan when there are plenty of alternatives available. There is no need to make this an adversarial process...

Also, thanks Councillor Vaughan... it's cool to know that politicians are actually paying attention to sites like this!

Councillor Adam Vaughan,

We who ride bikes (and sometimes self identify as cyclists) will NOT be happy with your proposal to turn John Street in a bike-free "Cultural Corridor," nor "Pedestrian zone" nor any thing else UNTIL we see a quality link to connect Beverly street to the lake.

We have been asked too often to support something with a promise to get something else, only to lose everything in the end.

That is why I, as well as so many others, are fighting so hard against you on your proposal to make John Street bike free.

You have to give us more than a promise because we have been burnt to many times in the past. Promises are not currency; built infrastructure is!

So I will be at the Works Committee meeting supporting the separated bike lanes because that is what my wife wants herself and our kids to ride in. And I will not be supporting your proposed changes to John Street, nor will I urge any others to support it, until something else is already built.

With all my respect,

Anthony M. Humphreys

I am not sure what issue is!? Vaughn's plan is a good one. It's inclusive of all road users: cyclists, drivers and peds!

I am not sure what all the rage about John Street is about or whether it is really used as an active cycling artery anyway- I would rather Vaughan focus on Beverley! But I think that if you are going to make John Bike free than it should also be car free!

I bike downtown all the time and to be honest I am not even sure I see that many cyclist on John except when they go to Urbane.....

The previous Ward 20 Cycling group (which was organized by the Bike Union and Councillor Vaughan), produced a report last year. I'm using that as a reference to understand Vaughan's claims better. The map that Vaughan posted seems to have been produced more recently.

In the original Ward 20 report, they made recommendations for these bike lanes:

  • University Ave and Queen's Park Circle (not reflected in Vaughan's map)
  • completed Harbord St bike lane between Borden and Spadina (only shows sharrows on Vaughan's map)
  • protected bike lanes on Richmond and Adelaide (shown on Vaughan's map. Vaughan wasn't too keen at first on bike lanes on these streets, preferring instead to turn them into two-way streets, but perhaps he's coming around to accepting the Ward 20 group's recommendation. He continues to insist on calling them "barricaded", instead of "protected" as the Ward 20 report calls them.)
  • Bloor Street (reflected on Vaughan's map, though it's waiting on the Bloor St. study)
  • it also recommends various streets identified already in the Bike Plan: Simcoe, Queens Quay, Rees, Bremner, Peter/Blue Jays Way

Vaughan left out that the report also called for a contra-flow on Stephanie which would facilitate the bike traffic on John and Stephanie.

In our bike/car/ped count on John Street yesterday, we were all amazed that rush hour traffic was 30 to 40% bikes. I can't understand how a John Street redesign take place that doesn't account for a large part of its traffic. Even if a substandard redesign takes place we may find that cyclists will continue to take this route because it still works for them. John will, however, continue to squeeze cyclists or force cyclists to compete with pedestrians. I don't know why people believe that cyclists will simply disappear or take some other route simply because they are not planned for.

Well, the staff report at is full of little gems.

  • Transportation Services recommends that separated bicycle lanes not be considered for Harbord Street/Hoskin Avenue and St. George/Beverley at this time. (pg 12)
  • Therefore, it is proposed that the consideration of separated bike lanes in the Peter Street to Simcoe Street corridor, as well as Richmond and Adelaide Streets, be considered as part of a larger overall study of transportation operations and management in this area. (pg 12)

So there goes a quickly-implemented, "fully protected" network. The Peter-Simcoe and Richmond-Adelaide lanes will be tied up in EAs and consultations 'till the cows come home and in fact have been put out to pasture. And no protected lanes on St. George/Beverly at all.

As for progress on various bits of Bloor-Danforth, nope, forget it:

  • Although a bikeway along the Bloor-Danforth corridor would be a significant addition to the City's bikeway network it would lead to severe impacts on traffic and parking. It is recommended that work on this Environmental Assessment Study not proceed further at this time and the resources allocated to this study be refocused on the other cycling initiatives set out in this report. (pg 13)
  • If Council decides to not proceed with the installation of the bicycle lanes previously approved for Bloor Street West, from Mill Road and Beamish Drive, staff will submit the necessary bills to Council rescinding the previous approval. (pg 14)

....Plus other musings on the removal of bike lanes on Pharmacy and Jarvis.

The design option for the separated downtown lanes (where they're going in, anyway) is bi-directional, with 3 m width As the report states:

  • The assessment will also review in detail the benefits and potential disbenefits of physical separation for cyclists. A bi-directional separated bicycle lane will need to operate on its own traffic signal phase to mitigate turning conflicts with motor vehicles. As a result cyclists will receive less "green time" than they currently do operating on the same traffic signal phase as drivers. The increased delay to cyclists must be weighed against the safety and comfort benefits for each of the candidate routes. (page 10)

But hey we know where the priorities still are,

  • Uni-directional bicycle lanes are the preferred design from a cycling and traffic operations perspective;however, they would require significantly more space and would have greater impacts on traffic capacity and parking. (page 11)

Heh, and on page 30 we see that the Sherbourne separated lanes will be 2.5 m wide bi-directional at intersections, to preserve left turn lanes. Yes, I feel safer already!

Personally, since it's easy to exceed 35 km/h on a bicycle going downhill on either Sherbourne or St. George/Beverly, for the safety of myself and other riders, there is no way I'd want to try this in a 3-m wide bi-directional lane. So, I would have to find other streets to ride. Also, I would expect the bicycles-only signal phase to be a long time a-coming and a short time a-green.

Pah, and feh.