Cycle Toronto asks City to improve bicycle access in Union Station plan, else may take it to Province

The City had approved an EA report for a remake of Front Street in front of Union Station. It would improve pedestrian access, but in the end, provided nothing substantive for cycling access, and perhaps even made it worse in some respects. This for a major transportation hub in Canada. Cycle Toronto has expressed its concerns (pdf) about the project and has sent a letter to the City to see that its concerns are met. If not, Cycle Toronto may bring its concerns to the Province under the EA legislation. The approved EA, according to Cycle Toronto, is contrary to the City of Toronto Official Plan, Metrolinx's transportation policies, and fails to provide adequate lanes for bicycle transportation and fails to accommodate access by bicycle to Union Station, a concern that was also expressed by Metrolinx at an earlier date.

If Cycle Toronto's concerns can't be resolved with the City, they will "make an order under Part 11 of the Environmental Assessment Act that would require the Project to undergo an individual environmental assessment".

Previously Metrolinx had also expressed concerns that cyclists were being short-changed. Lesiië/ Woo, Vice President of Policy, Planning and Innovation at Metrolinx, said in February:

It is encouraging to see an emphasis in the EA on pedestrian priority and safety; however, I wouid encourage the City to consider this opportunity to concurrently improve access to Union Station for cyclists. In particular, the preferred concept identitìed through the EA provides minimal dedicated on-road space for cyclists. With the introduction of a greater number of taxi and loading zones, there may be a greater number of points of conflict between cyclists, pedestrians, and motorized vehicles. On Front Street, the consideration of on-street bike lanes or dedicated cycling facilities may help to reduce conflicts, especially in high activity areas, such as adjacent to taxi stands and loading zones.

The City's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee had previously asked City staff to consider changes to the plan, but staff came back with nothing, saying that they were unable to arrange a meeting with the appropriate people in time. So instead of delaying the approval until changes could be discussed, it was summarily accepted. Perhaps this time they'll find the time.

Diceman Letter.pdf844.73 KB
Metrolinx Letter.pdf360.4 KB


Congratulations to Cycle Toronto for taking a strong stand in support of cycling access to Union Station!

Front Street between University and Bay is one of the most congested traffic areas in Toronto; that problem likely needs to be addressed before any progress can be made with respect for cycling facilities. Besides the cars, pubic transit has a history of trumping cycling infrastructure in when space is contested, the bus beats the bike nearly every time.

Perhaps a solution exists by converting the open areas that flank the main entrance, above the below grade parking; there is at least 1000 sq. metres of space there that could be added to the streetscape.

I note that the Bixi stand in front of Union Station was removed, presumably because of the construction. Whoever did it did not put up a sign directing people to the nearest Bixi station.

That type crappy treatment leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

The BIXI station at Union was originally installed right where it should have been , directly in front of Union Station and in plain sight to the main entrance.
Yes it was moved because of the construction to an inferior location out of sight and mind.
And this is where it is supposed to stay after the reconstruction of Front Street!
The EA ignored Metrolinx and its guidelines and proposes the Bixi stations be located east of Bay Street and west of University Avenue where they cant be seen.
Taxis can be right in front of the building.
Every mode of transport will be closer to Union than Bixi.
The absolute last order of priority amongst transportation options in this environmental assessment was ... bicycles. No priority was given to cycling.
Support Cycle Toronto's request for a review and write the Minister of the Environment at complaining about this EA and request an environmental assessment process that gives priority to the role of cycling in our City's future.

This comment won't address east-west access past Union Station but I would STRONGLY support extending hours of the diamond lane on Bay Street. Not to mention some enforcement.

Bay Street is one of the few continuous, bike friendly and well connected, North-South routes into the core. Unfortunately, the diamond lane is only in effect from 07:00h through 19:00h during the week. While this may serve the needs of bus and taxi transit usage, it tends to deny cyclists safe(ish) egress from the core outside of these hours.

It occurs to me that a 24h diamond lane with SOME amount of enforcement (I have NEVER seen enforcement of the diamond lane on Bay except when I have specifically requested it from a police cruiser on Bay and related to a specific automobile that the cruiser can see) would serve commuters better.

Barring a 24 hour diamond lane, an extension of hours to 06:00h - 23:00h would be a cost effective, and (in my opinion) equitable option.

Great idea
You might explore the approval to reintroduce on street parking on Bay Street outside or rush hours and on weekends
Proposed by councillor wong tam and approved by Council in last several months

That is a great suggestion and input Bay. Didn't find the proposal on her website so here is what I have written to Councillor Wong-Tam.

*Hi Councillor Wong-Tam.

I commute via bicycle to Yonge & Queen about 200 times a year. My route includes Bay Street from Davenport.

Have heard that you may have proposed parking changes on Bay and am interested in what the proposal may involve. Did not see the proposal on your website so assume that it may include other components.

Because I am often on Bay Street after the 19:00h cut-off for the diamond lane, I am interested in what measures may support cycling on Bay before 07:00h and after 19:00h on weekdays.

Many thanks in advance Councillor.*

KWT's commitment to cycling is well known
Look forward to her response
Please update the blog with her response/