Cyclists lose John, but will we be getting a consolation prize with Beverley, Peter, Simcoe?
At the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting yesterday, the John Street Corridor Improvements Environmental Assessment Study was approved despite the number of people in the cycling community who voiced their displeasure of being ignored. It was a plan that was pushed by commercial interests along John, as well as by Councillor Vaughan, but provided very little for cyclists who comprise up to 1/3 of the traffic along the street.
But surprisingly, there may be a consolation prize for cyclists. A reputable source at the PWIC meeting heard Councillors Minnan-Wong describe how Councillor Vaughan was willing to support separated bike lanes on Beverley, Peter, and Simcoe (and presumably Richmond or Adelaide to connect these streets) if he the John Street report was approved. Since a John Street without bike facilities was approved, I presume that Vaughan is now committed to improving this alternative route, and that Minnan-Wong wanted to make sure this commitment was recorded in the public record.
This is quite a change from a year ago when Councillor Vaughan was sent out a newsletter to his constituents using the nonsense term "barricaded bike lanes" despite the fact that having some separation from motor traffic is exactly what most Torontonians have requested (as in the recent survey by the City). A positive shift away from this view can be seen in his comment about the plan for the Sherbourne separate bike lanes where Vaughan criticized that there is "not a pronounced enough separation.... Unless you make it physically risky to put a car in that spot, you will get cars in that spot. You'll have taxis, you'll have couriers, you'll have vendors."
It's quite commendable that Councllor Vaughan is willing to support this popular separated bike lane network. Despite not getting a better John Street as the most rational link, we can at least count on Vaughan to support the hard work that will be required to make the Beverley - Peter - Simcoe route possible. For instance, there is a major problem with the off-set intersection at Peter and Queen that will be need to be fixed before it can be called truly safe for most cyclists.
It was reported as well that Councillor Minnan-Wong was still championing an expanded network at the meeting (likely seeing that he can still win some political points across the spectrum with his give and take), including extending the Richmond Adelaide bicycle lanes to Eastern Avenue where there are also bike lanes. This would be a great extension to the current EA which is only going to cover a portion of Richmond and Adelaide and ignores the need for connectivity to the other side of the Don.