A disappointing bikeway network report and things we can do to improve it.
The Bikeway Network Report for 2011 came out yesterday. Overall it's a big letdown, though I'm happy to see that Sherbourne, Bloor Viaduct and Wellesley are proposed to get protected bike lanes. The Chair of Public Works was calling for something more ambitious, at least for the downtown, but the staff seem to prefer to cautiously "assess" and "study" Richmond and Adelaide instead of even proposing to removing any car traffic lanes or parking, safely stating that the Mayor will only support bike lanes that don't "impede" traffic. The report will also be asking the committee to make a decision on the Scarborough bike lanes on Pharmacy and Birchmount, which have been shown to have little negative effect on car traffic.
The bike union made this statement:
This report was released today and the Toronto Cyclists Union, representing over 1,100 members, is disappointed with the lack of progress in the report. It is not bold enough to address the needs of hundreds of thousands of Torontonians who ride bicycles. In fact, several of the recommendations outlined in the report set the City back on cycling progress. While other cities are moving forward at a great pace to improve conditions for cyclists as part of an overall transportation plan, Torontonians who ride bicycles are being left behind.
Read more to find out what we're facing, but please send out an email to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee to support the Bike Union's recommendations for improving it (see below for details).
The Star summarizes the disappointing report:
We’re disappointed with the lack of progress in the report,” said Andrea Garcia, spokeswoman for the Toronto Cyclists Union, referring to a staff report going to the public works committee next week.
“We don’t see it as bold enough to address the needs of hundreds of thousands of Torontonians who ride bicycles.”
Among the recommendations are:
• Install separated bike lanes on Bloor St. E. from Sherbourne St. to Broadview Ave. this year.
• Prepare a detailed design and consultation process for separated bike lanes on Sherbourne St. and Wellesley Sts. with a goal of building them in 2012.
• “Assess” putting a separated east-west lane on Adelaide or Richmond Sts. from Bathurst to Sherbourne St., and a separated north-south lane in “the most suitable route” within the corridor from Peter to Simcoe Sts.
• Install bike lanes on Dawes Rd. from Danforth to Victoria Park Aves.
• Consider removing bike lanes (as requested by Councillor Michelle Berardinetti) on Pharmacy Ave., from Denton Ave. to Alvinston Rd.; and on Birchmount Rd. from Kingston Rd. to St. Clair Ave. E.
• Halt an environmental assessment that could pave the way for a major Bloor-Danforth Bikeway and rescind approval for bike lanes on Bloor St. W.
• Endorse “the mayor’s bike plan” that would build 100 kilometres of bike trails in ravines, hydro corridors and other off-street routes.
There is something we can do, we can call or email our councillors, or send an email to the PWIC or request to speak at the committee meeting on June 23rd in support of the Bike Union's 4 recommendations. The committee meeting is on June 23rd 9:30am, City Hall, Committee Room 1. These are reasonable recommendations, I believe:
- That City Council and PWIC re-establish the Bloor-Danforth Bikeway Environmental Assessment on the basis of significant community support.
- That City Council provide direction to City Staff to not remove the Pharmacy and Birchmount bike lanes on the grounds of public safety and respect for the taxpayer.
- That City Council and PWIC direct City staff to report to the September 2011 meeting of PWIC on a pilot project for separated bicycle lanes on Richmond Street and/or Adelaide Street to inform the larger overall transportation operations study of the area.
- That City Council and PWIC direct City staff to report to the September 2011 meeting of PWIC with an implementation plan for a connected network of protected bicycle lanes that includes two east-west routes and two north-south routes.