Jarvis Bike Lane Usage Continues to Increase in 2012

Bike traffic on Jarvis Street has nearly quadrupled since Spring 2010

Cycling traffic continues to increase on Jarvis Street despite the decision to remove the bike lanes. John Taranu and the Ward 27 Cycle Toronto group, which includes Jarvis Street, conducted a bike count this month from morning to dusk and found a doubling of a previous doubling of cyclists:

As you probably know, the City of Toronto undertook cyclist counts on Jarvis St in 2010 and 2011, before and after the installation of the Jarvis bike lanes. However, no cyclist counts have been done since then. We decided to do our own counts by videotaping the street for an entire day in October 2012 from a location overlooking Jarvis (at Isabella) and then counting the number of cyclists per hour. The results were surprising.

Cycling use has continued to increase steadily since 2010, the last year counts were made. From spring to fall 2010, after the bike lanes were installed, the number of cyclists nearly doubled. Since then, from fall 2010 to fall 2012, the number of cyclists has nearly doubled again. Even two years after the installation of the lanes, more and more cyclists are using the lanes.

In morning rush hour, from 8AM to 9AM, there are around 1000 southbound cars using this section of Jarvis, and over 100 southbound bicycles (according to the City count). The bicycle mode share is 10%. By installing bike lanes, the overall capacity of Jarvis has been increased by 10% in just two years!

These counts were taken at Jarvis south of Isabella, a section that sees somewhat less bicycle and automobile traffic than further south at College and Gerrard. It is likely the same trend holds further south.

A few notes are needed to explain the methodology. The videos were taken on October 2nd and October 3rd 2012, from 8AM to 7PM when there is sufficient daylight. The early morning and evenings are too dark to be able to see the traffic. The video was sped up 4x to make counting easier. Only southbound cyclists were counted; the videotaping location meant that some northbound cyclists obscured by cars. The video for Tuesday October 2nd is available online here: youtu.be/NJl_tZMxsGM.

Where will the people go once the lanes are removed?


Too bad Toronto does not have a Michael Bloomberg (of New York City, too bad its not a "world class city") as a mayor. He is quoted in an article from this link http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2012/10/653... where he says:

'"Cyclists and pedestrians and bus riders are as important, if not, I would argue, more important than automobile riders," said Bloomberg, at the National Association of City Transportation Officials, of which his transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is president. "We need the trucks to be able to deliver merchandise. I don't know there's any great solution to that. But mass transit is the only ways we're gonna work ourselves out of the congestion that always inhibits growth. And we're finding ways to do that."'

and '"The streets are there to transport people," he said. "They're not there necessarily for cars, they're to transport people, and there's lots of different ways of transporting people," he said. "In fact, one of the original ways was walking."'

Why do opponents to bicycle lanes explain that they remove "travel Lanes"? Especially, when people still "travel", but at a slower speed. As well, when they do "travel" at a slower speed, they are able to observe the neighbourhood more. They will more likely "see" a store than someone driving at a high rate of speed. The only reason for adding more lanes for automobiles, not bicycles, is to add speed and bypass the neighbourhood as quickly as possible.

Ford wants the Jarvis lanes removed out of spite, and it may be the only reason he's giving way to the separated bike lane concept - although none could be added until at least 2014 (after he's gone I hope).

I believe Transportation staff were ordered not to conduct another traffic count after the priority left turn was added a Gerrard, and there have been no further City counts of cyclists. So, the traffic delays may be insignificant and the cycling numbers may be well above their previous measure.

All of the numbers point to keeping the lanes, as does the initial EA recommendation that the fifth lane be removed to improve the public realm on Jarvis, but to a man who has only removed bike lanes, this can't be a much of a concern.