Last night the City presented the preferred option for the Bloor Street bike lanes (pilot) (see more coverage here, here). I couldn't make it but looks like it was option C, which was the one with the most extensive physical separation between people biking and driving. That's nice and quite a surprise actually. I had expected more compromises and we got fewer. It is indeed something to be celebrated given the large political barriers overcome (and still to be overcome). Councillors Cressy and Layton should be commended for pushing this and taking a political risk. A key part of this is the new cycling manager Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati who is willing work hard at taking advantage of this political opportunity. Previously the Cycling Unit has often been content at not upsetting the apple cart and were more than happy to delay the Bloor bike lanes by agreeing to unnecessary Environmental Assessments.
In terms of the design there are two main items which I feel are compromises:
- the stretch between Bathurst and Spadina will only have flexiposts on the one side, which was given up to preserve car parking on one side
- a number of people were asking the staff to take a risk of trying Protected Intersections on Bloor but looks like they've decided to stick to the substandard approach of forcing bikes to "intermingle" with cars at all intersections. This approach has already proved to be problematic on Richmond and Adelaide and does nothing to try to reduce the worst locations for collisions: intersections
That being said, this will still be a game changer as much as the protected bike lanes on Richmond and Adelaide were game changers, having a huge impact on people flowing into, through and out of the core. It's only been 40 years!