Tomorrow City staff will give an update on planning for separated bike lanes on Wellesley. Councillor McConnell (who has been presumably consulting with other councillors along the Wellesley - Harbord route) has sent a proposal to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee requesting that the planning for Wellesley be extended to St. George, as a sensible place for the first phase of separated bike lanes to end.
Unluckily, she has proposed that there be a separate consultation processes for each section of the proposed separated bike lanes. The lanes would pass through wards 20, 27 and 28, thus there would be three consultation processes if I'm reading her correctly. Adopting this proposal would mean that to finish the separated bike lanes from Parliament to Ossington would require five separated consultation processes! That means one consultation for every kilometre of the 5 kilometre route. That's just crazy.
And if the separated bike lanes weren't approved in each and every ward, we would end up with a patchwork. Imagine travelling along some nice separated bike lanes and then abruptly going back to regular bike lanes or even no bike lanes at all. Then travel a few blocks more and they start up again. You don't have to imagine that hard since that's how Toronto currently pretends to have cycling infrastructure, by only building where politically expedient.
This is why bike lanes have not been completed in this city.
Not only would it provide for an onerous process, it would be expensive, repetitive and it would divide us. You'd think that each ward was a separate country and not actually just a political boundary for a city councillor. Why don't we install border guards while we're at it?
I propose something else: let's just get on with it. We're a city with substandard cycling infrastructure, even for North America. We currently have zero continuous east-west separated bike lanes while cities like New York, Vancouver and Montreal are zooming past us. We have large patches of Toronto with next to no cycling infrastructure, even downtown (just look at our poor Bike Score). I propose that we have one joint ward consultation process. That consultation process was good enough for Sherbourne Street, which involved 2 separate wards so why not on Wellesley?
While I like Councillor McConnell's proposal for pushing on to St. George in this first phase, I am very disappointed in the consultation proposal.