[A big welcome to Hamish, a long time cycling advocate and our new guest blogger.]
One big and valid criticism of Toronto bike lanes is that we have a patchwork, and not a network. This is especially true in the western end of the older city, where a set of situations have kept cycling less safe and robust than it needs to be.
These conditions are: an irregular grid; streetcar tracks on the main streets; a set of restrictions from the Weston rail corridor that slices through the entire area on the diagonal; and political will.
What has resulted is a very large swath of older Toronto that remains extra dangerous, with resulting tragedies and harm to many cyclists, even though it's all inherently bikeable and lots of people still do.
This gap in safety problem has been 'fessed up to in the Bike Plan, though the City has known that there's heavier east-west bike travel demand from the west end for nearly 15 years. Finally, we're getting some trace of movement in slight improvements to this travel - the recent extension to the Harbord St. lane has been great, as was the small 1km of bike lane over the Dundas St. W. bridge.
But issues remain, including the "What next?" after crossing over the railtracks at Dundas/College.