Where have all the proposed new bike lanes gone? For those interested in a safer cycling environment a City Bikeway Network report has just been released recommending Toronto's first physically separated bicycle lanes for a small part of downtown. Unfortunately, the recommended lanes is smaller than that supported by many area residents as well as the Chair of Public Works and Infrastructure. The report also unfortunately recommends stopping the study on bike lanes for Bloor/Danforth and removing bike lanes already installed or approved!
This is a call to come to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting on June 23rd, 9:30 am at City Hall, showing your visible support for the downtown protected bike lane network, the Bloor-Danforth Bikeway Study, and for bike lanes already approved and/or installed. And if you can't come send an email to the committee and your councillor.
A continuous network of physically separated bicycle lanes, far larger than that recommended by City Staff, is now supported by the Toronto Island Community Association, the South Rosedale Residents Association, Mountain Equipment Co-op, the Moore Park Residents Association, the Toronto Cyclists Union, the York Quay Neighbourhood Association, The U of T Graduate Student’s Union, the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, the ABC (Yorkville) Residents Association, the Palmerston Residents Association, the Bay Cloverhill Residents Association, the Parkdale Residents Association and the Oak Street Housing Coop Inc.
This network consists of two east west routes:
- Harbord - Wellesley from Parliament to Ossington;
- Richmond Street from Bathurst to Parliament.
And, two north south routes:
1. Starting at Prince Arthur on St George Beverley to John Street connecting to new bicycle lanes on Simcoe, via the Richmond Street bicycle lanes , to the Lake;
2. Sherbourne Street from Elm Avenue in Rosedale just north of Bloor all the way to Queens Quay.
Mayor Ford promised new bicycle lanes on streets where it "made sense" and where there was " community support".
The Chairman of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee - Councillor Denzil Minnan Wong has committed to doing more than Staff is recommending in this report, including snow removal of bicycle lanes in this network.
With Councillor Minnan-Wong's support we have a strong ally at City Hall for this plan. Minnan-Wong is less keen in supporting bike lanes on Bloor/Danforth, since he understand there is more significant opposition to it. But even there we should express our support for the bike lanes since they make sense and are popular. It will be a longer-term struggle but it's important to keep the pressure on, ride Bells on Bloor, even if it takes years to see improvements. At least staff have proposed protected bike lanes on the Bloor Viaduct which will give us our very first taste!
I urge all cyclists to go to the meeting this Thursday with bicycle helmet displayed and show up at 9:30 am June 23rd even if for only 1/2 hour (at City Hall). If we are lucky there will be too many people there in support and you will get turned away. The members of the Committee, some of whom are Ford loyalists, need to know there are a lot of cyclists in this City and this initiative has broad public support.
If you can make it to the meeting or not send an email to email@example.com, asking them to do more. Make sure you put your full name and address at the bottom. You can quote the Bike Union's 4 point recommendations:
- 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.
For more info:
- Star, Porter: City's new bike champion is on the right path
- I Bike TO: A disappointing bikeway network report and things we can do to improve it.
- I Bike TO: Separated bike lane proposal and battle heating up
- NOW: Right makes turn on bike lanes
- Star: Mayor's bike plan to feature physically separated lane
- Star: City to build curbs for separate bike lanes downtown
- The Varsity