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City tempts either disaster or nirvana as it moves closer to 24 km of bike lanes along Bloor-Danforth

(Image: Neil Ta)

Despite apocalypse-heralding opponents, the city of Toronto is pushing forward with a controversial proposal to establish a 24-kilometre bike lane along the Bloor-Danforth corridor. An evaluation by city staff last year concluded that such bike lanes would likely disrupt traffic and parking (yes, they needed an evaluation to determine this), and the city is looking for a third party to conduct an environmental assessment, after which a consultant will determine feasibility and look at bike lane design options.

The proposal has city hall predictably divided, with right-of-centre mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi adamantly opposing the idea (“It would be a disaster”) and Councillor Adrian Heaps, chair of the Toronto Cycling Committee, supporting it. Mayoral front-runner George Smitherman is playing it safe, saying he intends to postpone the creation of new bike lanes if elected.

Councillor Glen De Baeremaeker had the best quote on the subject, in the Globe: “It’s not as radical, I think, as some people would try to pretend it is. It’s not like we’re declaring war on anybody.”

Who said anything about a war? Oh, right.

• Bloor-Danforth bikeway plan rolls on [Globe and Mail]

  • Chantal

    6 months of the year, it’s snowy and awful… but sure, I’ll bike to work. Oh yeah, and I have to take my 14 month to daycare 5 miles from my house because it’s the only one I could find and afford… but sure, I’ll bike to work.

    The TTC is out of the question – it would take a bus, a subway and a streetcar ride to get to work.

    I want to move to Paris – at least they have a usable Metro system that is affordable but gets you where you want to go in a reasonable amount of time. Plus, it’s Paris… A city with a soul.

  • Robert

    I travel daily from Bloor and Royal York to Yonge and Bloor. I’ve tried doing that commute on my bike but it feels a little too much like Russian Roulette right now. Bike lanes would do a lot to get me out of my car or the subway. I hope it happens before the anti-pedestrian and bike bashing crew descends on City Hall.

  • GreenRLChub

    I think Bike lanes would work on the Danforth if people living and working in the area didn’t have this obsession with J walking!

    It’s a nice Idea in an ideal world where people don’t fight to get a parking spot to be able to walk 2 steps to their fave eatery or shop! The soccer moms and dizzy dads of the Danforth will surely have something to say about Bike lanes!

    And you know that walking from one of the many Green P parking along the Dan is just to far to walk from ones car! LOL!

    The Danforth would be a much nicer place to be without the parking along it and may even attract more shopper that walk by a shop rather than speed by in their SUV?!

    Just my 2cents…

  • Yvonne Bambrick

    I’d like to clarify that Transportation Services are not proposing “a 24km bike lane along the Bloor-Danforth corridor”. 

    The Environmental Assessment being conducted will determine the feasibility of creating an E-W ‘bike corridor’ that would apply a variety of context-specific cycling treatments (road markings such as sharrows, bike lanes, signage, etc…) best suited to each of the varying neighbourhoods, streets widths, parking availability, usage patterns, traffic flow, along the way.  It is also an important opportunity to consult with residents/business owners along the way and teach them more about the benefits of encouraging cycling. A recent study by the Clean Air Partnership provides interesting data:

    As I understand it, the goal of this study/transportation project is to insure minimum disruptions to motor vehicle traffic and parking, while creating a safer transportation environment for the large, and growing, number of tax-paying Torontonians who are choosing to ride bicycles (non-motorized vehicles) to commute and get around the city.

    The more people choosing bicycles, the fewer people taking up valuable space on transit and in cars.  Encouraging and making space for people to ride bicycles is one the cheapest and most effective ways to accommodate our growing population.  Not providing safe passage on our roads through the implementation of the 2001 Bike Plan, and not making cycling a reliable and comfortable choice for Torontonians may well exacerbate the motor vehicle congestion that is already plaguing our city. 

    Bike infrastructure (lanes, etc…), and an active cycling culture, benefit us all – drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike.

  • Jo

    The “cycling treatments” that would go into defining an East-West (Bloor-Dan) corridor, would likely include a great deal of the newly implemented idea of “sharrows”.

    To be clear, these are NOT bikelanes per-se, but simply markings on the road to indicate where cyclists can presume to take a width of the lane, and to alert drivers to the fact that they should cede that width to a Cyclist.

    I’m writing something on my blog to try and express my doubts about the value (and possible risks) of these markings, among other “Bikelane Boondoggles” and would appreciate your feedback as things move along.


  • Anthony

    I understand that currently bike lanes are underutilized, but it is planning for the future.
    In winter, as long as the lane is cleared, it’s not out of the question to bike.
    I don’t know if the primary purpose is for people to travel from the ends to the centre of the city, but I suspect that it will help people get around the many neighbourhoods along Bloor.