Jarvis Bike Lanes

Public Works Committee votes to kill Jarvis Bike Lanes

In response to a motion put forward by Councillor John Parker, the Public Works Committee has voted 4-2 to remove the Jarvis bike lanes. The committee does not, however, have the authority to make this decision on its own, and the item will thus go to a full council vote in mid July. Given Council's track record, however, it's probably not a good idea to hold one's breath that the lanes will remain in place.

Needless to say, cycling advocates are shocked at this news, especially as it comes so quickly after the 2011 Bikeways report indicated that street has experienced a threefold increase in bike traffic since bike lane implementation. While there have been some delays to vehicular traffic post-installation, it's not a stretch to categorize these as minor (see the specific numbers below). City staff also noted that an improvement in traffic flow would likely follow the addition of an advance left turn lane for northbound traffic at Jarvis and Gerrard street.

The breakdown of the Public Works Committee vote, for those interested was David Shiner, John Parker, Mark Grimes and putative bike champion Denzil Minnan-Wong for the motion, and Gord Perks and Mike Layton against. I'd like to say that this development is mystifying, but in light of previous grumblings about the lanes from the Ford, this development isn't actually that surprising. But that doesn't mean it makes sense. As I mentioned the last time this subject came up, restoring the street to its former state will cost about $68,000. Insert gravy train comment here...

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As we put forward in a series of tweets after Parker made the motion, here's the section of the 2011 Bikeways Report that addresses the Jarvis Bike lanes (copied verbatim):

  • Prior to the installation of bicycle lanes on Jarvis Street, the volume of cyclists in both directions averaged approximately 290 in total during the peak eight hours on a weekday.
  • Following the installation of the bicycle lanes, the eight hour volume of cyclists increased to approximately 890 on average, an increase in volume of over three times
  • Vehicle traffic counts on Jarvis Street prior to the installation of bike lanes in both directions averaged approximately 13,000 vehicles in total during the same eight hour period.
  • Following the installation of bike lanes, the vehicle volumes remained approximately the same, averaging over 13,000 vehicles in both directions during this eight hour period
  • Vehicle travel times between Charles Street East and Queen Street East, prior to the installation of the bike lanes, averaged between six and eight minutes.
  • Travel times increased by approximately two minutes in both directions following the installation of the bike lanes in the a.m. peak hour and by three to five minutes in both directions in the p.m. peak hour.
  • Much of the increased travel time could be attributed to the delays and queues experienced at the Jarvis Street/Gerrard Street East intersection, particularly in the northbound direction during the p.m. peak period.
  • The introduction of an advanced left turn phase in the northbound direction at this intersection, scheduled this summer, will reduce the delays at this intersection and the overall travel times between Queen Street East and Charles Street East.

Photo by Secondarywaltz via the Wikimedia Commons


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