Is the Dupont bike lane next on the chopping block?
Here we go again. Well, maybe. As OpenFile first reported, a staff report on the Dupont bike lane due for consideration by the Public Works committee next week outlines the possibility of restoring the street to its configuration prior to the installation of cycling infrastructure. That's not the only option tabled in the report — in fact the possibility of extending them east from Lansdowne is also mentioned — but given the City's recent track record on bike lanes, you can bet that cycling advocates will fear the worst.
Critics of the lane tend to claim that it's redundant based on the proximity of cycling infrastructure on Davenport Road to the north. There are a whole number of flaws in this argument — like, why have a road at all if there's another one close by (!) — but one of the more significant ones involves the presence of the West Toronto Railpath. This is a key artery for commuting cyclists, and if we as a city take that seriously, removal of the lanes on Dupont would be negligent.
The other argument, and one that has somewhat more validity, is that vehicular traffic has been significantly impacted due to the lost traffic lanes here. Having driven this stretch regularly for the last five years, I'll admit that traffic does get snarled during morning and afternoon rush hour between Symington and Annette. Thing is, this lasts for a couple hours (total) each day.
So there's the question in its most basic formation. Is a speedier rush hour commute for motorists worth taking another step back for bike safety in Toronto? As urban centres around the globe take measures to become more cycling-friendly, do we really want to paint over existing infrastructure to save a paltry four or five minutes for motorists at the busiest times?
Photo by Xander @416cyclestyle in the blogTO Flickr pool