separated bike lanes Toronto

Some highlights from Rob Ford's Bike Plan

Mayor Rob Ford's Bike Plan was released earlier today in anticipation of next week's Public Works Committee meeting. In it, as was expected, is a proposal for a separated bike lane "network" featuring infrastructure on a number of streets (see below for the whole list) as well as a series of updates regarding other bikeway projects across the city. The report is fairly hefty at 42 pages, so I've collected a few of the highlights at the bottom of the post.

My first impression is that there's not a whole lot to get that excited about with regard to the placement of the separated lanes proposed here. Should the plan be approved, I think their installation on Sherbourne (which is currently in awful shape) and Wellesley streets will be good for cycling in this city, but I've never got the sense that the stretch of Bloor East (between Sherbourne and Broadview) requires beefed up infrastructure. It sounds like it's been selected for separated bike lanes simply because the implementation will be easy.

Perhaps more disappointing, though, is the recommended cessation of the Environmental Assessment on bike lanes for the Bloor-Danforth corridor, which has been deemed unfeasible because they "would lead to severe impacts on traffic and parking." That may be true, but that's always going to be the case when dealing with streets upon which little to no cycling infrastructure exists. Bloor may ultimately prove a poor fit, but stopping the EA seems overly dismissive and defeatist.

Overall this report strikes me as a bit of a mixed bag. One the one hand, there's the promise of new separated lanes, additional trails and new ridership counts related to the Jarvis bike lanes that reveal that cycling traffic increased three-fold post installation. But, on the other, there's a sense that these recommendations have been chosen because they'll have the least impact on drivers. Vehicular traffic disruptions need to be taken into consideration, to be sure, but one wonders what this plan would look like if its authors were willing to take more risks in this regard.

HIGLIGHTS

  • Installation of separated bike lanes on Bloor between Sherbourne and Broadview (i.e. across the Prince Edward Viaduct) in 2011
  • Study of design options for lane separation on Sherbourne and Wellesley streets with implementation to come in 2012
  • Assessment of the feasibility of separated bike lanes on Adelaide and/or Richmond streets from Bathurst to Sherbourne (it sounds like this is about choosing which street is a better fit)
  • Assessment of which north/south thoroughfare between Peter and Simcoe streets is best suited for the implementation of separated bike lane(s) to connect to connect the current Beverley Street lanes to the Waterfront trails
  • Discontinue the Environmental Assessment on the Bloor-Danforth Bikeway
  • Install bike lanes on Dawes Road from Danforth to Victoria Park
  • Move start of bike lanes at Dupont and Lansdowne 70 metres west to help with traffic problems at the intersection
  • Continue to develop multi-year plan to expand the Bikeway Trail Network (i.e. off road) to 100k
  • Rule out the Hoskin/Harbord corridor for separated lanes due to infrastructure improvements (bike boxes, new lane lines) completed in 2010

There are also notes that recommend that City Council provide direction on the following issues:

  • Installing bike lanes on Bloor West between Mill and Beamish
  • Removing bike lanes on Pharmacy between Denton and Alvinston
  • Removing bike lanes on Birchmount between Kingston Rd. and St. Clair

Read the whole report here (PDF).

Note: The original format of this post was changed for the sake of readability shortly after it was first published (I moved the bullet points to the end).

Lead photo depicts a separated bike lane in Montreal


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