Bloor Street closer than ever to getting bike lanes
After years of study, consultation, lobbying, and pleading by cyclists, Bloor Street is on course to get its first ever bike lane between Shaw and Avenue Road as part of a pilot project that could clear a major hurdle this week.
The Bloor lanes form part of the city's proposed 10-year, $13.5 million cycling plan, which promises to fill critical gaps in the existing bike lane network, expand onto new streets, and renew rundown existing infrastructure.
If approved by committee and city council, the 2016 portion of the 10 year plan could see bike lanes added to portions of Bayview, Carlaw, Dennison and Bellevue, Lake Shore West, and Woodbine, and several others. Upgrades would be performed on the worst sections of Gerrard, River, Shuter, and Simcoe.
The report also suggests launching three new studies next year that would investigate putting bike lanes on Yonge from Finch to Sheppard and Bloor to Front. City staff would also look at an east-west route between Keele and Sherbourne using portions of Dupont and Bloor.
The latest figures show that installing protected bike lanes on city streets leads to a spike in usage. Daily north and southbound trips on Sherbourne have more than doubled since the new separated lanes were installed. The number of cyclists using Richmond and Adelaide has roughly tripled within the last year.
Right now, it's not been decided what the Bloor lanes between Shaw and Avenue will look like. According to Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati, the city's Manager of Cycling Infrastructure & Programs, a design study is currently underway and public consultations on the matter are scheduled for the fall.
Because the lanes would be installed as part of a pilot project, permanent structures such as raised curbs are out of the question for now.
A final city council vote on the Bloor Street bike lane pilot project will likely come in January 2016 and installation could start as soon as the Spring.
If the trial is successful, the broader 10-year plan may recommend expansion.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
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