woodbine bike lanes

Toronto residents upset about new bike lanes

A new bike lane on Woodbine Avenue that will run north-south between The Danforth and Lake Shore Boulevard is getting blowback from some residents.

The outrage is part of a long controversial history surrounding nearly every attempt to make Toronto more bike-friendly.

Bike lanes were just installed north of the Danforth up to O'Connor last week.

Local resident Kathy Blewett told the CBC that she's worried the bike lanes will increase traffic congestion and drivers will resort to using side streets.

Her concerns were echoed by Tyler Wigg-Stevenson who feels increased side street traffic in a neighbourhood full of young children could put their safety at risk.

Similar debates have raged across Toronto's neighbourhoods, usually citing reasons surrounding traffic congestion. It wasn't long ago the late Mayor Rob Ford waged a campaign against bike lanes by removing the ones on Jarvis Street in 2012.

The launch of the long awaited Bloor Street bike lanes also received pushback, mostly from local business owner citing lost business due to the removal of parking spots.

Both the Bloor and Woodbine lanes are part of a 10-year, multimillion dollar plan to improve Toronto's cycling network.

The route itself will be part of the larger city-wide cycling network, connecting itself to both the extensive waterfront path that runs east-west for nearly the entire city and the more recent Danforth-Bloor bike lanes connecting the better part of the downtown core.

Beaches-East York Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon says that a new east-side bike lane is necessary to help build connectivity around the city. She says that while other main streets like Coxwell Avenue were surveyed, Woodbine was decided on to best serve the central portion of the east side.

"There was nothing," she told the CBC. "The most easterly bike lane going north and south is at Greenwood. There's nothing east of Greenwood."

Other residents, like Loreena Voninklianis, are more hopeful that the bike lanes will help keep cyclists safe and that the recently installed speed bumps will deter anyone trying to cut through the side streets.

"We have to work bikes into our society," she said. "Everyone needs to stay safe."

Lead photo by

Jason Tsang

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