bike lanes toronto

Yonge Street in Toronto could have bike lanes by next summer

If you're a cyclist in Toronto, this year has been a great one for new bike lanes, both permanent and temporary.

Between new dedicated routes on thoroughfares like Bloor Street and the Danforth, University Avenue and Queen's Park Crescent, and tens of kilometres of options through the city's new ActiveTO project, navigating the city on a bike this summer was easier — and most importantly, safer — than ever before.

Now, it looks like protected cyclist lanes are set to come to the city's biggest and busiest street.

Toronto City Council almost unanimously approved a motion on Wednesday that will look into adding space for cyclists on Yonge Street between Bloor Street and Lawrence Avenue.

Pending approval from Transportation Services, they could be in place as soon as summer 2021, complementing the new curbside patios that have made the city feel far more vibrant and engaging.

The plan is separate and more easily achievable than other recent proposals for the main street, which could see it completely overhauled to include walkable, pedestrian-only zones and more bike lanes further south, between Queen and College/Carlton Streets.

Residents have long been calling for a safer way to traverse Yonge in something other than a car, the mode of transportation that it often feels that Toronto was designed prioritizing, contrary to other, more European cities.

Our first bike lanes weren't built until the 1970s and received passionate and immediate backlash from drivers — backlash still exists today, though to a lesser extent.

"We're looking at a way of trying to calm the street down. We're telling people Yonge Street is not just a highway," Ward 8 Eglinton-Lawrence Councillor Mike Colle, who presented the new motion, said to his peers on Wednesday.

He continued on Twitter: "Yonge Street is not just a highway to downtown. Yonge Street is the local Main Street to many wonderful Neighbourhoods and with countless unique shops and restaurants worth visiting."

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