bike lanes toronto

People are already complaining about the new bike lanes on Yonge Street

Though any additional bike lanes in Toronto are usually celebrated by what feels like a large segment of the population, there are still those who find commuter infrastructue that doesn't prioritize drivers to be somewhat of a nuisance — especially when it's on a main thoroughfare, such as Yonge Street.

Inarguably the city's main road, Yonge has been blessed with some new cycling tracks that just opened over the weekend, and, like always with these types of projects, there have been some vehement objections.

The lanes, which run from Bloor to Davisville, proved to be an issue for drivers as soon as the work started, which started earlier and June and finished up this past weekend, frustratingly coinciding with a partial Line 1 Subway closure.

People cited gridlocked, backed up traffic on Yonge and surrounding sidestreets, cars and shuttle buses idling for hours and an all around enraging road situation, with Yonge — lined with popular business and always bustling — now reduced to two lanes.

The planters and barriers associated with bike tracks and new curbside patios are also known for creating some visibility issues for drivers.

While cyclists appeared to be understandably over the moon about the new infrastructure, drivers continued to grumble throughout the weekend on social media, tagging City Councillors, news outlets, Mayor John Tory and more with their complaints.

Various Yonge Street businesses, the local BIA and residents' associations have long expressed their disapproval of the lanes, with some locals wondering "how is anybody supposed to get downtown anymore?" between the new tracks, curbside patios and green spaces, and intermittent ActiveTO road closures.

Entire groups have popped up to rally against the lanes and what they call a "powerful bike lobby," including but not limited to the prolific No Yonge Street Bike Lanes on Facebook.

The new bike paths are part of the city's Midtown Complete Street Pilot amid the pandemic, with the aim for Yonge to better cater to (and thus be safer for) all types of residents, especially those that travel by bicycle or on foot.

Drivers will be happy to know that along with expanded patios, cycle tracks, streetside art installations on curb extensions and other public realm improvements, the project also includes new 24/7 parking and loading opportunities.

They might be less happy to face the fact that for those living in urban centres on a dying planet in this day and age, cars aren't the way of the future and any move away from them is often considered progress, though our cities were designed around motorists.

And they're bound to be downright angry with the transformative plans in store for Yonge longer-term, as well as the fact that more cycling lanes have led to, well, more cyclists in the city.

So, the perpetual battle between those on two wheels and four wheels continues.

Lead photo by

@DougWedel


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