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Locals angry after major Toronto street and bike lane taken over by parked cars

A stretch of Bloor Street West passing through Toronto's The Annex neighbourhood is looking a little worse for wear this week due to a road construction project. 

If the noise, dust, and general inconvenience of the closure weren't enough for nearby residents and businesses, locals are now incensed over a large portion of the roadway being used as a parking lot for contractors.

The block of Bloor West between Spadina Road and Madison Avenue is undergoing a replacement of the entire road pavement structure, including the asphalt and underlying support materials, as well as the rebuilding of sidewalks and curbs, in a project scheduled to last until no later than the end of September.

Work crews recently shut down the entire northern half of the street to accommodate this project, including an abrupt blockage of a full lane of traffic and a bike lane, all to make way for the parked cars of City-employed contractors.

The local Bloor Annex BIA shared photos of the closure on its X (formerly Twitter) account, slamming the City for ignoring the BIA and local councillor's requests to remove the inexplicable on-street contractor parking and reopen the shuttered block of the bike lane.

The BIA notes the generous width of the roadway of Bloor Street West and the presence of nearby parking as reasons why the contractors' convenience should not be given priority over the safety of vulnerable road users.

In a follow-up tweet (or post, as Elon would prefer we call it now), the BIA directly calls on Mayor Olivia Chow to address the issue.

Several people have chimed in on the perplexing allocation of infrastructure.

Among those speaking out is personal injury lawyer and cycling safety activist David Shellnutt.

Shellnutt tells blogTO, "In Toronto, the car and construction is king, and all other residents and road users are expected to bend over backwards and traverse dangerous hazards to make way for supposed development. It's profit over people."

He adds that, with rising numbers of injured pedestrians and cyclists seen in his line of work, "it pains us to see their safety not considered in infrastructure planning that affects major throughways. We need to make space for cyclists here; it's clearly available."

Shellnutt notes the success of a similar project on Simcoe Street, which remained open to cyclists during an extended closure for vehicles, adding, "Perhaps whoever did the work on Simcoe Street could help those in charge of this project."

Lead photo by

Bloor Annex BIA

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