Cyclist enthusiasts in Toronto are celebrating because the Bloor Street bike lanes pilot project has officially opened. From Avenue Rd. to Shaw St., people riding two wheels can safely commute across one of the city’s busiest north-south streets. The bike lanes opened Friday and there were celebrations as cyclists rang their bells.
The bike lanes themselves are separated by painted buffers and flexi-posts. One lane has been removed from each side of the road and turn lanes have been added at intersections. Street parking will remain on one side of the road and will alternate on each side over the course of the bike path.
The City of Toronto approved the bike lanes in May 2016 with a vote at City Council of 38 to 3. The pilot project will measure the impact of the lanes on local businesses, traffic, pedestrians and parking over the course of the next year. The results of the studies will also be used to assess if other busy roads in Toronto should have dedicated cycling lanes in the future.
The pilot project will also be judged using multi-modal video traffic counts and GPS-tracked travel-time analysis conducted by the Ontario Traffic Inc. A partnership with Miovision and the University of Toronto’s Transportation Research Institute will help to analyze and capture the multi-modal traffic data to study changes to traffic during the pilot project. The collection of parking data will be done by the Toronto Parking Authority and the the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, in partnership with the University of Toronto, local business improvement areas and the Metcalf Foundation.
A public feedback survey will be hosted early in the fall and residents can subscribe to the project to learn more. A report detailing all of the parts of the evaluation and its analysis will be presented to City Council in the fall of 2017.
This pilot project is the first step towards creating one of the best and safest cycling cities in the world. It will be very exciting to see the impact of the pilot project, and to keep updated as data is compiled.
One final note: be safe on the road cyclists. Let’s prove to the city that biking to work is the best way to go!