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Bloor St. pilot project

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10-year cycling plan “mostly” satisfies two-wheelers

The 10-year cycling plan was adopted¬†last week by a landslide vote of 38-2 at Toronto’s City Council. A few amendments were made to the bike network, but many of the desired changes were kept in the 525 km plan to make Toronto the one of the best cycling cities in North America.

Corridor studies will be removed from the cycling plan until council members see the outcome of the Bloor St. pilot project. The Bloor St. pilot is a cycling path from Shaw St. to Avenue Rd. on Bloor St. that will allow cyclists to travel safely. A report on the much anticipated Bloor St. bike lanes is due to be released next summer and this could lead the way for cyclists gaining access to other major arterials. In the meantime though, no further studies or cycling paths will be built on major roads in Toronto. The corridor studies that were removed from the plan include Yonge St., Danforth Ave., Jane St., Kingston Rd., Kipling Ave., Midland Ave., and Lake Shore Blvd. W.

Though City Council killed plans for major roads in the cycling plan, a separate proposal for bike lanes on Danforth Ave. is set to be revived and reviewed after the Bloor St. pilot project comes to life. The Danforth study is set for the third quarter of 2017.

The plan that is passed will see City council commit $16 million per year, which was more than the minimum baseline funding of $12 million that was originally pitched to council. This amounts to $153.5 million over 10 years. The 10-year plan will be reviewed in 2018 to see how it is progressing, giving an opportunity to review the need for major arterial studies if the Bloor St. pilot project is a success.

An unexpected addition was approved by council when deputy mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong requested that seasonal cycling tracks be removed in the winter. This was approved by 25-15 council members. The cycling community was not impressed with this new regulation as biking in the winter is only possible with cycling tracks.

The 10-year cycling plan includes positive developments for the cycling community as well, including extending the Richmond and Adelaide cycling path across the Don Valley to bike lane at Eastern Ave. A tunneled cycling route will also be added below Highway 401 at Wilmington Ave. and Faywood Blvd. Cycling routes will connect to 12 subway stations, which helps transit commuters that want to bike part of their route. New routes were also approved on Palmerston Ave., Sumach St., Portland St., and Dovercourt Rd.

Overall, the 10-year bike plan is a considerable success because it doubles the amount of funding currently being put into cycling infrastructure and also addresses needed routes across the city. Dropping the major arterial studies is a disappointment since a few of the corridor assessments were reportedly already underway, but fingers crossed the Bloor St. project reviews this part of the plan.

Next up, get ready to bike on Bloor due to be ready this year, and let us know how it goes.