Tag

cycling routes

Browsing

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.

Do you want an extra 525 km of bike paths in Toronto?

Cycling is all the rage in Toronto and City Council will potentially be hopping on the bandwagon at the June 7 council meeting with a 10-year bike plan that has cyclists soaring.

Cyclists can look forward to 525 km of bike pathways throughout the city! These pathways will involve new infrastructure at Kipling Ave., Yonge St., Bloor St., Danforth Ave., Jane St., Kingston Rd., Midland Ave., and Lake Shore Blvd. W. It also includes 40 km of trails that travels through the West Toronto Railpath and connects paths to the Don Valley Parkway and Humber Valley.

The types of cycling lanes will vary: 280 km of cycle tracks will be directly on fast and busy streets, 55 km of the bike lanes will be sidewalk-level trails on major streets, and the remaining 190 km will be along quieter streets. Within the network, 100 km of the cycling routes will be on major arterial roads and studies will be undertaken to evaluate the best streets for the bike lanes.

The Bloor St. bike lanes that were approved in the last city council meeting are one of many feasibility assessments that would be required for this new cycling plan to go forward.  It will decide if the cycling network should be placed directly on Bloor St. or other major arterial roads in Toronto. The pilot project from Avenue Rd. and Shaw Rd, will assess whether the busy street can manage cycling traffic safely on the street and will use a mix of sidewalk bike lanes and routes directly on the street.

The 10-year cycling plan will cost about $153 million from 2016 to 2025, representing a $56.5 million increase in the Capital Plan for Transportation Services. The cycling network plan for 2016 was estimated at $13.5 million with an increase of $4 million in the budget.

Transportation Services has developed five funding concepts to support the program and they range from $8 million per year with 122 km of cycling routes being laid out on Toronto’s streets to $25 million per year with 247 km of track. As the annual investment increases, the amount of buffered bike lanes, which are cycling routes on lifted sidewalks, would increase as well. The last three scenarios have substantially more track built in the timeline and several more buffered bike lanes, but will cost more.

City council had a bike plan in 2011 for 495 km of bike lanes, but failed to meet this goal, only completing 495 km of the bike lanes by the allotted timeline. Cycling is fast becoming a higher priority in the city, but it remains to be seen if the new plan will be adopted. Bike lanes are essential because they help the city relieve congestion and keep people safe.

Hopefully, city council will work harder to meet cycling route goals within the 10 year plan if it goes forward and Toronto may just be put on the map for the best city for cycling.

Do you agree with the 10-year cycling plan? Share in the comments below.