A Letter to Mayor Chow Regarding the 2025 - 2027 Cycling Network Plan

December 21, 2023

Office of the Mayor

100 Queen St. W.

Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

RE: 2025-2027 Cycling Network Plan

Dear Mayor Olivia Chow,

Like you, we want a more vibrant, friendlier public realm. We want to ease traffic congestion and give people more transportation options. We want to achieve net zero for a greener, healthier future. We want to connect communities from downtown to the suburbs. We want to eliminate road violence and make VisionZero a reality. And like you, we know bikes can do that.

After the historic expansion of new cycling infrastructure during the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto committed to building 100 km of new bikeways between 2022-2024. Your leadership is essential to achieving that target and ensuring the success of upcoming projects including Avenue Rd., Eglinton Ave., and Danforth Ave./Kingston Rd. in 2024.

But Torontonians need an even more ambitious vision from your office for the 2025-2027 Cycling Network Plan (CNP). With the climate crisis at a tipping point, Toronto's TransformTO climate action strategy is calling for 75% of trips under 5 km be taken on foot, transit, or bike by 2030 – just seven years from now. In order to reach this ambitious target, we’ll need a lot more people riding bikes. But for many Torontonians the <5 km trips envisioned by TransformTO are not a viable option. Even with the recent expansion of the cycling network, there are still too many parts of the city where making even a short bike trip feels unsafe or impossible. 

Back in 2014 you proposed building 50 km of bikeways a year over four years. That’s the scale of vision and leadership urgently needed today. Now is the time to move forward.

Cycle Toronto is calling for three priorities for the 2025-2027 CNP:

  1. Accelerate completing the remaining ~280 km of the Major-City Wide Cycling Routes by 2030 by building at least 150 km between 2025-2027
  2. Build connections and close gaps in our cycling existing network to make it more usable by more people
  3. Construct Complete Streets by default by bundling cycling infrastructure with all road rehabilitation projects for the safety of all road users

Cycle Toronto wants to thank the outstanding work of city staff in Transportation Services and the Public Consultations Unit for their efforts in a robust stakeholder engagement and public feedback process over the past months. The list of potential candidates of over 500 km of new and upgraded bikeways presented to the public would all make outstanding additions to the cycling network.


1) Accelerate completing the remaining Major-City Wide Cycling Routes by 2030

The City of Toronto has identified approximately 500 km that together would form the spine of the Major City Wide Cycling Routes. Currently, the City has completed about 44% or 220 km of those routes. The current timeline to complete the remaining 280 km is by 2041 or ~16 km a year. Simply put this is woefully inadequate.

(Map of Major City-Wide Cycling Routes)


We are calling for the 2025-2027 CNP to target at least 150 km total and average over 50 km of new bikeways a year to complete the Major City Wide Cycling Routes by 2030. Without safe, protected cycling infrastructure to enable more people to choose to ride a bike in Etobicoke, York, North York, and Scarborough, we will fail to meet TransformTO’s transportation targets.

Other major cities like Montréal under Mayor Valérie Plante and Paris under Mayor Anne Hidalgo are making headlines and transforming communities by creating friendlier public realms that embrace active transportation. Toronto cannot be left behind. With a dedicated staff team and strong political direction, Toronto has the potential to match other major cities that are accelerating their cycling network expansions. New York City, for example, is targeting 80 km of new bikeways a year. If New York City can do it, why not Toronto?


2) Build connections and close gaps in our cycling existing network

You noted in a recent interview the need for better connections of our paths and bike lanes. We completely agree. We want to ensure the 2025-2027 CNP prioritises increasing the number of connections and closing gaps to ensure our growing network of all ages and abilities cycling infrastructure is as usable to as many people as possible. Research increasingly shows that a crucial determinant of cycling infrastructure success is network connectivity and to what extent different bikeways intersect with each other.

While it's essential our cycling network expands into the suburbs, the 2025-2027 CNP must avoid “bike lanes to nowhere” and connect organically to key destinations and existing infrastructure including recreational trails and paths. Routes that have the potential to interconnect with 3 or more other bikeways should be prioritised to create a network which provides more protection, comfort, and route choices to riders.


3) Construct Complete Streets by Default

For nearly a decade, Cycle Toronto has been advocating for Complete Streets by default when roads are up for construction or rehabilitation. In the 2021 Cycling Network Plan Update, Transportation staff noted that while the city completes over 100 km of road rehabilitation each year, they only have resources and capacity to deliver approximately 10 km of bundled bikeway projects per year. This was flagged as a serious impediment: “Additional resources [staff and budget] will be necessary to close this gap and sustain a high delivery rate of bikeways beyond the 2022-2024 Near-Term Implementation Program.” Two years later, unfortunately, this large gap remains.

We understand this requires considerable resources and coordination between multiple city divisions including Engineering & Construction Services (ECS) and Transportation Services’ Project Design and Management. But it would also pay dividends in accelerated delivery of high quality cycling infrastructure city-wide. The associated costs should also be accounted for in the city’s budget planning process, especially in light of the financial benefits of the New Deal with the province to promote transit and mobility. Recently the city has shown its ability to deliver extremely high quality cycling infrastructure when paired with road work with College St., Bloor St. east of Spadina Ave., and Kipling Ave. north of Finch Ave.



While our comments on the 2025-2027 CNP focus on the network as a whole, Cycle Toronto remains committed to its campaigns including along Bloor St./Danforth Ave., Yonge St., connecting Thorncliffe-Flemingdon Park, and connecting Scarborough. Based on the consultation process, Cycle Toronto is concerned about the lack of public feedback for some of the most equity-deserving areas, including northwest Etobicoke. We urge staff to ensure these areas are not forgotten. We’ve also supported Complete Streets items at Council that remain to be delivered including Lake Shore Blvd. W., Parkside Dr., and many other projects. We’ve also encouraged our network of supporters to provide feedback, especially on closing the local gaps in their own neighbourhoods. This would help elevate the network as a whole, and we hope to see many of these recommendations in the 2025-2027 CNP. 

Furthermore, to fully promote our multi-modal transportation future, we must create more safe cycling connections to busy transit routes, GO stations, and especially to Union Station. The growth in popularity of Bike Share Toronto demonstrates the latent demand for cycling as a viable and integral option for addressing the first and last mile of people’s commutes.

While there’s a lot of work ahead, with your leadership the pieces are already in place for success. We look forward to working with you and engaging supporters citywide to realise Toronto’s potential to be an outstanding cycling city for everyone.

Best regards,

Michael Longfield
Executive Director


Barbara Gray

Jacquelyn Hayward

Becky Katz

Katie Wittmann

Jason Diceman

[email protected]


If you would like to read this letter as a PDF, click here.

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