December Advocacy Update

Advocacy Update

The last month of 2023 saw us continue our advocacy work focused on improving the safety and accessibility of construction zones for those of us that get around without the use of a car.


Protecting the Yonge Street Bike Lanes

Councillor Matlow’s Office reached out to us to inform us that a developer was seeking the extended closure of a section of the midtown Yonge St bike lanes for three years. After decades of advocacy, 2023 began with the success of City Council voting to make the Midtown Yonge Complete Street permanent - so the thought of having this hard won cycling infrastructure compromised, less than a year later, spurred us to action.

We mobilized our supporters and organized a bike rally down Yonge St followed by a press conference at City Hall in advance of the council meeting.

(Cycle Toronto and partners hold a press conference at City Hall.)

In this instance, outlined in TE9.45 1404- 1428 Yonge St Construction Staging, the item was deferred back to the Toronto East York Community Council on January 24, 2024. We are pleased that Councillor Matlow has stated that the developer will not be closing the bike lane and we look forward to following this item in the new year to ensure that the bike lanes will remain uncompromised.

We want the city to take more ownership in safeguarding our public right of way from  developers, who should find solutions to their construction needs within the confines of their property lines. It is one thing for the public right of way to be compromised for the repair of integral infrastructure that benefits the public, such as maintaining the integrity of our water mains and hydro, but disrupting traffic for the private benefit of developers who will profit from their investment is not acceptable. The city should not be accepting construction site plans from contractors and companies that seek to close bike lanes and sidewalks without including a safe alternative. The city should consider closing access to vehicular traffic on the city’s subway lines and key TTC routes to prioritize the more efficient movement of the majority of people and emergency vehicles. 

The City must provide people who walk, roll, and bike with safe ways to travel through construction sites - especially along one of the city’s two subway lines. When one of the city’s few bike lanes becomes closed, people have no safe option. The volume of food delivery couriers, an equity deserving group that is particularly vulnerable to road violence, relies on the Yonge St bikeways for deliveries to customers throughout this area. With road violence and the climate crisis at a tipping point, we need to get more people to adopt active modes of transportation.


Bike Share Becomes More Equitable

Cycle Toronto has been advocating for Bike Share Toronto to take a more equitable approach to both their pricing and program delivery to ensure that people of all ages, abilities and incomes gain access to one of the city’s best programs, regardless of where they live or work. 

On December 1st, we joined Bike Share Toronto and Councillor Saxe to announce the availability of two types of reduced fare memberships. Residents of Toronto Community Housing (THCH) can apply for an annual membership for just $5 (THCH market residents can receive a 20% discount) and recipients of Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) can gain access to their e-fleet without additional fees. 

Additionally, an annual membership can now be purchased and paid for in three installments ($35 for the 30-minute membership and $40 for the 45-minute membership). This will make the program more accessible to those that can’t afford to pay the annual membership in a lump sum. Cycle Toronto will continue to advocate for an option to pay for a membership on a monthly basis to make it even more accessible to all. We will also be continuing our calls to integrate Bike Share Toronto’s fares with TTC to bring transportation equity to Toronto’s active transportation network.


Some of the 2024 Projects We’re Looking Forward To

Danforth-Kington Complete Street 

With the recent election of a new councillor in Scarborough Southwest, Cycle Toronto looks forward to working with newly elected Parthi Kandavel, local community advocates and city staff to see the successful implementation of this critical cycling infrastructure that will connect Scarborough to Etobicoke.

eglintonTOday Complete Street Project 

This project is expected to come to both IEC and Council in March 2024. 

Mid Humber Gap Trail Study 

This project has been in the works since 2012. It was a project identified in the Bikeway Trails Implementation Plan and included as a priority in the 2019 Cycling Network Plan Update. While we’re hoping that 2024 will see the necessary budget commitment as well as the subsequent detailed design and implementation, this project likely won’t be completed until the next near-term Cycle Network Plan 2028-2030. We can always hope.

Huntingwood Drive Road Upgrades: Pharmacy Ave to Rd

This project is near completion and we look forward to coming out and celebrating this new infrastructure with local advocates and residents at the 4th Annual Huntingwood Celebration in August 2024 (TBC).

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