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Growing ActiveTO Bike Lanes
Cycle Toronto worked tirelessly with the Mayor, local Councillors, City staff, and community groups to champion bike lanes as part of a pandemic response. Now, ActiveTO temporary bike lanes are here and they don’t look like the bike lanes we are used to in Toronto. Here’s what we’ve seen so far and what we’re expecting very soon.
How they look:
Dundas Street East gave us the first glimpse of what ActiveTO temporary bike lanes would look like.
Dundas Street East
When this bike lane was installed it was pleasant to see the space being given to people on bikes. In a very short period of time a whole lane in each direction was prioritized for active transportation. Physical separation was installed too, which in the case of Dundas remains plastic bollards.
As University Avenue and Bloor Street East have rolled out we’ve seen similar width and initial separation as Dundas. These streets have also maintained parking and loading zones, and, in the case of Bloor, adding additional loading zones that did not exist before.
How they are developing:
The ActiveTO temporary bike lanes are iterative, changing as time passes. University Avenue / Queen’s Park Crescent is our example here:
The City told us that concrete curbs we’ve seen installed in many places were in short supply, but they would be put in place as they became available. We were concerned this might mean that University and Queen’s Park Crescent would remain unprotected, but they have already been upgraded. We advocated for the wide open Queen’s Park Crescent to be upgraded with curbs first due to lack of parking protection. After initial installation, this was taken care of in under two weeks.
Queen's Park Crescent
Continuing with University, we know that protected intersection designs will be rolled out for the first time in Toronto. As of yet, none of the protection has been installed, but the paint is down on the pavement. Based on our experience with University we may see these very soon.
As Bloor has been installed, we are expecting the same approach: build quickly and upgrade soon after installation. Bloor isn’t going as smoothly as University; bollards were installed quickly between Church Street and Sherbourne Street but have yet to be installed west of Church. This has led to persistent misuse of the bike lane in the interim.
It should be noted that even with a few delays, the speed with which bike lanes are being rolled out through ActiveTO is unprecedented for Toronto.
The bike lanes on Brimley Road are wider than they appear in this image.
The Brimley Road bike lanes began installation yesterday, July 9. The southbound lanes have been partially painted, with a buffer to come and installation of bollards having already begun. Two crews were out working this morning, so we’re expecting them to come together rapidly. This is the beginning of a more equitable cycling network and provides a key connection in Scarborough. The Brimley bike lanes stretch between Thomson Memorial Park and Bluffers Park, as well as to the Meadoway, McCowan District Park, and Eglinton GO station. The 4 km stretch from Lawrence Avenue to Kingston Road will provide a safe way for people to bike around the neighbourhoods for transportation and recreation.
The City is expecting that these bike lanes will not have a major impact on car traffic as car traffic across the city has been down significantly since the pandemic began. TTC bus routes 21 Brimley and 12 Kingston are both expected to continue their operation without much impact. This project will give people in southwest Scarborough another safe transportation option, which will free up space for those that must continue to drive or take transit.
With Bloor, Brimley, Dundas, and University all in some stage of completion this leaves four more stretches of ActiveTO bike lanes to be installed:
- Bayview Avenue
- Huntingwood Drive
- Wilmington Avenue / Faywood Boulevard
- Danforth Avenue
These roads are all going to look different from what we’ve already seen due to their locations.
A new multi-use trail will be installed on River Street and Bayview to connect the River bike lanes with the existing multi-use trail beside Bayview that currently ends at Rosedale Valley Rd. Current entry points to the Don Valley system are through the Rosedale Valley Ravine to the north or Corktown Common to the south. The proposed trail will make it easier for residents in Regent Park and Cabbagetown to access the Don Valley.
Expected Installation: TBD
This neighbourhood route will connect Victoria Park Avenue to Brimley Road in northern Scarborough. Because it is on a residential street, expect it to be a painted, buffered bike lane, similar to the ones currently on Harbord Street, with no physical separation.
Expected installation: Week of July 13, 2020
Wilmington Avenue / Faywood Boulevard
While this neighbourhood route is nominally both Wilmington and Faywood, in reality it is only Wilmington. On Wilmington between Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue there will be a painted, buffered bike lane with no physical separation. The Faywood portion from Sheppard to Wilson Avenue will have no bike lanes. Instead, the City will be painting sharrows on the road, which is highly disappointing.
Expected installation: Week of July 13, 2020
Danforth Avenue: #DestinationDanforth
Stretching from Broadview Avenue to Dawes Road (just short of Victoria Park), Danforth is a much bigger project than just bike lanes; there is going to be street art, on-street patios, new parking and loading zones and more to make the area a better place to be. The bike lanes will be parking protected and have physical barriers that are either curb and bollard or flower planters depending on the location.
Expected Installation: Beginning July 15, 2020 (weather permitting)
What we’re working on:
Including Bayview, we’re still expecting all of the ActiveTO installations to occur by the end of July. Even with the quick speed of installation, there’s still a lot of room to improve and we know that we can’t stop here. The inequitable distribution of ActiveTO pandemic response has left big swaths of the city without new infrastructure. As well, TTC Line 1 beneath Yonge Street (the busiest in Canada) doesn’t have any bike lanes to provide a transit safety valve as more people begin moving about the city. We will continue to push for a second phase of ActiveTO, and make the bike lanes permanent so that more people have more transportation options and can experience the benefits of active transportation in Toronto.
You can help us keep the momentum going; join the movement for safe streets. Your support helps us advocate to expand ActiveTO to accelerate building more bike lanes across the city. Even $5 a month helps us work through the pandemic toward a safer, healthier and more vibrant cycling city for all.