March Advocacy Updates

March Advocacy Updates

March madness! Congestion, construction and cycling.

March City Council Meeting

There were a couple of important items that impact the city’s active transportation network at March’s council meeting.

The deferral of increasing parking fines for car drivers that fail to pay for parking (IE11.2). 

Despite being approved by the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on Feb 12, council deferred the increasing the financial penalties associated with parking offences. We will be following this item, which would have seen parking infractions for failing to pay for parking more than double (from $30 to $75) and tickets for illegally blocking a bike lane increase to $200 from $150. We have been advocating for the importance of taking a better balanced approach to how the city penalizes drivers for failing to follow traffic regulations and want to see better enforcement. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much the fine is if there is no subsequent enforcement. 

The future and evolution of the Scarborough SRT to a linear park and active transportation corridor passed the first hurdle. Under the leadership of Councillors Myers and Ainslie. We look forward to reading the report that will be presented by the end of the year. The prospect of seeing a transformation of the public space between Ellesmere and McCowan Stations, and Kennedy Station to McCowan Station is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will benefit the residents of Toronto. City staff were directed to, among other things, look to successful international examples such as the High Line in New York, the Beltline in Atlanta, Cuernavaca’s Railway Linear Park in Mexico City, and the Potrero Yard Modernization Project in San Francisco. Read our letter of support.

2022-2024 Cycling Network Plan - inching along

On March 27th, several cycling infrastructure projects representing almost 6km of new bikeways, that are part of the 2022 - 2024 Cycling Network Plan, passed at the Infrastructure and Environment Committee. These projects will transform their respective neighbourhoods by making active transportation safer, more convenient, and more accessible. Thank you to those of you that took part in our deputation workshop on March 25 and to those of you that took time out of your day to depute at IEC. Listen to our Director of Advocacy and Public Policy speak at IEC about the need to make the path to implementing complete streets that include bikeways less polarizing.

The EglintonTOday Complete Street

The implementation of the 100 km of new cycling infrastructure outlined in the 2022-2024 Cycling Network Plan hinges on the successful implementation of the Eglinton Complete Street, a 19 km stretch between Keele St. and Kennedy Ave., that will support the Eglinton LRT (an opening date is yet to be announced). We are anticipating that this project will be discussed at the next IEC meeting on Thursday May 2. We will be rescheduling a special Eglinton Engagement Station (originally planned for March 23 but due to what will hopefully be the last snow event of spring had to be cancelled) as well as hosting another deputation worksop. We will be calling on our supporters to depute. Make sure to sign up for our action alerts.

Avenue Road Study

After years of community advocacy, the Avenue Road Study was deferred to a later date. We look forward to working with the local councillors and others to see this project come to life over the next year.

Toronto's Climate Change Readiness: We’re Not Ready

The Annual TransformTO Net Zero Progress and Accountability Report is blunt. Despite making progress since the city’s adoption of TransformTO, it is failing to put Toronto on track to achieving the City’s net zero goal by 2040. TransformTO’s active transportation goals of 75% of trips under 5 km walked, transited or biked have an even shorter timeline of 2030–less than 7 years away. The report specifically notes that despite nearly 45 km of bikeways built as part of ActiveTO and the 2022-2024 Cycling Network Plan’s goal of 100 km new bikeways, we are still not on track. Listen to our Executive Director speak to committee about the need to take a more ambitious approach to expanding Toronto’s cycling network.

Business as planned is simply not good enough. In order to put Toronto back on track, Cycle Toronto reiterates our call to Mayor Chow and City Council for the 2025-2027 Cycling Network Plan to target building at least 150 km total. An average of over 50 km of new bikeways a year is needed to  complete the 500 km of the Major City Wide Cycling Routes by 2030. Read our letter.

The Future of Major Snow Event Response

The winter of 2022 in Toronto saw a major winter snow event that paralyzed the movement of people for almost a full month. Since then the city has advanced on building a plan that would better prepare the city for the next major event and we look forward to being among the stakeholders and community interest groups that represent vulnerable road users. It is critical that the City’s expanding network of cycling infrastructure remains accessible and safe year-round, as well as the entire active transportation network. It’s essential that the Major Snow Event Response Plan incorporate the recommendations from IE10.3 - Bike Lanes that are Safe and Passable for Bikes that bikeways be cleared to bare pavement, and the network of bike lanes and contraflows receive priority clearing regardless of their road classification.

The growing population that relies on active transportation paired with the growing incidence of extreme weather events demands that the City’s policies, programs and procedures be able to adapt quickly. The safety and mobility of the city’s most vulnerable residents must be prioritized over those with access to motor vehicles. For people walking, taking transit, cycling, and people who rely on mobility and visual aids to get around, when sidewalks, transit stops and bike lanes are poorly cleared of snow, ice and other types of weather detritus, getting around becomes impossible.

The City of Toronto must ensure that the streets and sidewalks are accessible, passable and safe 365 days of the year. Read our letter to committee.

Construction Chaos Averted at Douro and King St W

Our advocacy calling for consistent and systematic safety around construction zones by maintaining safe passage for people who bike is paying off. We were proactively contacted by city staff to consult on how to maintain passage of existing cycling infrastructure on Douro when the development at 1071 King St W begins. We successfully negotiated to find a solution that won’t involve directing cyclists to dismount and cross at a pedestrian crossing. Additionally, there will be appropriate signage and a flag person dedicated to managing the large trucks traveling into the site. We will be monitoring this development and will continue our advocacy efforts to see the city adopt a more proactive approach to ensuring that construction zones across the city are safe and easy to navigate for people of all ages and abilities. Sign and share our petition. 

Under Gardiner Public Realm

Making our city a safer and more vibrant place to live, work, study and play benefits everyone. The Under Gardiner Public Realm Plan is consistent with the vision for making public realm improvements that will contribute to making Toronto a more environmentally sustainable and comfortable city for people of all ages, abilities and incomes. The collaboration between the city and The Bentway is a world-class showcase of how designing public spaces for people benefits the vibrancy of the city at large. 

Toronto's downtown has been growing and people have been increasingly flocking to the waterfront and other vibrant public spaces that are safe to gather and socialize. Investing in making the vast public space underneath the Gardiner Expressway is an investment that will benefit generations of Torontonians and those that choose to visit. See our Director of Advocacy and Public Policy speak in support of maximizing the land under the Gardiner.

(A rendering of the full Under Gardiner plans. Image: Under Gardiner)



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