City of Toronto proposes 44% capital budget increase, 41 per lane kms of on-street bikeways including Bloor pilot in 2016
Over the last few years, what's the number one thing I've heard about cycling from friends and colleagues visiting Toronto?
"Toronto has the cyclists. It just doesn't have the bike lanes."
That's starting to change. Last year, we launched our Minimum Grid campaign calling on City Hall to increase cycling's annual capital budget from $8 million per year (base budget) to $20 million per year to cycling's annual capital budget and build 100 km of protected bike lanes and 100 km of bicycle boulevards by 2018. We worked hard and got commitment to our bike lane targets from 25 of 44 of Toronto's City Councillors. To add more specificity to our ask, we launched new campaigns on Bloor, Danforth and Yonge.
This summer, City Council approved the extension of the pilot Richmond Adelaide cycle tracks to Parliament and installation is underway now. Once complete, they will provide the beginnings of a safe, connected route for cyclists through downtown Toronto.
We're now on our way to building the Minimum Grid.
This week, Transportation Services staff announced their plans for 2016 including increasing cycling's annual capital budget by 44% from $9.5 million to $13.6 million, 41 kms* of new on-street bikeways as well as a pilot bicycle lane on Bloor St. The last time the City of Toronto installed so many bicycle lanes was in 2008.
There's still a long way to go before approval and implementation of these projects. We must continue to advocate that each of these projects lives up the highest design standards and continue building support for our Danforth Loves Bikes campaign. Nonetheless, it's important to recognize the work that City staff in Transportation Services have proposed here.
Toronto hasn't yet built the Minimum Grid, but this is an exciting moment for the cycling community to recognize that we're on the road to a safe, connected city-wide network.
*Note: the City of Toronto has changed how they count bike lanes opting to count both sides of the street. or per lane kilometres. Per lane kilometres are a more precise measure due to the implementation of contraflow bicycle lanes. While the number of bicycle lanes in Toronto nearly doubled in the new measure (114 centreline kms to 209 per lane kms), we now consider that against the backdrop of roughly 15,500 per lane kilometres of roadway rather than 5,500 centreline kms.