Cycle Toronto calls on Ministry of Transportation for separated bike lanes on Avenue Road bridge over Hwy 401

Bridge Reconstruction Design Inconsistent With Principles of Ontario Cycling Strategy

Cycle Toronto is disappointed to learn that the Ministry of Transportation’s latest plans for the Avenue Road bridge over Highway 401 don’t include dedicated cycling infrastructure designed with safety in mind.  We call for the Minister to pause the project and go back to the drawing board to develop a solution that provides protection for people on bikes: a separated bike lane and a modern crossing over the free-flowing highway onramps that cyclists feel safe to use.

Earlier this month, we learned that the Ministry of Transportation’s latest plans call for a widened curb lane, shared between bicycles, automobiles and heavy trucks and buses.  This does not include any protection at all for people on bikes.

This design is in stark opposition to all the Provincial commitments to safer cycling infrastructure over the last 3 years, starting from the first #CycleON Action Plan 1.0 released in 2014 which pledged to:

2.3. Incorporate design features for cyclist and pedestrian facilities and safety improvements on provincial road and bridge projects using appropriate criteria, unless justification exists for exemption – MTO

The terms “shared lanes” or "sharrows" do not appear in CycleON -  for a reason.  Sharrows do not provide any meaningful protection to people on bikes, and Cycle Toronto does not support the use of sharrows as a substitute for proper, safer cycling infrastructure.  Moreover, wider traffic lanes reduce safety and increase the severity of injuries because of increased automobile travel speeds, which is why the City of Toronto is narrowing lanes to improve safety.

Avenue Road is the only overpass crossing over the 401 in this area of Toronto, and has the best potential to provide a safer cycling route over the 401 in the area.  Fortunately, with much lower auto traffic levels than other major roads, there is more than enough room to provide for a safer route for people on bikes on this key bridge.

We urge Minister Del Duca to take action to ensure the Avenue Rd - Hwy 401 bridge is not reconstructed with an unsafe design for people riding bicycles.

By Jared Kolb on Jun 28, 2017