Hot on the heels of Council’s landslide vote in favour of bike lanes on Bloor, we called on City Hall to build the new Bike Plan in 7 years and increase investment in cycling infrastructure to $25 million per year. Recent polling suggests that Torontonians want a safe cycling network built as soon as possible, and are willing to pay for it. We continue to push for an accelerated rollout of the 10-Year Cycling Network Plan, which will create a Minimum Grid of bike lanes across Toronto.
Public Works & Infrastructure Committee considered the 10-Year Cycling Plan last month. It was changed and comes forward to Toronto City Council on June 7th with the following recommendations:
- Double cycling’s base budget to $16 million and give the green light to a number of new projects on Woodbine, Parliament and Lansdowne
- Continue moving forward with Major Corridor Studies on Bloor (Keele to Sherbourne) and Yonge (Bloor to the waterfront, and north of the 401)
- Halt the Danforth Avenue, Yonge (Bloor to Eglinton) and Lakeshore (Humber to Mississauga) Major Corridor Studies
- Add a dangerous precedent: The requirement to poll local residents and businesses on any new bike lanes, adding to the cost and time of building them and
- Commit to reviewing the 10-Year Plan in 2 years, just after the 2018 election.
While Council will consider approving the 10-Year Plan in principle, the 2 year review period tied to the next election cycle turns this into a 2 year delivery plan. We need to focus on getting as much built as possible, and we need your help to move forward.
Our top priority: Reinstating the Danforth Avenue Major Corridor Study to lay the backbone for a Minimum Grid
We've been working nonstop with several supportive local councillors, BIAs, residents associations and businesses, and we are close to a breakthrough on reinstating the Danforth Avenue Major Corridor Study. We're thrilled that all 4 east end Councillor support reinstating the study. If you haven’t signed the Danforth Loves Bikes pledge, do it now!
Now, what about the other two Major Corridor Studies impacted by this motion?
The Yonge St (Bloor to Eglinton) Major Corridor Study was supposed to begin in 2018. While we’d like to see it reinstated, none of the local councillors, BIAs, nor Residents Associations support it. It makes sense to start with ensuring protected bike lanes are built south of Bloor and north of the 401 and expand from there. We have a great deal of community organizing to do and must focus on building a strong base of support before moving forward.
Protected bike lanes on Lakeshore (Norris to First) are being installed this year. There’s growing support for expansion further east and west, however, all of this is impacted by plans to reset the Waterfront LRT. It makes sense to coordinate bike lane installation with the design of the LRT route.
Our next priority: Killing the polling poison pill
The amendment moved at PWIC also adds a dangerous poison pill from Councillor Stephen Holyday: for City staff to report back on a polling requirement for all future bike lanes. This would require the City to poll all residents and businesses near a project, unnecessarily adding time, money, and resources. Polling is inappropriate for the cycling network. It's not a local issue. It's a city-wide issue.
The amendment was a cynical move designed to delay bikeway projects by making them more difficult to implement than any other transportation project in the city. This should be rejected at Toronto City Council’s June 7th meeting, and we need to fight back and organize to make sure it is.
The wider effects of the 10-Year Bike Plan
While we passionately want to see City Council boost cycling’s budget to $25 million and build the Minimum Grid as soon as possible, the $16 million option with review in 2 years is a good step forward. The 2-year delivery plan will implement new projects on Bloor, Yonge (south of Bloor), Yonge (north of the 401), Danforth, Woodbine, Parliament, Lansdowne, the West Toronto Railpath, and a host of quiet street routes, laying a strong backbone to the Minimum Grid.
Other than the Bloor pilot and the Railpath, none of these projects are a sure thing.
We have a great deal of community organizing work to do within this 2 year delivery plan, and it provides crucial building blocks for the city-wide Minimum Grid. We need to ensure these projects are carried out properly, and to pave the way for delay-free implementation of future projects. We will continue building momentum into 2018 for a safe and healthy Toronto with an even greater potential for cycling infrastructure.
Action Alert: Reinstate the Danforth Avenue Major Corridor Study & Kill the Polling Requirement
Write your local councillor and ask that they reinstate the Danforth Avenue Major Corridor Study & kill the polling requirement. Look their contact info up here.
Special bonus: all 4 east end councillors - Councillor Fragedakis, Councillor Fletcher, Councillor Davis and Councillor McMahon - support reinstating the study!