Welcome news: Largest rollout of new cycling infrastructure EVER in Toronto

Today, the City of Toronto announced specifics on where protected cycling infrastructure will be accelerated under the ActiveTO program. New protected cycling infrastructure will be built quickly, using interim materials, along corridors identified in the City of Toronto Cycling Network Plan for delivery this summer.

Click here to view PDF of map

Cycling routes include:

A historic cycling victory along Bloor-Danforth:

  • Bloor St W: extending the incredibly popular bike lane west 4.5 km from Shaw St to Runnymede Rd
  • Bloor St E: closing the 1.5 km gap between Avenue Rd and Sherbourne St
  • Danforth Ave: 6 km from Broadview Ave to Dawes Rd, the current boundaries of The Danforth Study

This is big news - after many years, and well over 10,000 signatures, there will finally be a continuous 15 km protected bikeway along much of the Bloor-Danforth corridor.

Connections that will deepen our cycling network and create future opportunities to extend routes outside the downtown:

  • Dundas St E: 1 km from Sackville St to Broadview Ave, to help connect the Dundas St E bike lanes across the Don Valley Parkway and provide a more convenient connection to Regent Park and the Gerrard St bike lanes
  • University Ave: 2+ km from Adelaide St W to Bloor St W, to create a comfortable and safe north-south cycling route in the downtown core to the cluster of hospitals in the Discovery District
  • Overlea Blvd: under consideration to further connect the bike lanes in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park
  • Bayview Ave: 1 km multi-use trail to make it easier to connect downtown and East York via Pottery Road

Projects that will begin the overdue creation of a suburban network:

  • Brimley Ave: 4 km from Lawrence Ave to Kingston Rd, to finally create a north-south route in Scarborough
  • Huntingwood Dr: 5 km from Victoria Park to Brimley Rd, to begin the first steps of building a cycling network in Scarborough with an east-west route
  • Faywood Blvd and Wilmington Ave: 4 km from Finch Ave to Wilson Ave, to better link the Finch Hydro Corridor Trail south to communities and develop a north-south route in North York

ACTION ALERT: Let Council know you support bike infrastructure

It’s imperative that the Mayor and City Council know that building this infrastructure is necessary. If this package does not pass council, we will get nothing. Each piece is not being voted on individually; it is a package deal. This is the single biggest cycling package Toronto has ever seen and will provide important connectivity for those who already bike through the city and the many new people looking for transportation alternatives during the pandemic. The Mayor and City Councillors will need to hear positive feedback on this first set of projects so that they are ready to keep pushing for the next phase of ActiveTO.

Sample Email:

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(Does not work in Outlook)

To: mayor_tory@toronto.ca; councilmeeting@toronto.ca
cc: info@cycleto.ca
Subject: I support ActiveTO & Bike Lanes (Item 2020.CC21.20)

Sample text:

Please make your email or subject line personal. Your own story matters!

This first phase of ActiveTO cycling projects is going to improve life for me and so many others.

It will make it safer and easier to access businesses as they struggle to recover from COVID-19. It will give essential workers an alternative to transit without clogging the streets with more car traffic. It will reduce emissions and make it easier to have an active lifestyle. It will save me money, which I can spend at local businesses, since I’ll be able to ride my bike on many more trips.

Thank you for considering protected bicycle infrastructure in Toronto. This is a great start, and more will be needed in the next phase of ActiveTO to complete the network and close gaps to allow for a healthy recovery for our City. I am counting on your support - this is going to make our lives better!


Your Name
Your Address

Rolled out quickly, expanded rapidly, and made permanent

This is an important first step to building an equitable network across our city. This cycling infrastructure will transform Toronto. We will have, for the first time, cycling infrastructure connecting Bloor St and Danforth Ave, creating a continuous east-west corridor and a way to provide a ‘transit relief valve’ for commuters looking for an alternative to the Line 2 subway. Line 1’s safety valve will be on the University side alone, with a protected north-south route through the core that provides direct access to hospitals and other institutions.There will be fairly significant expansions of the cycling network within North York and Scarborough. These projects can be rolled out early this summer, within about a month.

Let's be clear: the plan as proposed will not be enough to support Toronto’s recovery from the pandemic.

What comes after Council?

We know that we can’t just build cycling infrastructure in the core; we need to make it a safe and easy choice for every resident in Toronto to ride a bike. We need to keep working to make sure that it’s safe to cycle all over the city. Midtown has no dedicated infrastructure or connectivity. Many suburban neighbourhoods have disjointed pieces of cycling infrastructure, and busy arterials that create challenges to move.

We will continue to strive for more. While this announcement is a major expansion of our cycling network, there are still many gaps that make will quickly require another phase as a pandemic response plan:

  • The Yonge subway line, our busiest, will not have any relief as there is no bike lane along Yonge proposed
  • There is no infrastructure in midtown in this package
  • In the suburbs, none of the TTC’s crowded bus lines have relief
  • Improved and expanded Quiet Streets are needed to provide more connectivity and make safer communities
  • Continue and expand temporary Major Road Closures throughout the summer
  • Many of the City’s wards will see no new infrastructure under this plan despite a lack of cycling infrastructure being a citywide issue
  • Etobicoke has no major projects proposed.

We need this first phase of the ActiveTO bike network expansion to pass this week at Council, and we will need to see more leadership from the City on these gaps in the coming weeks. There is more work to be done to develop a suitable pandemic response and we are committed to pushing for these gaps to be resolved ASAP.

Cycle Toronto’s COVID-19 Response

In our open letter to the Office of Recovery and Rebuild, we stressed that active transportation will be essential to the economic and social recovery of Toronto. Cycle Toronto has expanded on our campaign-related advocacy, including bike lanes on Bloor, Danforth, Yonge, Eglinton, and a cycling network across the city, to connect communities, support local businesses, and create more safe transportation options and convenient ways to get around the city during the pandemic.

We’ve had discussions about temporary cycling routes in the short term, and we’re still working hard to keep our eye on permanent infrastructure for the long term. We’ll continue to push to make Toronto a safe—physically distant—cycling city!

The way we advocate has transformed during COVID-19. We’ve moved quickly to adapt and transform our advocacy, but at the end of the day, we are still advocating for our members. As we’ve shifted our operations online, many of our usual fundraising activities have been cancelled. If you value the work we do, please join or make a donation. Even $5 a month supports our educational outreach, running (virtual) events and workshops, and ensures you have a strong voice at City Hall.

Learn about membership or Donate

It took decades of work to get to this point. People knocked on doors, sent emails, signed petitions and rode bikes on streets that weren’t designed with people in mind. Today we celebrate this victory, but that doesn’t mean we can stop working. Nothing is certain except that there is more to be done. To everyone who has supported us over the years as a member, made a donation, signed a petition, canvassed a neighbourhood, or asked the city to do more, this is YOUR victory.

Let’s keep this momentum going,

Michael Longfield
Interim Executive Director

By Michael Longfield on May 25, 2020

  COVID-19, Cycling Network Plan, Danforth, Bloor, University