Yonge Loves Bikes: Downtown

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Cycle Toronto has been advocating for bike lanes on Yonge for many years to fill a large gap in the cycling network. Street changes are finally being proposed and we have an opportunity to ensure the focus is on creating a vibrant public space and efficiently moving people rather than cars.

Why do we love Yonge?

Yonge St is one of Toronto's most identifiable major retail main streets.

It's a destination

There is plenty of shopping and retail, whether you're heading to a local, independent shop or the Eaton Centre, heading to Ryerson University, or working nearby, there are plenty of reasons to bike to Yonge St

It provides a continuous connection

Yonge St links important destinations downtown, midtown, and uptown. It is the only central street that connects Lake Ontario to Steeles Avenue from end to end

It's densely populated

From 1996-2016 there was a 73% increase in population and 43% increase in employment with growth expected to continue. Cycling provides an efficient alternative to driving or getting on an already congested subway line for distances that are too far to walk

It's transit-supported

Yonge has a subway line and no streetcar tracks, which provide more flexible road space than many other main streets and makes safer conditions for people cycling

It's in the plans

Yonge has already has already been identified for protected bike lanes or cycle tracks in the City of Toronto approved Cycling Network Plan

It's safer

Bike lanes are safe for all road users; not just people riding bikes. After the Bloor bike lanes went in:

  • Car-car conflicts dropped 71%
  • Car-bike conflicts dropped 61%
  • Car-pedestrian conflicts dropped 55%

Bike lanes are popular with residents

Nearly 85% of residents support building protected bike lanes (Ekos, 2020)

It's popular with BIAs

Toronto BIAs support their protected bike lanes. Bloor, Richmond, and Adelaide have all been very successful, so the Financial District, Entertainment, St. Lawrence, Bloor Annex, and Mirvish Village BIAs have all come out in support of their bike lanes.

It's good for business

Bike lanes mean more people can safely get to stores on Danforth, and more people means more business! On Bloor Street, business has gone up since the bike lanes went in. It helps that cyclists spend more money: a study in Portland found that customers who biked spent 24% more per month than those who drove.

Project Scope

The City of Toronto will be reconstructing Yonge Street from Queen to Davenport, starting with the section from Queen to College. While a final decision will be made in summer 2020, City Staff have provided a project update before the next public consultation drop-in event on November 21st.

Current Status

The City of Toronto is considering four alternatives to the current configuration of Yonge between Queen and College. Where driving lanes are present there is no dedicated space for people riding bikes:

  1. Two driving lanes on the entire stretch. 
  2. Car-free from Dundas Sq. to Elm St. One or two driving lanes elsewhere.
  3. Car-free from Queen St. to Gerrard St. Two driving lanes north of Gerrard. (Cycle Toronto preferred option)
  4. Car-free from Dundas Sq. to Edward St. Delivery vehicles during the day from Edward St. to Gerrard St. One or two driving lanes elsewhere.

Read more: Downtown Yonge - Change is Coming

How can you help?

  • Attend future consultations. Tell the City in-person that people on bikes have a place on Yonge St, and need to be protected when they ride on our city’s most iconic street.
  • Sign the Yonge Loves Bikes pledge to show your support and receive project updates
  • Sign up for Action Alerts - we'll send you an email when we need your help
  • Join Cycle Toronto. Our voice at City Hall is even stronger with more members. Plus, get access to great discounts and benefits
  • Donate to our Yonge Loves Bikes campaign
  • Share the pledge with your family, friends, neighbours, businesses - everybody you can think of!

Header photo by Ryan and icons by Freepik.