Bike lanes are getting more ground as the Bloor Street bike lane pilot project is set to undergo its first vote for approval next week at City Council on May 3.
The Bloor Street bike lanes project has been under debate for several years, and it doesn’t look like it’s close to being decided. On April 25, the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee Meeting was unable to provide their definitive support, with the votes split between members. Council will now have to vote on a project without a direct recommendation from the committee.
The bike lane project would span along Bloor St. from Avenue Rd. to Shaw St. and spans over Ward 20 led by Councillor, Joe Cressy and Councillor, Mike Layton in Ward 19. Both councillors are advocating strongly on behalf of the project because it would make cyclists and motorists safer on the busy east-west arterial road.
The pilot project would cost about $500,000.
Bloor St. is a sensible option for a cycling route because it is one of the few east-west roads in the inner-city that doesn’t have streetcar tracks, a formidable danger to cyclists. The use of the subway removes the crowding of buses or streetcars from the road, which makes it an accessible option for both vehicles and cyclists to share. The street also has relatively flat topography.
The pilot project advocates for curbside bike lanes that are removed from the roadway. A public-consultation survey showed 52 per cent of people who bike feel unsafe with the current conditions on Bloor St. and 60 per cent of drivers feel cautious of cyclists riding beside them.
On-street parking would continue to be allowed on north and south sides with curbside bike lanes, alternating on both sides of the road. A traditional bike lane would be provided at certain portions of the road, which would allow vehicles to park on Bloor St. Providing bike lanes on Bloor St. would also connect to other parts of the cycling network in the city including Shaw St., Montrose Ave., Grace St., and St. George St.
These bike lanes were originally proposed back in 1992, when the city first commissioned a study to see if it would be viable option. If the project is approved next week, the bike lanes will finally be built in summer 2016. Suffice to say, it’s been a long time coming.
Toronto cyclists wait on the edge of their bike seats for City Council’s decision. If the project is approved, the cycling network in Toronto will continue to grow and biking on Bloor St. will no longer be a hazard, but instead a great way to commute to work.
What do you think the council’s vote will be? Let us know in the comments below.