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Toronto’s Bike Plan Switches Gears

Photo by Richard Lautens, Toronto Star

Photo by Richard Lautens, Toronto Star

Toronto Star article out today (the first day of BikeMonth) about the new emphasis from Toronto cycling staff on quality rather than quantity.  2010 is seeing an emphasis on improving downtown bicycle infrastructure – partly due to that’s where most cyclists are, and partly due to Bixi Toronto starting next year.

As he nears the end of his term, Heaps is advocating a new approach, one that focuses less on distance and more on connecting the city’s existing network of bike paths, lanes and routes, particularly downtown, with its high percentage of bike commuters.

“I’m not going to go out there and pump paint to hit a quota,” he said. “Complete the circle, make it smaller, do it right. I’d rather have a smaller network that was fully integrated.”

I think this is a good plan – while infrastructure is perhaps needed less downtown (due to lower traffic speeds and more cyclists being there already), having more of it there will encourage non-cyclists to try it out there more (especially with the huge influxes of downtown residents that go along with constant condominium construction).

Cycling advocates have been too focused on how many km of bikelanes we have in the city.  That’s not important.  What’s important is making people on bikes feel safe – whether via bikelanes or just good street planning.

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