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Sarah Thomson releases “Bike City” Plan

Photo from BlogTO

Photo from BlogTO

Today saw mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson release her bicycle transportation policy, dubbed Bike City.

Sarah and/or her team has done their homework on this to attract people who love biking… proposing a good chunk of new cycling infrastructure features (ie. bike boxes, bicycle boulevardes, etc) and physically separate bikelanes on University Ave, Richmond Street and Adelaide street.

They have also thought of the non-cycling part of the population (some of whom are hostile to new bikelanes, especially in the old boroughs of the city)… proposing that instead of bikelanes on arterial roads outside of downtown, sharrows are put in instead… with bikelanes implemented as cycling levels rise in that area.  This not only solves the complaint of “no one uses the bikelanes” but allows for expansion of a downtown network as that network draws in riders from outside the core.

Thomson’s Bike City:

Here are some “bullet points” from the plan:

Upgraded Intersections
• All arterial intersections will have bike boxes for making safe two part left turns (“hook turns”), with intuitive, consistent road markings.
• On-road markings will indicate the safe path for bicycles, away from the right hand side of right turningvehicles.

Complete Streets
• Every street in Toronto (except expressways) must be a bikefriendlystreet, including arterials.
• Onroad shared lane markings (“sharrows”) on all arterial roads by 2012.

Downtown Bike Lanes
Complete the downtown portion of the Toronto Bike Plan by 2012.
• Represents 13 km of new bike lanes.
• One modification: Spadina bike lane moved to University Avenue instead.

Physically Separated Lanes
Physically separated bike lanes on Richmond Street, Adelaide Street, and University Avenue.
• 9 km in total.
• “Bike Highways” across the downtown area.

Blue Routes: A Network of Secondary Roads
• ~1000 km of on road bike routes, connecting every part of every neighbourhood.
• New crossings built over/under obstacles.
• Routes built for safe, convenient cycling (“Bicycle boulevards”).
• Routes chosen for convenient crossing of main roads and obstacles.

Blue Routes: Crossing the Obstacles
• 34 new pedestrian/bike crossings.
• 4 freeway underpasses (427, 400, 2 × 401).
• 25 rail crossings (10 underpass, 15 level).
• 5 bridges (Humber, Highland Creek, 2 × Black Creek, Newmarket Rail Sub).
• ~225 new bike activated traffic lights.
• New easements through parking lots and commercial driveways.

Blue Routes: Safety & Convenience

• Low traffic volumes and speeds.
• Yield signs in preference to stop signs.
• Bike activated signalized crossings across arterial roads.
• Lights synchronized where possible.
• Contraflow bike lanes on onewaystreets.
• Onroad navigation markings.
• Snow removal and priority road maintenance.

Off-Road Trails
• 40 km of trails through utility corridors.
• New routes through government owned lands.
• Connections between the York Beltline, the Kay Gardiner Beltline, and the Don
Valley Trail.
• An easier way over the escarpment via improvements to Roycroft Park.

Personally, I don’t agree with all of Sarah Thomson’s platform, or even all of her Bike City plan… but I will say that this is a pretty well-researched plan, and it is expressed far better and with better specifics than any other major mayoral candidate thus far.

What do you think of it?

  • misslynx

    Her plan may not be perfect, as you say, but compared with the crap we’re getting from the rest of the candidates, it’s pretty much an epic win.

    As I commented on another story, I checked out her web site, and while I don’t agree with her on everything by any means, given the pathetic assortment of candidates we have to choose from this time around, she may very well be the best of a bad lot. I’d consider voting for her… Mind you, many of my leftist friends would probably want to lynch me, because she’s pretty fiscally conservative and pro-privatization of all kinds of stuff. Her platform seems to be an odd mix and left and right – economically conservative but socially and environmentally liberal. But I can live with that, I think. It’s not like we actually have a lot of good options right now…

  • Gordon Lucas


    I agree about her policies being a mix of left and right and that’s one of the reasons I’m supporting her. i don’t think we can just tax and spend for social programs without limits. Ms. Thomson is prioritizing the big things that will make Toronto a great city (proper infrastructure for bikes for example), and her fiscal policies are intended to keep us competitive while funding the big vision for a sustainable, green, livable city.

    In terms of being the best of a bad lot, I’d say yes, we have a bad lot; it’s nice to find a diamond in the rough.


  • Justin

    Not a horrible plan, but a very expensive one to execute. A lot of her downtown ideas are already in place today, so that should help some.