On the surface, the [new 10-year cycling network] plan appears to be a healthy step forward for cycling in Toronto. After a rocky series of events for the Bloor bike lane pilot project, the 10-year plan feels somewhat rewarding.
But veterans of the Toronto cycling community won’t be holding their breath. Council has passed bike plans like this before, but between a lack of resources and political courage, it doesn’t have a great track record of meeting its goals.
The 10 year cycling network plan passed Council today, unanimously, through a lot of compromise. While east end councillors, (with the support of Cycle Toronto volunteers, business owners, business improvement associations and residents associations) managed to rescue the idea of studying the possibilities for bike lanes on the Danforth, other major corridor studies won’t get looked at until at least 2018.
East-end councillors rescued a proposal that could eventually bring bike lanes to Danforth Ave. but council approved a weakened version of the city’s new cycling plan Thursday.
Councillors voted 38-2 to adopt the 10-year bike network blueprint, which was a scaled back version of a proposal transportation staff put forward in May.
Public works chair Councillor Jaye Robinson called the decision a “great compromise.”
In today’s news – base the idea of a network of bikelanes that actually goes the city on a *2 km pilot* on Bloor Street. If the pilot goes badly, then we’ll hear “see? bikelanes aren’t worth it!”, and if it goes well we’ll hear “we can’t base a city-wide system on a small 2 km pilot!”.
Has everyone forgotten that the WHOLE CITY wants this cycling network plan to be implemented NOW?
The original staff report also recommended that the city look more closely at putting bike lanes on eight major arterial roads, including Yonge Street and Kingston Road — something cycling advocates have been requesting for years. That recommendation got stripped out of the plan a couple of weeks ago, when it came to the city’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.
Mayor Tory defended the decision Monday, and rejected the suggestion that council would be voting on a diluted proposal, telling reporters: “I just think it’s prudent to learn what we learn from the Bloor Street bike lane project before we go spending all kinds of money on similar streets.”
Other than the implication that pushing a study of the Danforth back for two full years isn’t a big deal, this is a good synopsis of what the new bike plan means for Scarborough (mostly southwest Scarborough):
A May 2016 Angus Reid Forum poll revealed that 88% of Scarborough residents support a comprehensive, interconnected and safe cycling network. In addition, 69% of Scarborough residents said that the City urgently needs to create better bike infrastructure. The poll also revealed other important insights such as the absence of an urban/suburban divide when it comes to support for the completion of a safe cycling network and that there is support across the city for immediate increased investment in cycling infrastructure.
It’s not much of a cycling network if you don’t put safe infrastructure on streets that actually go somewhere…
The public works and infrastructure committee gave the green light to a 10-year cycling network plan that identified 525 km of new cycling infrastructure projects to be built over the next decade.
But committee chair Councillor Jaye Robinson moved a motion to hold off on a major feature of the plan: proposed studies of adding cycling infrastructure to eight major streets.
The motion passed 4-1, with Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon the lone dissenter.