Councillor Ana Bailão Proposes Reversible Centre Lane on Dupont

Here’s a letter I received from Cllr. Bailão in response a plea I sent for councillors to not accept PWIC’s motions to remove the Jarvis bike lane and to not begin removing the Dupont bike lane:

Thank you for taking the time to email me with regards to Toronto’s bikelanes and for your patience in awaiting my reply.

As our city grows, the need for cleaner, alternative methods of transportation becomes increasingly necessary for a healthy and mobile city. The predicted population increases for Toronto will put further strain on rush hour traffic use. To alleviate this we must invest in infrastructure that supports alternative ways of moving around Toronto. Bicycling reduces vehicle traffic, promotes health, is environmentally-friendly and I will continue to support bicycle infrastructure in the City of Toronto.

The proposed removal of the Jarvis Street bike lane was due to concerns that traffic, specifically travelling North in the evening, is being significantly delayed. Traffic congestion is a serious issue in the City of Toronto and poses a significant economic threat due to lost productivity.

I feel strongly that it is irresponsible for Council to remove the Jarvis Street bike lane before City staff has an opportunity to implement their solution and revaluate the situation which is why I voted to maintain the existing bike lane. I am particularly disappointed with Council’s decision to eliminate the Jarvis bike lane because it offers a safe commuting option to hundreds of cyclists every day, and without the most up-to-date information, the removal of this bike lane is premature and unjustified.

The bicycle lanes on Dupont Street were installed under the previous Councillor and I feel strongly that many concerns surrounding their installation could have been resolved with greater community consultation.

These bicycle lanes have caused significant congestion for vehicle traffic during peak commuting periods. Not only has this made it very difficult for residents living in the area to access their homes, but the idling of stationary vehicles in this congestion can offset the environmental benefits of the bicyclists using the lane.

City Staff indicated that a large amount of congestion was occurring around the Landsdowne and Dupont intersection, where the bike lane begins. On staff’s recommendation, moving the Dupont bike lane a short distance West of this intersection will allow vehicles to more easily turn at this intersection and reduce traffic backlog.

In order to alleviate the concerns of residents in the area, I have been working with City staff to develop a strategy to improve traffic flow while maintaining bicycle lanes on Dupont as it is a critical East-West cycling route. During the last meeting of the Public Works Committee, a motion was approved to have City staff examine the installation of a middle vehicle lane on Dupont Street that would alternate with rush hour to provide an extra lane of traffic during peak hours.

By working with the interests of cyclists, local residents, and City staff, these changes will go a long way to improving traffic concerns in this area. I will continue to create forums of dialogue between groups in addition to supporting the increase of cycling infrastructure in the City of Toronto.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact my office and please do not hesitate to do so in the future.

Sincerely,
Ana Bailão
City Councillor
Ward 18, Davenport

councillor_bailao@toronto.ca (416) 392-7012 www.AnaBailao.ca

I guess this motion means removing either sidewalks, the bike lanes or on-street parking to make room for an alternating lane of doom on Dupont. I’ve written the councillor asking for further information about this proposal as it appears nowhere in PWIC or City Council records online.

About duncan

Duncan rides bicycles in the city of Toronto and contributes to the main blog of BikingToronto as well as writing and taking photos for his blog Duncan's City Ride.

Comments

  1. They are still metering the bike lanes under The Railpath (just East of Dupont/Dundas West).

    I was disappointed that Ana supported removing the bike lanes in Scarborough. The councillor of that ward ran and got in on a platform to remove the lanes, so the reasoning was that they should go based upon local wishes. however, no such consideration was given to the ward where Jarvis is located. That ward voted to keep the Jarvis lanes, and not only did the committee that voted to remove the lanes fail to even warn and consult the councillor, when City Council voted, local concerns suddenly were not a factor. Hypocrites.

  2. Crazy news. Thanks for posting this one, Duncan. Can you do me a favour and update the story if she gets back to you with clarification? That would be great.

  3. I’m not entirely convinced this is a terrible idea, if it means that parking is removed rather than the bike lanes. Congestion does get rather bad on Dupont (although I can’t figure out why so many people continue to take it when at 8 am, the few times I’ve detoured off Dupont, Bloor has barely anyone on it compared to Dupont. Also, why not just hop on a bike instead?).

    I have my doubts as to how well this would work considering the two rail underpasses, though. I’m also unconvinced that moving the start of the lanes to the west of Lansdowne is going to change much, other than making it easier for people turning off of Dupont, given that the congestion is mostly due to people who don’t understand what to do when a lane ends.

    I also find the continual bike counts on Dupont somewhat disconcerting. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are next on the chopping block…

  4. If parking is removed this could work. On Dupont there is either on-street parking on one side or a centre turning lane. So there is space for a reversible centre lane when parking is removed.

    Although, if the councillor is so dedicated to easing congestion, but wants to make room for more cars (WTF), odds are parking isn’t going to be on the chopping block.

    And as noted on Twitter, the underpasses simply cannot accommodate a centre lane.

  5. And yes, they are still metering bicycle traffic on Dupont. The counter is currently under the Railpath Bridge on the south side (eastbound).

  6. I take it when Councillor Bailão says “…moving the Dupont bike lane a short distance West of this intersection” she means “removing the Dupont bike lane at this intersection”.

    City staff used similar doublespeak, calling for the “modification” of the bike lane: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2011.PW5.1 (item 3).

    Enough with the euphemisms! Let’s be perfectly clear, we’re talking about taking out bike lanes, in an era when other cities are racing to install bike lanes.

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