City could shut down Yonge bike lanes and sidewalk for years for one condo

Cycling enthusiasts from various communities are gearing up to challenge the construction plan for a 50-storey condo along a stretch of Yonge Street, challenging the proposed closure of bike lanes and sidewalks for nearly three years.

Scheduled for Dec. 13, Cycle Toronto, Yonge4All, and other community groups plan to converge on City Hall to express collective concerns over the condo construction project at 1404-1428 Yonge St. The proposed plan aims to close the west sidewalk, southbound bike lane, a section of the southbound lane, and the northbound bike lane on Yonge Street for a 35-month period.

“The city should not be considering construction site plans that seek to close bike lanes and instead should close access to vehicular traffic on the city’s two subway lines to prioritize the movement of the majority of people,” said Alison Stewart, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at Cycle Toronto, in a news release.

The community council for Toronto and East York forwarded the proposal to the Dec. 13 city council meeting without specific recommendations. According to the city report, pedestrian movements on the west side will be maintained through a minimum 1.8-metre-wide covered and protected walkway.

To address concerns about cyclist safety during construction, organizers plan to gather at City Hall at 8:30 a.m. for a news conference before the 9:30 council meeting. The initiative aims to emphasize the significance of accommodating diverse road users alongside urban development.

“Cycle Toronto and residents will be biking down Yonge Street to City Hall in advance of the city council’s last meeting of 2023 to demand that infrastructure be put in place to protect vulnerable road users throughout all construction,” stated the Cycle Toronto news release.

On the morning of Dec. 13, news broke that local city councillor Josh Matlow had worked with city staff and the developer to potentially keep the bike lanes and sidewalk open during construction. The new proposal will be announced at the city council meeting today.