Toronto is getting a whack of new bike lanes and paths this spring

Toronto City Council will vote on proposed new bike lanes as updates to the city’s Cycling Network Plan as well as the Missing Links Sidewalk Projects this Wednesday. If approved, Torontonians could see rapid improvements in cyclist and pedestrian pathways this year.

The proposal, which was reviewed and adopted with amendments by the Infrastructure and Environment Committee late last month, recommends that the city approve the installation of a variety of new bike lanes infrastructure projects, such as uni-directional cycle tracks, contra-flow bicycle lanes, and bi-directional cycle tracks, across various city wards.

Specific cross-streets, like Rochefort Dr. from Don Mills Rd. to Deauville Lane, Blackthorn Ave. from Rogers Rd. to Rockwell Ave., and Portland St. from Queen St. W to Front St. W, are mentioned, among others.

As part of the Cycling Network Plan, which  is geared toward making travel by bike safer, the report recommends that the City install new bikeways associated with five projects along specific streets, including the approval and installation of the Portland–Dan Leckie Cycle Connection—a new bikeway that will connect Queen St. W to Queens Quay W. This new cycling route will run along Portland Street, across the Puente De Luz pedestrian/cycling bridge, and down Dan Leckie Way.

While there is support for this connection, concern has been raised over the effects on vehicular traffic once the line is installed. Specifically, one-way traffic conversions and the traffic diverter at Wellington and Portland have raised concerns, with locals noting that there is already significant traffic congestion, and any measures hindering the movement of vehicles would increase travel times.

“This important new connection has been through much debate and consultation in my community” Ausma Malik, City Councillor of Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York, stated in a letter to the Members of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee.

To ease concerns, the proposal going before Council on Wednesday recommends that Council ask the General Manager of Transportation Services to analyze the Portland–Dan Leckie Cycle Connection after a standard review period, along with potential impacts on Front St., Bathurst St., and Spadina Ave., “and publish data and make recommendations to implement adjustments to the project if necessary.”

The proposal also recommends traffic control, such as a compulsory stop for westbound traffic on Helen Avenue at Blackthorn Avenue, with similar stops at the intersections of Rochefort Dr. and Ferrand Dr. (west leg), Ferrand Dr. (west leg) and Seaton Park Rd., and Ferrand Dr. (west leg) and Windom Rd.

Reduced speed limits (from 40 to 30 kilometres per hour) are proposed for several streets, including Pine St. from Wright Ave. to Church St., Ferrand Dr. from Rochefort Dr. to Deauville Lane, Rochefort Dr. from Don Mills Rd. to Deauville Lane, and Deauville Lane from Rochefort Dr. to Grenoble Dr.

Through the Missing Links Sidewalk Project, the City is also working to provide greater sidewalk connectivity across the city. The proposal suggests going forth with the planned delivery of sidewalks at the intersections of Edgebrook Dr. and Bankfield Dr., Fishleigh Dr. and Scarborough Heights Park, Mayfield Ave. and the south side of Armadale Ave., Rannock St. and the north side of Craigton Drive, as well as the east side of 239 Sorauren Avenue. It further recommends constructing a sidewalk on Howden Rd. (from Lawrence Ave. E to Laura Secord Walk).

“The changes proposed as part of the projects identified above would improve safety and mobility options by providing improved cycling connections to transit, parks, local schools, businesses, and residences,” the proposal states.  “Pedestrian improvements have also been included in the projects, wherever feasible, including curb extensions, new sidewalk installations, pedestrian head starts and motor vehicle lane adjustments.”