News / Toronto

New promotion looks to support local businesses along Bloor bike lanes

The promotion comes with a couple of months left in the Bloor bike lanes pilot project.

Matthew Lee outside his Bloor St. store Put a Cone on It.

Eduardo Lima / Metro

Matthew Lee outside his Bloor St. store Put a Cone on It.

A new promotion is trying to connect local cyclists and businesses along the Bloor St. bike lane pilot project.

The Tour de Bloor passport launched Wednesday as a way to promote stores in the Annex and Koreatown. Patrons collect stamps at over 70 participating shops along the separated Bloor bike lane pilot study. With enough stamps, people can enter to win prizes like a bike and gift certificates.

"It's a unique approach to feature some of the local businesses in the neighbourhood and their interaction with cyclists," says Coun. Mike Layton, who represents Ward 19, which includes the western portion of the Bloor bike lanes.

"It's a way to bridge what is perceived as a divide between cycling and the businesses on Bloor," he added.

The passport is also a way for the cyclist community to support local businesses as the Bloor bike lane pilot study winds down.

The one-year pilot project between Shaw St. And Avenue Rd. began in August 2016. A study of the lanes will be sent to council later in 2017, where it could see opposition from some suburban councillors who often vote against bike lanes.

"It's crucial that we're spending money in the area," says Jared Kolb of advocacy group Cycle Toronto, which co-ordinated the Tour de Bloor program. He argues the bike passport is a "win-win" to support both the bike lanes and local businesses.

The economic success of the bike lanes could be an important factor as to whether they are made permanent.

Preliminary statistics released by the city in February showed cycling along the route increased by 36 per cent, but driving time in the afternoon peak use period shot up by over eight minutes.

Matthew Lee, the 38-year-old owner of the Koreatown ice cream store Put a Cone on It, hopes the Bloor passport provides a boost.

"The passport should remind people to visit local businesses on Bloor," says Lee, who has signed on as one of the businesses.

He cycles to work twice a week and is supportive of the bike lanes, although he'd like to see more bike parking to offset the loss of on-street parking for cars. His revenue has been about the same as 2016, which was the first year of his business.

"They're not actively encouraging cycling in Koreatown enough," he says of the city.

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