News / Toronto

Bloor bike lanes should stay, city report finds

Transportation staff are recommending that the pilot project of downtown lanes be made permanent.

City transportation staff are recommending that council make the pilot project of Bloor St. bike lanes permanent.

Torstar News Service Order this photo

City transportation staff are recommending that council make the pilot project of Bloor St. bike lanes permanent.

City transportation staff are recommending that council make the pilot project of Bloor St. bike lanes permanent, paving the way for what would be a huge victory for Toronto’s cycling advocates.

highly anticipated report released Wednesday morning determined that installing the lanes had increased cycling use in the project area by 56 per cent, with an average of 5,220 cyclists on weekdays. That makes the lanes the second busiest cycling facility in the city.

Preliminary road safety data determined that collisions have been reduced as a result of the lanes, and that the project has “significantly increased levels of comfort and safety for both motorists and cyclists.”

Although the lanes initially caused significant delays to drivers’ travel times, modifications to signal timing have since cut the increased travel times in half, the report found.

The report will go before the public works committee next week, with council expected to vote at its November meeting on whether to take up staff’s recommendation.

Council approved the bike lanes on a trial basis last May in a vote of 38 to 3, following decades of advocacy from the city’s cycling community. The lanes were installed along a 2.4-kilometre stretch of Bloor between Avenue Rd. and Shaw St. in August, 2016.

The pilot project was backed by the mayor, but he was adamant that if the data at the end of the trial period didn’t support the project he would advocate that it be removed.

That led many of the project’s supporters to worry that the piece of infrastructure many consider the centrepiece of a growing bike lane network could be ripped out.

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