'There's demand now:' Coun. Ainslie wants Bike Share in Scarborough
While advocates applaud the proposal of expanding the program east of the downtown core, they say safe cycling infrastructure must first be addressed in the area.
|Report an Error|
Share via Email
Scarborough residents want their fair share of the city's acclaimed Bike Share program.
At next week's public works and infrastructure committee meeting, Ward 43 councillor Paul Ainslie will propose a study for a pilot project setting up Bike Share stations in Scarborough.
"More and more people are trying to get from point A to point B without having to drive or walk," Ainslie said.
The Bike Share program, which is run by the Toronto Parking Authority, currently boasts 270 stations scattered across the city's downtown core. The program has experienced some incredible success over the past six years, last year breaking records with more than 1.5 million rides by nearly 10,000 active users.
But Ainslie said there are a number of suburban hubs that could serve as partners and host bike stations, such as the Scarborough campus of the University of Toronto, Centennial College, Go Train stations or even community centres and individual business owners.
"I don't think we can wait five more years," said Ainslie. "There's demand now, and I hope we go beyond just the pilot project."
In recent years, organizations like Scarborough Cycles and the Scarborough District Advocacy Group have created community bike hubs and bike-repair workshops to encourage a robust cycling culture. The annual Tour de Scarborough, a family-friendly competition aimed at exploring the suburb on two wheels, also highlights cycling challenges unique to outer-city communities.
Ainslie said the city is already working on increasing bike lanes in the area, including Morningside Avenue, Ellesmere Road and Commons Drive toward the Toronto Zoo.
Sarah Bradley of advocacy group Cycle Toronto applauded the Bike Share proposal but argued it should go hand-in-hand with a connected grid of safe cycling infrastructure.
"We've heard from several of our members that the lack of safety on the road is what holds them back from riding more often," Bradley said, noting several pedestrians have been struck in Scarborough this year.
"When you have people biking on roads where there isn't protected bike lanes, and cars are travelling upwards of 70 kilometres an hour, nobody can say that it's safe for biking."
She pointed to the ongoing Transform Yonge project, which is looking to add bike lanes on Yonge Street between Sheppard and Finch, as another example of the need for safe infrastructure in the suburbs.
"Bike Share can be a catalyst for increased cycling, but we don't think it's wise to be focusing on that before physical safe infrastructures are in place."
More on Metronews.ca