March 25, 2021

(Finally) Filling the Winona Gap

For the past few years, one of my biggest complaints about biking in Toronto is the lack of north-south routes north of Davenport. Especially considering my office is at Dufferin and Lawrence which meant riding on steep hills on Caledonia or going the wrong way at times between St. Clair and Eglinton. Finally, the City of Toronto hosted a public consultation on Monday, March 22 for a contraflow bike lane on Winona which could be installed as early as this June or July.

March 17, 2021

Open Letter on 2021 ActiveTO Proposals

Below is a letter I submitted to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee, Mayor John Tory, and my councillor (Gord Perks) ahead of next Tuesday's committee meeting which will discuss next steps for ActiveTO. The deadline to submit your own comments on Motion IE20.12 (ActiveTO) to iec@toronto.ca (and copy your councillor and Mayor Tory) is Monday, March 22 at 4:30 PM. You can also check out Cycle Toronto's action alert for their own analysis.

ActiveTO on Lake Shore Boulevard West in May 2020

--

Greetings, Members of the Infratructure and Environment Committee.

Last year was historic for cycling in Toronto with a net 31 kilometres of on-street bike lanes installed that year, as well as the well received major road closures on Lake Shore Boulevard and Bayview Avenue. While I am pleased with the idea of ActiveTO returning this year, I am disappointed that the proposals do not go far enough for several reasons.

March 12, 2021

Resisting Doug Ford's Agenda

Since Doug Ford became Ontario’s premier in 2018, he has become one of the province’s most controversial political leaders (at least since Mike Harris). Early on, he scrapped Ontario’s cap-and-trade program only to see it replaced with a federal carbon tax, froze the minimum wage at $14/hour, and cut Toronto’s city council in half during the municipal election campaign. While there was a time early in the pandemic when Ford appeared reasonable, he has since returned to his populist antics which prompted several campaigns to oppose his agenda.

#StopThe413

Map of proposed GTA West Highway a.k.a. Highway 413 (via Environmental Defence)
In early 2018, Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals scrapped plans for a GTA West Highway (a.k.a. Highway 413) running from Vaughan to Milton which would have paved hundreds of acres of Greenbelt and prime agricultural land. An expert panel at the time deemed it would not have addressed the GTA’s changing transportation needs. Doug Ford’s “Progressive” Conservatives revived these plans and fast tracked the environmental assessment process in order to get this highway built which would cost at least $6 billion and save drivers only 30 seconds on their commutes. Funds which would have been better spent on public transit and active transportation.

February 15, 2021

Winter 2021 Consultation Roundup

While winter may appear to be a slow period for cycling – notwithstanding the growing numbers of people choosing to bike year round – the public consultations have come fast and furious. The City of Toronto hosted two consultations in December bike lanes on Martin Grove Road and Cummer Avenue, while Metrolinx hosted one about the Durham – Scarborough BRT which includes protected bike lanes. In early February, the City unveiled plans to upgrade the Davenport bike lanes and extend them to Yonge. If that wasn’t enough for you, there are at least four more projects the City is currently collecting feedback on.

Rendering of The Esplanade - Via City of Toronto

February 05, 2021

Fixing the Davenport Disaster

While there are people who view St. Clair as a disaster over the streetcar line there, the term “disaster” better applies to Davenport from a cycling perspective. Especially between Bay and Dupont where bike lanes placed in the door zone can lead to the bike lanes being blocked when snow gets piled by the curbs. Not to mention, Avenue and Davenport was where a ghost bike was placed for Adam Excell who was killed by a driver in June 2015. Fortunately, the City of Toronto plans to improve this part of Davenport, as well as extend the bike lanes east to Yonge Street where bike lanes could be installed from Bloor to just north of Lawrence later this year. The slides from yesterday's consultation - which I missed - can be found here.

Door zone bike lanes are prone to being blocked when snow piles by the curbs

January 25, 2021

Finishing the Job on Bloor

The past twelve months have seen real progress with cycling on Toronto’s main arterials. Not only is there now the 15 kilometre Bloor-Danforth corridor, but City Council approved a study for bike lanes on Yonge in Midtown and Transform Yonge in North York last fall. Phase one of yongeTOmorrow downtown also passed at the infrastructure and Environment Committee recently and will come to City Council on February 2. With the future of Yonge being all but locked in, it’s time to focus on Etobicoke.

Bloor Street at the Humber River looking west towards Etobicoke

January 18, 2021

Cycling in the 2021 Toronto Budget

On Thursday, January 14, the City of Toronto released their 2021 tax supported capital and operating budgets. With budgets forming the basis of where Toronto’s priorities lie, it’s time to investigate what this budget has in store from a cycling perspective notwithstanding potential shortfalls exceeding $1 billion triggered by COVID-19. For this purpose, I will consult the Transportation Services budget notes.

The 2021 budget presentation can be viewed here

January 04, 2021

Review of Durham – Scarborough BRT Project

Last month, the City of Toronto made a mistake by removing the Brimley bike lanes within days of a public meeting deceivingly labelled as “improving Toronto’s cycling network”. Had the Brimley bike lanes been kept and extended, there is another project which could have provided a connection opportunity. It’s a project which could provide an intercity cycling connection between Toronto and Durham Region while also improving transit in the area.

That project is the Durham – Scarborough BRT.

A typical street layout for the Durham - Scarborough BRT (via Metrolinx)