May 19, 2021

May 2021 Cycling Projects

Right after the Victoria Day long weekend, the City of Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee will be debating several cycling projects which total six centreline kilometres (or 9.47 lane kilometres) of new infrastructure. These include Chesswood Drive in North York, Winona Drive in Midtown, Woodfield Road in the east end, The Esplanade and Mill Street in downtown, and Martin Grove Road in Etobicoke. The Rathburn Road bike lanes from Martin Grove to The East Mall will also be upgraded to cycle tracks. To help encourage people write submissions to the committee, here is a recap of each project.

Rendering of raised cycle tracks on Chesswood Drive (via City of Toronto)


Given the traffic restrictions associated with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, the City will pursue Option 1 of installing contraflow bike lanes on all one-way segments of Winona Drive while maintaining the current motor vehicle traffic direction. However, there was greater support for combining Options 2 and 3 which would involve direction changes near Vaughan Road Academy to address pick up and drop off issues, as well as the conversion to one-way motor vehicle traffic near the McMurrich Junior and Winona Drive Senior Public Schools (respectively). While the City is open to implementing these changes later as what happened to Shaw Street last year, we should demand clear timelines for these improvements.

Map of proposed Winona contraflow bike lanes (via City of Toronto)


One significant development which occurred since the Esplanade-Mill public consultation on Thursday, February 25 is the recent installation of a temporary ActiveTO mulit-use trail along Bayview from River to Front Streets to help provide a detour for the Lower Don Trail closure. This trail would nicely complement the proposed bi-directional cycle tracks for The Esplanade and Mill Street, as well as a bike path through Parliament Square Park. Nothing material has changed since the consultation, so one can expect the stretch from Sherbourne to Front Streets to be completed this year while the Yonge to Sherbourne stretch is delayed to 2022. One call to action I would suggest would be to make the temporary trail permanent to help relieve crowding on the Lower Don Trail.

Recently installed ActiveTO trail on Bayview (via Owen McGaughey)

Martin Grove

The City has maintained their recommendation of only using buffered bike lanes on Martin Grove between Donalbert and Burnamthorpe Roads instead of adding protection; citing reduced collisions and narrower roads as the reason despite a majority of survey respondents supporting cycle tracks. Those who support bike lanes on Martin Grove are encouraged to call for physical separation between Donalbert and Burnamthorpe.

The existing recommendation for Martin Grove from Donalbert to Burnamthorpe (via City of Toronto)

Regarding the Rathburn upgrades the City has recommended the use of pre-cast curbs with bollards to allow greater visibility turning in and out of driveways. The public consultation feedback noted a majority preferred the other option of low-profile barriers which could have included artwork as what has been done on Scarlett Road. If you feel strongly about the low-profile barriers, by all means call it out.


Unlike other projects, the resurfacing and streetscaping improvements on Chesswood Drive were subject to engagement with the Duke Heights BIA instead of public consultation. Even so, this project is a pleasant surprise for an industrial area with the inclusion of raised cycle tracks – something Toronto’s inner suburbs need a lot more of – and new sidewalks on the east side of the street. The BIA is planning to supply benches, bike racks, and waste bins, while new bike share stations are also being proposed. A future bikeway connection is proposed along Champagne Drive and Alness Street to connect with the Finch Hydro Corridor.

Map of Chesswood Drive installation (via City of Toronto)

However, I am concerned with a missing gap along Sheppard Avenue between Chesswood and an existing multi-use trail which would have provided a safe connection to Downsview Park subway and GO station. Given the abundance of space on the south side of Sheppard, the City should add a short multi-use path on Sheppard to complete this gap, as well as work with Metrolinx to connect the path to other trails within Downsview Park on the other side of the railway tracks without having to use elevators at the station.


Last year, a quiet street installation was done along Woodfield Road and Monarch Park Avenue, while a public consultation was held earlier this year to consider contraflow bike lanes on Woodfield from Fairford to Eastern Avenues, as well as bike lanes from Eastern to Lake Shore. Personally, I am not as keen on this connection given the existing Greenwood bike lanes are only 350 metres west of Woodfield. I would have instead placed a higher priority on upgrading Greenwood and/or Jones to cycle tracks, as well as add a north-south cycling route from Danforth to Cosburn Avenues. Preferably along Donlands.

Map of Woodfield contraflow bike lane (via City of Toronto)

One thing I like about this proposal over the existing Jones and Greenwood bike lanes is there would not be a need to use Queen Street to get to Lake Shore. While Woodfield from Fairford to the rail tracks would be shared lanes – as would Monarch Park Avenue – there is a cycling connection through the rail tracks and Monarch Park which would link the two streets. The shared lanes would end past Danforth at Sammon Road.

Next Steps

Should you wish to express your support for one or more of these cycling projects, please e-mail by Monday, May 24 at 4:30 PM whether it’s to provide a written submission or request to speak at the meeting on Tuesday, May 25. Reference Item IE22.11. Don’t forget to copy your city councillor and make your story as personal as possible.

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