January 12, 2022

Missed Opportunity for Bloor?

Last month, Toronto City Council approved extending the Bloor bike lanes from Runnymede to Six Points by 2024 as part of the 2022-24 Cycling Implementation Plan. Upon rereading the plan earlier this week, I came across a section called “Secondary Priority for Consideration” which listed several projects that didn’t make the cut; but could be considered should other projects get deferred or staff capacity is increased. One of these projects is Bloor Street from Etobicoke Creek to the bridge crossing Highway 427 with a note saying it has near-term road work planned which couldn’t be deferred.

By cross referencing T.O.INview – which maps out three years’ worth of construction projects – there is major road resurfacing planned for this part of Bloor in 2023. While the secondary priority table stated the work would not preclude future bikeway work after the resurfacing, not implementing a bikeway at the same time sounds like a missed opportunity.

Map of 2009 proposed bikeway projects in Etobicoke (via City of Toronto)

For some historical context, Bloor Street from Beamish Drive to Mill Road was included in the 2001 Bike Plan and the specific route was approved by Toronto City Council on August 5, 2009. Unfortunately, there had not been any progress since then. There was nothing on Bloor west of Six Points included in the 2016 Cycling Network Plan, but then the entire Bloor-Danforth corridor from Etobicoke Creek to Kingston Road appeared as part of the major city-wide cycling routes included with the 2019 bike plan update as per the below image.

Per the 2009 motion’s notes, the proposed design was to have two traffic lanes per direction east of Poplar Avenue which would be consistent with the current installation at Six Points. West of Poplar Avenue is 13.6 metres wide; meaning the street would be reduced to one lane per direction plus a centre turning lane which would better fit this residential area. Per the Streetmix diagram below, it would be possible to add 1.5 metre bike lanes with 0.5 metre buffers.

As mentioned previously, the bridge crossing Highway 427 can simply be reduced from six lanes to four to accommodate protected bike lanes which is contingent on MTO approval. The bridge crossing Etobicoke Creek is 16.4 metres wide which would be barely enough to accommodate protected bike lanes and four traffic lanes. At this time, there is no timeline proposed for the Mississauga part of Bloor Street to be completed.

Existing conditions on Bloor west of Six Points

To prevent a repeat of what happened with O’Connor Drive last year when reconstruction plans were revealed, advocates need to call out this missed opportunity on Bloor from Etobicoke Creek to Highway 427 by demanding the Bloor resurfacing includes bike lanes from the start. In the event that part of Bloor were to get moved forward, that leaves the question of when the two kilometre gap from Six Points to Highway 427 would be addressed. Once Bloor gets extended from Runnymede to Six Points, it would only be a matter of time before Toronto has a continuous bikeway along Bloor-Danforth all the way to Mississauga.

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