March 23, 2022

Mississauga Momentum for Bloor Bike Lanes

Earlier in March, I reported on the fight Mississauga advocates had on their hands regarding getting bike lanes installed on their part of Bloor; most notably the ridiculous complaints over charter rights. There has been a renewed sense of momentum since then with Mississauga’s third community meeting on Wednesday, March 9 and Sunday’s Ride for Bike Lanes on Bloor. Let’s recap these recent developments, as well as introduce the group Mississauga Cycling Now.

Mississauga Community Meeting

Over 100 people attended the third community meeting for the Bloor Street Integrated Project which was heavily promoted with over 9000 postcards sent, three Curbex road signs, and various forms of digital media. While there was an acknowledgement of the Applewood Hills and Heights Residents Association petition, the feedback received from the five breakout groups – something which Toronto should use for their consultations – was mostly positive.

These slides are from the City of Mississauga

While the second meeting called for a bi-directional cycle track on the north side from Central Parkway to Dixie, the new design (Alternative #5) calls for uni-directional cycle tracks along the entire route and separated by grass medians with trees. Sidewalks will be placed next to the cycle tracks and separated with a buffer. Compared to earlier proposals, more trees would be planted, maintenance operations will be improved, and traffic lanes will be narrower. The only main concern involves hydro poles.

For those of you calling for protected intersections, you would be pleased to hear at least eight of them are being considered with an additional two at Cawthra and Dixie requiring co-ordination with the Region of Peel. When I asked Jeffrey Reid – Mississauga’s project lead for the Bloor project – about co-ordinating with the City of Toronto, he said the bike lanes would stop 300 metres west of Etobicoke Creek at Bridgewood Drive until the City of Toronto installs bike lanes on their part of Bloor in the area.

The deadline to provide feedback for the Bloor Street Integrated Project is Friday, April 1. Not only should advocates let Mississauga know they support Alternative #5 along with protected intersections, Toronto advocates are encouraged to e-mail Mayor John Tory and their city councillors urging them to extend the Bloor bike lanes all the way to the Mississauga border as opposed to just to Kipling by 2024 per the latest bike plan. Mississauga’s Bloor project would then be subject to finalizing preliminary designs, documenting study findings, and securing City Council approval.

Ride for Bike Lanes on Bloor

The Ride for Bike Lanes on Bloor was held to show solidarity with Mississauga advocates for their stretch of Bloor, as well as call for Toronto’s bike lanes to go all the way to the Mississauga border. The weather on Sunday couldn’t be better for it; being mainly sunny and up to 10’C. About fifteen Mississauga advocates started their ride at the Mississauga Valley Community Centre, while a much larger crowd gathered at Toronto’s Neil McLellan Park. By the time everyone got to the Etobicoke Creek bridge, I estimated about 80 to 100 people attended. A strong show of support for bike lanes on Bloor on both sides of Etobicoke Creek! 😊

At the ride, Ingrid Buday handed out new business cards with a QR code to the new We Belong on Bloor website illustrating the case for extending the Bloor bike lanes, as well as what you can do to make the bike lanes a reality. You can read more about the ride on Jun N’s blog.

Mississauga Cycling Now

The group Mississauga Cycling Now has been instrumental in advocating for a safer Bloor Street, as well as helping promote the Mississauga part of Sunday’s ride. When I spoke with Dorothy Tomiuk from MCN recently to learn more, she informed me it was started by former members of the Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee in 2019 and has about eight volunteers; five of whom are regularly active. They want to inform, communicate, network, and highlight advocacy opportunities while participating as individuals instead of presuming to speak for the local cycling community.

Eventually, these bike lanes at Six Points will be extended east to Runnymede and west to Mississauga 
While reviewing some of MCN’s content for Bloor, they brought up The Collegeway as a reminder of a failed project (and will have its dedicated web page soon at Dorothy told me The Collegeway would have provided University of Toronto Mississauga students safe access to campus, while the large right of way was more than enough for cycle tracks. While still members of the advisory committee, MCN members had suggested limiting the number of options to two to facilitate engagement, but the City presented four with additional design variations. A local residents' petition opposing the project was enough to kill it, though the project may be revisited later.

Regarding MCN’s current priorities, Dorothy brought up Derry Road and Drew Road (north of Derry) to connect Malton residents to the rest of Mississauga. Cycling access to GO stations was another issue, while there were several barriers such as seven 400-series highways and the Credit River; the latter of which led to their long-term advocacy for an active transportation bridge at the QEW to cross that river. MCN is currently recruiting local volunteers for the upcoming Pedal Poll (by Vélo Canada Bikes) which will publish and archive results for anyone to use for advocacy purposes.

Those looking to stay informed or get involved with cycling in Mississauga are encouraged to look up Mississauga Cycling Now on Twitter (@MissCyclingNow) or their Facebook Page.

Rahul Mehta of Sustainable Mississauga - who organized the Mississauga part of Sunday's ride - informed me that there are plans to organize group rides leading up to October’s municipal election, so be sure to follow @SustainSauga to find out about the rides as they come up.

Ben Singer put up a YouTube video of Sunday's ride which you can watch below.

And here's another awesome video of the ride courtesy of Heather Jackson.

UPDATE 2022/04/02: The Toronto Star published my first op-ed on the need to finish the job with bike lanes on Bloor.

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