December 11, 2022

Will the Fourth Time be Mississauga’s Bloor Charm?

Back in March, there was a sense of momentum for getting bike lanes on Bloor in Mississauga. The third public meeting for the Bloor Street Integrated Project saw more than 100 people take part, while 80 to 100 people from Toronto and Mississauga rode along Bloor to show support for bike lanes on both sides of Etobicoke Creek. Given yet another public meeting was held on Tuesday, November 29 while I was on vacation in Morocco, it’s time to offer a quick recap of what had happened since March.

Alternative #5 was presented at the third public meeting for Bloor Street in March 2022

Stubborn Opposition

Despite there being a strong display of support for bike lanes during that third meeting – specifically Alternative #5 – a separate meeting was held by the Applewood Hills & Heights Residents Association (AHHRA) on March 31, 2022 which opposed that option. This prompted Ward 3 Councillor Chris Fonseca to introduce a motion at the April 6, 2022 City Council meeting requesting a fourth public meeting to address concerns regarding residential and commercial driveways, as well as to not make a decision on the section from Cawthra to Dixie (in her ward) at that time. Some of us advocates from Mississauga and Toronto expressed frustration about this delay at the time which was not received well.

Athina Tagidou of the AHHRA since ran against Councillor Fonseca during the October 24 election on a platform opposing bike lanes per the below flyer. Fortunately for the safe streets movement, Tagidou ended up finishing a distant second behind Fonseca.

Fourth Public Meeting

Unlike the March meeting which was held virtually, the November 29 meeting was held in person at the Mississauga Valley Community Centre. While there were some who would have preferred a virtual (or hybrid) format – especially with COVID cases increasing again – I was informed the meeting was still well attended.

The focus of the fourth meeting was to compare Alternative #5 with a new Alternative #6 (see above). While #5 sought to keep four traffic lanes, #6 reduces Bloor Street to two lanes plus a centre turning lane. With up to two-thirds of motor vehicle trips on Bloor not starting or ending in the area, such a road diet would divert such thru traffic to other corridors such as Burnamthorpe or Dundas. #6 would place the raised cycle tracks next to the road as opposed to the sidewalk with #5. The road diet would also allow for wider cycle tracks and/or sidewalks, as well as increased trees in the boulevard and improved sight lines for those getting in or out of driveways.

When I asked Mississauga Cycling Now! about the meeting, they informed me that Tagidou still had concerns with the Cawthra to Dixie stretch, but that she preferred Alternative #6 over #5. Assuming this is accurate, it would be safe to say Alternative #6 is a sign of progress. Personally, I’m OK with either of the two options.

The deadline to provide feedback is Tuesday, December 20 while the final report is now expected to go to Mississauga City Council in Spring 2023. The presentation slides are available on the City’s website, while the video presentation can be found below. Fingers crossed that the fourth time is the charm. 😉

Implications for Toronto

One thing worth highlighting about Alternative #6 is that it is similar to what Toronto proposed in 2009 for Bloor Street from Beamish Drive to Mill Road. That staff report also called for two traffic lanes with one centre turning lane west of Poplar Avenue. The main thing that would need to be updated from that report is to upgrade the bike lanes with protection which didn’t exist in Toronto at that time.

If Mississauga formally adopts Alternative #6 for their part of Bloor in Spring 2023, it would only make sense for Toronto to pursue the same treatment from Poplar Avenue to the Mississauga border given it is also residential in nature. Even though the current near-term plan only calls for extending the Bloor bike lanes from Runnymede Road to Six Points by 2024, every effort must be made to finish the job to the Mississauga border as soon as possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment