April 25, 2024

eglintonTOday & Micromobility Strategy Headed to IEC

Next Thursday's Infrastructure and Environment Committee (IEC) meeting will feature two items that will affect cycling and micromobility. The first item is Phase 1 of the eglintonTOday Complete Street project from Bicknell Avenue to Mount Pleasant Road and the second is a Micromobility Strategy for Toronto. While it’s unfortunate the Avenue Road Study didn’t make the cut, let’s review what these two items have to offer and some suggestions on what to advocate for with your written submission or live deputation.

Existing conditions on Eglinton east of Winona during Sunday's Earth Day Ride

eglintonTOday (IE13.2)

During last year’s public consultation, there were a few issues such as the lack of a signalized crossing at Croham Road and an 80-metre gap between Yarrow Road and Bicknell. The final report clarifies that gap will be taken care of by the City of Toronto using a similar layout as the stretch east of Keele, which will ensure a continuous bikeway on this street. The report also recommends the addition of a traffic signal at Croham to enable a safe connection to the York Beltline Trail. The north-south connections on Jimmie Wisdom Way and Glen Cedar Road will carry over unchanged while the Beltline Gap Connections project will be debated on May 28 to complete the Marlee Avenue bikeway to Eglinton.

Proposed street layouts for eglintonTOday from the City of Toronto's project website

The report provides some clarification regarding Phase 2 from Mount Pleasant to Brentcliffe Roads. Public consultation is expected to happen later this year followed by a report to IEC in early 2025 and construction later that year. While not ideal, it’s a relief a timeframe has finally been committed for this stretch and will help ensure a continuous bikeway on Eglinton from Mississauga to Kennedy station by the end of next year. The only thing needed now is to add protection on the stretch east of Brentcliffe.

While several north-south connections have been addressed with this project and others, there is still no commitment to extend the Midtown Yonge bikeway one kilometre north from Davisville to Eglinton. This extension – which I encourage you to note in your submission – is needed to help maximize cycling volumes on both corridors. The city also needs to complete the Donlands-Overlea-Don Mills route as soon as possible to connect Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park to Eglinton as well as Danforth.

Micromobility Strategy (IE13.1)

While it isn’t often where I feel city staff recommendations need to be challenged, the ones for the Micromobility Strategy need to be. Despite the consultation report showing 72% of respondents being in favour of electric kick scooters in bike lanes, city staff recommended that Toronto continue to opt out of the e-scooter pilot over safety concerns. This is especially ridiculous when city staff recommended legalizing larger low speed vehicles that look like single seater Smart cars, while other cities across Ontario such as Brampton, Hamilton, and Kitchener already legalized e-scooters.

Proposed micromobility rules from the City of Toronto's final report of the micromobility item

Instead, IEC and City Council need to reject staff recommendations regarding e-scooters by legalizing those that are personally owned, while still banning shared scooters such as Lime, Bird, and Neuron. The final report also mentioned the Toronto Parking Authority needs to keep their focus on expanding Bike Share Toronto instead of adding scooter share at this time. Issues such as sidewalk tripping hazards apply more to shared scooters since privately owned ones would either be locked outside or brought indoors.

In Other News

In case you missed it, here are some other highlights over the past week.

  1. Last Thursday, the Coalition to Reduce Auto Size Hazards (CRASH) – which Community Bikeways is a member – released a report on the dangers of large SUV’s and pickup trucks, along with some policy recommendations. This report got lots of media coverage across the country.
  2. In response to that report, Madeleine Bonsma-Fisher started a petition this week calling on the federal government to require vehicle safety tests for those outside of vehicles and adopt safety standards related to vehicle size. It has almost 700 signatures so far.
  3. The City of Toronto finally released their 2023 Cycling Year in Review on Wednesday. One interesting note is last year saw the most spent on cycling in history at $33.4 million. Too bad that wasn’t matched with a record number of bike lane installations.
  4. For you rail trail fans out there, the Town of Caledon has started public consultations on converting the Orangeville Brampton Railway into a multi-use path. This project will connect several trails such as Etobicoke Creek, Elora Cataract, Caledon Trailway, and Orangeville to Owen Sound. However, some transit supporters would have preferred keeping the railway to allow for future GO train service to Orangeville.

Next Steps

The deadline to submit your comments on eglintonTOday and/or the Micromobility Strategy to iec@toronto.ca is 4:30 PM on Wednesday, May 1. You can also use that e-mail address to register to speak in person or virtually. Let’s keep the momentum going, though additional pressure will be needed to move Danforth-Kingston forward given the lack of consultations so far effectively ruled out installation for this year.

If you are looking for some inspiration for your written submissions on these two items, here are the ones I submitted over the weekend.

IE13.1 (A Micromobility Strategy for Toronto)

IE13.2 (eglintonTOday Phase 1 Complete Street Project)

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