June 07, 2024

Get Involved During Bike Month 2024!

Happy Bike Month to all who celebrate!

While I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s Bike to Work Day group commute – you can read Jun’s blog post about it here – there are a few things for Toronto’s cycling community to get involved with this month. These include the Oakridge Neighbourhood Streets Plan, the Avenue Road Study, complete street consultations for Trethewey and Danforth-Kingston, and the overall bike plan. Let’s take a quick look at these projects to see what they have to offer.

A throwback to the 2018 Bike to Work Day group commute from High Park

Oakridge Neighbourhood Streets Plan

The City of Toronto has been working on several Neighbourhood Streets Plans including Oakwood Village, Peanut Streets, Malvern West, and Elms – Old Rexdale. The Oakridge one is the last for the 2023-24 program and covers the area bounded by Victoria Park and Warden Avenues, the CN rail line, and the Bloor-Danforth subway. The public consultation will be held on Monday, June 10 (6 – 8 PM) at Samuel Hearne Middle School (21 Newport Avenue), while you can comment on the interactive map until Friday, June 28. In addition to Danforth-Kingston (which I will get back to), Victoria Park has complete street installation scheduled in the 2025-27 plan. It’s possible some people will want to use this opportunity to call for a reinstatement of the Pharmacy bike lanes which were removed in 2011, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. A Phase 2 consultation with proposed actions will be held in Winter 2025.

Avenue Road Study

The May 28 IEC meeting included two motions on cycling which saw 59 speakers; one on the 2025-27 bike plan recycling act and the other with several cycling projects including Avenue Road from Bloor to Davenport. On Tuesday, June 11, the Toronto and East York Community Council will discuss pedestrian improvements on the Davenport to Dupont stretch including reducing Avenue Road from six lanes to four and adding a crosswalk at Ramsden Park. However, the Avenue Road Safety Coalition was disappointed the recommended solution focused too much on keeping parking and not enough on their main ask of wider sidewalks. There is also the question on why nothing is being done from Dupont to St. Clair. Please e-mail your comments to teycc@toronto.ca by Monday, June 10 at 4:30 PM and reference Motion TE14.38, while you can use that e-mail address to register to speak. The ARSC sent an action alert on Wednesday with a form letter you can use as well.

Trethewey Complete Streets

To follow up on the recently installed Phase 1 of the Weston Cycling Connections, a public workshop will be held on Wednesday, June 12 (6:30 to 8:30 PM) at The Learning Enrichment Foundation about the Trethewey Drive Complete Street project from Jane to Eglinton. You can also use an interactive map to submit your comments on existing conditions until Wednesday, June 26. A Phase 2 consultation will be held this fall with preliminary designs to help serve the Weston and Mount Dennis neighbourhood improvement areas.

Danforth-Kingston Complete Street Extension

At long last, public consultations have been scheduled for extending the Danforth complete street into Scarborough from Victoria Park Avenue to Scarborough Golf Club Road! These will be held virtually on Tuesday, June 18 (7:00 – 8:30 PM) and in person on Wednesday, June 19 (6:00 – 8:00 PM) at Scarborough Village Recreation Centre or Tuesday, June 25 (6:30 – 8:30 PM) at Immaculate Heart of Mary School. Alternatively, you can complete the survey by Monday, July 15. A Phase 2 consultation will be held this fall to incorporate Phase 1 feedback.

Upon reviewing the presentation slides, a sobering one about safety showed 1,756 collisions on the corridor from 2017 to 2021 including five fatalities; while another pedestrian was killed last week.

Another slide about curb lane utilization showed ridiculously low rates of parking utilization at less than four percent on Kingston Road and 16% on Danforth Avenue! Guess opponents can’t use the parking argument for this project! 😉

The stretch from Victoria Park to Scotia Avenues will use a similar layout as the existing complete street on Danforth with two traffic lanes and on-street parking on both sides. What I was most curious about is how the Danforth-Kingston merge would be handled which is currently a death trap for cyclists. It turns out there will be a traffic signal by the Scarborough War Memorial to allow cyclists to cross the eastbound Kingston Road traffic lane.

Two design options are available for most of Kingston Road; either narrowing the current six traffic lanes to accommodate cycle tracks or replacing the two curb lanes with RapidTO bus lanes which currently exist on Kingston Road from Eglinton to Morningside. However, the bus lanes would come at the expense of narrower cycle tracks. A resurfacing is planned for the stretch from St. Clair to Markham.

There are a couple of Waterfront Trail gaps along Kingston Road which would see one eastbound lane removed in favour of bi-directional cycle track on the south side while keeping the westbound uni-directional cycle tracks. These gaps can be found between Chine Drive and Brimley Road, as well as Pine Ridge Drive and Bellamy Road.

Another Waterfront Trail connection will be provided with the (sort of) return of bike lanes on Birchmount between Danforth and Kingston with parking fully removed. In a first for Toronto, advisory bike lanes are proposed from Kingston Road to the trail route.

One Last Ask

While advocates are encouraged to get involved with any of these projects as they see fit, there is one final ask. Despite the large number of speakers at the May 28 IEC meeting, the committee still recommended keeping the 100 km target for the bike plan with a motion from Councillor Mike Colle asking staff to explore 150 km for the 2028-30 plan. Ahead of the June 26 City Council meeting, please e-mail Mayor Chow (mayor_chow@toronto.ca), your city councillor, and councilmeeting@toronto.ca urging them to adopt a bolder plan NOW instead of waiting for 2028-30 to help meet Toronto’s safety and climate goals. Matt Elliott echoed this call in his column on Tuesday and gave a shout out to my blog post about the plan prior to the IEC meeting.

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