Bike Lane Tracker

Last updated June 6, 2020

Welcome to the Toronto bike lane tracker! Your resource for finding out Toronto's progress with bike lane installations (or lack thereof).
Recently upgraded bike lanes on Bloor Street (near Palmerston Avenue)
The bike plan tracking is an initiative Albert Koehl of Bells on Bloor and I have been working on since 2017. The latest tracking table can be found here, while our findings get posted in Dandyhorse one or two times per year.

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Tracking Map

Starting in 2018, I plotted the bike lane installations onto this map which will get updated as new projects get installed.


Newly Expanded Data

More recently, our efforts have been expanded to look at longer term trends. Thanks to the information available from Toronto Open Data, a lot of data maneuvering, and careful reviewing ot Toronto's cycling maps, it is now possible to identify annual installations from the start of the 2001 Bike Plan onwards. Here is a graph and a table showing the annual installations.
 

Updates since January 2020

A couple of things need to be noted since the last update in January 2020. The edge lines on O'Connor and buffered shoulders on Bayview installed in 2016 were removed from the tracking because the City does not count them as infrastructure even though they were part of the list of 2016 cycling projects. Furthermore, the City considers boulevard paths as part of their recreational trails instead of their on-street bikeway network. Making this adjustment reduces the 2019 count to 2.2 kilometres; making that year the worst for bike lane installations since the Ford administration removed the Jarvis Street bike lanes in 2012.
Map of 2001 Bike Plan

We counted boulevard paths on our tracking because they can also be viewed as bi-directional cycle tracks and serve as useful commuting routes. Toronto's on-street bikeway count was actually reduced when the Queens Quay revitalization was done in June 2015, even though that street is one of Toronto's busiest bike routes. However, we agree with the City on not including edge lines.
Map of 2020 ActiveTO installations (via City of Toronto)

The COVID-19 pandemic which prompted lockdowns to begin in Canada in March lead to Toronto accelerating work on the bike plan. During the May 28 virtual City Council meeting, 25 kilometres of bike lanes were approved in addition to the ones approved in April. The most significant of these is the completion of a 15 kilometre continuous bikeway along Bloor-Danforth from Runnymede to Dawes. If Toronto follows through with installing these bike lanes within weeks, 2020 would represent the largest expansion of Toronto's bikeway network ever. However, the roughly 40 kilometres approved represents the annual pace Toronto needed to have maintained since approving the bike plan in 2016.

Summary of Historic Progress

Upon first glance of the data, it appears the most progress was made during David Miller's second term as Mayor from 2007 to 2010 with almost 50 kilometres of bike lanes installed. However, some like Esther Shiner were criticized as being bike lanes to nowhere. That was followed by a significant dip from 2011 to 2014 under Rob Ford with less than four kilometres of net installations after accounting for the bike lane removals on Birchmount, Pharmacy, and Jarvis.

John Tory's first term saw 22 kilometres installed (excluding boulevard paths) which was close to the annual average of 5.5 kilometres. If bike lane installations were to continue at that rate, it would take more than sixty years to complete the 335 kilometres called for in the bike plan approved in June 2016. A new approach is urgently needed if Toronto is to catch up with other cities in becoming bike friendly.
Bike plan approved in June 2016 (via City of Toronto)

Next Steps

Efforts are currently under way to identify the timing of bike lane installations before the six former municipalities of Metro Toronto were amalgamated into the current megacity; starting with the Poplar Plains bike lanes from 1979. As per Albert Koehl, most of the remaining bike lanes before 2001 were installed during the 1990's with the 1980's seeing virtually nothing. This can be attributed to the influence of the vehicular cycling movement spearheaded by John Forester who recently died and strongly opposed bike lanes.

If you wish to go deeper into the bike lane data, you can check out this tracking table. If you identified any bike lanes that were missed, feel free to contact me.

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