Bike Lane Tracker

Last updated December 22, 2022

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 or Spacing 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.

Historical Trends

Thanks to the information available from Toronto Open Data, a lot of data maneuvering, and careful reviewing of 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.

The City of Toronto data considers boulevard paths to be part of the recreational trail network and are therefore not part of their on-street bike lane tally. We counted them because they can serve as bi-directional cycle tracks and useful commuting routes.

COVID-19 and 2022-24 Near-Term Plan

The COVID-19 pandemic which prompted lockdowns to begin in Canada in March 2020 lead to Toronto accelerating work on the bike plan. During the May 28, 2020 virtual City Council meeting, 25 kilometres of bike lanes were approved in addition to the ones approved in AprilThe most significant of these is the near completion of a 15-kilometre continuous bikeway along Bloor-Danforth from Runnymede to Dawes. The 29 kilometres installed in 2020 – after accounting for the removal of the Brimley bike lanes – represents the most installed in any year in Toronto’s history, but also the annual pace Toronto needed to have maintained since approving the bike plan in 2016.

ActiveTO was further improved in 2021 with the addition of bike lanes on Yonge Street from Bloor to Davisville, though two projects on Overlea and Avenue appeared to have dropped. In December 2021, the Infrastructure and Environment Committee approved making the 2020 ActiveTO bike lanes permanent and a new near-term plan which would aim to build 100 kilometres of bike lanes from 2022 to 2024. Should the 100 kilometres be built – only 13 kilometres of which were done as of the last update – the City would maintain the historic pace from last year, but more needs to be done for Toronto to prove they are taking the climate emergency seriously. A decision on the 2021 ActiveTO installations on Midtown Yonge and Bayview is expected in January 2023.

Map of 2022-2024 downtown cycling projects (via City of Toronto)

Summary of Historic Progress

Upon first glance of the data, it appears the most progress (before 2020) 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 34 kilometres installed (excluding boulevard paths) which was close to the annual average of 8.6 kilometres. His second term saw 67 kilometres (or 16.7 kilometres annually) thanks to the COVID-19 boom. Even so, Toronto remains about 140 kilometres behind the trend called for in the 2016 bike plan with three years to go, while having 101 kilometres installed over two terms is nothing short of embarrassing. Especially when far smaller cities such as Seville installed 80 kilometres within 18 months and Montréal has plans to install 200 kilometres over five years.
Bike plan approved in June 2016 (via City of Toronto)

Installations Before 2001

While the first bike lane was installed on Poplar Plains in 1979, little information is available on when the remaining bike lanes from before 2001 were installed. As per Albert Koehl, most of them 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 the late John Forester who 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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