Toronto, another 9 kilometers of bike lanes are on the way

TORONTO – Almost noone wants them, practically all the candidates for mayor promise to wipe them out, but the City of Toronto continues to build new ones: we are talking about the bike lanes, which have “invaded” the city in recent years, throwing it into chaos and which, brace yourselves, will increase. 

In fact, on Wednesday, the City Council approved five new projects that will bring cycle paths to more areas of Toronto: nine kilometers longer, to the delight of the very few citizens who use them.

The projects (you can read the details here) include: Bloor Street West from Runnymede Road to Resurrection Road; Gladstone Avenue from Dundas Street to Peel Avenue; Gerrard Street from Parliament Street to Sumach Street; Sumach Street from Wellesley Avenue to Gerrard Street; Sackville Street from Wellesley Avenue to Gerrard Street; Winchester Street from Parliament Street to Ontario Street; Ontario Street from Carlton Street to Aberdeen Avenue; Sheppard Avenue East from Clairtrell Road to Leslie Avenue; Superior Avenue from Lake Shore Boulevard West to Stanley Avenue. In addition, “improvements” have been approved to some of the existing runways on Dundas Street East, in the following segments: Hiltz Avenue to Alton Avenue and Rhodes Avenue to Coxwell Avenue.

In a press release, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie called expanding the city’s bicycle network “the right thing to do. There is a critical need for safe, connected bicycle paths in Toronto and I am thrilled that we are on track to achieve Council’s goal of providing 100 kilometers of new bikeways by 2024” said former Mayor John Tory’s deputy.

Chorus of no, of course, from many candidates for Mayor, whose positions on purpose were already very clear.

Former Police Chief Mark Saunders has vowed to eliminate bike lanes on University Avenue and reverse a decision to make Yonge Street bike lanes permanent pending an overhaul, as well as deprioritize bike lane expansion of Bloor Street West and to “immediately suspend all bike lane expansions” until a new consultation process is created.

Anthony Furey has vowed to eliminate bike lanes on University Avenue and other major thoroughfares. Both Saunders and Furey argue that bike lanes are a source of congestion in Toronto.

Giorgio Mammoliti was even clearer and more decisive: “If I will be elected Mayor, I will sweep away all the cycle paths and if necessary I will use the special powers to do so”.

One candidate in favor of bike lanes is Josh Matlow, who called “stupid” the suggestion that bike lanes cause traffic jams. “To ease congestion we need to improve public transport and road safety so that everyone has more options for getting around, whether it’s public transport, cycling or walking”.

Meanwhile, as we write, Torontonians are queuing on nearly every major thoroughfare in Toronto. And the cycle paths, despite the beautiful weather, are half-empty.

Above, a photo posted on Twitter by Norman Levine (@NormanLevine100) who writes: “Toronto politicians install bike lanes on Yonge from Davenport to Davisville so one lane each way for cars causing traffic chaos causing cars to jam Avenue instead causing drivers to switch to residential street Poplar Plains, making it a thoroughfare. Well done, Toronto council”