TORONTO, ON., May 29, 2020 — Toronto cyclists will be elated to hear that Toronto City Council yesterday approved expanding and accelerating a total of 40 kilometres of the city’s cycling network as part of Toronto’s ActiveTO program this summer.
The City approved almost unanimously to add approximately 25 kilometres of new bikeways and gave final approval to the acceleration of 15 kilometres of cycling routes previously planned for this year. For Toronto cyclists this amounts to 40 kilometres of new on-street cycling lanes being installed this summer.
The City says their ActiveTO cycling network plan – the largest expansion of Toronto’s on-street bike network ever in one year – was approved in a final vote of 23 to 2.
The expanded cycling network will allow people on bikes to move around Toronto safely, and to mirror major transit routes to provide a safety valve for the TTC during the COVID-19 restart and recovery.
The expanded plan includes flexibility so that the bikeway installations can be adjusted based on considerations such as changing traffic volumes and the evolving needs of residents and businesses in the wake of the pandemic.
The City says they plan to expand Toronto’s cycling network quickly by repurposing curb lanes along several key corridors. Bloor Street East, University Avenue/Queen’s Park Crescent and Dundas Street East would be among the first installations.
The approved work also addresses other gaps in the network including locations in North York and Scarborough and includes acceleration of the Bloor West Bikeway Extension, as well as streetscape improvements allowing for patios and temporary bike lanes on Danforth Avenue.
“Connected bike routes, all of which were identified and approved from the Cycling Network Plan, will give people options and supplement subway lines to create an important relief valve for the transit system in the wake of COVID-19,” said Mayor John Tory.
“Bike lanes also support Toronto’s Vision Zero Road Safety plan, help safely get our frontline healthcare workers where they need to be, and allow people to be physically active while respecting physical distancing guidelines,” said Tory. “Safe cycling lanes in Toronto and cities around the world are viewed as a critical part of COVID-19 restart and recovery planning.”
Delivery of other Council-approved 2020 Cycling Network implementation projects will continue, but will be on an accelerated scheduled, including the Bloor West Bikeway Extension. Learn more at toronto.ca/bloorwestbikeway.
Most of the quick-start ActiveTO bikeway installations will come in the form of temporary barricades with “minimal change to the existing street design,” the City says.
More public spaces and patios along Danforth
As part of the City’s focus on main street revitalization in the wake of COVID-19, the City will also create more public space and patios, make a more beautiful streetscape and pilot active transportation infrastructure on Danforth Avenue, from Broadview Avenue to Dawes Road. A Complete Streets approach will support the main street character and local economy and is in keeping with the objectives of the Danforth Study that’s currently underway. More about the study at toronto.ca/danforthstudy.
While vehicle traffic volumes are currently very low, City traffic data shows that a significant number of people have continued to rely on cycling as an important transportation choice over the past several weeks. The data also suggests that many people are choosing cycling instead of riding transit, and typically cycling volumes in Toronto increase as temperatures warm up.
What is ActiveTO?
The ActiveTO program was developed by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services to provide more space for people to be physically active and improve physical distancing as part of the City’s restart and recovery in the wake of COVID-19.
The full Cycling Network Plan Installations: Bloor West Bikeway Extension & ActiveTO Projects report is available at app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2020.CC21.20
Other programs as part of ActiveTO include major weekend road closures along City trails to make space for people, alleviate weekend and holiday crowding, and ensure there is room to be physically active and respect physical distancing. ActiveTO also includes a plan for more than 50 kilometres of Quiet Streets being planned or installed around the city. Quiet Streets are neighbourhood streets that are shared space for people, bikes and slow moving, local vehicle traffic.
More information and details about ActiveTO are available at toronto.ca/activeTO.
What is CurbTO?
The CurbTO program continues to immediately address locations where there is sidewalk crowding and temporary parking concerns around businesses. More businesses are opening and offering pick-up, take-out and delivery services and have created store access line-ups to maintain physical distancing requirements, as recommended by Toronto Public Health.
So far, the City has installed 94 CurbTO pedestrian zones and temporary pickup zones, and widened three sidewalks for space. There have been more than 300 requests city-wide for zones by Councillors, BIAs, Community Agencies and businesses. Details about CurbTO, including a map and links to the business application are at toronto.ca/curbTO.