Toronto is speeding up plan to add more bike lanes amid pandemic
TORONTO -- The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the city to look at speeding up the plan to add additional cycling infrastructure to Toronto streets.
Mayor John Tory says he hopes city council will approve the installation of an additional 25 kilometres of on-street bike paths this year.
“You will have a huge, long corridor that mirrors the transit so that for those who might be anxious about transit... they will have a place to cycle in a safe, healthy way,” Tory said in an interview with CP24 on Monday morning.
The cycling network would be expanded by repurposing curb lanes along several key corridors, including University Avenue, from Bloor to Adelaide streets, and along Danforth Avenue.
The city’s is also looking to expand its cycling network along Bloor Street West, between Shaw Street to Runnymede Road.
“It was all in the plans anyway but we are just accelerating in light of what has gone on with the pandemic,” Tory said.
City councillors will vote on the accelerated plan on Thursday and if approved, some lanes could be ready by as early as July 1.
Bike lanes along Bloor Street East and lanes on University Avenue would be among the first installations, the city says.
City council will also be considering a plan to support the recovery of businesses along Danforth Avenue.
In addition to adding infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists to safely move through the area, the plan recommends creating additional patio space for restaurants and undertaking street beautification to encourage people to see the Danforth as "a destination."
“Vibrant main streets are the heart and soul of our communities," Toronto-Danforth Coun. Paula Fletcher said in a news release issued Monday.
"Enhancing the pedestrian experience and safety, adding cycling infrastructure while at the same time accommodating traffic flow and parking are important elements to encourage neighbourhood travel to the Danforth and help businesses at this difficult time."