As the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on our daily routines and altered how we operate and move in the city, the ActiveTO Program has successfully provided alternatives and opportunities for more Torontonians to get around safely and efficiently. We can already see that there has been an incredible growth in cycling numbers in all areas where safe cycling infrastructure was introduced. It is evident that bicycle use is an excellent way to stay active, healthy, and connected to resources and services one needs daily. We have to take this opportunity to further expand our cycling infrastructure and continue facilitating this growth through the provision of additional safety to the thousands of people who use our roads daily.
I have heard from many of our community organizations, individuals, and public safety advocates about the need to have a safe alternative to the TTC Line 1 subway route. This missing link in the cycling network running north-south between Midtown and downtown is crucial. This was evident before the pandemic, as the City’s Cycling Network Plan identified Yonge Street as one of the prime candidates for a future cycling corridor study. However, with the increasing numbers of cyclists we have seen as a result of the pandemic, the City needs to take quick action to provide temporary cycling infrastructure before the corridor studies are completed.
In light of that, in early September I and Councillor Layton issued a formal request to the General Manager of Transportation Services to explore temporary bike lanes on Yonge Street. A motion came to City Council this week with the same ask, and I happy to report back that it was approved. The motion asked for staff review the possibility of including bike lanes on Yonge Street or a parallel route between Bloor Street and north of Lawrence Avenue in 2021 as part of the ActiveTO Program. The request includes consultation with local businesses and community groups, and for staff to look into on-street patios, traffic calming and other streetscape improvements that may be needed as part of the cycling infrastructure improvement. You can see the motion that has been approved by Council at this link.
As always, I will continue to advocate and push for substantive safety improvements for all road users in our ward and throughout the city. I will share information on the public consultation process as soon as those details are available by Transportation Services. In the meantime, feel welcome to share any feedback you may have with my office and the ActiveTO Program by emailing ActiveTO@toronto.ca.