Having safe, connected and convenient cycling routes in the city is important, but it is equally as important that we properly consult with the local communities. Due to COVID-19, we have been unable to adequately consult on this project to move forward for the 2020 year. There have been a number of concerns raised by the community that we need to address before construction. We will be reaching out to the community again about consultation soon.
Bike Share has conducted their annual expansion, branching further north in our Ward and providing more stations in the highest use communities. In Ward 9, we have 9 new stations:
After numerous public consultations, the final design for this reconstruction has been completed. This project will include pedestrian and cycling improvements, as well as numerous green street features. I want to thank everyone who participated in the consultations and helped to move this project forward.
The work is scheduled to begin in 2021, and the City will be delivering construction notices in advance.
The expansion of the Bloor West Bikeway is an important cycling route, connecting people from Runnymede Road into the heart of the city. While this project was originally scheduled for 2022, I worked with the City's cycling staff and my Councillor colleagues along the route to expedite the construction. This project is nearing completion and creates a safe, connected and separated bikeway. I want to thank the community and local businesses for their input through the extensive consultation processes to make sure local needs were taken into account.
Today’s investment of up to $840 million from the Government of Canada to the City of Toronto as part of their Public Transit Infrastructure Fund will go a long way to repair, renew, enhance and expand our public transit system. This investment will also help the City build new active transportation infrastructure across Toronto including providing funding for up to 50% of the cost of extending the West Toronto Railpath, our much loved multi-use trail for walkers, runners and cyclists.
Today’s announcement also builds on the recent Provincial announcement that the Dufferin Street Bridge will be expanded in order to accommodate future Smart Track/GO RER service and the future expansion of the Railpath into the West Queen West neighbourhood.
Over the years, I have been working hard to build support for the expansion of the Railpath among all levels of government and these recent announcements help to advance our efforts. There is still more work to be done and I will be continuing my efforts to ensure that the Railpath gets extended for the benefit of our community and city. I look forward to providing your further updates on this important topic in the coming months.
Earlier this month, I was pleased to welcome Mayor John Tory and the Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca to the West Queen West neighbourhood as the Province announced the commencement of construction on the Dufferin Bridge Widening Project (you can learn more about this project by clicking here). The expanded bridge will be constructed to accommodate the space required for the proposed southward extension of the West Toronto Railpath to the West Queen West Community and will connect to the park that the City is constructing at Dufferin and Peel St.
I welcome the endorsements of Mayor Tory, Metrolinx and Minister Del Duca for the Railpath extension as an important step forward, which supports the City of Toronto's approved West Toronto Railpath Extension EA and our community's success in securing the incorporation of an extended Railpath into the design of the future 99 Sudbury development. I look forward to working with Metrolinx and all levels of government to secure the extension of this important piece of community transportation and recreational infrastructure.
Earlier this month at City Council, I voted to adopt the City's Ten Year Cycling Network Plan. The plan will effectively double Toronto's cycling infrastructure over the next decade by filling in gaps, improving our current system, and expanding the network to new parts of the city. This network expansion is supported by an annual $16 million cycling infrastructure investment, a doubling of our current investment levels. Of note to Ward 18 residents, the plan supports our existing efforts to expand the West Toronto Railpath south and also proposes to extend the Railpath north.
Expanding cycling infrastructure in Toronto is a step forward to achieving two critical goals. Firstly, it adds new choices for travelers to move through out our city, increasing access to jobs, residences and businesses. Secondly, and most importantly, it is about safety. By creating dedicated cycling infrastructure in our increasingly growing city, we can ensure all users of the road can coexist with one another. We need to have a Vision Zero approach to our cycling, pedestrian and road networks to eliminate the injuries and deaths we are seeing on our roads.
Implementation of the proposed routes are supported by extensive study and analysis and I look forward to working together with you to ensure that this new infrastructure reflects the needs of our community.
At this month's meeting of City Council, I voted in favour of a pilot project to install separated bike lanes on Bloor Street West between Shaw Street and Avenue Road. This year long pilot project provides an opportunity for City staff to collect the data they need to inform our discussion about cycling routes in our city.
The shape and width of Bloor Street West changes along the 2.6km pilot project stretch. City staff have proposed a mix of painted cycling lanes, buffered cycle tracks and the use of Bollards to separate cycling and automobile traffic as part of the pilot. In all cases, one lane of travel for vehicles will be maintained in each direction with left-turn lanes added at key intersections to mitigate traffic flow changes.
This pilot project will analyze the traffic impacts and benefits to pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, businesses, and the surrounding neighbourhoods of adding separated cycling lanes on Bloor and will be reported back to council with these results. It important to collect this data to inform our decisions moving forward as we look at ways for different modes of transportation to coexist in our increasingly growing city.
The results of the pilot project will further include the impacts on business. As this pilot project was supported by the local BIAs, these results are important to them and going forward will help to shape their understandings on this important issue. Parking space losses will be mitigated along Bloor with with new spaces in some sections and access will be maintained to the 860 off street spaces along the route.
I look forward to reviewing the results of this project when staff are set to report back to council next year.