Community members weigh pros and cons of Bloor bike lanes at public meeting
At a public drop-in on Monday evening, residents in the area, local business owners and city councilors gathered to discuss the Bloor bike lanes project as city council looks at whether or not the pilot project will become a permanent fixture.
The public meeting took place at Trinity-St. Paul's Centre.
The lanes, which the city is operating as a one-year pilot project, run from Avenue Road and Shaw Street and cost around $500,000 to install. Cyclists will be separated from moving traffic with posts, road paint and parked cars.
Steve Heuchert says he hardly ever bicycled along Bloor Street before but feels a lot safer doing it now.
"I'm finding that it's a really fun street it's engaging," he said. "It is much safer. I'm enjoying some of the businesses I didn't even know existed."
Coun. Joe Cressy, who represents Ward 20, said a survey conducted by the city of Toronto received the largest response rate that a transportation survey ever has in the city's history.
"Sixty-six per cent of drivers now feel safer driving on Bloor whereas in 2015 it was only 15 per cent," he said. "So while some drivers don't like the lanes and others do, a vast majority of them feel safer...And that's ultimately what we need."
"It's good and helpful and means less people die. I'm in favour of that," said Graydon Saunders, who lives in the neighbourhood."I think we're going to have to adjust to fewer cars if we want to have a high density downtown."
A detailed evaluation report on the project will be published and presented to city council later in 2017.
Meanwhile, the city is asking any properties along Bloor Street to contact its staff directly if there are any site specific issues.
Daryl Cristoff, a politician that plans to run in the upcoming provincial election, says that while canvassing he has heard from a lot of residents who say the Bloor bike lanes have caused a lot of problems that the city hasn't addressed.
Trucks and delivery vehicles are finding it difficult to park anywhere for a short period of time and people who live in the area are unable to find parking, he said.
"Bloor is so commercialized, it's not feasible. It's like putting [bike lanes] on Avenue Road or Yonge street," he said. "You've got a lot of pedestrian traffic, cutting in and out of the subway systems having cyclists impedes a lot of that flow."