Ontario unveils $4.9-million plan to expand Bike Share Toronto

Provincial investment plan aims to promote the use of bicycles in urban areas to ease congestion as part of a 20-year strategy to make Ontario a haven for cycling.

Investment will double existing network by providing public access to bicycles near transit stations

The new fleet of bikes and docking stations in Toronto will be placed near busy transit centres to encourage the use of cycling to get around the city. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Metrolinx and the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) are paving the way for cyclists with plans to expand Bike Share Toronto. 

The announcement attended today by Ontario's Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca and Toronto's deputy mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong revealed plans to purchase $4.9 million worth of bikes and docking stations to expand the existing network by more than double its current size. 

"We know that cycling generates a broad range of economic, environmental, health, social and other benefits, which helps build healthy, more active and prosperous communities," Del Duca said. 

"This initiative supports #CycleON: Ontario's Cycling Strategy, which aims to encourage the growth of cycling and improve safety for cyclists across the province." 

Easing urban congestion

Del Duca says the investment plan, which will be deployed by December 2016, is part of a "comprehensive approach" with training, bike sharing and infrastructure to get the province moving on bicycles. 

"The expansion of Bike Share Toronto will provide residents with more accessible methods of getting around town, helping ease congestion on our already busy roadways," Minnan-Wong said. 

Metrolinx says the new fleet will be set up near popular transit stations to give commuters the option to use bikes as part of their travel journey. 

Bike sharing a 'global reality'

"A key component of our regional transportation plan is to get people moving and seamlessly connect them to transit," said Metrolinx president and CEO Bruce McCuaig. "Bike sharing is an excellent example of this."

The TPA, which will hold the bikes and docking stations owned by Metrolinx, will follow the same operating formula which currently serves more than 4,000 active users.

"Bike sharing has become a global reality and we are delighted that our partnership with Metrolinx will give more Torontonians the opportunity to take advantage of Bike Share Toronto's benefits," said TPA board chair Michael Tziretas.

Ontario's cycling strategy

The province aims to make Ontario a haven for cyclists with its 20-year #CycleOn strategy.

"As part of #CycleOn over the next three years, the province is also making a contribution of up to $15 million to support cycling infrastructure at a provincial level," Del Duca told reporters. 

Most of the expansion announced Monday will occur in Toronto as part of a two-year pilot program. The announcement follows last week's unveiling of $10 million to help improve and build cycling infrastructure in municipalities. 

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