Popular ActiveTO program here to stay as city council votes to make 7 routes permanent
City survey last year found more than 90% of respondents wanted road closures to continue after pandemic
Toronto's popular ActiveTO program that launched in 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay after city council approved seven cycling routes that will be immediately made permanent.
Council approved two reports Thursday that ensure "safe, separated and connected" cycling corridors as part of the ActiveTO initiative, which will see 100 kilometres of new cycling routes in the city over the next three years.
Cycling advocates and Torontonians in favour of the program had called on the city to make the program permanent earlier this year.
"The ActiveTO bike lanes are an important part of Toronto's rapidly growing cycling network and city staff are working to build on these bikeways to add another 100 kilometres of bike infrastructure over the coming years," said Mayor John Tory.
"Making these routes permanent, and making plans to expand the network even further where it makes sense, is the right and responsible thing to do and it will help more people get around our city safely by bike."
Last year, a city survey found more than 90 per cent of respondents said they wanted the road closures to continue during and after the pandemic.
On weekend days in the summer of 2020, the city estimated on average more than 26,000 cyclists and 10,000 pedestrians used Lake Shore Boulevard West and East and Bayview Avenue during the closures.
The city said bikeway installation over the past three years has been unprecedented in Toronto with 65 kilometres of new bikeways installed and 47 kilometres of upgrades and enhancements to existing cycling routes since 2019.
The approved report calls for plans to exceed this growth and add 100 kilometres of bike routes over the next three years.
65% increase in cyclists using select routes
"The cycling infrastructure approved today will benefit riders with safer roadways, who will in turn benefit the environment through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions," said Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee and Scarborough Coun. Jennifer McKelvie.
The city said the number of people cycling on the routes has increased by an average of approximately 65 per cent.
"This increase suggests that the new bikeways encouraged more people to choose cycling more often," it said.
City staff also noted an increase in road safety with "minimal travel time impacts" for drivers.
The ActiveTO routes that will be made permanent include:
- Bloor Street, between Avenue Road and Sherbourne Street.
- Dundas Street East, between Sackville Street and Broadview Avenue.
- University Avenue/Queens Park, between Adelaide and Bloor Street West.
- Huntingwood Drive, between Victoria Park Avenue and Brimley Road.
- Danforth Avenue, between Broadview Avenue and Dawes Road and a new 700-metre extension along Danforth Avenue, between Dawes Road and Victoria Park Avenue.
- Bayview Avenue, between Rosedale Valley Road and River Street.
- Wilmington Avenue, between Finch Sheppard Avenue West.