Bloor bike lanes proposal heads to Toronto city council following split committee decision

A proposal to temporarily install bike lanes on Bloor Street is headed to city council to be debated and voted on next week following a 2-2 vote by the city's public works and infrastructure committee Monday.

Proposed pilot area has average history of 22 collisions per year from 2008 to 2012, report states

With a split decision, city council now faces the task of debating whether to install separated bike lanes on Bloor Street West between Shaw Street and Avenue Road as part of a pilot project. If approved, the temporary bike lanes could be in place as early as this August. (Trevor Dunn/CBC)

A proposal to temporarily install bike lanes on Bloor Street is headed to city council to be debated and voted on next week following a 2-2 vote by the city's public works and infrastructure committee Monday.

With a split decision, city council now faces the task of debating whether to install separated bike lanes on Bloor Street West between Shaw Street and Avenue Road as part of a pilot project. Had the decision not been split, city council would simply vote on the proposal.

On Monday, Mayor John Tory said his support for the project is contingent on it being studied "carefully from every single standpoint."

"One of the reasons I've said I'm been supportive of a pilot project — underlined twice, it's a pilot project — is because there's been a commitment on the part of those who are putting it forward that it will be studied carefully," Tory said.

The committee could have chosen to implement, or suggest changes to, the staff recommendations before city council voted on the project.

If city council votes in favour of the proposal, temporary bike lanes could be in place as early as this August.

According to a the report, the pilot project aims to reduce the risk to both motorists and cyclists.

Among the changes:

  • Motor vehicle traffic along Bloor Street between Shaw Street and Avenue Road will be reduced to one lane along
  • "Parking-protected" bike lanes in both directions, which would buffer cyclists from live traffic with a parking lane separating the two.

The proposed pilot area has an average history of 22 collisions per year from 2008 to 2012, the staff report states.

Among those, 32 per cent are the result of "dooring" — where a driver opens the door of a parked car without warning and a cyclist crashes into it. Another 17 per cent of the collisions resulted from motorists overtaking cyclists and 8 per cent from motorists driving into or out of street parking.

The project has polarized business representatives and motorists with a slim majority of 54 per cent objecting to the bike lanes, the report says.The figures come from public consultation conducted between Dec. 2, 2015 and Jan. 15, 2016.

The cost of installing the necessary poles and painting lines on the road will ring in at half a million dollars.