Bloor Street bike lanes pilot project one step closer to reality

Cycling advocates have been pushing for it for years and now dedicated bike lanes on Bloor Street West might become a reality this summer — if only on a trial basis.

The city wants public input this Wednesday on the design of the lanes

The city wants the public to weigh in on Wednesday about a proposed pilot project to install dedicated bike lanes on Bloor Street between Shaw and Avenue Road. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Cycling advocates have been pushing for it for years and now dedicated bike lanes on Bloor Street West might become a reality this summer — if only on a trial basis.

A pilot project would see curbside bike lanes installed between Shaw Street and Avenue Road in both directions.

"This may be the ideal place to give it a test, and see how it would work, and what the impact might be on traffic flow, and local businesses, and most importantly, on the safety for cyclists along the corridor," said Mike Layton, City Councillor for Ward 19 in an interview with Matt Galloway on CBC's Metro Morning.

The city proposes to install bike lanes on Bloor between Shaw and Avenue Road in both directions. It will add some left turn lanes to keep traffic moving. (City of Toronto)

Layton's ward includes a section of Bloor Street that would be part of the pilot project.

The design includes a separated bike lane and one lane of traffic in each direction, Coun. Layton said. Bloor would lose some street parking but Layton said there are enough Green P parking lots on that section of the roadway.

The city is inviting the public to an open house late Wednesday afternoon to assess the proposed design of the temporary bike lanes

This is the city's preferred design for the portion of the proposed Bloor bike lane between Spadina and Avenue Road. (City of Toronto )

If approved by city council, Layton said the bike lanes should be installed by summer.

Yvonne Bambrick, author of The Urban Cycling Survival Guide, said she won't believe the bike lanes will be installed "until I see paint on the road and things eventually being changed."

But the cycling consultant says she is hopeful.

"It's a sign that we're finally beginning to understand why it's important to prioritize for the safe passage of bikes where there's demand," Bambrick said.

The city has been studying the possibility for more than two decades but it may be the growing support by area businesses that is pushing the lanes closer to reality.

"The BIAs that straddle this section of Bloor have actually put their own money in to do a study both before and after," said Layton.

"So let's study the exact effects in a very short stretch of businesses of the small reduction of parking with the addition of such a great piece of infrastructure that should be bringing more people to the community."