Toronto

Bloor Street bike lanes proposal gets mixed reaction at public meeting

The prospect of adding bike lanes to a downtown stretch of Bloor Street got mixed reactions Wednesday night, as the city hosted an open house to showcase the proposed design.

Pilot project would see curbside bike lanes installed between Shaw Street and Avenue Road

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. (CBC News)

The prospect of adding bike lanes to a downtown stretch of Bloor Street got mixed reactions Wednesday night, as the city hosted an open house to showcase the proposed design. 

The pilot project would see curbside bike lanes installed between Shaw Street and Avenue Road in both directions, reducing Bloor from four lanes for cars to two. 

"There have been many surveys of people in Toronto … that show more than 70 per cent of people say they'd like to bike more if the facilities are safer," said Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati, who heads a group that hopes to make Bloor Street more bike friendly. 

Others who attended the meeting at Trinity-St. Paul's Centre expressed concern about the possible impact on neighbourhood businesses. 

"I think it's just going to get so congested around here that people might start avoiding this area just to avoid the traffic," said pizza shop owner Jason Costantini. 

He's also concerned because the proposal will mean fewer parking spots for potential customers. During non-peak hours cars can park on both sides of Bloor. Under the new plan, parking would be allowed only on one side at all times. 

"It makes a big difference if there's no parking," he said. 

Coun. Joe Cressy disagrees, but said the economic impact on small business is something the city plans to look at very closely. 

"We've done surveys around customers and merchants before it comes in, and then we'll do them after," he said. 

If approved by city council, the bike lanes could be installed by summer.

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