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Coronavirus: Report put forward for Toronto to approve 25km of new bikeways

25 km of new cycle infrastructure proposed in Toronto as part of ActiveTO initiative
WATCH ABOVE: A report released on Monday is proposing an additional 25 kilometres of bikeways across parts of Toronto as part of the ActiveTO initiative. Erica Vella has more.

Toronto’s Ministry of Transportation is putting forward a report to City Council on Thursday asking for approval to install 25 kilometres of new bikeways, to improve residents ability to physical distance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The ministry said it has the support of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health and asks the installations be completed in Summer 2020, which would see a total of almost 40 kilometres of on-street cycling infrastructure approved for this year.

READ MORE: ActiveTO turns several major Toronto streets to pedestrians and cyclists

The following is a list of streets where either cycle tracks, bike lanes or multi-use trails are being requested:

  • Bloor Street West from Shaw Street to Runnymede Road, Cycle Track
  • Bloor Street from Avenue Road to Sherbourne St, Cycle Track
  • Dundas Street East, from Sackville Street to Broadview Avenue, Cycle Track
    University Avenue / Queens Park, from Adelaide Street to Bloor Street, Cycle Track
  • Huntingwood Drive, from Victoria Park Ave to Brimley Road, Bicycle Lane
  • Brimley Road, from Kingston Road to Lawrence Avenue, Cycle Track
    Danforth Avenue, from Broadview Avenue to Dawes Road, Cycle Track
  • Bayview Avenue, from River Street to Rosedale Valley Road, Multi-Use Trail
    River Street, from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue, Multi-Use Trail
  • Wilmington Avenue, from Finch Avenue to Sheppard Avenue, Bicycle Lane
  • Faywood Boulevard, from Sheppard Avenue to Wilson Avenue, Bicycle Lane

As Toronto continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the City introduced the ActiveTO program which was developed to “ensure people have space to get around while respecting physical distancing,” the report said.

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Initiatives included in the program are quiet streets and the closing of chunks of major roads to vehicular traffic to allow for more space for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

READ MORE: Toronto would need 47% property tax increase to maintain services if $1.5B budget gap isn’t filled: mayor

The report said that most of the expansions pitched can be installed with “temporary materials and minimal change to the street design.”

However, a more drastic change is being proposed by councillors Brad Bradford and Paula Fletcher for Danforth Avenue.

In a press release Monday, both councillors said the City is proposing to spend almost $4 million to “create more public space and patios, make a more beautiful street, and pilot active transportation infrastructure on the Danforth from Broadview Avenue to Dawes Road.”

The pilot proposal, which will also be going before City Council on Thursday, will keep on-street parking on both sides of Danforth, however turning lanes will be introduced at intersections to help ease traffic flow and allow space for larger patios.

Coronavirus outbreak: Vehicles disappear from select Toronto streets
Coronavirus outbreak: Vehicles disappear from select Toronto streets

“The road to economic recovery goes through main street,” Bradford, councillor for Beaches-East York said. “This proposal for the Danforth is an unprecedented action to restore consumer confidence and give people safe alternatives to taking the TTC.

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“The best way to help is to give people the space they need to feel safe and enjoy an attractive, local alternative to shopping online.”

Fletcher, councillor for Toronto-Danforth echoed Bradfor’s sentiments and said the proposal will help to “encourage neighbourhood travel” to the area and also help businesses as they begin to reopen.

READ MORE: Bike shop owners worry about supply as business booms amid COVID-19

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, who backs the proposal said, even before the pandemic, Toronto Public Health supported the need for “separated bike lanes.”

“These lanes provide more options for active transportation to keep our residents moving safely around our city.”

The last two weekends, the ActiveTO program saw large portions of some of the city’s busiest streets, including along the Lake Shore and Kensington Market, closed to cars to allow for more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

As of Monday morning, Ontario reported 25,904 coronavirus cases and 2,102 total deaths.

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