Ward 31 Bikes supports the Bloor Bike Lane Pilot

Kid_Bloor_bike_lane

The Bloor bike lane pilot is up for discussion next week at the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC).  It’s time for every Torontonian who cares about safer streets to let our elected representatives how we feel.  Either Toronto stays a car-dominant city, or we move into the 21st century and make our streets safer for all.

Write PWIC with your support, using the information from Cycle Toronto at this link.

Here is the Ward 31 Bikes submission:


Dear Public Works and Infrastructure Committee,

I’m writing to you today in my role as Co-Captain of the Ward 31 Bikes Advocacy Group, and wish to express our overwhelming support for a Pilot of a bike lane on Bloor Street.

Studying the affect of bikelanes on business, pedestrian safety, cyclist safety, cyclist numbers, automobile travel times is not only good policy as it bases important street design decisions on data rather than anecdotes, but it recognizes that 90% of shoppers in the Annex neighbourhood get there by means other than by private automobile.  90% of shoppers get there by walking, biking, or taking public transit.  (source: TCAT)

There is overwhelming support for an information and outcome-gathering bike lane pilot on Bloor St.  Not only are local Councillors Mike Layton and Joe Cressy extremely supportive of a pilot, but residents associations, business improvement areas, and many other organizations are in favour of measuring the outcomes of a bike lane pilot.

Support for an information gathering pilot is universal.   Even among businesses who do not think they want bike infrastructure, the desire is there to know more about what the benefits could be, and the only way to know that is to measure the effects of a pilot.

While Ward 31 isn’t in the bike lane pilot area, we are extremely supportive of the pilot happening.  If Toronto is serious about making our streets safer, pursuing Vision Zero principles (aiming for no deaths on our streets) and doing our part to combat catastrophic climate change, then gathering information about the affects of bike lanes on all road users as well as local business is essential.  It is the only way to make valid decisions about how our streets look.

A 2009 study of the Bloor-Annex neighbourhood found that installing a bikelane would likely increase commercial activity, with key findings of:

  • only 10% of survey respondents drive to the Bloor Annex neighbourhood
  • even during peak periods no more than 80% of paid parking spaces are paid for
  • patrons arriving by foot and bicycle visit the most often and spend the most money per month
  • there are more merchants who believe that a bike lane or widened sidewalk would increase business than merchants who think those changes would reduce business
  • patrons would prefer a bike lane to widened sidewalks at a ratio of almost four to one; and
  • the reduction in on-street parking supply from a bike lane or widened sidewalk could be accommodated in the area’s off-street municipal parking lots

These kinds of study results have been found in many other neighbourhoods, cities, and countries… if you provide safe infrastructure for the tens/hundreds of thousands of people who live along a major street like Bloor, the street ends of moving more people and creating more economic activity.

For these reasons, Ward 31 Bikes supports the Bloor bike lanes pilot.  We look forward to using the Bloor bike lanes to visit Bloor restaurants and shop at Bloor stores, and doing it safely.

Feel free to contact me with any questions about our support.

Best,

Joe Travers
Co-Captain, Ward 31 Bikes
 
Cycle Toronto: www.cycleto.ca/ward/31

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