2022 Cycling Infrastructure Installation

10th Floor, West Tower, City Hall
100 Queen St. West
Toronto M5H 2N2

Attn: Matthew Green

RE: IE28.7 Cycling Network Plan – 2022 Cycling Infrastructure Installation
– First Quarter and 2021 ActiveTO Cycling Network Expansion Project Updates

Dear Councillor McKelvie, Chair, and Members, Infrastructure and Environment Committee,

The Federation of North Toronto Residents Association (FoNTRA) is supportive of the Active TO Midtown Yonge complete street Pilot installed last year.  ActiveTO bike lanes are an important part of the City’s transportation system, helping to reduce automobile use, to enliven the streets, and support the businesses along Yonge Street in Midtown.

We appreciate that the current pattern of streets to the west and the Yellow Creek ravine to the east result in land-locked communities that create challenges to the implementation of the pilot. We are aware that Councillors Layton and Matlow are currently working with Transportation staff and residents to resolve the localized concerns about the current installation of bike lanes and CaféTO installations along with related initiatives to reduce traffic congestion on Yonge Street, such as left-turn lanes. Two of our member organizations are opposed to bike lanes on Yonge Street and their impact on traffic, and another has raised issues re: access to residential streets and impacts of upcoming construction related to development projects, we urge the Committee and City Council to ensure that the traffic concerns underlying their opposition are addressed in the proposed extension of the ActiveTO Yonge Street Pilot.

We also express concern that an unfettered evaluation of the Yonge Street pilot has been precluded by City Council’s November 2021 decision to allow CaféTO installations prior to the conclusion of the Pilot. A key issue going forward is whether both CaféTO patios and ActiveTO bike lanes are consistent with maintaining an adequate car traffic flow that allows swift passage of EMS vehicles. It may well be that the only safe solution for Yonge Street will require the City to choose between bike lanes and CaféTO in order to provide three lanes of car traffic that allow passage of EMS vehicles. We consequently urge the Committee:

  1. to ensure that the proposed extension of the ActiveTO Yonge Street Pilot ends at the same time as the fall 2023 review of CaféTO, and
  2. in the interim, to provide for a better implementation of the Pilot, ensure that the forthcoming implementation of CaféTO for summer 2022 does not inhibit the provision of left-turn lanes at every intersection between Crescent Road and Heath Street where left turns are permitted.

Subject to the foregoing, we support Recommendation 16 in the staff report:

  • “That City Council authorize the continuation of the temporary ActiveTO 2021 Cycling Network Expansion Projects listed below to [date to conform to CaféTO review], in order to provide sufficient time for Transportation Services to undertake additional data collection, monitoring evaluation and report back with recommendations to Infrastructure and Environment Committee and Council prior to [the planned 2023 CaféTO review] regarding these projects:”
    • Bayview Avenue: River Street to Front Street East (multi-use trail, Ward 13); and
    • Yonge Street: Davisville Avenue to 100 m. south of Bloor Street (cycle tracks, Ward 11 and 12).

We also support extending the Yonge project to Eglinton (rather than the current endpoint at Davisville) as soon as feasible. The network utility of the Yonge bikeway will become even more apparent when there is a connection to the Eglinton Avenue bike lanes.  At that point we will begin to have a true connected network in all four directions for alternative transportation in the geographical centre of the city.

Yours truly,

Geoff Kettel
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

Cathie Macdonald
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

cc: Members of Council
Barbara Gray, General Manager, Transportation Services
Jacquelyn Hayward, Director, Project Design & Management, Transportation Services
Becky Katz, Manager, Cycling and Pedestrian Projects

Photo: Municipal Affairs and Housing, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons