Bike lane countdown 2007

This photo was taken by Martin Koob at the City’s cycling consultation session in July. A summary of that consultation can be found here.

Remember back in June when the newly minted Cycling Committee Chair, Councillor Adrian Heaps, said we’d get 27 km of bike lanes this year or else? Heaps was quoted in the Star saying, “If the transportation department has to spray paint it themselves — you can quote me on this — it’s going in.

Who’s counting? Martin Koob of is. He has crafted a comprehensive list of what’s done, what’s approved and what’s left for 2007. Let’s add it up!

Paint is dry:

  • Logan Ave. – Eastern to point zoom south 0.2 km (contra-flow, pictured below)
  • Christie St. – Bloor to St. Clair 1.2 km
  • Knox – Queen to Eastern 0.2
  • Roselawn – Marlee to Dufferin 1 km (additional information below* *UPDATE – Photos now added at bottom)

Approved and ready to rumble:

  • Chester Hill – Broadview W 0.1 km
  • Greenwood – Danforth to Queen 2.1 km
  • Carlaw – Logan /Gerrard to Dundas 1 km
  • Pond – Sentinel to Murray Ross 1 km
  • Rogers – Old Weston to Oakwood 2.6 km
  • Sentinel – Finch to Dovehouse 1.7 km
  • Stephen – Queensway to Berry 0.5 km
  • Queensway – Claude to Windermere 1.8 km
  • Yonge – Queens Quay to Front 0.6 km

Still waiting for Go(dot):

  • Annette & Dupont – Landsdowne to Jane 3.5 km
  • Conlins – Sheppard to Military Trail 2.7 km
  • Dawes – Danforth to Victoria Park 2.2 km
  • Horner – Judson Browns Line to Islington 3.3 km
  • Mill – Rathburn to Bloor 2 km
  • Pharmacy – Danforth to Eglinton 3.9 km
  • Rathburn – East Mall to Renforth 1.3 km
  • Shaw – Barton to Dupont 0.6 km
  • Eastern – Logan to Leslie 1.1 km
  • Stanley – Royal York to Superior 0.6 km
  • Royal York – Delroy to Mimico Creek 1.4 km
  • Wilmington & Faywood – Finch to Clanton Park 3.1 km

That gives us 2.6 km of actual installed bike lanes for 2007 so far!

Please email me or Martin if you know of any others, or see anything amiss with this list.

Now, if the City wants to meet the Mayor’s 2012 deadline for the Bike Plan it will have to install almost 80 km of on-street bike lanes per year, starting next year. (I include a breakdown of the numbers, with more source links, in a previous post here.)

And, Council still needs to approve 14 km more to hit the 27 km target for this year.

You might also notice that Roselawn is not on the biketoronto list, but that it is at the top of the list pictured above. I was told by a cyclist riding on Roselawn that it was done, back in August. But, it was also being reported in the bike blogosphere that it was not standard width, nor was it signed. I decided to call the councillor’s office to ask: Bike Lane or No Bike Lane?

Councillor Moscoe said he had a long, bitter fight with planners over stencilling this strip as a bike lane, which they refused to do. He admitted that it is only “about 4 feet” wide — which is about half the standard 2 m width, recommended by the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) for a bike lane on a major urban road. But, he added that there are no parked cars on this road and thus, no door zone. “Someday I’m going to go and get the paint and paint my own stencil,” he blustered. As much as I can appreciate his enthusiasm for bike lanes, cyclists here don’t want to be squeezed. We want lanes of proper width, clearly signed and marked.

Still unclear, I asked a friend in the area to check it out today. She said there is, indeed, a bike lane on Roselawn complete with stencils, but that it is Marlee between Lawrence and Roselawn where there are no official markings. Photos are pending.

Another bit (and I do mean bitsy bit) of lane that might look contentious on paper is the 200 metre strip on Logan. It may be small, but it’s not the size that matters — it’s the functionality. This bit of bike lane is an extremely useful contra-flow lane.

One-way streets can be used as a means of traffic control in residential areas, but they are a pain for cyclists. Contra-flow bike lanes are a great way to maintain the traffic control of one-way streets while allowing cyclists to have more direct routes through their neighbourhoods. Bicycles are officially exempted from the one-way street when a contra-flow bike lane is installed. Note below: the line marking the bike lane is yellow and not white since it separates traffic moving in opposite directions.

Do you have a suggestion for a contra-flow lane in your area? I’d love to hear it.

Above photos Courtesy of Martin Koob at

UPDATE — Roselawn bike lane below… signed, stencilled and delivered!

Roselawn bike lane begins west from Marlee and is marked all the way to Dufferin. Photo by Karey

Marlee paint stripe below. City engineers won’t sign off on “lanes” that don’t meet the TAC standard width requirements. Apparently, council voted this one to be painted anyway! (What the councillor told me now makes sense, but he was obviously referring to Marlee.) This issue will also be familiar to citizens of Ward 5 and cyclists who use Royal York Rd. The Royal York Road reconstruction from Delroy to Mimico has been finished but the bike lanes are not in.

Unmarked Marlee lane begins at Eglinton and goes all the way to Lawrence.

Photos courtesy of Karey Iron


  1. Wow. Less than 10% of a promise fulfilled. That’s lousy by any standards. I wish I could perform that poorly at my job and still get paid. Pity I work in the real world.

  2. My suggestion for a contraflow lane is the little bit of Denison north of Dundas that is a southern gateway to Kensington market. From Queen you can go up Augusta towards Kensington, but then you have to go over to Denison because Augusta is interrupted by Alexandra Park. At Denison and Dundas, the easiest way into Kensington Market is to continue up Denison, but it’s one-way the wrong way. It’s easily wide enough for a contra-flow lane.

  3. Contraflow lanes are actually a recipe for fatal head-on collisions. The lane on Knox in my hood will be one of the first; *I* know how motorists whip westbound around Greenwood and Knox.

  4. A bit off topic but… ‘For more information on the Climate Change report go to…’ – wow, good luck remembering or jotting that URL down?! They could have easily rigged up a smaller URL to redirect…

  5. I agree that contra-flow bike lanes can be very dangerous UNLESS they are properly segragated from traffic – as they do in Montreal.

    One bike route which would be segragated from vehicle traffic and could be done fairly cheaply is to extend the cycle path that runs immediately south of the railway berm north of Lakeshore Blvd. from the Don River to Yonge Street. This ‘northern’ connection allows a far better route for people cycling from the north or the east who want to get downtown as it would avoid having to cycle on the (dangerous) bike lane on Lakeshore or going onto the Martin Goodman trail – which involves crossing Lakeshore, twice.

    The area I refer to now has four or five “segments”.

    1. From the Don River cycle path to Cherry Street . This is a paved cycle path. It branches off the Don River cycle path and is linked to the cycle path from Lakeshore East.

    2. It crosses Cherry Street at the traffic lights and then goes from Cherry Street to Parliament Street: it is also a paved and marked path.

    3. From Parliament to Sherbourne there is a wide space immediately south of the berm – under the Gardiner – which one can, (and many do) cycle on but it is quite uneven and it is not paved. At the moment the railway folk are fixing the railway berm in that area but seem to have finished in this segment.

    4. From Sherbourne to Jarvis the area south of the berm is wider and, until the work on the berm was begun last fall, it was easy to cycle on, it is unpaved but was smooth. The work on the berm seems to be almost finished in this segment and I assume the railway people will return the area to its former state when it is finished.

    5. The section to the south of the berm from Jarvis Street to Yonge Street is not as wide but it could probably accommodate a cycle path. If it could, this would then link to the cycle path up Yonge Street from Lakeshore to Front Street recently approved by the Toronto and East York Community Council.

  6. and somewhat pathetic too, though quality is better than “x” kms. I can think of one particular proposal adjacent to the subway where a lot of cyclists now risk their well-being that could go a long, long way – at least 8kms from Sherbourne to High Park – to fixing up our slow civic response to the climate carisis. And while the Works Cttee did approve an expanded study of the TaketheTooker, or at least a bikeway on Wed., two years ago we had the approval of the first study which we have yet to see, but at least staff seem to be on the case.
    Useful to have Mr. Heaps vow to get the staff to spray it on – let’spray.
    Another stalled idea: a longer often contraflow route down Brunswick and through the Market via Denison south to almost Front St. – it’s been added to the list of the projects that the staff are working on – kinda – but it would beat Bathurst and Spadina for north/south.
    Roselawn: maybe it’s okay to have a 1.2M bike lane if there’s no dooring risk – sometimes a bit of flexibility helps, though I don’t know the area.
    I hope you can push another problem/oppty in your spare time please Tammy – #3(c) in the 9.2 report at Works pushes forward an east-west route in the core, but there’s a huge gaping hole in the Bike Plan in the lower west end of the old core that there is NOTHING being done about and very few options eg a side street parallel Queen St. Maybe Perks and some others will amend the passed motion to expand this to include Parkdale and the WQW/Pantalonia area, thought this is Caronto.
    Thanks, congrats on doing the cycling cttee as well as…. tammy, though I worry that all the newbies won’t have the context & the desire to contradict staff and Heaps to say “No, this is inadequate, do this etc.” but I think that was the idea in gutting the old committee. It was their fault that bike lanes weren’t going in.

  7. This town has turned me into a complete `roadical`. A lot of hot air is not going to get us lanes, nor change driver behaviour. It’s a war on the roads, it ain’t getting better, but your enemies are stupid. Treat it that way and you’ll live.

  8. I think that the “standard width” for a bike lane is likely closer to two metres than to two kilometres, though when it comes to roads one can never be certain…

    Joe: do you have stats for your contraflow-is-deadly assertion, or is it just something that seems obvious to you?

  9. Haha! Thanks Eric S. Smith – I’ve corrected that… wishful thinking on my part perhaps:-)
    I really appreciate and note all the suggestions. Perhaps Knox could be improved with a speed bump or two and/or bollards (as David notes)…And, we know the City can easily install these, as we see now at the Boulevard club…. I would also like to see the stats on contra-flow accidents. I dare say, a contra-flow lane is better than the current option of just riding the wrong way on a one-way with no signage/infrastructure.
    Yes, I admit – I do it all the time in my ‘hood… (However, if a motorist seems oblivious or aggressive, I pull over and stop completely) and I watch VERY carefully for pedestrians who would not expect or hear a bike coming the wrong way.
    A good one for me would be Macdonnel. This would involve removing on-street parking tho which would cause a sh*tstorm of epic proportions!
    Hamish, the lower west end is something I take personally. We need something radical – a ROW for transit and bikes only on Queen or King would be the ticket. But for something less radical and more immediate, re the parallel st – do you mean Argyle?
    I will be relying on you and other long-time advocates to make sure I don’t miss any opportunities to point out dangerous inadequacies while working with the cmte. I’ll do my best, but I need others to help inform me on all parts of the city, and the historical context. ie I love the brunswick/denison c-f suggestion and will try to resurrect it.

  10. Warning: “opportunities to point out dangerous inadequacies while working with the cmte” can be a full-time job, tricky when meetings are shrunk to maybe once every three months.

    Yes, Argyle has potential for an alt east-west for much of Queen, and may be necessary ahead of the trashing of the street with all the devilopment at WQW. Maybe a suit against the city under the EBR of “harm to a public resource” would help – remedy sought no issuing of building permits till a real plan for bikes isn’t just talked about, but is in place, because the roads are dangerous now, dirty too with the CAMH junk…

    The problem with Argyle is that it ends near Trinity Bellwoods, and in terms of bike routes, I don’t like putting out a commuter route through a park because it’s not okay to pave more of our parks and we need parks for other functions than to bike through. That may be too idealistic – other cities may have done it including a lot of European ones – but we likely should trim ped/bike conflicts not increase them, and there can be issues with women not wanting to bike through darker parks at night too.

    Funny how the Front St. Extension has been promo’ed with “complete the grid” but Pantalone, Giambrone et all are content to do *uck-all for beginning! a safe grid for east-west cycling in an area that has great potential. $255M for the FSE, and we can’t get the City to devote a bit of a push for safer cycling.

    We probably need both better on Queen, and yes we need to get “roadical” on Queen/King – and how about putting on four new GO trains for c. $130M on the Lakeshore West line and avoiding both the FSE and the WWLRT for a savings of maybe $600,000,000 to help us do a ROW on Queen/King. Caronto, the moronopolis!

    And even when they do take up an idea – like Dewson etc. YEARS pass before something happens, including simple things like repairing or changing sewer grates – or is that sewerve grates (new term – aren’t typos good, though beer’s usually more fun). Another eg. is maybe 100M of just simple paint to make a contraflow lane on Stephanie to link John with Beverly that was in the Bike Plan, but nothing’s been done for 6 years

    Bug Gord, about #3(c) being expanded, and the city solicitor’s email for notification of systemic liability I think is Copy your councillor and yourself, and print out a copy too.

    However, all this umbrage aside, folks, it’s really really hard to go at this stuff when there are some incredible idiots on two wheels – or am I getting too old and conservative?

    Apologies for length. thanks

  11. I think the extension of the route under the Gardiner south of the rail tracks to extend it from the Don to Yonge Street is a great idea and cheap to do too. How can we get routes like this into “the plan”??

  12. You guys are drinking the cool-aid if you think we’re going to get much at all, but I wish I had your hope. Drink up!

  13. I have to say, I love the Knox lane. I’ve been using Knox as a way south from Greenwood to the lakeshore trail (since there are lights at Eastern and Knox), but always felt annoyed that I couldn’t legally do the same thing going north.

    Now if only the car detectors at Knox and Eastern would detect bikes.

  14. Another suggestion for contra-flow bike lane is Ulster Street, between Major and Bathurst. This is already a de facto counter flow street (very popular with cyclists, and a rare bit of east-west cycling infrastructure), it just has to be made official.

    Note that this would require changes to Major Street as well, making it legal for cyclists to go against auto traffic.

    Personally, I would prefer to see the entire section between Bathurst and Major, College and Harbord, all “bicycles excepted”. It would be a major traffic calming initiative, and would be a great boon to cyclists.

  15. I was on Christie today, and the bike lane only went as far south as Dupont, not Bloor.

    It was still a pleasure to ride, though!

  16. Re: Ulster – yes, it’s a great fun to walk/bike street but there are challenge with the contraflow and changes to an area.
    One is what residents might think
    Another is that the unofficial/illegal contraflow at least gets a few cyclists to look/think about stopping at the intersections for opposing traffic. There will likely be smack-ups eh?
    Bikes can be quick and quiet and quite a few of us don’t stop for anyone else.

  17. Suggestion for contra-flow bike lanes? All one-way streets. Sure it might raise the risk of head-on collisions, however, car drivers need to pay more attention to driving in general. Using this as reason not to implement such lanes only justifies keeping the balance of road usage in the favour of cars.

  18. Please consider pedestrians when encouraging contra-flow. Bikes coming from an unexpected direction pose a threat to pedestrians crossing one-way streets, particularly if the bikes are moving fast and providing no warning of their approach. What is wrong with having a bike lane that flows in the same direction as other vehicles? The more you make exceptions to traffic rules for cyclists the more you encourage the ignoring of all traffic rules by cyclists – already a major problem (sidewalks, stop signs, crosswalks).

  19. The “look both ways before crossing” mantra seems to work for most pedestrians. It’s ingrained in the way i cross a street, one way or not.

  20. Helen,

    Contra-flow lanes are not exceptions to traffic rules. They are vehicular lanes that just happen to be narrower and marked for bicycles only. That’s why they have the yellow line painted, rather than white.

    Unfortunately, two things cause problems (bike lanes or not):

    1) Cyclists not warning pedestrians when they approach, or blasting through stop signs etc.
    2) Pedestrians stepping off of sidewalks without looking

    If everyone paid attention and respected right-of-way, we probably wouldn’t need so much infrastructure in the first place. 🙂

  21. Actually, I think the more you make exceptions to traffic rules for cyclists, acknowledging the differences between cars and bikes, both speed and size wise, the more respectful cyclists will be of traffic rules.

    But yes, it is up to all of us, car drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians to pay attention and to respect each others right of way!

  22. I have seen contra-flow lanes in Europe where there are arrows painted on the lane very close together. This is apparently done to alert pedestrians (and motorists)that they are approaching a contra-flow “lane” and apparently reduces accidents. Something to try here?

  23. I think that all the lights at intersections along Bloor between Ossington and Bathurst are at 1-ways heading S. Contraflow lanes would help for those of us heading in the opposite direction who prefer to cross Bloor at a streetlight. Too bad the planned Shaw contraflow lane that never happened will stop at Barton and not connect with Harbord.

  24. It would be nice to have a painted yellow line on the edge of the sidewalk on Logan too as a reminder for pedestrians.

  25. Bike lanes that are not physically separated from cars are useless. Cars can not be trusted. Its the reason for curbs – separates cars from pedestrians.

  26. I have to second the contra flow lane on Denison. I illegally go north on that at least once a day.

    Note to police intelligence operatives who read Spacing, I’ll be there between 8:00 and 8:05 tomorrow morning if you are looking to give me a ticket.

  27. What if ‘roadical-terrorists’ blew up 100 cars, for each cyclist killed? Where do you think the police would concentrate their resources, and the public their rage?

  28. couple things:

    1. the roselawn bike lane attempts to connect the beltline path. the beltline west of marlee (south of roselawn) goes almost to keele.

    2. the marlee bike lane was not planned. moscoe called up the DOT and forced it to happen after the planning was done. there *is* enough space for a legal lane. i wouldn’t count this towards the bike lane talley…

  29. It is sad how long this bike lane process is taking.

    Even sadder that I witnessed city crews last month in the process of very efficiently *removing* more than 2.6km of “unofficial” bike lane markings with thick black paint. They had an afternoon or day’s worth of labour available for that… but not for painting the already-approved lanes outlined above.

    White paint shortage, perhaps? Waiting on the tax increase for fresh rollers?

    I know such comments are unhelpful, but these situations tend to switch my speech-ray beam to “sarcastic whinge.”

  30. Helen, the reason for contraflow bike lanes is that many cyclists favour residential streets for calmer cycling environment, yet residential streets are built in such a way as to discourage traffic. Hence cyclists are forced to either ride the wrong way on one-way streets or be forced onto major roads, which many are not comfortable with. If our major roads were cycling-friendly and if drivers were aware of cyclists, there would be less need for contraflow bike lanes. As it is, they can provide critical connections for cyclists while car drivers are still discouraged to cut through neighbourhoods.

    Now, I would say that the biggest problem with contraflow bike lanes is not head-ons, but pedestrians stepping onto the road without looking both ways and, even more importantly, car drivers coming out of drivers or cross streets and not looking both ways. However, if contraflow bike lanes become more popular throughout the city, drivers and pedestrians will learn to recongize them and check for traffic in both directions. Frankly, that’s what I always do anyways. For one thing, I live on a one-way street, and cars go the wrong way on it ALL THE TIME because it’s a kind of inconvenient to approach it from the correct end. So checking both ways is really ingrained in me. On the other hand, there are pedestrians who only look one way on TWO-way streets; I nearly mowed down a couple of them myself when they just jumped in front of my bike. Is that a reason to outlaw two-way streets or a reason to educate pedestrians?

  31. “…your connection to other human beings and your concern for their welfare have to be manifested personally, practically. The most practical and immediate way to begin sharing with others and working for their benefit is to work with your own domestic situation and to expand from there. So an important step in becoming a warrior is to become a family person, someone who respects his or her everyday domestic life and is committed to uplifting that situation.” Excerpt from the Sacred Warrior

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