Final bike lane count 2007

A lot happened in Toronto’s bikeosphere in 2007.

After a year of dormancy, the City’s cycling committee was finally reformed into the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee (TCAC) and a new chair was appointed. Councillor Adrian Heaps has been doing his darndest to get things done for cyclists since his appointment, but despite his efforts Heaps was unable to keep his promise — documented by the Toronto Star (and others) — to have 27 kilometres of on-street bike lanes installed in 2007.

We learned at the first TCAC meeting that the delay in installation is in part due to the fact that a request for proposals to paint the lanes did not attract any bidders, so they had to be included with other painting contracts. Another factor is that the approvals for bike lanes came too late in the year to work on them before the end of construction season.

So then, what is the final kilometer count of white stripes for 2007? According to Lukasz Pawlowski, a senior engineer in Transportation Services, there were 7.7 km of new on-street bike lanes installed in ’07.

That is an additional 5.1 km since my last report of 2.6 km in October 2007.

The total includes: Logan 0.2 + Christie 1.2 + Chester Hill 0.1* + Knox 0.2 + Roselawn 0.7 + Greenwood 2.1 + Queensway 1.5 + Sentinel 1.7

* Chester Hill is really only half done. It has not been stencilled. Thanks to Val Dodge for the most recent report.

The City also installed 41.4 km of signed, shared roadway routes. This includes the sharrows on Lansdowne and Dundas East. (The latter were partially washed away by weather soon after installation.) A sharrow is a bicycle symbol with two white chevrons painted on the road — typically used where the road is too narrow for a full, dedicated bike lane. They are intended to show both cyclists and motorists the ideal cyclist position in the lane.

Completed parks projects include the McCowan District Park Trail, Etobicoke Creek Trail to Centennial Park Blvd., as well as the extension of the Waterfront Trail from Highland Creek west to Copperfield drive.

Even though on-street bike lanes are the staple of most commuter cyclists diets it is worthwhile to note the many other cycling achievements in 2007 in Toronto. Here is a list in no particular order. Please let me know if I’ve missed anything. BikingToronto and IBikeTO have posted lists too.

Bike racks to be installed on all new buses

Bike Train launch huge success, new routes are proposed for 2009

– City releases Sustainable Transportation Initiatives report, includes a number of cycling initiatives to be studied, notably a Bloor-Danforth bike route

– 2008 on-street cycling infrastructure budget increased from $3M to $5.5M

streamlined bike lane approval process approved in Council

Bike Union announced, to launch in spring 2008

Bells on Bloor holds mass Sunday ride demanding bike lanes on Bloor – attracts hundreds of cyclists

Urban Repair Squads (“Our”, or “Other”, or “Official Urban Repair Squad” — aka O.U.R.S) paint long stretches of bike lanes on arterial roads such as Queen, Dundas and Bloor. Their message: “City is broke. We fix. No charge.”

– 80 new bike lockers installed at 3 new locations (total now 138)

TCAT (the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation) gets funding, hires coordinator, garners support from 40-plus organizations and hundreds of individuals, disseminates cycling and pedestrian news far and wide – most recently, brings battle of the bollards (pictured here) to TCAC, spurring City report on the removal of the second row of bollards

Martin Goodman Trail revamp at Ontario Place planning begins

– PST exemption announced for bicycles and gear for 2008, following BTAC campaign

– Toronto’s first blue bike lane being tested at bottom of Strachan

Kids CAN-BIKE Camp was awarded the Ministry of Transportation Road Safety Achievement Award for Excellence in the category of Partnerships

bike station proposed (item 2.1 p. 14) as part of Union Station revamp (section A, item 3 at bottom)

Community Bicycle Network (CBN) revives Bikeshare program slowly (expected to expand with Bike Pirates and BikeChain next year)

– Darren Stehr’s Critical Mass Toronto book Celebrating Friends published

Bike Winter promotion launched at City (and cyclist profiles continue here on Spacing, with a focus on winter commuters)

– Bike MONTH announced for 2008

In 2008, the City plans to install 50 km of on-street bike lanes, 40 km more shared roadways, and begin construction on the long, LONG awaited West Toronto Railpath.

In 2009 the City plans to build 75 km of on-street lanes, and 90 km each year thereafter to meet the 2012 Bike Plan completion deadline. I will keep track of the City’s progress here on Spacing, as well as in the membership magazine for the Toronto Cyclists Union.

2008 promises to be a great year for cycling in Toronto. See you on two wheels!

Photo courtesy of sevres-babylon on Flickr


  1. What does one need to do to make a bid to paint the lines? Seems to me that a group of interested bikers (ala OURS) could put in a fairly competitive price, so long as there aren’t copious equipment demands. Just a thought.


  2. Thanks for the comprehensive list of mostly good things – yet the stats don’t tell the whole story. Are the bike lanes going into parts of the City that cyclists are riding in now, and will they make a big difference? We have to make the entire motoropolis bike-friendlier but the older core areas have the bulk of the riders. And we also need to make sure we get value in what we do have in the core: the West Toronto Railpath is $1.3M a km for 2kms yet to repaint Bloor from Dundas St. W/ to Ossington – an east-west link which really has no substitute – would only be maybe $50,000. And the Bloor repainting could save a life, but the West Toronto path doesn’t have that same potential (in my view).
    And under-appreciated, and in a separate part of the budget, is the Simcoe St. tunnel, which has a lot of potential to improve our access to the Waterfront.
    One failing in the year was not reacting well enough to a cyclist being run down on Lakeshore and having a poor police response.
    Expanding Bike Weeks into Bike Month may mean we’re all too busy going to things, and organizing things to really get into organizing ourselves. While sure, it’s a good idea, this expansion occurred when the bike committee was gutted, and never had the okay of this citizens group. Hmmm. So: maybe a heads-up to watch the council/cttee agendas a bit more closely while bike month is around because despite the label of being “progressive” I’m unsure that one can trust the amanglemated motoropolis to truly promote bikes.

  3. this council has not been progressive at all regarding bike lanes.Even though Joe Pantalone has a group that sends used bikes to Cuba and advocates as a supporter of the bike community, his lack of response on this matter is astounding.These lanes have been promised again and again every election.So keep your promise Joe, you have the office you control the budget.

  4. there’s another challenge or two beyond bike lanes – how the City manages to degrade them through neglect and plowing snow into them. I know it’s wintertime, but at this point in the melt, and after such a time from the original snowfall, having entire lanes covered in snowbank leaving only the white line or less to ride in is truly pathetic, moreso when they’re dangerous like the eastbound lane of Bloor on the curve before the Viaduct which I’ve been pointing out to the fuckers that it’s dangerous and substandard for 2.5 years. The lane narrows at the curve because of the design speed of the turn-off lane on the north side, and all right curving vehicles cut into a lane. So it’s doubly nasty.
    And this leads to the next point: when one nearly gets smeared, there’s no penalty for the cartillery that came close (and to be fair, peds likely feel the same about some of us passhole cyclists). So I still have an edge from about 2.5 near misses last night, one of them being on that above curve. The cops tend to be carist and carrupt eg. Geoffrey, and even if the local pol is sympathetic, we’re governed by a bunch of fairly carrupt gassholes because the forced amanglemation put us under their tires. Sure, I’m a gashouse green that can somehow manage to live my life near the core without a car, but we wouldn’t think it would be alright to miss a pedestrian with a U-lock swing and say it doesn’t matter ’cause they were on two wheels, and we wouldn’t tell the ped to go five minutes out of their way and over three blocks to find a sidewalk.
    What to do? Yes, I know there’s the TCAC as above, and a lot of people like Tammy etc. plugging away which is absolutely necessary, but there are limits to what volunteers can do, and the overload of the “job” was upped considerably in the TCAC gutting.
    So maybe we just lay the liability trail even thicker and constantly everywhere everybody. Sue the fuckers.
    There’s a ton of money around – the City is okay with borrowing $25,000,000 on behalf of the BIA (they will pay it back) – but the same City is inept and quite incompetent at Basic Maintenance a little east. And the FSE, and the WWLRT plus the Union Station adjust = nearly $900M – though they can’t manage to begin to explore a gaping hole in the Bike Plan in the west end into the core in a prime bike territory. Sure I’m a bit on edge but check this one out folks! if you can do so with your computer
    oh, if you’re laying the liability trail, keep a copy of your letter/email or send it to a family member or good friend. is the solicitor email I think

  5. what do you think of the idea of licensing bicycles to gain revenue to pay for bike lanes.Maybe start at $100 per year and go up acordingly,depending on usage and parking.We can charge to use the bike posts that are basically a free parking spot.I’m sure anybody who uses their bikes won’t mind to pay such a small fee maybe as low as $600 annually to help out and make bikes a common part of the environment.

    Just a thought.

  6. Actually I don’t think it’s much of a thought at all as there are a range of studies that put the avoided cost of cars – both externalities to the environment and the “gifts” to them from the public coffers at between $1,000 to $4,600 per car per year – and these are older studies, and they likely underestimate the climate change costs.
    Perhaps Mr. Sawison doesn’t recognize climate change as an issue?

  7. Other good things that happened in 2007!

    The Dotmocracy exercise, it brough in over 150 cyclists and other Torontonians who told the city what its priorities are from the city’s Bike Plan.

    And was started. This is a great resource to find out about what will be going on in the city that affects cyclists, and what has happened in the city to cyclists.

    Critical Mass continued and grew in popularity. More familes, including young kids on their own bikes, are showing up. Toronto continues to be lucky in so far as Critical Mass is a family freiendly event. In Some cities in North America the local police beat up and/or ticket and’or arrest CM participants.

    And Overall, the mainstream press gave more ink and airtime to Cyclists than I ever remember to seeing before. Both for their plight and for their succeses.

    Here’s hpoing that this momentum builds in 2008!!

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