Dupont bike lanes on the chopping block?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Cycle Toronto issued this press release after this post was published: “Since putting out our press release this afternoon regarding the removal of the Dupont Street bike lanes, we’ve learned from the City that the decision to review the bike lanes dates back to a decision made at the June 2011 Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting. Over the coming months, City staff will review all options for Dupont. We’ll continue to monitor the situation.” Spacing would also like to note that City staff originally confirmed alerted the rumour to Cycle Toronto and Spacing.

To be a cyclist in Toronto nowadays is an exercise in always needing to be alert. I’m not talking here about when riding on the road (although you should be), but in relation to what is happening down at City Hall. According to a press release put out by Cycle Toronto today, the City will be creating an Options Report for Dupont Street that may include, with pressure from a certain councillor, the removal of the bike lanes.

From the mouth of Cycle Toronto:

“Cycle Toronto strongly disagrees with Councillor Palacio’s intention to remove cycling infrastructure on Dupont Street. The Dupont Street bike lanes provide a safe passage under the Weston railway bridge, a location where a cyclist was killed and several others injured in recent years.  The lanes are also an important link to the West Toronto Railpath and a connection to the Annette Street bike lanes.  It is critical to the safety and efficiency of our roads that on-road bike infrastructure increase rather than continue to be reduced.  The Dupont bike lane being targeted is already an incomplete link and requires intensified cycling infrastructure to extend east to St George.”

To add further insult, this information comes to light during the city’s Bike Month festivities. Apparently some people at the city are a bit unclear as to the purpose of bike month, which is to promote cycling in the city, not continue with the systematic dismantling of whatever bicycle network we have already managed to cobble together at this point. As shown in the above image from Google Maps, the Dupont bike lanes link up with the West Toronto Railpath as well as the Annette St bike lanes.

According to Ben Spurr over at Now Toronto, Dan Egan, Manager of Cycling and Pedestrian Infrastructure, said that Transportation Services has not be directed to remove the Dupont bike lanes. However, given the current climate at City Hall and past actions that have seen councillors sneak in motions to remove bike lanes without public consultation (Jarvis, anyone?), cyclists can be forgiven for being a little jumpy on this issue.

With the removal of the Pharmarcy and Birchmount bike lanes last year, Toronto actually had a negative amount of bike lanes installed in 2011. This is something that we cannot let continue in 2012. We have to move forward.

Keep your eye on this one.

17 comments

  1. This is my hood. I use the lanes daily and am deeply glad for them under the rail bridges… They are currently being metered by the City, which means…

  2. I suspect the City’s ‘options report’ data will once again be flawed. The city has had bike counters on Dupont at Edwin over the past few weeks.

    These counters wouldn’t come close to accurately measuring the number of cyclists crossing Westbound under the tracks. Many Railpath users loop around down Osler Street before heading westbound on Dupont. These cyclists would have crossed under the tracks but not have crossed the counters.

  3. Not ffamiliar wwith tthese llanes, did tthey have to remove aany ttraffic llanes for them? I always tthought Dupont wwas already 4 llanes each ddirection.

    Ps: pposting ffrom mmy cell, ddon’t kknow wwhy mmy cellwords aare ccoming uup bbroken.

  4. There were counter machines just east of the West Toronto Railpath, between Osler St. and Edwin Ave last week. The counter machines were removed as of Monday evening,  4 June. Since Osler is under construction at Dupont, the bike lane is CLOSED, near the westbound counter!

    So, contest the results! The construction started at least Monday (28 May), so this counter survey is going to be very skewed, as many cyclists would likely already move into the car lane to avoid colliding with the “Road Closed” barrier a mere 10 metres west of the counters. This means the count machines will miss most cyclists using the route westbound.

    Also, since many cyclists, including myself, use Dupont to go up Osler Street to access the West Toronto Railpath at Caribou Avenue. The east bound counter should have been placed under the Railpath bridge, not at the top of the hill, just west of Edwin Avenue. So again, the results are going to be skewed against bike traffic.

    So, again, if Palacio is using data from last week, it is HIGHLY FLAWED! The counters were in the wrong place and there was construction obstructing the bike lanes that skewed the results.

  5. Back in 1999, there were four lanes on Dupont. A repaving in 2000 widened the sidewalks, and made the curb lanes just wide enough for parking. Considering the traffic patterns, and the fact that parking is still on Dupont, adding more lanes won’t solve the problem, as they had traffic issues when it was four lanes. Unless the city was to ban parking, on both sides, during both rush hours, then car traffic would likely ease, slightly, but it would also allow for bike lanes as well. I doubt the merchants would like that.

    As it stands, Dupont is less of a thoroughfare than it used to be, which is better for business, and this can been seen by many of the independent stores in the area that didn’t exist before the bike lanes.

  6. “Roads are for cars” that is what Rob Ford said as a Councillor. He wants bike paths, away from roads, where he can’t see them.

  7. Dupont is not in Cesar Palacio’s ward. The southern boundary of Ward 17 is the CPR lines.

  8. Just checked it out on Google Street View. East of Lansdowne it is 4 lanes, but through the eastern part of the Junction/Junction Triangle it is 2 lanes with a bike lane attached (interestingly, by Osler one photo of street view is before the lanes were put in and when you slide from there it shows the lanes).

    Keeping a moderate view, while I can see an argument for the removal of the Jarvis lanes, more so for the ones in Scarborough, removal of these lanes would be simply asinine! The area the bike lanes run through is a commercial village strip, presumably with on street parking prior to the transformation. In fact, some places they’ve put in street parking next to the bike lane. I suspect that this was similar to downtown Richmond Hill, where 4 lanes become compromised to two because of street parking, This causes bottlenecks as idiot drivers drive right up to the parked cars and merge at the last minute. Therefore having 2 lanes + bike lanes keeps traffic smoother more so than having 4 lanes with parked cars.

    This does not mention the fact that being an inner city neighbourhood, cycling would be more common than in Scarborough, and there aren’t bike lanes parallel like along Sherbourne as with Jarvis. IF these lanes must go, then this stretch of Dupont should become a no parking/stopping/standing zone. Otherwise absolutely no improvements in traffic flow will be accomplished!

  9. I use these lanes almost every day. They provide a decent connection to The Junction, the railpath, and Annette street. To remove them would make the area rather dangerous and disjointed to travel in. In short, Palacio can kindly go suck it.

  10. Dupont without bike lane would be rather dangerous to cycle (it still is east of Lansdowne). It really drive me crazy to see these people trying to turn the clock back to an age where car reigns supreme!

  11. My wife commutes to work via bike down that stretch of Dupont every day. Her safety would be jeopardized if the bike lanes were to be removed. Why is Councillor Palacio trying to kill my wife?

  12. Only in Toronto…

    Sorry guys, you need a new mayor.

  13. @John, you are right: This stretch of Dupont is Ana Bailão’s ward. @Joey: I’ve never been under the impression that on-street parking is vital to business on Dupont, and the four-lane nature of the street was inconsistent, particularly when you look at things like the rail underpass betweeen Lansdowne and Campbell.

  14. Almost 2 years ago, I visited Montreal with my wife and discovered bicycling in a city with protected bike lanes.  We had not biked in years, and found it an exhilarating and healthful addition to a vacation.

    We had not known about Bixi or thought about biking in Montreal, but all those protected lanes and Bixi stations kept beckoning.  Finally, a bit nervously, we tried it.  Pretty soon we were biking all over the city.

    Coming home from all those restaurant meals and endorphin rushes (from seeing the city while exercising), we have turned into giddy boosters of Montreal.  

    This year I’m going back to Montreal to show my brother, and we’re going to spend two days with a bike tour company (Fitz & Folwell).  All my boosterism has even persuaded a bunch of friends to bring their families up there for vacation this summer. 

    Why are we not coming to Toronto to spend our tourist dollars?  It seems Toronto is not as welcoming for bicyclists.  The focus on cars makes it seem dangerous not just for bicyclists, but also for pedestrians — which most tourists are.  

  15. @Rob, after visiting Montreal last summer just to do some urban exploring, I myself have become a booster of that city as well. And I didn’t even try the Bixi bike rentals either…

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