It’s nearly impossible to pick a “best” bike lane for 2006 — I mean, 10 kilometres were added to the bikeway network last year! (please note my sarcasm). Of that, I believe just over 2 km (1 km on Strachan and 1 km for the Harbord extension, plus the lane on Sentinel mentioned below) are actual on-street bike lanes.
So, I think it’s fair to say that the best is yet to come. When car traffic is finally replaced with bike lanes to complete the long-neglected and sketchy section of the Martin Goodman trail from Spadina to York, as part of the waterfront revitalization, cyclists in this city will truly have something to rejoice about.
Queen’s Quay was temporarily transformed into a cyclist and pedestrian paradise in August, much to the delight of the city’s cyclists, tourists and most local residents (the Star‘s report of “mixed reviews” for the project generated some interesting discussion on the Spacing Wire earlier in the year.)
Since it was such a difficult task to decide on the “best” bike lane for 2006, I conferred with resident expert Martin Koob, TCAT coordinating team member and TBN‘s representative to the Toronto Cycling Committee. He also runs the ever-informative biketoronto website. Here’s what he said in part:
I think the best bike lane in 2006 would be the one on Sentinel in North York from Finch to The Pond Road. One of the reasons is that it was an extension of a bike lane project that was originally slated to be from Grandravine to the Finch Hydro Corridor. Cooperation from York University allowed them to continue the bike lane up to The Pond Road right into the York University campus. This addition to the project is also due to some of the work of the people at Smart Commute North Toronto Vaughan and their work with York University(‘s transportation department). Unfortunately the original part of the project from Grandravine to Finch has not been completed yet, hopefully this year.
I have not yet had the pleasure of riding on this lane. But I spoke to Brian Shifman, Executive Director of Smart Commute North Toronto Vaughan, and he assured me that it is well used, adding that his organization’s BUG (Bicycle User Group) now has over 300 members.
Martin’s full article — the most comprehensive review of cycling infrastructure in Toronto for 2006 — is available here on page 7 of TBN’s most recent newsletter.
It is of interest to note that some of the best cycling projects were not done by the City, but by other agencies. For example, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority in conjunction with the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation installed the Scarborough Waterfront trail. (Read more on that here.) Another example is the reconstruction of the Martin Goodman Trail in Marilyn Bell Park, which was also done by the TWRC in record time.
View more great pics of the Queen’s Quay transformation by Peter Hudd at the bikingtoronto site. Previous Spacing posts on Quay to the City event can be found here and here. Photo of sculpture courtesy of treehugger.com