Woodbine Avenue could be the site of the first separated cycle track east of the Don Valley Parkway if Toronto Council goes along with recommendations from the city’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.
The committee voted Tuesday, Sept. 27 to approve the northbound and southbound cycle tracks that would run between O’Connor Drive in East York to Woodbine and Queen Street in the Beaches. The track would join a handful of other bike routes that are not only separated by painted lines but also physical bollards, to keep cars and bikes fully separated.
The plan came to committee with the support of the Woodbine Heights Assocation, a residents’ group looking to revitalize the commercial strip of Woodbine north of the Danforth.
“Our membership voted unanimously in favour of this,” said Phil Pothen of the Woodbine Heights Association. “We support this not just because it will promote cycling safety but it will go a long way to ameliorating the injuries on our once healthy commercial strip by bad traffic and land-use decisions.”
Pothen noted that the fast-moving car traffic on Woodbine is a discouragement to locals who want to walk to stores, and doesn’t in itself contribute much to the customer base. Pothen said that cyclists would be more likely to stop at local stores, and also be less unnerved by long gaps between businesses on the partially residential street.
And he noted that the plan, which includes 24-hour permit parking, would mean that cars could stop at any time as well.
Jared Kolb of Cycle Toronto told the committee that the plan was an essential piece in building a grid of protected bike lanes beyond downtown Toronto.
Beaches-East York (Ward 32) Councillor Mary Margaret-McMahon enlarged on that idea, noting that the lanes would connect Bloor-Danforth eventually to the waterfront trails.
And Ward 31 Councillor Janet Davis, who represents the neighbourhoods north of Danforth, said the new cycle track could also connect Scarborough riders.
“I believe there are other connecting lanes that will make it used even more,” she said. “I look forward to seeing bike lanes installed soon on St. Clair because now that we have the edge lines across the bridge on O’Connor we will be able to open up the doors in Scarborough, to come down to Woodbine.”