Toronto cyclists may soon have a part of Bloor Street to call their own.
At a city meeting on Monday, the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee passed a motion to conduct an environmental assessment to see whether installing bike lanes on Bloor Street would be a feasible idea.
The potential assessment would be conducted next year, and would be done concurrently with the scheduled environmental assessment on Dupont Street, which parallels Bloor.
In the committee’s initial recommendation, it is pointed out that, “there is an advantage to combining the Bloor Street and Dupont Street corridors together because changes to one of the two parallel streets will affect the other.”
Coun. Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina), who is an avid a bike advocate, spoke in support of the environmental assessment at the meeting, but acknowledges both sides need to be considered with a potential bike lane installation.
“I wouldn’t be a good councillor if I didn’t actually acknowledge those different opinions, and try to have dialogue about what would be best,” Layton said, “There’s the issue of public safety, and the issue of public safety, and of driver safety, and of pedestrian safety.”
Committee chair Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East), was the lone vote against the recommendation, warning that council needed to “make the right decision” and compared the situation to the environmental assessment conducted prior to the installation and removal of bike lanes on Jarvis Street.
“The environmental assessment did not support putting in bike lanes, and what happened? Bike lanes were put in.” Minnan-Wong also said bike lanes could create more traffic. “I don’t want to see traffic get any worse, quite frankly, it’s quite bad as it is.”
Previously, an environmental assessment had been approved by city council in summer 2010, but was cancelled two years later. The scrapped Kipling Avenue to Kingston Road route was part of Toronto’s Bikeway Network plan.
Councillor Janet Davis (Ward 31, Beaches-East York), proposed an amendment to the recommendation, suggesting the environmental assessment go beyond the Prince Edward Viaduct, and across Danforth Avenue to Kingston Road, however, the motion was defeated.
Following the 5-1 vote, Minnan-Wong offered a little bit of foreshadowing, saying, “This goes to council for what I’m sure will be a very vigorous debate.”
The environmental assessment will be debated by City Council during November’s meeting.
Photo via Brad MacDonald