In 2014, the City of Toronto installed cycle tracks (separated bike lanes) on Richmond St., Adelaide St. and Simcoe St. This was a “pilot project” for demonstration, testing and evaluation, before a decision is made on whether they should be made permanent (with possible upgrades).
The city says preliminary evaluations of the cycle track have been positive. There have been numerous requests for extending the cycle track east. Suggestions for improving the design that have been received are being reviewed. A summary of the preliminary evaluation data will be posted online in the coming weeks.
As a continuation of this pilot project, Transportation Services is proposing to extend the Richmond Street, and Adelaide Street cycle tracks eastward, from their current eastern limits to Parliament Street. A staff report describing in detail these proposals will be presented to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, and City Council this summer 2015. If approved, the extensions of the pilot project will be installed this year in the fall, after the Pan Am and Para Pan Am Games. Transportation Services proposes to maintain operation and continued evaluation of the pilot project until a City Council decision is made on the recommendations of the related ongoing Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Study, targeted to be submitted to Council in the third quarter of 2016.
In general, the extensions of the pilot project will be achieved by converting the right side curb lane on Richmond and Adelaide to the cycle track, by introducing a painted buffer and flexi-post bollards, similar to the existing cycle tracks on these streets further west. Breaks will be provided in the cycle track separation for all driveways, and at transit stops (to allow TTC buses to pick-up and drop-off passengers at the curb).
The City is also reviewing the possibility of using planter-boxes or other kinds of separation at some locations as a way to improve the aesthetics of the cycle track installation, as well as reduce the amount of flexi-post bollards that may need to be used.
Like the existing cycle tracks, no stopping vehicle regulations are proposed adjacent to the extended cycle track. This means in general no on-street pay-and-display parking or loading will be permitted on the right side, with the exception of Wheel-Trans, TTC, emergency services and construction activities. Where possible, the City says it aims to compensate with appropriate loading regulations and pay-and-display parking on the left side of the street. The impact of these changes will be evaluated as part of the Environmental Assessment Study.
One exception to the no stopping and separated design is a short segment between York Street and Yonge Street where two existing high demand “courier delivery zones” must be maintained to service the unique high volume truck delivery needs of First Canadian Place, Scotia Plaza and many business in the underground Path, according to the City. This one section of street is already reduced to two lanes because of ongoing tower construction occupying the north side. Enhanced pavement markings will be provided to guide cyclists around these “courier delivery zones”. If the cycle tracks are approved for permanent installation, alternative design solutions could be possible in this section in the future.
Meanwhile, dedicated bicycle lanes were approved for Peter Street, between King Street and Queen Street in 2014. The Peter Street bicycle lanes are planned to be installed in 2015, as part of the second phase of the pilot project.
Complete the city’s online survey before May 11 to be included in the Phase 1 Evaluation Report here.