City of Toronto
100 Queen Street West
City Hall, 22nd Floor East Tower
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
December 17, 2015
RE: Bike Lanes on Bloor Street Between Shaw and Avenue Road
Dear Mr. Dunn,
I am writing on behalf of the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) to endorse a proposal to enhance the safety and efficacy of bicycle transportation infrastructure along Bloor Street from Avenue Road to Shaw Street.
UTFA represents about 3,000 faculty and librarians, including a number who are retired. Among our members, there is a growing use of bicycles to travel to and from the University’s downtown campus just to the south of Bloor Street along the east end of the proposed new bike lane corridor. Many of our members and others from the University community live in the Annex and points west and come to campus and other locations nearby by bicycle. Most would agree that there are sound public policy reasons to support travel by bicycle within the city, but we need to adapt our urban environment and infrastructure to facilitate bike use in order to reduce the risks of loss of life and serious injuries. Effective management of growing bicycle traffic in the city’s core also makes driving automotive vehicles less stressful and chaotic.
We are witnessing increased pressure on some of the existing bikes lanes around and on campus, notably along the Harbord Street corridor. Recent upgrades to the Harbord corridor are welcome, but the increased volume of bicycle traffic poses problems and risks. Reducing these risks is critical for our members and for the wider University community. In this context, Bloor street to the west of campus is a crucial additional route connecting the downtown campus to points west, including to the existing north-south corridor along Shaw Street. As others have noted, Bloor Street already draws considerable bicycle traffic and has certain advantages, including a lack of streetcar tracks. But it is not safe for bicycle traffic in its current configuration.
We strongly support the proposal to install some form of dedicated bicycle lanes along Bloor Street to the west of campus. While we are not pressing for any particular design at the moment, we understand that the city is considering a pilot project to begin at some point in 2016, and we would like to see this pilot project go forward. We urge the city to commit to the pilot study and to further explore specific design options for bicycle lanes in consultation with local stakeholders, including the Annex Business Improvement Association. It is vital for this project to move quickly from idea to reality.
More generally, UTFA supports any initiatives aimed at providing safer infrastructure for bicycle use around the St. George campus, or anywhere else in the City of Toronto for that matter. A continuous bike lane along Bloor and the Danforth is a natural east west corridor that would serve many members of the U of T Community who commute to the St. George campus from all over the city. The proposed pilot is an important first step in that direction. Members of our leadership are available to address any questions you may have or to provide additional information and support for this and related initiatives to policy-makers and urban planners.
Professor, University of Toronto
cc. Councillor Joe Cressy
Councillor Mike Layton
Jared Kolb, Cycle Toronto
University of Toronto President Meric Gertler