[URBAN NOTE] “Are Dupont Street’s Bike Lanes Under Threat?”
I live on Dupont Street; I own a bike. Desmond Cole’s Torontoist article highlights an issue I’ll be paying attention to in the months ahead, notwithstanding my skepticism of the organization formerly known as the Toronto Cyclists Union.
Yesterday, Cycle Toronto (formerly known as the Toronto Cyclists Union) whipped up a furor among cycling advocates by issuing a statement suggesting that Mayor Rob Ford’s office had asked City staff to report on the possibility of removing the Dupont Street bike lanes, and that the whole thing was the idea of councillor Cesar Palacio (Ward 17, Davenport). Cycle Toronto has since retracted the statement, because there appears to be no real substantiation for it.
Here’s what we know, currently, about bike lanes on Dupont:
Have councillors asked staff to remove lanes on Dupont?
No, but last June the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee did ask staff to review options for improving traffic flow along Dupont, especially at the intersection of Dupont Street and Lansdowne Avenue. The Dupont Street bike lanes will inevitably be part of that review.
What else will the report examine?
According to councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18, Davenport), staff are also exploring traffic-signal synchronization and the installation of a “reversible” middle vehicle lane that would alternate with morning and evening rush hours to provide an extra lane of auto traffic during peak times. (In 2009, a reversible lane on Jarvis Street was removed so that bike lanes could be installed. Council ultimately voted in favour of putting the reversible lane back.)
When will the traffic report be ready?
Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina), who sits on the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, expects the report to be ready by October.
[. . .]
What are councillors (and their staff) saying about potential changes to Dupont’s lanes?
Councillor Ana Bailão:
“I’m not even contemplating that at the moment. We need to see what data city staff come up with… I do have lot of residents saying things have gotten worse since the bike lanes went in. Sometimes perception can be different from the reality. We want to get the public involved. We need to formalize a consultation that will include the cyclists, the people in the neighbourhood, the business owners.”
Councillor Mike Layton:
“This administration has done nothing but remove bike lanes. So if the mayor wants this, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone.”
Mike Makrigiorgos, executive assistant to councillor Cesar Palacio:
“I have no clue what [Cycle Toronto] is talking about. I don’t have any information. We’re very disappointed in Cycle Toronto. We’re saying, ‘If you have any information, show it to us.’”