The cycling community is rejoicing and Ford Nation is likely fuming in light of the City of Toronto's proposed pilot project to install a bike lane along Bloor Street West stretching from Shaw Street to Avenue Road. Scheduled for installation in late Summer 2016, the proposal comes as a result of multiple cycling studies dating back to 1992 identifying the Bloor Street corridor as a prime candidate for bicycle lanes. Given the retail and commercial establishments along the street, its relatively flat topography, the absence of streetcar tracks, and the continuity of the road, Bloor has the potential to become one of the most significant bikeways in the city.

Rendering of Bloor from Shaw Street to Bathurst Street, image courtesy of the City of Toronto.

The preferred design of the road, based off of a review of design considerations as well as extensive public input, would see continuous curbside bike lanes along both sides of the street, with separation elements providing a barrier from automobile traffic. For the pilot project, the separation will not be permanent, with a painted road surface and flexposts forming the buffer, much like what is seen on the current bike lanes along Richmond and Adelaide Streets.

Cross section showing street design from Shaw to Bathurst Street, image courtesy of the City of Toronto.

Cross section showing street design from Bathurst St. to Spadina Ave., image courtesy of the City of Toronto.

Cross section showing street design from Spadina Ave. to Avenue Rd., image courtesy of the City of Toronto.

Automobile lanes on Bloor Street will be reduced to one lane in each direction, with an additional lane provided for parking, which would alternate between the north and south sides of the street at different intervals. The bike lane will be located between the parking lane and the sidewalk, with a separation zone providing a safe distance from car doors. Further design modifications may be considered to accommodate special circumstances, such as bus stops, construction sites, or existing parking lay-bys.

Diagram illustrating proposed location of street parking along Bloor, image courtesy of the City of Toronto.

The pilot project is still in its planning and consultation phase, with the next public meeting scheduled for this Wednesday, March 9 in the gym of the Trinity-St. Paul's Centre at 467 Bloor Street West. The event will be held from 4:00 to 8:00 PM, and local councillors Mike Layton and Joe Cressy will be in attendance.

The bike lane proposal will go before City Council in the spring, and if it is approved, it will likely be installed in late Summer 2016. A subsequent evaluation of the pilot project would be conducted before recommending to Council whether it should be made permanent or not.

Rendering of a typical intersection design, image courtesy of the City of Toronto.

More information, as well as presentation materials and contact information, can be found here on the project's website. Public input is greatly encouraged, either by attending the public consultation, or by contacting the project team directly. Want to share your thoughts on the topic? You can join in on the conversation in our associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.