From the Horse’s Mouth: Councillor Joe Cressy on bike projects in Ward 20

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Illustration by Ian Sullivan 

From the Horse's Mouth: Councillor Joe Cressy on bike projects in Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina

From the Horse's Mouth is a new dandyhorse series where we ask City Hall experts questions related to their area of expertise.

This week Joe Cressy, Councillor of Toronto Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina, tells us about bike projects in his ward, and working towards a minimum grid.

We asked: What are the next big bike lane projects are in your ward this year? How are you going to make them happen?

In Ward 20, and across Toronto for that matter, cycling has most definitely arrived. Ward 20 has the second largest number of residents who cycle in Toronto. And when you account for cyclists commuting through the ward, it has the largest number of daily cyclists.  If you ask me – and I am biased– what’s good for cycling infrastructure in Ward 20 is indeed good for the city.

2016 is going to be a very big year for cycling infrastructure in Ward 20.  Over the next year we will see the introduction of painted lanes on Peter Street, the design of a cycle-friendly Queen and Soho intersection, and (hopefully, as it still is being studied) the extension of separated lanes on Simcoe.  In the year ahead we’ll also look at extending lanes on Fort York Blvd and begin the early studies on the much-need North-South arterial on University Avenue.

All that being said, the biggest project is of course the one that we’ve all been working on for decades: bike lanes on Bloor.  2016 is the year we will finally install a pilot bike lane on Bloor Street from Shaw Street to Avenue Road. For more than a year Councillor Mike Layton and I have been working with local residents, business owners, cycling advocates and groups like the Bloor Street Cultural Corridor to plan for the pilot lane.  A lot of hard work has taken place already – Cycle Toronto and Bells on Bloor have been out canvassing residents and businesses, the Bloor-Annex and Koreatown BIA’s have commissioned an economic impacts study, and five local residents’ associations have endorsed the pilot.

However, the final step in the finalization of the pilot will come this spring when City Council votes on the final design.  If you ask me, Bloor Street is our chance to show that what is safe for riders is also safe for drivers; that what’s good for cyclists is also good for businesses. It will take a lot of work and a critical vote, but if we continue to show that investing in cycling infrastructure is a win-win for all, I’m confident that we’ll ride Bloor Street together this year.

Will/do you support the adoption of a minimum grid policy? Is there a chance of council adopting the minimum grid as policy by the end of 2016?

Over the next 25 years, Toronto’s population will grow by more than 1 million people. Meanwhile, the surrounding Greater Toronto Horseshoe Region will add nearly 5 million people. There is simply not the space to build or widen roads to accommodate a vehicle focused future. In fact, our roads are already at capacity.  Simply put, planning the future on the basis of an automobile is a losing proposition.

If Toronto is going to create a transit system that moves people quickly, enhances the economy, and reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions, we need to transition to a city that makes it easier to walk, cycle, and take public transit.  Adopting and investing in a Minimum Grid policy is key to key to that vision.

In 2015 we took the first steps with the early work on the 10-year cycling network plan.  City Staff are working hard to ensure that the strategy is built around connecting cycling infrastructure, and ensuring connections to public transit nodes. Our task in 2016 is to complete the plan, commit to it, and fund it. If we do that, we can indeed adopt a Minimum Grid policy.

 

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Related on the dandyBLOG:

From the Horse's Mouth: Dr. David McKeown on how Toronto can get healthy in 2016

From the Horse's Mouth: Jennifer Keesmaat on the best city projects of 2015, and a look at the year ahead

Q&A with new ward 20 councillor Joe Cressy

Bloor bike lane pilot coming in 2016

 

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