Complete Streets research team from left to right: Nancy Smith Lea, Brandon Quigley, Anna Ingebrigtsen, Neil Loewen, and Rakim Mitra.
Photo by Tamara Nahal
New Complete Streets book launched at Ryerson University by TCAT
Story by Yvonne Verlinden
The Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) launched its new book, Complete Street Transformations in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, to a full house on May 5th at Ryerson University. The audience included City staff, representatives from the Ontario government, and planners from York, Peel and Brantford. The Director of TCAT, Nancy Smith Lea, welcomed attendees and hosted the event. She explained that while many municipalities are building Complete Streets, these projects are still not well understood and not well evaluated, and the book seeks to address this gap.
Researchers Neil Loewen and Brandon Quigley then highlighted a number of case studies from the book, including Toronto’s own separated bike lanes on Richmond and Adelaide. They reported that these streets saw increases in the number of cyclists of 157 per cent and 197 per cent respectively, and that even motorists reported feeling safer. They also highlighted that these projects do not have to be expensive – the City of Guelph implemented a road diet and bicycle lanes on College Avenue West at a cost of only $11,000.
Dr. Raktim Mitra, assistant professor at Ryerson University and co-author of the book, led a panel discussion with Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati, Manager of Cycling Infrastructure and Programs at the City of Toronto and Lizuarte Simas, Manager and Rapid Transit Liaison at York Region. Lizuarte described how the design of Highway 7 in Richmond Hill and Markham has been a transformational shift in York Region, and Jacquelyn emphasized the importance of rigorous evaluation for proving that these projects work. For example, being able to present such a compelling case for Richmond and Adelaide Phase 1 made proceeding to Phase 2 an easy win.
The researchers left it up to each municipality to define on its own what counted as a Complete Street. The good news for cyclists in the Greater Golden Horseshoe is that, while some projects included transit improvements, and others did streetscaping, all nine of them added bike lanes.
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