Story and Photos by Jun Nogami
August 12, 2016 was the official opening of the Bloor Bike Lane pilot by the City of Toronto. Prior to the press event, Cycle Toronto organized an informal ride starting from Bickford Park, at the intersection of Grace and Harbord.
Jared Kolb, executive director of Cycle Toronto, as well as the two local councillors, Mike Layton and Joe Cressy, all took turns commenting on how this project has been a long time coming, that that it was the result of many years of advocacy by various groups, as well as cyclists across the city. It should be noted that today is also the birthday of the late Tooker Gomberg, who was one of those voices called for bike lanes on Bloor more than 40 years ago.
The acting Deputy Director of Transportation got things started. He said that while this project is a real breakthrough, he counseled patience in that the project is only 80% done, and that it will take some time for drivers and cyclists to adjust to this new infrastructure. He also mentioned several partnerships involved in taking and analyzing data to assess the success of this project.
Mike Layton said that he grew up across the street on Albany, and he knew that bike lanes on Bloor had been discussed as far back as before he was born. “If you can put a bike lane on Bloor and make it work, you can put a bike lane anywhere”.
Joe Cressy led off by saying that he still lives on Albany. He thanked the many groups that advocated for bike lanes over the decades, including Cycle Toronto and Bells on Bloor, and emphasized that the decision on whether the bike lanes are a success will be data driven. He stated that this will be the most studied cycling project that the City of Toronto has ever done.
Afterwards, Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati (Manager, Cycling - Transportation Services) addressed questions from the media.
The atmosphere was upbeat and optimistic, and many people hung around afterwards to chat.
Our new issue of dandyhorse has arrived! dandyhorse is available for FREE at Urbane Cyclist, Bikes on Wheels, Cycle Couture, Sweet Pete's, Hoopdriver, Batemans, Velofix, and Steamwhistle.Our new issue of dandyhorse includes cover art by Kent Monkman, interviews with Catherine McKenna and the women behind Toronto's first feminist bike zine, lots of news and views on Bloor, Under Gardiner and the West Toronto Railpath and much, much more! Get dandy at your door or at better bike and book shops in Toronto.
Related on the dandyBLOG:
The First Week of the Bloor Bike Lane in Photos
Bike Spotting on Bloor Part One from our new issue
Bike Spotting on Bloor Part Two from our new issue
Bike Spotting on Bloor Part Three from our new issue