Illustration by Warren Wheeler.
Why Bike Lanes Are Now More Popular in Toronto
There are several plausible reasons to explain the uptick in support, write Albert Koehl and Gideon Forman.
~ This article originally appeared on Torontoist. ~
Has Toronto turned the corner when it comes to accepting the bicycle as a legitimate part of our transportation system? A Forum Research poll from September 30 provides good reasons for optimism. The survey found 70 per cent of Torontonians favour bike lanes compared to a mere 22 per cent who oppose them. A majority of people in the city even support the long-debated Bloor bike lane—installed just weeks ago.
The on-road reality for Toronto’s cyclists is still a far cry not only from cycling superstars like Copenhagen or Amsterdam but also from our big city Canadian rival, Montréal. Past municipal promises to increase bicycle infrastructure—like Toronto’s 2001 Bike Plan for 500 kilometres of bike lanes—failed miserably. Without safe bike lanes, many people are unwilling to take a chance cycling on our fast-paced roads—let alone allow their children to do the same. The Forum poll appears to show deepening and broadening support for bike lanes in Toronto, findings that can’t help but make an impression on decision-makers at City Hall.
Will Mayor John Tory brush aside the fact that 73 per cent of those who voted for him in the last election endorse bike lanes? Will councillors take note of poll results showing majority buy-in for bike lanes from all parts of the city: 79 per cent in the former City of Toronto and East York, 70 per cent in Etobicoke, 69 per cent in Scarborough, and 61 per cent in North York?
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