The Danforth’s Big Bike Count

Photo by Jun Nogami from Bells on Danforth 2018 ride.

Danforth Bike Count Indicates Huge Demand for Bike Lane

There are thousands of cyclists on The Danforth, as was confirmed recently by a bicycle count. Active transportation advocates believe a bike lane on The Danforth would not only ensure their safety, it would also increase their numbers. 

Over 3,000 cyclists were counted using video on a recent weekday -- a number similar to the pre-bike lane volume on Bloor Street.

The video recording was conducted from a rooftop overlooking the Danforth and Jackman intersection between Broadview and Logan. A full 24 hours of video was reviewed by a team of 14 volunteers to count each bicycle and automobile.

“Video technology allows us to capture data conveniently,” said Kevin Rupasinghe, a U of T engineering graduate who volunteered to help with this count. “And, perhaps as importantly, video recordings allow for verification of data.” (Here are links to the data and YouTube clip for 5:20 to 5:40 p.m.)

Autos and bicycles on Danforth and mode share on June 14, 2018 - Graph by Kevin Rupasinghe (July 2, 2018).

“These numbers were not a surprise. The Danforth is a logical east west route for people on bikes, as well as being a fantastic destination. It connects to existing lanes on Jones, Greenwood, and Woodbine, plus the Bloor Viaduct. The Danforth is long overdue for protected bike lanes," said Mary-Ann Neary, chair of the advocacy group Ward 32 Spokes.

Despite lacking infrastructure, Danforth currently handles more cyclists than some of the city’s most popular cycling facilities, emphasizing the demand for a bike lane. This recent comprehensive bike count conducted on Danforth Avenue clearly indicates it is ready for a fully-protected bike lane.

And those numbers are likely to increase substantially if a protected cycling lane is installed - Bloor saw a huge spike in cycling traffic after the pilot was built, while the Richmond-Adelaide lanes saw increases of 600 per cent to over 1,100 per cent, with no major impact on vehicle travel times.

A 1992 city report identified Danforth Avenue (along with Bloor Street) as an ideal east-west route that could form the spine of a city cycling network. The volume of automobile traffic along the Danforth exceeds the City’s own guidelines for where dedicated cycling infrastructure should be built. However, a bike lane cannot be built until a major corridor study is conducted to collect data such as those collected in this volunteer count. The corridor study has been delayed twice now.

The recent Danforth Planning Study Report shows significant community support for fully-protected bike lanes, and states: "...most participants included on-street bike lanes within their concept designs for Danforth Avenue ... and, in particular, the provision of separated, on-street bike lanes to provide greater and safer cycling opportunities ...."

Since 2016, the city has installed only 17 km (6 per cent) of the 280 km in its Ten-Year Cycling Network Plan. Toronto continues to lag behind other cities like Montreal, Edmonton, and Vancouver in terms of protected bike lanes. And the 93 pedestrian and cyclist deaths since the city launched it's Vision Zero road safety plan demonstrates how desperately the city needs more protected cycling lanes so that people can move safely throughout the city.

"We're urging the Mayor and City Councillors to commit to carrying out the Danforth Corridor Study in the first quarter of 2019," said Gerry Brown, co-chair of advocacy group Ward 30 Bikes. "We have great support from our local Councillors and the community; the time for action to back the city's commitment to road safety is now."


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