Protected Bike Lanes

There’s been a lot of talk in the Toronto cycling community about the city’s plans for separated bidirectional bike lanes on Harbord Street. The idea is to build a single, protected lane for cyclists travelling both east and west, extending all the way from Ossington to Queen’s Park. This would create at least one place in our city that looks like some of the more developed cycling lanes in the world’s more progressive and bike friendly cities, such as New York

941622_541747222557169_207743886_n

or Berlin

Berlin separated path 3

or Rio

beachfront bike path Rio 3w

In the August version of Ring and Post, Cycle Toronto comes out strongly in favour of the proposal. They give a cross-section of the road configuration planned between Ossington and Spadina:

harbord-sg2o

Cycle Toronto have even announced a Love-In at the Harbord Bakery (this being the business which, following an article in The Star, has come to be seen as the centre of resistance to the proposal).

The blogs are buzzing with discussions about the proposal. I’m not going to go into any detail here, since you can read the comprehensive run-down on ibiketo.ca and dandyhorse. As I see it, the more funding the city puts into projects like this, the better. Once drivers and cyclists begin to see how they can share our roads, we will find increasing support for safe roads. It may be true that, for the seasoned rider, unidirectional lanes on the north and south sides are better. But bike lanes protected by a physical barrier will get more people cycling, which means fewer cars on the roads. And it’s a small step toward realizing more comprehensive and progressive visions of what cycling in the city can be, such as, for example, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.


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