City council votes to make Bloor Street bike lanes permanent
Following a year-long pilot project on Bloor Street, on November 7 Toronto City Council voted 36 to 6 in favour of making the bike lanes between Avenue Road and Shaw Street permanent.
“We are pleased with the outcome,” says Andre Vallillee, the Metcalf Foundation’s Environment Program Director.
Council initially approved the pilot project back in May 2016. Throughout, data was collected in an effort to assess the impact of the lanes. The volume of cyclists, changes in automobile travel times, and consumer spending in local businesses along the route were all measured.
The Metcalf Foundation, in partnership with two local business improvement associations and the City of Toronto, funded The Economic Impact Study of the Bike Lanes in Toronto’s Bloor Annex and Korea Town Neighbourhoods. Published by the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) in October 2017, the study found that cycling ridership and business revenue were up along the route following implementation of the bike lanes. These findings were corroborated by data from Moneris, a credit and debit transaction company, which reported that total spending was up in the pilot area.
With downtown Toronto’s population projected to nearly double over the next twenty-five years, cycling is an important part of the solution to managing growth and the environmental impacts that come with it. “The Metcalf Foundation is the first philanthropic organization in Canada to commit to the cycling space as a core part of our environmental philanthropy,” says Vallillee. “It was a strategic decision. We saw an opportunity to connect low-carbon mobility solutions with other pressing urban concerns related to health, safety, equity, and economic prosperity.”
To witness the impact of the pilot project along Bloor Street, watch this short video, which we commissioned from Powerline Films.