Bike hits and misses

Pushing pedal power a tricky proposition 10 years after rollout of Bike Plan


As Bike Month wheels along, we take a sober look at all those cycling-happy city commitments meant to reshape our streets. The Toronto Bike Plan, Shifting Gears, drafted 10 years ago next month, was and still is an ambitious 134-page strategy for transforming Toronto into one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. A decade later, more people than ever are rarin’ to ride, but pushing pedal-powered transportation is as tricky a proposition as navigating our pockmarked streets. Here’s a snapshot of where we’re at:

Did it!

• Bike racks on buses.

• A pavement repair reporting system.

• No shortage of wacky-looking racks for parking your ride.

• Union Station bike station opened in 2009.

• The length of bike lanes increased from 116 km in 2001 to 430 km in 2011 – still nowhere near the Bike Plan’s target of 1,000 km.

• Bixi bike-lending program: one of the biggest changes to cycling culture that the Bike Plan did not envision.

Why the hell haven’t we done this?

• A green zone downtown where small loads are delivered via foot, bike or public transit only.

• A bike-to-school program to identify safer routes kids can take.

• A system to pinpoint high-collision locations and implement

counter measures.

• Bicycle sensors that activate traffic signals to turn green

It’d be nice, but don’t hold your breath.

• A $73 million commitment over 10 years to finish the Bike Plan as first envisioned.

• Seamless bikeway connections across municipal boundaries.

• Shower/change facilities at all city of Toronto workplaces.

• A pool of bicycles for city employees to use in conducting city business.

What the Bike Plan missed

• Despite its lofty goal of 1,000 km of bike lanes, there’s scant reference to separated bike lanes, an item now at the top of the list for many cycling advocates.

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