Cam­paign for Bloor bike lanes gets big win

Af­ter com­mit­tee ap­proval, is­sue now heads to city coun­cil this month

Annex Post - - NEWS - by Macken­zie Pat­ter­son

There’s been a min­i­mal im­pact on cars, and the data shows busi­ness is up.”

On Oct. 18, Toronto City Coun­cil’s public works and in­fra­struc­ture com­mit­tee voted in favour of per­ma­nently main­tain­ing the Bloor Street bike lanes that run be­tween Shaw Street and Av­enue Road with some amend­ments. The rec­om­men­da­tion will now go to the full city coun­cil on Nov. 7 for fi­nal ap­proval.

Although the bike lanes were a hot topic of de­bate over the past few months with a va­ri­ety of sur­veys and polls be­ing bandied about by a va­ri­ety of groups, the com­mit­tee voted 4-2 in favour of the rec­om­men­da­tion with Stephen Holy­day and Gior­gio Mam­moliti the only com­mit­tee mem­bers to vote against it.

Coun­cil­lor Joe Cressy, of Ward 20, has been a sup­porter of the project since its in­cep­tion. He said since the lanes were in­stalled cy­cling has in­creased by 49 per cent with nearly 6,000 daily rid­ers, mak­ing the lane the sec­ond most pop­u­lar in the city, and col­li­sions are down 44 per cent.

“In the old days it was al­ways, ‘Are you for cars or bikes?’ But what we’ve been able to prove here is, if you de­sign a bike lane well, it can be a win-win for every­body,” he said. “And in this case, cy­cling is up, and the street is safer. There’s been a min­i­mal im­pact on cars, and the data shows busi­ness is up.”

Although Cressy said the data shows the project has been good for the lo­cal econ­omy, some busi­nesses ar­gue the bike lanes have been a detri­ment to sales. A re­cently formed group called the An­nex Busi­ness Bike Al­liance (ABBA) wrote a let­ter to coun­cil­lor Cressy, stat­ing that, in a grass­roots sur­vey, it was found that 69 per cent of busi­nesses in the An­nex are re­port­ing a drop in sales since the bike lanes were in­stalled.

How­ever, the group’s founder and the co-owner of Fresh Restau­rants, Barry Alper, said he’s sup­port­ive of the bike lanes.

In an email state­ment, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Fresh wrote: “Our coowner Barry has never been against bike lanes, but rather he, along with 70 other Bloor busi­ness own­ers, wants to have an open con­ver­sa­tion about the pi­lot project and how it’s af­fect­ing ev­ery­one in the neigh­bour­hood.”

Mike Mur­ray, man­ager of BMV Books at Bloor Street and Brunswick Av­enue, said the bike lanes have not af­fected his store’s sales, but they have been an in­con­ve­nience as book­sell­ers are of­ten un­able to find park­ing so they can un­load boxes.

“Look­ing out onto the street, I think there’s five park­ing spots to­tal, so for us that’s the ma­jor detri­ment to our busi­ness,” he said.

Coun­cil­lor Joe Cressy has ad­vo­cated for the lanes since the pi­lot’s in­cep­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.