The city has released new numbers that show a dramatic, 1,500-per-cent increase in the number of cyclists on Richmond and Adelaide streets since bike lanes were installed in 2013.
“We’ve moved from a couple hundred cyclists a day on the corridor to over 6,000 cyclists a day,” said Shawn Dillon, manager of Cycling Infrastructure and Programs. “So, it’s just been an astronomical change.”
The lanes are part of a pilot project that has also led to a significant decrease in the number of cyclist-involved collisions. On Richmond, collisions are down 79 per cent, and on Adelaide, they’re down 63 per cent.
Despite the success story, the city has not yet made the lanes permanent.
“The city tends to take a long time in building bike lanes, protected bike lanes especially in Toronto, and we need to see the city pick up the pace,” said Liz Sutherland of advocacy group Cycle Toronto.
One of the biggest issues the city is facing is on Adelaide just west of Bay, where trucks have to block bike lanes to unload. The city has proposed moving the lanes from the south side of the street to the north side.
“We still had some problems we needed to get through in terms of the evaluation,” said Dillon.
“Avoiding those loading dock queues is really the biggest impetus behind this change.”
The bike lanes run between Bathurst and Parliament streets, and advocates say one of the bigger goals will be to integrate them with other bike lanes in the city to ensure cyclists are safe during their entire commute.
For now, they are thrilled to hear just how many cyclists are using the lanes.
“It is among the most popular routes in the city now, and it just shows if you build it they will come,” said Sutherland.
The city said it hopes to present a report to council next year recommending that the lanes be made permanent.