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City council approves 40 km expansion of Toronto's cycling network

City commuters travel by bicycle on a dedicated lane in downtown Toronto. The Canadian Press Images/Christian Lapid

City council has approved a significant expansion of Toronto’s cycling network.

During only its second virtual session since the start of the pandemic, council voted 23-2 to put in motion what’s been dubbed the largest expansion of Toronto’s on-street bike network ever in one year – 25 km of new bikeways to go along with 15 km of previously approved cycling lanes.

Bloor Street East, University Avenue/Queen’s Park Crescent and Dundas Street East will be among the first installations as the ActiveTO cycling network plan allows for the expansion of bike routes quickly through temporary installations by repurposing curb lanes along several key corridors.

The approved work also addresses other gaps in the network including locations in North York and Scarborough and includes acceleration of the Bloor West Bikeway Extension, as well as streetscape improvements and temporary bike lanes on Danforth Avenue.

The decision comes in the wake of a staff report which called for an acceleration of the planned expansion of the cycling network as a crucial part of the City’s COVID-19 restart and recovery. Traffic data revealed that a significant number of people have continued to rely on cycling as a transportation choice instead of riding transit.

“Connected bike routes, all of which were identified and approved from the Cycling Network Plan, will give people options and supplement subway lines to create an important relief valve for the transit system in the wake of COVID-19,” said Mayor John Tory. “Safe cycling lanes in Toronto and cities around the world are viewed as a critical part of COVID-19 restart and recovery planning.”

The full Cycling Network Plan Installations can be found here.