Work is to begin soon to add separated bike lanes to Sherbourne St. as part of planned repairs to the street.
The $4.1 million contract includes $2.5 million for bike lanes and the rest for road resurfacing, sidewalk and streetscape improvements.
In a first for Toronto, curbs and a painted buffer strip will be employed to separate bikes from cars. Street parking will be lost, but delivery zones will be provided.
Sherbourne St. was touted as a better, safer north-south cycling route than Jarvis St., where motorists complained after painted bike lanes were added in the summer of 2010 under former mayor David Miller.
City council decreed that the Jarvis bike lanes would be removed when Sherbourne was completed. Now, cycling advocates are hoping to keep the Jarvis lanes, to give cyclists two routes.
They contend that car traffic hasn’t been badly disrupted on Jarvis and delays could be avoided by installing a new left turn signal at Gerrard St.
It could cost $250,000 to put Jarvis back the way it was, with a reversible fifth lane for commuters, said Jared Kolb, of advocacy group Cycle Toronto.
“It would be a colossal waste of money,” Kolb said. “The street’s working very well. It’s a good example of sharing the road.”
Councillor Mike Layton, who wants to see bike lanes expanded, said there was never a strong argument to get rid of the Jarvis bike lanes.
“It’s an incredibly popular bike route that’s not really holding up traffic. I see no reason why we should remove them.”
It makes sense to add lanes to Sherbourne because the street is due for repairs, he added.
Work is scheduled to begin next week to re-do Sherbourne from Bloor to King Sts., with completion by November.
From Bloor to Gerrard, Sherbourne will get surface repairs, with bike lanes at road level. From Gerrard to King, the road will be rebuilt down to the concrete base, with bike lanes at sidewalk level.
The section of Sherbourne from King St. to Queens Quay is also due to be overhauled, probably in 2014, said Dan Egan, the city’s cycling infrastructure manager.
Once it’s completed, cyclists on Sherbourne will be able to connect with east-west bike lanes on Wellesley, Gerrard, Shuter and Queens Quay, Egan said.
Because its bike lanes will be separate from traffic, Sherbourne will offer cyclists greater protection than Jarvis could, said Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday.
“With the number of cyclists downtown and the number of opportunities for conflicts with cars and pedestrians, separated lanes are the safest,” Holyday said.
Councillor John Parker, who had successfully moved the motion to scrap the Jarvis bike lanes, said he has no interest in reopening the debate.
“Council has considered the matter and made its decision,” said Parker (Ward 26, Don Valley West). “I’m happy that Sherbourne is going ahead. I think that’s good news.”
Holyday said Sherbourne will be a test case for separated bike lanes. If it works well, other streets could get them as well.
“I think that type of system is repeatable in other places, and once we see how it goes on Sherbourne, that’s exactly what might happen. I think we have to do what we can to protect users of the road.”
Back in February, 2012 the Toronto City Council passed some new parking, standing and stopping during rush-hour(s) by-laws today, that will have $150.00 fines associated with any violation. The previous fine was only $60 and this more than doubles the current fine, making it one of the highest fines in Canada.
The $60 fine, doubles plus to $150 for anyone stopping, standing or parking on streets during Toronto’s rush hours 6-10 a.m or 3-7 p.m Mon-Fri. or parking in a bicycle lane at anytime.
Motorists that stop, stand or park a vehicle during all or any portion of the general rush hour period(s) of 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and or 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday to Friday except Public Holidays where official signs to prohibit parking, standing or stopping are displayed.
Council also amended the City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 886, Footpaths, Pedestrian Ways, Bicycle Paths and Bicycle Lanes to increase the fixed fine amount to $150.00 with respect to the offences of stopping a vehicle other than a bicycle in a bicycle lane at anytime.
Before the new by-laws and fines are introduced, the City of Toronto must make application to the Senior Regional Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice to establish the set fine and have it approved at this level first.