Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Toronto Star (in 2008) On Miller's Legacy #9

To build 1,000 kilometres of bikeways, including 495 km of bike lanes, by 2012, delayed from the original 2011 target.
Councillor Adrian Heaps, who heads the cycling committee, and Mayor David Miller, who promised during his 2006 re-election bid to "construct bike trails and lakefront promenades across the city from Etobicoke to Scarborough."
Since 2001, the city has completed 395 km of bike lanes, shared roads and off-road paths. Of those, only 91 km represent bike lanes – of which 7 km were built last year and nearly 20 km this year. That means the city has some serious catching up to do. If council approves an additional 16 km along Lawrence Ave. E. at its December meeting, the city will meet its 50-km target for the year, though they won't all be in place.
The Bike Plan, first approved in 2001, calls for creating a network of bike-friendly streets that will put all residents within a five-minute ride to the network.
In January, council tried to streamline approvals by taking the decision away from community councils, where politicians could delay and stall under pressure from a single ward councillor opposed to the upheaval caused by adding a bike lane.
But local skirmishes among drivers, cyclists and neighbourhood businesses, each with their own concerns, still slow the process. One example: a prolonged battle over 700 metres of Annette St., opposed by the local councillor. The new process resulted in a city council vote in favour of bike lanes along that stretch.
The city has earmarked $8 million for more bike lanes in its 2009 capital budget, which would add 100 km, and has said it's committed to hitting its 2012 target.
Update: The 16,1 km Lawrence Bike Lane has since been delayed.

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