It’s hard to believe that five years ago a group of Leaside cyclists met to figure out what to do with Toronto’s new 25-ward system. We were to be a chapter of Cycle Toronto for the new Ward 15 but that meant leaving behind long-time connections with our neighbours in Flemingdon Park. We decided to think big, keep our existing allies and welcome more from other neighbourhoods in both Ward 15 and Ward 16. Our name – Cycle Don Valley Midtown – reflected our orientation around the Don Valley and location in the middle of Toronto.
Big challenges, great enthusiasm
Geographically, we covered a big area where most of the safe cycling space was located on trails in the Don Valley. But there were some encouraging projects on the horizon – Eglinton Avenue was planned to have a bikeway spanning 19 km in conjunction with the Crosstown LRT, and the East Don Trail and the Meadoway were to provide a complete trail connection from Rouge Urban Park to the waterfront. Calls to remove the newly installed bike lanes in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park connected us with community members who supported safe cycling.
Lots happening and more to come
Below is a detailed summary of some of the cycling initiatives we’ve worked on.
A blossoming cycling community
This year I’ve seen more people of all ages out on bikes in Leaside and I like to think we’ve had a hand in that. We’ve been long-time supporters of Gateway Bike Hub and its programs. The Women’s Cycling Network was founded by our members. We are founding organizers of Yonge4All, local residents committed to a safer Yonge Street for everyone. And we collaborated with Cycle Toronto Midtown to create Cycle55+ to encourage more people to bike as they age. Post Covid we are back to hosting group rides and the occasional social. We continue to meet virtually on the last Wednesday of every month and newcomers are most welcome.
|Thorncliffe Park Drive
|Increased on-street parking, added protections and safety measures.||Completed 2021|
|Renewing Overlea||Reconstruction of Overlea Bridge to include protected space for people walking and cycling, and safety improvements at all intersections.||Approved in 2022.
Construction 2024 to 2026.
|ActiveTO pilot project to bring a
complete street to Yonge in Midtown.
|Pilot implemented in 2021, made permanent in 2023. Study on extending north – 2024.|
|Millwood Road Safety Improvements||Protected bike lanes on the Leaside bridge and safer intersections.||Postponed until 2024, with work on Overlea/Millwood intersection being coordinated with Metrolinx.|
|Safe crossing of Bayview from Sutherland Drive to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery for people walking and biking.||At North York Community Council on October 17, 2023|
|Leaside Neighbourhood Transportation Plan||Near-term improvements include speed controls, some intersection improvements and conversion of some angled parking to parallel parking. Longer-term safe cycling network within Leaside.||At North York Community Council on October 17, 2023.
For consideration after Crosstown LRT opens
|Eglinton TOday||Quick-build complete street on Eglinton to include protected bike lanes. Protections to be added by the City to bike lanes from Brentcliffe to Kennedy after Metrolinx’s work is complete.||Phase 1 – Keele to Mt. Pleasant – 2024
Phase 2 – Mt. Pleasant to Brentcliffe – 2025
|East Don Trail||Connection from Lower Don Trail to the Meadoway with new tunnel and pedestrian bridge at the Metrolinx rail corridor.||TRCA update says work will be completed November 2023|
|Don Mills Crossing
|Connection from the Don Mills Trail to Eglinton Avenue E. with a pedestrian/bike bridge over the CP rail line.||Approved in 2021, construction anticipated to be completed by 2025|