On several occasions I’ve written in this column that Leaside has “great cycling routes right on our doorstep.” When you consider the nearby valley trails, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery and the Beltline, and on-road protected routes on Yonge, Bloor, Danforth and, coming soon – Eglinton – this is generally true. What is often missing, however, are safe and direct connections to get you there.
Take the proposed Millwood Road Safety Improvements. This is a welcome project that will upgrade painted bike lanes on the Leaside bridge to separated cycle tracks and bring safety improvements for people walking, driving, cycling and taking transit to the intersections of Overlea and Millwood, and Pape, Donlands and the Leaside bridge. (Learn more about the proposal at Toronto.ca/millwood.) What the proposal lacks is a safe connection to the new upgraded bike lanes. As the accompanying map illustrates, there are several routes nearby in future plans. But the most dangerous connection – the one between Laird and Overlea under the railway bridge – isn’t on any plans at all.
Other notable gaps for Leasiders include:
- No safe crossing on Bayview at Sutherland to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, a comfortable and safe cycling route to the protected bikeway on Yonge and to the Beltline Trail.
- No bike lanes on the west side of Bayview between Moore and just south of Nesbitt, a connector through Rosedale to Bloor and Sherbourne or down Bayview to the Brickworks and Distillery District.
- No continuation of the Moore bike lanes past Bayview on Southvale.
And there will be no bike lanes on Eglinton through Leaside when the complete street is implemented in 2023. The bike lanes will stop at Mt. Pleasant and start up again at Brentcliffe, with the gap planned to be filled in 2024.
How you choose to navigate these missing connections says a lot about what type of cyclist you are. Riding on the road close to the curb unfazed by how close motorists pass? You would be categorized as “strong and fearless.” Taking the lane to ensure no driver can pass too close? Count yourself as “enthused and confident.” On the sidewalk (or riding with kids) makes you “interested but concerned.” And the last category says it all – “no way, no how.” The 2019 City of Toronto Cycling Study showed that the majority of people fall into the “enthused and confident” and “interested but concerned” categories. Making it safer to cycle would encourage them to bike more. Every improvement to the cycling network brings new opportunities to get around by bike and leave the car at home, but to motivate more people to bike and bike more often, we need to provide safe connections too.
How are you bridging the gaps, or are they discouraging you from cycling more? Are there other missing links in the cycling network that you’d like to see filled? Cycle Don Valley Midtown is the local chapter of Cycle Toronto. We’d like to hear from you about how to make the “great cycling routes on our doorstep” safe and accessible for all. Email .