Bike lanes to be part of Eglinton LRT plan?

But no money alloted for them

When the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project is complete in 2020, it might be more than just a faster route for transit users. Cyclists could also be provided for along the entire 19-km stretch between Black Creek Drive and Kennedy Road.

As the Town Crier reported last month, the province plans to install bike lanes on all of the above-ground portions of the Crosstown. Now the city says it is aiming to include them on all portions where the LRT track goes underground.

“In terms of our process, we’re sort of in the home stretch,” says Lorna Day, head of Eglinton Connects, a city-run planning study that is looking at the feasibility of bike lanes on Eglinton.

At this stage, Day says there is no funding for the bike lanes, but she added there are other steps that need to be taken first.

“What we’re charged with is a vision and a plan and what we’re trying to do is get support for the idea,” Day said in a telephone interview. “I think that we’re getting support for the idea, and the next step is to start talking about how they get built out.”

Since the Crosstown is a project run by Metrolinx, a provincial transit planning body, what happens at street level is of provincial jurisdiction where the Crosstown is above ground. Where it runs underground, the street becomes the city’s responsibility.

In addition to bike lanes, Eglinton Connects is looking at ways to make Eglinton greener, as well as planning for midrise developments along the corridor.

Eglinton Connects has been holding community consultations since last year, Day said. There have been four rounds of consultations, with three separate meetings in each round — one each for the west, central and eastern portions of the Crosstown line, as well as various others for community stakeholders.

“Bike lanes have been on the agenda each time in terms of the discussion and they’ve been part of the conversation,” she said. “This time around we actually showed what the bike lanes will look like for the whole of Eglinton, from Black Creek to Kennedy.”

Day acknowledged that concerns such as how to handle the intersection of Eglinton Avenue West and the Allen Expressway, pedestrian space, and businesses that have patios have come up throughout the process.

“There’s a level of detail design that still needs to be worked through,” she said. “Eglinton is 19 kilometres, and each block has a slightly different dimension and a slightly different condition, so we’re trying to make this a continuous facility.”

She said it is likely the bike lanes would be built incrementally as opposed to all at once, but that the space is already there, given that the high occupancy vehicle bus lanes will not be needed when the Crosstown is finished. But there is a chance some
of the bike lanes could be cycled out before then.

“They could be done before (the LRT) if there was some utility work or some other reason why work needed to be done (on Eglinton),” she said.

“There’s no reason this couldn’t be part of that.”

About this article:

By: Shawn Star
Posted: Nov 5 2013 4:06 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto