By Giselle Culver
The Gerrard St. bike lanes will be running in time for summer, but not around Metro roads.
Bike lanes running along Gerrard St. will be interrupted around the Church and Jarvis intersections because Metro’s transportation division fears traffic tie-ups.
“Metro is concerned with the existing traffic volume on Gerrard,” says Daniel Egan, of the Toronto Planning and Development Department.
“If you reduce the number of lanes, those two intersections will become really congested,” he says.
City Councillor Kyle Rae says Metro does not support bike lanes and is only concerned with keeping motorized traffic moving smoothly through streets. He says every time the city wants to create new bike lanes “we have to fight them.”
The Gerrard St. bike lanes were to be a joint project of the City of Toronto and Metro Toronto.
But Metro Toronto has withheld approval for the lanes. Metro has jurisdiction over all city roadways near intersections with Metro roads.
Rae says bike lanes are an ideal alternate form of transportation, especially in the polluted downtown area.
“Bike lanes are really important to demonstrate that the city is interested in different forms of transportation – safe forms – and ones that don’t pollute the environment,” says Rae.
Rae says people should not be “worshipping the car.”
“There are other ways of getting around in the city and transit and bicycles are the best ways,” says Rae.
The bike lanes will run along Gerrard from Parliament to Elizabeth Streets, leaving one side of the street for parking.
After business owners protested that the parking space eliminated by the bike lanes was bad for business, two lanes on College St. were removed.
The new lanes will replace the College St. lanes.