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Ward 30 Cycling Challenge

By Annie Arnone

Ryerson urban planning professor, Don Verbanac, is challenging his students to improve cycling routes in Toronto.

Students are putting their education into practice by working with Paul Young, a health promoter of South Riverdale Community Health Centre. Their goal is to come up with a solution to connect Ward 30 residents with bicycle paths from Riverdale to Lake Ontario.

“The lake provides a multitude of resources and recreational facilities — which both physically and mentally assists our health,” said Verbanac. “The impediment becomes how to get there.”

The assignment focuses on the cycling health benefits.

”If we look at cycling as a tool, or a means of improving health all together, we are looking at Riverdale as an [ideal] location for cycle lanes,” said Verbanac.

Some of the benefits of increasing cardiovascular fitness are muscle strength, flexibility, joint mobility and better body coordination.

Scott Plante, a second-year urban planning student, said he agrees with encouraging a healthier community. “They should be promoted all throughout the city,” said Plante.

Historically, incorporating bike lanes into Toronto has been a difficult task. Bike lanes on Jarvis Street installed in 2010 were removed in 2012 under Mayor Rob Ford’s mandate — despite numerous protests from city residents.
“Bike lanes shouldn’t be getting eliminated in Toronto,” said Plante. Another urban planning student, Robert Wojtalski, said this assignment will face many challenges.“The main issue would be further slowing down traffic and congestion rising,” said Wojtalski. “With the amount of cars at all hours during the day, additional bike lanes may make that more difficult.”

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