Frequently Asked Questions
What is a "Cycling Network"?
The City of Toronto's Cycling Network includes bike lanes, cycle tracks (separated bike lanes), multi-use trails and routes on quiet streets.
What is the Cycling Network Ten Year Plan?
The Cycling Network Plan is an implementation strategy. The objective is to create a work plan for the delivery of infrastructure.
What are the goals of the Cycling Network Plan?
The goals are to connect, grow and renew Toronto's Cycling Network.
Which goal is most important?
During public consultation, 'connecting' existing bike routes by bridging gaps was identified as the top priority, closely followed by the need to 'grow' the network, by building new cycling routes in parts of the City where cycling routes do not exist today.
How many kilometers of new Cycling Network routes does the Ten Year Plan recommend for Toronto's streets?
The proposed Ten Year Cycling Network Plan identifies approximately 525 centreline kilometres (km) of new infrastructure (if counted in each lane direction, more than 1000 lane km). This proposed new network includes;
- 280 centreline km of bicycle lanes or cycle tracks on Fast, Busy Streets
- 55 centreline km of sidewalk-level boulevard trails along Fast, Busy Streets
- 190 centreline km of cycling routes along Quiet Streets
Included within this proposed network are approximately 100 centreline km along eight arterial roadways (split into seventeen segments) for which Major Corridor Studies would be undertaken to evaluate the feasibility of bicycle lanes or cycle tracks.
How have streets on the draft map been chosen?
The Study looked at a number of indicators, to determine the value of adding a cycling route to a street, and considered the feedback from the Phase 1 Public Consultation Survey to produce a draft map in the summer of 2015.
This first draft map was then posted online for Phase 2 Public Consultations. Inputs from Phase 2 Public Consultations have been used to modify the preliminary draft map and produce the revised draft map posted to the project site here.
What kind of cycling infrastructure will be built?
The plan identifies the character of the street, as a guide to understand the type of cycling facility that is typically the most appropriate;
- On fast busy streets, a dedicated area for cycling is recommended (painted bike lanes, cycle tracks or in some cases multi-use trails next to the sidewalk).
- On quiet streets, cyclists and motorists may comfortably share a lane (shared lane pavement markings and wayfinding signage). "Bicycle Boulevards" is another term used to describe Quiet Street cycling routes.
Does the Cycling Network Plan include building new Trails?
Yes. In 2012, Toronto City Council adopted the City's Bikeway Trails Plan. The Trails projects which were approved by Council as part of the Trails Plan have been incorporated into the Cycling Network Plan as "approved" projects.
Beyond the projects already approved in the Trails Plan, new trails next to a sidewalk may be a suitable type of cycling infrastructure for some of the streets identified in the Cycling Network Plan as "fast busy streets".
Does the Cycling Network Plan identify a "Minimum Grid" of cycling routes?
Cycle Toronto's proposal for a "Minimum Grid" is defined generally as 100 km of separated bike lanes and 100 km of bicycle boulevards (routes on quiet streets). As part of the development of the Ten Year Cycling Network Plan, Transportation Services staff have been working closely with community stakeholders such as Cycle Toronto.
The main difference between the Cycling Network Ten Year Plan and Cycle Toronto's "Minimum Grid" campaign is that the goal of the Minimum Grid is to achieve the types of investments proposed in the Ten Year Cycling Network Plan in three years.
How can an existing Cycling Network route be "Renewed"?
Existing bike lanes may be "renewed" by updating or improving the quality of their signs and markings.
In some cases this may include the addition of new markings to intersections or the addition of painted buffers. In some cases bike lanes may be upgraded to cycle tracks if a lane separator can be added.
Signed routes on quiet streets may be upgraded with the addition of way finding shared lane pavement markings, or with the additional traffic calming interventions to slow down or reduce the motor vehicle traffic.
How many kilometers of existing Cycling Network routes does the Ten Year Plan recommend be "Renewed"?
The draft Cycling Network Ten Year Plan currently recognizes network renewal opportunities on approximately 50 road kilometers of the existing Cycling Network (if counted in each lane direction 100km of "lane kilometers" are recommended).
Are there any plans to remove existing bike lanes?
No. The plan does not include the removal of bike lanes.
In a small handful of cases, some signed routes on quiet streets may be removed if new are installed on adjacent fast busy streets which make the local route redundant.
How do you decide which projects to build first?
First, the schedule for re-surfacing the road is considered. When possible the City will coordinating the installation of a cycling route with a re-surfacing or reconstruction as this is an important strategy for saving money and managing the life-cycle of the roadway.
What is the expected Review Period for this Plan?
The objective of the Cycling Network Ten Year Plan is to provide a comprehensive work plan, outlining resourcing for the City's planned investments in cycling infrastructure over 2016-2025.
Annual work plan targets will be reviewed and updated annually, in order to assure coordination with the City's capital works programs (eg. road resurfacings). It is expected that once the installation of the projects identified for the next 5 years are substantially underway a review of the Network Plan may be undertaken.
How will I know if the City plans to build a Cycling Network Route in my neighbourhood?
The Cycling Network Ten Year Plan recommendations will be received by the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee and the Toronto City Council in the Spring of 2016.
Following the approval of the Cycling Network Ten Year Plan recommendations by City Council, staff will undertake the work plan each year as they develop detailed designs for each corridor.
Community consultation will be undertaken as part of the detailed design process for all routes which involve changes to on-street parking bylaws or the bylawing of bicycle lanes and/or cycle tracks.
How much do Cycling Network Routes cost?
The cost of a cycling route will vary from street to street.
For quiet street routes, the cost per kilometer will range between $14,000-75,000.
For fast busy street routes, either painted bicycle lanes or Cycle Tracks (separated bicycle lanes) are preferred. To paint bicycle lanes on an existing road, the cost will typically be $40,000-50,000 per km.
To implement separated bike lanes the approximate cost is $180,000 per km where installed through a retrofit with bollards and planters, with costs escalating up to $1,000,000 per km for the construction of curb separated cycle track.
How do the investments proposed in the Cycling Network Ten Year Plan compare to investments made in the past 10 years?
Since 2001, the City of Toronto has on average added thirteen road kilometers/year to the network. The year with the highest number of new kilometers of network installed was in 2008, when 35km road kilometers of new network were installed.
The Cycling Network Ten Year Plan identifies opportunities to connect, grow and renew Toronto's cycling network beyond the current funding available.
To pursue the 700km of new network opportunities, 200km of "Major Corridor Studies" and 100km of network renewal projects over 2016-2026, annual investments beyond the 2016 funding levels will be necessary.
Does City of Toronto Policy support investing in the Cycling Network?
Yes, in 2001 Toronto City Council adopted the Toronto Bike Plan. The adoption of this policy document included recommendations for a wide range of infrastructure investments, including recommendation 5.2; to build a Cycling Network.
Section 5.2-2 of the Bike Plan states that the City of Toronto will "Develop a two kilometer grid of north-south and east-west routes. The guiding principle for the Cycling Network is that it be accessible within a five minute bike ride from all residences. Assuming a moderate cycling speed of 12 km/h, a five minute ride would cover one kilometer."
What about streets that do not make it into the Plan?
Routes which are part of the Cycling Network are built to a higher standard, to ensure cycling is not just viable but comfortable.
However, the City of Toronto also has policies in place to improve streets which are not part of the Cycling Network. Chapter 4 of the Toronto Bike Plan describes a number of "bicycle friendly streets" policies, which are already in place.
In addition to this, the City of Toronto's "Complete Streets Guidelines" are under development.