The Bloor Street Bike Lane Pilot Project was approved by City Council in May 2016.
The installation of the separated bike lanes (cycle tracks) on Bloor Street West from Shaw Street (east of Ossington Avenue) to Avenue Road was completed in late August 2016.
The pilot project allowed the City to demonstrate and study the impacts and benefits of bike lanes on Bloor Street. Extensive monitoring and evaluation were carried out and was reported to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) on October 18, 2017 and City Council on November 7, 2017. PWIC and City Council passed the Bloor Street Bike Lane Pilot Project Evaluation with amendments.
Lessons learned from the Bloor Street Pilot:
- more people are cycling with a 56% increase after install
- safety improved for all users with a 44% decrease in all conflicts
- customer spending has increased, although opinion from businesses is mixed
- flexible bollards need improvements, as well as maintenance attention
- wider cycle track design would make it easier to pass
- add parking and loading areas, and determining locations through consultation
- collect and report on data and share lessons learned
- traffic delay can be mitigated with changes to signal timing
- install accessible curb ramps to connect sidewalks to parking and loading
Economic impacts of the Bloor Street Pilot
Following the implementation of the Bloor Street Pilot Project in 2016, two separate studies of the corridor found positive economic impacts associated with the bikeway.
Key findings include:
- increase in average number of customers
- increase in customer spending
- people who biked or walked spent more per month than those who drove or took transit
Similar studies in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver show either neutral or positive impact of adding bikeways on business. Learn more about the economic impacts of the Bloor Street project, as well as its effects on the travel patterns and attitudes of visitors and merchants by watching this Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) Webinar discussing the economic impacts.
Project Area & Background
The goal of the Bloor Street Pilot Project was to install and evaluate a bikeway on Bloor Street West between Avenue Road and Shaw Street.
The desired outcome of the project was a bikeway that improved safety and reduced risk for all users while mitigating traffic and curbside impacts.
Following an extensive evaluation of the pilot project, City Council approved making the pilot permanent with safety and design improvements.
In 2020, reconstruction of Bloor Street from Spadina Avenue to Bathurst Street to install raised cycle tracks was completed.
Project Goals & Design
City staff proposed a pilot project to install cycle tracks on Bloor Street West between Shaw Street and Avenue Road to demonstrate and study the impacts and benefits of bike lanes on Bloor Street. The outcomes were intended to help guide the City with future projects on Bloor Street such as planned roadwork and installing longer segments of bikeways on the street.
- The Bloor Street West pilot has become the second highest bike facility by volume in the city.
- The pilot project has improved safety and reduced risk for all road users.
- The impact of the pilot on motorist traffic flow and curbside operations (such as parking, loading and deliveries) has been reduced through operational changes.
- Total customer spending at local businesses within the pilot area has continued to keep pace with economic growth.
- The survey showed that a majority of drivers (who do not bike) and a majority of business respondents did not support the pilot.
There was general support for the pilot from people who bike, drivers (who sometimes bike), pedestrians and those who live in the area.
The monitoring methodology for the Bloor Street West pilot project involved the most comprehensive performance evaluation undertaken for a cycling project in Toronto.
Extensive before (June 2016) and after (October 2016 and June 2017) data was collected to evaluate the performance of the pilot in order to assess the impacts and benefits of the project in the following areas:
- Effect on cycling environment (on Bloor Street West, Dupont Street and Harbord Street).
- Effect on motoring environment (on Bloor Street West, Dupont Street and Harbord Street).
- Effect on curbside demands and parking.
- Effect on local business.
- Public perception and level of support from residents and businesses.
- Average cyclist volumes on Bloor Street West between Shaw Street and Bay Street increased by approximately 49 per cent, from 3,300 riders per day in June 2016 to approximately 4,900 riders per day in June 2017.
- The Bloor Street West pilot has become the second highest bike facility by volume in the city with 5,220 cyclists per day in the pilot area.
- Cyclist volumes on parallel corridors Harbord Street and Dupont Street decreased, as some cyclists re-routed to Bloor Street West. After accounting for re-routed cycling, approximately 25 per cent of the increase is due to new cyclists using Bloor Street West.
- Safety improved for all road users within the pilot area.
- Collision data showed that despite increased cycling volume, bike/motorized vehicle collisions remained the same, representing a reduced collision rate. Collisions between motorized vehicles were reduced significantly.
- Before/after conflict analysis showed a 44 per cent decrease in conflicts between all road users.
- People reported feeling safer using Bloor Street West:
- Motorists: 66 per cent reported feeling comfortable driving next to people cycling on Bloor Street West after installation compared to 14 per cent of respondents before installation.
- Cyclists: 85 per cent reported feeling safe riding a bicycle on Bloor Street West compared to three per cent before installation.
- Pedestrians: 86 per cent surveyed felt their experience walking on Bloor Street West with bike lanes installed was about the same or better than it was before installation.
Vehicle Volume and Travel Time
- The average total traffic volumes on Bloor Street West decreased from approximately 24,300 per day prior to the bike lane to 20,000 per day (-16 per cent).
- There was modest diversion of traffic volumes, with an increase of seven per cent to Dupont Street (+1470) and four per cent to Harbord Street (+580). Overall traffic volumes across all three corridors were down three per cent (-1840).
- Six weeks after installation, travel times between Bay Street and Ossington Avenue initially increased by approximately four minutes eastbound in the morning peak period and approximately eight and a half minutes westbound in the afternoon peak period.
- Signal timing adjustments reduced the increases by half – the eastbound direction in the morning peak period was reduced to approximately two minutes and the increase in the westbound direction in the afternoon peak period was reduced to just over four minutes.
Curbside Parking Demand
- Impact to commercial loading and accessibility was mitigated through the introduction of loading zones, accessible loading zones/curb ramps, designated pick-up/drop-off areas and education to encourage use of laneways for deliveries, where appropriate.
- On-street parking was reduced to one side of the street only, however hours were extended. At peak times, both on-street and off-street parking was at capacity.
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