Tell Toronto City Council Now

Be Green - Be Rational

The ActiveTO pilot on Yonge St does not work!

Scroll down to read the article by Karen Stintz, Ward 8 resident, Cyclist, former councillor and chair of the TTC


Tell City Council Now - Be Green. Be Rational.

From the North Toronto Post, October 2022
By Karen Stintz

"As an advocate for bike lanes and a cyclist, it pains me to say this but I feel I must: I am starting to really dislike the bike lanes on Yonge, University and the Danforth. I dislike them as a driver, I dislike them as a pedestrian and I dislike them as a cyclist.

During the pandemic, the city boldly and aggressively rethought how people should move throughout the city. Roads were closed to traffic, hundreds of kilometres of bike lanes were implemented, and the idea that streets were not just for cars took hold. I agree that streets need to accommodate different forms of transportation, the “complete street” idea that four lanes of traffic can be turned into something for everyone has to change. The situation is becoming particularly challenging because more people are moving throughout the city but not necessarily on bikes or transit.

As a driver, the new lane markings on Yonge and University are not intuitive and neither is the on-street parking. If there is a bike lane there shouldn’t be street parking. It makes no sense for a few cars to block a lane of traffic, especially if the lanes are reduced to accommodate a bike lane.

As a pedestrian, the bike lanes around Yonge that are adjacent to the street and sidewalk patios had a nice European flair in the beginning. Now, those same bike lanes are increasingly being used by e-bikes making food deliveries, and the drivers are going more than 30 km/h and don’t stop or slow down for pedestrians that are trying to get into a cab or cross the street.

As a cyclist, the bike lanes on these streets that are intended to create a safe environment for cyclists fall short. The bike lanes are often blocked by delivery vehicles making deliveries.
The onstreet parking creates a situation where cyclists can be hit by a person opening a door, and the ebikes speed through the lanes. I was cycling on Danforth going close to 30 km/h on my own steam, and an e-bike honked at me to get out of the way.

About a month ago, a petition was circulated calling on the city to make the pilot bike lanes permanent. I was asked to sign the petition and I did not. If the city is serious about bike lanes, it can’t be all things to all people, and the bike lanes must make sense. If there are bike lanes then there cannot be on-street parking and perhaps bike lanes shouldn’t be on busy streets with stores that need deliveries. The city also has to make a decision about whether or not e-bikes are permitted in the bike lanes and, if so, set a maximum speed.

Bike lanes are not just a symbol of a progressive city. They need to make sense in order to be useful and well-used.

There is still some work for the city to do on this file."
North Toronto Post, October 2022

We agree with Ms. Stintz. The ActiveTO Midtown Pilot is not working. This section of the Yonge corridor cannot support CafeTO, on-street parking, a major TTC line, deliveries, EMS, access to schools, neigbourhoods, and bike lanes. City council must make the hard decisions to make this area work for the people of Toronto and its residents. You cannot accommodate every every program in this vital corridor. Thousands of residents on 17 land-locked side streets have no other option but the Yonge Street corridor.

Some comments from our readers.....

"I had to go to the hospital recently by ambulance and it was impossible to pass traffic in many parts of this section of Yonge Street. Also there are numerous additional condo proposals, at least five that I know of, that will only add more and more traffic to this already congested and dangerous road pattern. I have also noticed the various taxi operators are totally frustrated when they have to negotiate this section of Yonge"

"I live at Yonge and Roxborough. I have seen close calls with pedestrians and cyclists as cyclists in bike lanes do not seem to believe that street signs and street lights apply to them. I worry especially about the senior citizens in our neighbourhood. The gridlock is so terrible, because of the lack of left hand turn lanes thanks to the newly installed bike lanes, that emergency vehicles cannot get by and residence cannot turn in or out of the streets they live on. The grid lock makes enjoying a patio or a walk on Yonge Street for window shopping very unpleasant experiences. I have no doubt that local stores and restaurants are not benefitting from the bike lanes but rather are suffering."

"This "trial" was an obvious disaster in the making. Our local councillor had no interest in any opinions other than his own. Mr Layton should keep in mind that he represents the entire area, not just the cycling minority. Now wait for the city's "traffic study" that will reveal something ridiculous like the average transit time for cars only increased by 4 minutes over a 24 hour period. As if that is relevant. That's how they justified the Bloor street fiasco. Enough of the mismanagement of the City!"

Write the Infrastructure Committee at
Copy the Mayor and Councillors
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The Complete Street Pilot on Yonge does not work!

The Pilot Team overseeing Complete Streets Yonge Street has not provided quantifiable information when asked –

  1. The city has not provided access to the Directors of Fire, Paramedic and Transportation departments with respect to their quantifiable data about the Pilot. They have the data and will not share it directly with the community.

  2. The residents in the land-locked area have not been given the opportunity to speak directly to EMS providers to answer questions about responses in case of emergencies. This is a lack of transparent process.

  3. The Pilot team cannot provide tangible, quantifiable benefits to our business community beyond CafeTO.

  4. The Pilot team cannot provide how many actual cyclists are using the lanes on a daily or hourly basis

  5. The residents and off-street businesses on the 17 land-locked streets between St. Clair and Roxborough have not been surveyed formally. They are the taxpayers in the area and receiving the brunt of the challenges of the cycle tracks.

  6. No consideration has been given to the 27 proposed new residential projects with over 10,000 units along the corridor.

  7. The taxpayers in the area have not been told who is paying for all this infrastructure. The Pilot has created additional snow removal and maintenance charges, and supposedly paid duty officers to adjudicate the new traffic patterns.

  8. The snow removal from the winter of 2022 was a disaster. Snow was pushed from the bike lanes onto the side streets creating even more dangerous sight lines.

  9. The schools in the area – more than 6 in the land-locked area- were not consulted prior to the installation. Parents are scared.



Please reach out to your representatives and ask these questions.

We have asked and our questions have gone unanswered.

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