A Compelling Case for Protected Bike Lanes

A pilot project of cycle tracks on several streets in Toronto produced almost shockingly positive results for all users of the street. At very little cost, the new bike infrastructure increased total street capacity and improved safety.

2 minute read

January 17, 2019, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Toronto Bike Infrastructure

The Adelaide Street cycle track in Toronto, pictured in 2015. | Herb van den Dool / Wikimedia Commons

A report by the city of Toronto to evaluate the performance of cycle tracks on Richmond Street and Adelaide Street, as well as north-south cycle tracks on Simcoe Street and Peter Street, recommends converting the temporary installations to permanent infrastructure facilities.

The report "tells a commuting story of roaring success that was accomplished with little fanfare and even less cost," according to an article by Edward Keenan. According to the report, 730 people biked on Richmond and Adelaide streets before the temporary cycle tracks were installed in 2014. In 2018, that number had increased to 7,509 people biking on the streets every day.

"The city also monitored bike traffic on nearby streets to see if the change was a result of people taking the new lanes instead of travelling on King or Queen Sts," adds Keenan. "It found the decreases in cycle traffic on those roads was minimal, 'suggesting that 94 per cent of the growth in the number of cyclists on Richmond-Adelaide was as a result of new cyclists, shifting their transportation choice from another mode.'"

One final piece of smashing success to note here: "In the downtown core area, the bike lanes now carry almost a third of the vehicles travelling the road during the peak of rush hour, 'a higher volume of vehicles per lane than the motor vehicle lanes.'"

Additional data on improved safety and a lack of impact on trip times for cars are included in the article.

Friday, January 11, 2019 in Toronto Star

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

Digital drawing of person holding city skyline with wifi symbols and lines indicating smart cities or data.

Cities Awarded for Data-Driven Projects

The What Cities Works Certification recognizes cities for using data to solve real problems.

June 21 - Smart Cities Dive

The Basilica of St. Joseph in San Jose, California.

Faith-Based Housing Movement Grows

More churches and municipalities are saying ‘Yes in God’s Backyard.’

June 21 - Vox

Close-up of red and white BUS LANE sign painted in street lane.

Why BRT Can Benefit Cities More Than Rail

Bus rapid transit lines offer a less expensive, quicker-build alternative to rail that can bring other infrastructure improvements with it.

June 21 - Governing

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner Supervisor

Department of Housing and Community Development

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.