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Two Lanes, One Track: Harbord Makes Way for Bi-Directional Bike Path
The city plans to construct a two-way bike lane on Harbord, but do we need it?

Photo via flickr

Harbord St. might be getting a shake-up as the city drafts plans for a bi-directional cycling track, coming in 2014. At a consultation at Kensington Gardens last week, planners heard out opinionated cyclists and unveiled plans to construct a route leading around the Queens Park Circle and continuing west to Ossington. Some expressed concerns over whether or not the strip actually needs this bi-directional lane, or if money might be better spent on new tracks and painting new lanes in other areas that have been getting less attention, with a less efficient lane currently implemented.

As Harbord stands as the city’s second-busiest bike route, with cycling representing 40% of the traffic, a re-vamped track isn’t exactly a waste. A bi-directional lane will separate cyclists and drivers for a more comfortable and safe commute. But safety isn’t the primary concern for all leaders involved: in a romantic view of the issue, local councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20) weighed in saying that we need to bring “beauty into this debate”. On the visual re-construction, Vaughan noted, “You can’t just roll a bike lane through one of the most important heritage communities in our city and come up with yellow plastic bollads and say ‘There. It works. It’s safe.'”

Impressive infrastructure and security are being debated alongside the need to accomodate both cyclists and drivers. City planners say that the lane should go on the north side of Harbord so as not to get in the way of parking, lights, and traffic. Inevitably, some parking will be lost which hasn’t exactly pleased local residents and businesses. 

Talk of a re-vamped bike lane on Harbord-Hoskin has been in the air since 2011 when city council voted to design a new strip based on the needs of local cyclists. Other areas to be updated included Sherbourne, Beverely, Wellesley, and the Bloor Viaduct. Sherbourne got their new lane last fall and Wellesley is next to undergo construction. Harbord-Hoskin’s lane is coming up on the to-do-list for 2014, and by then the city hopes to have wrangled out a plan to please all who pass through. Check out the proposed drawing in a snapshot from the meeting:

Photo via DandyHorse.

[via Biking Toronto] 


Farrah Khaled is an intern at the Toronto Standard. Follow her on twitter at @farkhaly.

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