Danforth bike lanes may be causing more problems than solutions

The new lanes are not as praised as the city first thought

bike lanes on danforth ave
Bike lanes on Danforth Avenue intersect with Greenwood Avenue. (Katianna Manakis/Toronto Observer) 

The bike lanes running along Danforth Avenue may not be as praised as the city first thought.

Some east-end residents, particularly those frequenting Danforth, are not happy with the bike lanes implemented by the city.

Construction was finished on the bike lanes on the street from Broadview Avenue to Dawes Road in early 2020. Reports on the number of cyclists and usage of the lanes have been good, according to the city, but many locals have reacted negatively toward the bike lanes.

The annual street festival Taste of the Danforth was cancelled this year due to the bike lanes and other “changes made to the street,” the Greektown on the Danforth Business Improvement Association (BIA) tweeted.

This was a huge blow to the residents and businesses of Danforth Ave. as it’s a beloved event and a great way to showcase businesses.

Bike lanes along Danforth were meant to be a step in the direction of green transit. However, some residents see it as a step backwards. 

In Aug. 2020, the Toronto Star reported the bike lanes were a “huge success.” However, scrolling down to the comment section of that article, it’s clear people are disappointed at the commotion bike lanes are causing.

A comment written Sept. 1 in response to the article stated: “Not everyone is happy with the bike lanes. Issues identified by businesses and residents.” Problems cited included lack of accessibility for disabled, seniors and strollers; car doors opening into traffic; traffic jams caused by cars parking or turning; EMS delays due cars nothing able to pull over; and increased use of side streets by vehicles avoiding Danforth and parking on side streets to avoid paying for parking. 

Other commenters claimed the city is “promoting more development and intensification.” 

Business owners on Danforth may be the most affected.

Dentist Dr. Ari Voudouris, who has had his practice for more than 20 years and has lived in the area longer, said he was confused as to why the city chose to put the bike lanes on a busy street.

“The amount of times a patient will walk in 20 to 30 minutes late because they couldn’t find parking has become a regular thing now,” Voudouris said. “It’s becoming a waste of my time and their time. I have trouble even getting down here because there’s always traffic.”

The Danforth-Bloor roadway, a major thoroughfare into and out of the downtown and midtown core, is reduced to only one lane, he noted.

“The city still proceeded with this project that really only benefits a handful of people for a shorter part of the year. I am not sure why they chose major thoroughfares that are served by the subway,” Voudouris said.

“Traffic has gotten much worse. People are confused.  Making left hand turns is a chore, and it seems accidents have become more common. One lady tripped over the concrete barriers and broke both her wrists. Bikers’ behaviour has become more aggressive and emboldened. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians seem to have all become more temperamental.”

Voudouris said he also wonders why the bike lanes were implemented when they’re only used for a short period during the year, noting the lanes are cleared from snow before sidewalks or streets, and the snowplows have trouble clearing around them as they are closed throughout winter due to the snow.

It’s not just residents near Danforth who hate the bike lanes. A petition has been made by Michele Gilfoil, a Yonge Street resident, to ask the mayor’s office to return the street to its original design.

“The 16 land-locked streets continue to suffer the brunt of delays, dangerous turning right and blind access to the neighbourhood, while the lanes go virtually unused,” Gilfoil wrote in the petition. The petition is aiming for 5,000 signatures and currently has 3,346.

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Posted: Oct 3 2022 9:50 am
Filed under: News