Toronto — The David Suzuki Foundation applauds city council's 38-3 decision to create a bicycle lane along Bloor Street, saying the cycling infrastructure is a winner for human health and the environment.
The new separated bike lane, which will extend from Shaw Street to Avenue Road, will promote physical fitness, encourage people to spend more time outside and reduce traffic congestion. It will also help to improve air quality as some Torontonians leave their cars at home and travel to work or school by bike.
"Increased cycling offers so many benefits that it's amazing this bike lane wasn't built decades ago," said David Suzuki Foundation transportation policy analyst Gideon Forman. "When we help folks reduce their car use, we cut smog, and that can be a life-saver. Toronto Public Health found traffic pollution is responsible for about 280 deaths in the city every year."
Transportation is the largest producer of greenhouse gases in the province, so the bike lane will also help Toronto meet its climate goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
"Research done by Transportation Alternatives in the U.S. found that if just five per cent of New Yorkers who currently commute by car or taxi switched to cycling, it would save 150 million pounds of carbon dioxide a year," Forman said. "If the bike lane encourages even a small shift toward cycling, it can make an important contribution to climate protection."
The David Suzuki Foundation has pushed for a Bloor bike lane since October 2015. Over the course of a seven-month campaign, Foundation staff held meetings with city councillors, wrote pro-bike-lane opinion articles and urged thousands of citizens to contact their elected representatives at city hall. They also helped to get more than 11,000 people to sign Cycle Toronto's "Bloor loves Bikes" pledge.
"The campaign was a wonderful collaboration with local cycling organizations, said David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce. "It was mutually beneficial. They taught us a lot about the dynamics of cycling in Toronto, and we used our enormous outreach capacity to amplify their messages."
The Foundation will continue to explore opportunities to build active-transport infrastructure across Canada.
For further information:
Gideon Forman, Climate Change and Transportation Policy Analyst: (416) 348-9885, ext 1575