Number of cyclists more than doubles on Woodbine due to bike lanes

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Number of cyclists more than doubles on Woodbine due to bike lanes

More people are now biking on Woodbine Avenue after the city introduced bike lanes on the street last year, according to new data, but some area residents are skeptical.

The city says 220 to 230 cyclists used the lanes on Woodbine Avenue, between Cosburn Avenue and Gerrard Street East, over a 12-hour daytime period between May 12 and May 18 of this year.

That's a significant jump from the 70 to 80 riders that the city clocked for the same area about two years ago, before the bike lanes were installed.

The city said the changes have had a "minimal" effect on morning and midday rush hours, with north and southbound travel times on Woodbine Avenue seeing changes of mostly less than a minute between May 2018 and May 2016.

However, the city says there's a "moderate" increase of up to 2.5 minutes for the evening rush hour.

Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon, who bikes in the area in addition to walking, taking the bus and driving, said she was pleasantly surprised by the number of cyclists reported by the city.

"It's more than I thought," she told CBC Toronto. "I think they're fantastic. I think they will only grow."

Some residents skeptical of numbers

Some local residents, however, said the numbers don't add up because they believe bike traffic on the lanes seems light.

"I don't know which Woodbine [they're] on because like I live here and days go by when I don't see any [cyclists] and some days I'll see two. I've never seen anything that remotely would look like 220," Roberta Campbell said.

Sonia Datovich, also a local resident, said believes the bike lanes have significantly increased the time it takes to travel in the area by car. She bikes and drives.

"The traffic's really slow up and down Woodbine. So if you're coming from the water, it can almost quadruple the time to get up to say the Danforth," she said. "It makes me want to ride my bike more, and not drive during busy times."

The bike lanes have faced criticism by some for not being an efficient use of space, particularly during the winter when there are fewer cyclists on the road.

Urban cycling consultant Yvonne Bambrick believes most of that criticism is unfounded.

"We are adapting the street to be used safely by more people in different types of vehicles. We still have four lanes. We still have parking," she said.

"We don't use our baseball diamonds in the winter either, but they're still invaluable public space."

For constituents who aren't happy with the bike lanes, McMahon said the numbers are proof that the lanes are working and she believes the data is accurate.

"Everyone has their opinion. The city staff have their expertise, and they've done a colossal amount of work on these lanes," she said.

"Talk to your neighbours. We're hearing from families, especially who are now biking with their whole family, and we see kids on the lanes, so they can bike to school.

"Maybe try hopping on a bike and see what you think."