In pictures: traffic, pedestrian and bike lanes on Yonge Street

12:01 p.m., March 2, 2018. Pedestrians cross Sheppard Avenue, east of Yonge, where Doris Avenue starts.
12:01 p.m., March 2, 2018. Pedestrians cross Sheppard Avenue, east of Yonge, where Doris Avenue starts.

March 15, 2018

By Arianne Robinson

City council will soon be faced with deciding the future of the northern stretch of Yonge Street, between Sheppard Avenue and Finch Avenue.

The area is filled with heavy traffic and congestion; cars lining up and down on Yonge Street, drivers eager to get downtown or onto Highway 401.

There are also many homes, condos, and developments nearby. City staff call it “among the densest residential areas in the City of Toronto,” in their recent report on the northern stretch of Yonge Street.

The diverging interests are a common problem for municipalities. How to design streets so residents can get around safely in whatever way they choose – on foot, transit, bicycle, or car – is the political puzzle that challenges urban leaders who have the tricky job of making room for everyone, while not appearing to slow the city down in the process.

In the immediate future, the pavement on Yonge is in desperate need of repair. City staff have offered two plans through an Environmental Assessment process.

The first plan focuses on Yonge Street (called Transform Yonge), and adds bike lanes on Yonge Street, reducing the number of car lanes in the process.

The second plan focuses on the streets adjacent to Yonge (called Enhance Yonge and Transform Beecroft), and puts bike lanes on Doris Avenue and/or Beecroft Road, and doesn’t limit car-lane capacity on Yonge.

City planners prefer the first plan, which they created based on the repair need, and follow the direction of various safety and cycling policies created by council over the years. The local city councillor, John Filion, has thrown his support behind the plan to have bike lanes on Yonge Street. The Medical Officer of Health stands behind both plans.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said at the January Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting that he wants an election on the issue.

Mayor John Tory, neighbouring councillor David Shiner, and the new leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Doug Ford have said they do not support bike lanes on Yonge Street. (Ford’s comments were made as a public deputant at the January PWIC meeting, before he was chosen to lead the provincial party.)

At the centre of the debate is the question of whether bike lanes and fast traffic can coexist along a commercial strip like Yonge, or whether the inclusion of cycle tracks will slow down traffic flow.

In the spirit of a good old-fashioned online deep dive, we’ve tried to capture all the facets of the issue – in photos.

Starting near Sheppard Avenue and going up to the Hydro corridor, we’ll take you along the streets and sidewalks, where new surfaces and bike lanes will one day exist.

Yonge & Sheppard

11:28 a.m., March 2, 2018. Traffic to and from Highway 401, facing south on Yonge Street.
11:28 a.m., March 2, 2018. Traffic to and from Highway 401, facing south on Yonge Street.
11:28 a.m., March 2, 2018. Facing north on Yonge Street at Avondale Avenue.
11:28 a.m., March 2, 2018. Facing north on Yonge Street at Avondale Avenue.
12:01 p.m., March 2, 2018. Traffic builds up on Yonge Street near Sheppard Avenue, next to wide sidewalks.
12:01 p.m., March 2, 2018. Traffic builds up on Yonge Street near Sheppard Avenue, next to wide sidewalks.
12:02 p.m., March 2, 2018. On Yonge, north of Sheppard, someone seeks shelter in a sleeping bag on a cot, under the construction hoarding.
12:02 p.m., March 2, 2018. On Yonge, north of Sheppard, someone seeks shelter in a sleeping bag on a cot, under the construction hoarding.
12:03 p.m., March 2, 2018. On Yonge facing south on the east side. Lane width is one of the considerations in the REImagining Yonge process.
12:03 p.m., March 2, 2018. On Yonge facing south on the east side. Lane width is one of the considerations in the REImagining Yonge process.
12:04 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing north on Yonge Street, north of Sheppard. Development on this stretch has already modified the lanes of traffic.
12:04 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing north on Yonge Street, north of Sheppard. Development on this stretch has already modified the lanes of traffic.
12:05 p.m., March 2, 2018. A TTC bus at Greenfield Avenue and Yonge Street, north of Sheppard.
12:05 p.m., March 2, 2018. A TTC bus at Greenfield Avenue and Yonge Street, north of Sheppard.

Yonge & Finch

1:16 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing south on Yonge Street, south of Finch. One proposal puts bike lanes on this stretch.
1:16 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing south on Yonge Street, south of Finch. One proposal puts bike lanes on this stretch.
1:17 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing south on Yonge, north of Finch. Cars line up at the traffic light heading north.
1:17 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing south on Yonge, north of Finch. Cars line up at the traffic light heading north.
2:28 p.m., March 2, 2018. A centre median on Yonge Street separates traffic lanes.
2:28 p.m., March 2, 2018. A centre median on Yonge Street separates traffic lanes.
2:23 p.m., March 2, 2018. A variety of types of businesses exist on Yonge Street.
2:23 p.m., March 2, 2018. A variety of types of businesses exist on Yonge Street.
2:25 p.m., March 2, 2018. One of the many developments on Yonge Street. One proposal puts bikes lanes on this stretch.
2:25 p.m., March 2, 2018. One of the many developments on Yonge Street. One proposal puts bike lanes on this stretch.
2:31 p.m., March 2, 2018. Development borders at the edge of this sidewalk on Yonge Street, comparatively narrow to other parts of the strip.
2:31 p.m., March 2, 2018. Development borders at the edge of this sidewalk on Yonge Street, comparatively narrow to other parts of the strip.

Beecroft Road

12:10 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing north on Beecroft Road.
12:10 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing north on Beecroft Road.
12:13 p.m., March 2, 2018. A pedestrian crosses at Beecroft Road and Sheppard Avenue.
12:13 p.m., March 2, 2018. A pedestrian crosses at Beecroft Road and Sheppard Avenue.
12:13 p.m., March 2, 2018. Beecroft Road has a median near Sheppard Avenue, and a sidewalk with an adjoining paved strip.
12:13 p.m., March 2, 2018. Beecroft Road has a median near Sheppard Avenue, and a sidewalk with an adjoining paved strip.
1:12 p.m., March 2, 2018. The north end of Greenview Avenue facing south at Hendon Avenue, where proposed bike lanes will begin.
1:12 p.m., March 2, 2018. The north end of Greenview Avenue (the street north of Beecroft Avenue) facing south at Hendon Avenue, where proposed bike lanes will begin.
3:06 p.m., March 2, 2018. Curved driveways coming out of buildings on Greenview Avenue, north of Beecroft Road.
3:06 p.m., March 2, 2018. Curved driveways coming out of buildings on Greenview Avenue, north of Beecroft Road.
5:30 p.m. March 2, 2018. Facing north on Beecroft Road, one of the proposed streets to have bike lanes.
5:30 p.m. March 2, 2018. Facing north on Beecroft Road, one of the proposed streets to have bike lanes.

Doris Avenue

11:57 p.m., March 2, 2018. Traffic turning onto Sheppard at the south end of Doris Avenue.
11:57 p.m., March 2, 2018. Traffic turning onto Sheppard at the south end of Doris Avenue.
12:29 p.m., March 2, 2018. Doris Avenue on the east side of the street, south of Spring Garden Avenue. One of the proposed streets to have bike lanes.
12:29 p.m., March 2, 2018. Doris Avenue on the east side of the street, south of Spring Garden Avenue. One of the proposed streets to have bike lanes.
12:29 p.m., March 2, 2018. On the east side of Doris Avenue, facing north.
12:29 p.m., March 2, 2018. On the east side of Doris Avenue, facing north.
12:31 p.m., March 2, 2018. On the east side of Doris Avenue facing south.
12:31 p.m., March 2, 2018. On the east side of Doris Avenue facing south.
1:21 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing south on Kenneth Avenue, the street north of Doris Avenue.
1:21 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing south on Kenneth Avenue, the street north of Doris Avenue.
1:29 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing south on Doris Avenue, the traffic lights at Byng Avenue are in the distance.
1:29 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing south on Doris Avenue, the traffic lights at Byng Avenue are in the distance.
1:30 p.m., March 2, 2018. Pedestrians crossing at Doris on Byng Avenue.
1:30 p.m., March 2, 2018. Pedestrians crossing at Doris on Byng Avenue.
1:35 p.m., March 2, 2018. Stretches of grass and trees boundary the sidewalk on Doris Avenue.
1:35 p.m., March 2, 2018. Stretches of grass and trees boundary the sidewalk on Doris Avenue.
1:35 p.m., March 2, 2018. A cyclist crosses Doris at Finch Avenue.
1:35 p.m., March 2, 2018. A cyclist crosses Doris at Finch Avenue.
5:18 p.m., March 2, 2018. With no bike lanes, a cyclist rides on the sidewalk on Finch.
5:18 p.m., March 2, 2018. With no bike lanes, a cyclist rides on the sidewalk on Finch.

Hydro Corridor

1:21 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing east on Bishop at the top of Kenneth Avenue, the street north of Doris Avenue at Finch Avenue East. The hydro poles boundary the north edge of the area under review for cycle tracks.
1:21 p.m., March 2, 2018. Facing east on Bishop at the top of Kenneth Avenue, the street north of Doris Avenue at Finch Avenue East. The hydro poles boundary the north edge of the area under review for cycle tracks.
1:14 p.m. March 2, 2018. Hydro poles on Hendon Avenue, west of Yonge Street. This area, just north of Finch Avenue, is the northern boundary of the area being studied for bike lanes.
1:14 p.m. March 2, 2018. Hydro poles on Hendon Avenue, west of Yonge Street. This area, just north of Finch Avenue, is the northern boundary of the area being studied for bike lanes.
1:18 p.m., March 2, 2018. Bike stands, taxi stands, and other surface transit on the north side of Bishop Avenue east of Yonge Street.
1:18 p.m., March 2, 2018. Bike stands, taxi stands, and other surface transit on the north side of Bishop Avenue east of Yonge Street.
1:18 p.m. March 2, 2018. City of Toronto bike stands south of the station on Bishop Avenue at Yonge Street.
1:18 p.m. March 2, 2018. City of Toronto bike stands south of the station on Bishop Avenue at Yonge Street.
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