Bikes on Dundas
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a cycle track?
A cycle track is a path with separated lanes for bicycles that abuts roadways but is separated from vehicular traffic. It can be unidirectional in which it is one-way on each side of the road, or bidirectional in which it is two-way on one side of the road.
What is the history of the Bikes on Dundas campaign?
As early as 2014, London Cycle Link members were discussing where London's first cycle track should be. The ideal location would involve a street that many cyclists already used, would connect major destinations, and would preferably have local businesses along the corridor. Dundas Street between Old East Village and downtown was the obvious choice as it is well used by cyclists, connects two major nodes, and has many storefronts.
Shift, the rapid transit environmental assessment process, also started in 2014 and initially selected Dundas Street as the preferred route for rapid transit – either light rail or buses. As a result, we were told the cycle track could not be on Dundas Street. In January of 2016, as part of the City of London budget discussions, London Cycle Link put forth five projects that were the highest priority for cyclists. These included a cycle track between Old East Village and downtown. King Street was initially selected for this corridor in order to avoid conflicts with rapid transit. Council received the presentation favourably but did not commit to any projects.
Also in 2016, the city solicited input for the Cycling Master Plan before it was finalized. London Cycle Link offered comments and feedback on the draft plans. The final Cycling Master Plan recommended Queens Avenue for a bidirectional cycle track. This was selected to avoid the rapid transit corridor on Dundas and King Streets. Their plans only showed the cycle track going as far east as Colborne Street from downtown. We staunchly opposed a shortened version of the east–west cycle track – it needed to connect Old East Village to downtown.
The cycle track on Queens Avenue featured prominently during city council meetings with council trying to have it approved quickly in order to qualify for federal infrastructure funding. Work on this proposal was suspended when it became clear that Queens Avenue might become one of the rapid transit corridors. On May 15th, 2017 council approved the final parallel routes for rapid transit: Queens Avenue and King Street downtown.
The previously proposed Queens Avenue cycle track would not be built. Now that Dundas Street was free of rapid transit plans, we were free to advocate for our original hope, a Dundas cycle track. In 2018 London Cycle Link reached out to businesses along the Dundas corridor and explained the benefits of cycle tracks, in efforts to drum up support for their implementation on Dundas. We found that there was a great deal of support for bike lanes on Dundas Street, although with various concerns around specifics.
In March, 2019, Council approved a protected bike lane along Dundas Street from downtown to Old East Village. Council opted to follow a staff recommendation that the westbound portion of the bike lane jog north off Dundas and onto Queens Avenue through the heart of Old East Village, between Ontario and William streets. While London Cycle Link had lobbied against this and in favour of a bi-directional lane through this section, we were nonetheless very pleased that the lane would now be built.
Why Dundas Street?
Dundas Street is a major cultural, business, and shopping corridor that connects Old East Village to Woodfield and Downtown. Connecting London through cycle tracks makes cycling safer, more accessible, and better for everyone.
Why is it important to increase cycling ridership?
If we can get more people using active transportation, our city will be healthier. Active transportation is part of a healthy lifestyle, is inexpensive, and reduces pollution. Only 15% of Canadian adults get their recommended amount of weekly physical activity (Statistics Canada). An increased cycling ridership would help more Londoners achieve their recommended amount of physical activity.
Cycling commuters have half the risk of cancer and heart disease (The BMJ). Cycle commuting to work lowers the risk of early death by 41% (The BMJ). This study demonstrates important correlations but not causation.
Will cycle tracks increase ridership?
Yes. The construction of cycle tracks in five American cities led to an increased ridership between 21% and 126%, even when unprotected bike lanes already existed. (The Transportation Research and Education Center)
Will cycle tracks be safer than the current infrastructure?
In Montreal, cycle tracks were found to be associated with a 28% decrease in cycling-related injuries. There were seven accidents on streets with cycle tracks for every ten accidents on streets without cycle tracks (BMJ Journals). It is important to correct for the increase in ridership when comparing overall cycling accidents before and after cycle tracks are built in a city.
How much street parking will be lost?
Some street parking will be lost. Cycle tracks can (and should) be built to preserve parking on one side of the street, but spots will be lost on the other side of street, wherever they currently exist. London already has nine municipal lots within one block of Dundas Street, so parking will still be available along Dundas Street (Municipal Parking Lots).
In a study of Queen Street in Toronto, merchants were more likely than visitors to perceive the amount of car parking as inadequate: 52% of merchants stated there was not enough car parking in comparison with 19% of visitors (Toronto Centre for Active Transportation).
Will vehicular traffic slow down?
In short, we don’t know. In Toronto, Bloor Street cycle tracks increased the average vehicular commute time by eight minutes (CBC). In New York the installation of cycle tracks decreased travel times for cars by 35%, with decreases even in cases where a lane was lost to parking ("Protected Bicycle Lanes in NYC").
What will be the net effect on businesses in the region?
A Dundas Street cycle track should boost local businesses. On Bloor Street in Toronto, 50% of cyclists spent $100 or more per month in the neighborhood while 34% of drivers spent $100 or more per month in the neighborhood ("Bike Lanes, On-street Parking & Business: A Study of Bloor Street in Toronto's Annex Neighbourhood").
A Dundas Street cycle track will bring new customers who spend more money. Many cyclists currently skip Dundas in favor of Queens Avenue and King Street where there are already bike lanes.
Can the cycle tracks be cleared of snow in the winter?
In other Canadian cities, cycle tracks are maintained in the winter. London should be able to do the same.
What will happen in the Dundas Place, My Dundas “flex street” part of Dundas Street?
We are unlikely to get permanent protected bike lanes on this part of Dundas Street (from Wellington to the river), but the street should (we hope) be generally designed to be more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly. Temporary planters and bollards are an option we hope to explore.
At the very least, we will be asking the city to put up signs saying one of: (1) “DO NOT PASS CYCLISTS”, or (2) “SINGLE FILE.” Traffic lights should be built to give cyclists a head start at all intersections. The speed limit should be 25 km/h on that section of Dundas Street.
We hope that there can be parallel protected bike lanes on Queens and King in both directions between the river and Wellington.
How can I support the Bikes on Dundas campaign?
Do you own a local business? If so, show your support by placing a Bikes on Dundas sticker on your storefront. Contact London Cycle Link to obtain stickers.
A template email might look like this:
I am writing you to show my interest in and support for the implementation of protected bike lanes on Dundas Street. Ever since the cancellation of plans for a Queens Avenue cycle track, it has become clear that Dundas Street is a natural choice for east–west protected bike lanes.
We know that bike lanes are good for business, are safer for drivers and pedestrians, and also for cyclists.
Please build protected bike lanes on Dundas Street.
Where can I find promotional materials for the campaign?
Contact London Cycle Link to obtain stickers.
Where can I read more about the subject?