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Bikes On Dundas is a campaign from the streets of London to get protected bike lanes (cycle tracks) on Dundas Street.

 Our advocacy efforts have evolved over the course of the project but remain consistent in advocating for cycle tracks in both directions on Dundas between downtown and Old East.

Background

At London Cycle Link, our members have had this east-west project noted as a top priority as far back as 2015. We feel strongly that it represents one of the best opportunities to get more people on bikes, so it’s important we get the design right. Downtown and Old East are both clusters of activity (think housing, retail, entertainment) and connecting them with safe and direct bike lanes, in both directions, will entice hundreds, if not thousands of people to start riding bikes between them.

Currently, the City’s recommended path for bikes is confusing and requires a deviation to Queens and back when travelling from Old East to Downtown, see below.

City Staff’s Preferred Corridor Map

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Let’s say you bike from the University to Aeolian Hall to see a show. You hop on the TVP, connect to the Dundas cycle track and arrive safely, not having to worry about traffic. On the way home though, if you want safe infrastructure, you must walk your bike to English, bike up to Queens, take Queens to William and turn at William across two lanes of fast-moving traffic to get back to Dundas to continue your journey home. See where this falls apart?

City Staff’s Preferred Dundas Street Cross-Section

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Our Solution

The City has cited that the section through the heart of Old East is too narrow for bike lanes in both directions. It’s narrow, yes, but really it’s all about priorities. They’ve chosen to prioritize wider sidewalks that allow more flexibility for retail displays, more landscaping, and potential for patios. The only difference between the City’s recommendation of one bike lane on Dundas and our recommendation for both bike lanes on Dundas is 1.2m of extra sidewalk space (see below). There is no change to the amount of on-street parking spots. There is no change to the number of vehicle lanes.  We can add bike lanes in both directions and still increase sidewalk width from today (just by a little less).

London Cycle Link’s Preferred Dundas Street Cross-Section

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What we’re proposing is a space-efficient solution that provides direct, intuitive travel for people on bikes. Cyclists in both directions would be on the south side of Dundas (from Colborne to Ontario) allowing for widened sidewalks. A cross-section is shown above (north side on the left) and the map view is shown below:

London Cycle Link’s Preferred Corridor Map

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There is some concern about the unexpected travel pattern of westbound cyclists; however, leading design guides such as Urban Bikeway Design Guide by NACTO promote this solution; it is already working in Montreal; and something very similar was built on the very successful Indianapolis Cultural Trail shown below:

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If we want to see the rapid growth in the number of people cycling, to make our city healthier, more sustainable, and give more choice in how we get around, then we need to make our cycling infrastructure safe and intuitive.

Summary

We understand the desire of businesses for wider sidewalks and more greenspace. But at the root of this desire is the potential for more customers. Bike lanes in both directions will bring more customers and have wider benefits to the rest of the city. And if the City builds what they’re proposing? Well, we’ll have another half-solution that fails to consider cycling as a viable mode of transportation that can play a significant role in how people get around London.