A local cycling advocacy group wants the Riverdale area to create safe bike lanes that would connect the neighbourhood to the waterfront.
Ward 30 Bikes has called upon the expertise of 4th year students from Ryerson University’s school of urban and regional planning to study the feasibility of the project. Class professor Don Verbanac turned the challenge into a practical planning course for his students, and they’ll present the final report at a community meeting on Monday.
It is important for the people of Riverdale to have alternate and safe ways of getting to the lake, not only by driving, said Paul Young, a member of Ward 30 Bikes.
“The number one reason people don’t cycle more in the city is because they don’t feel safe,” he said.
“Riverdale is one of the parts of the city where you can’t easily get down to the lake. We sometimes just forget that we live close to the lake because there aren’t any direct routes to the water from the community.”
The bike lanes would give people direct access to many “fantastic” recreational destinations on the waterfront. These include the Leslie Spit, Cherry Beach and the Martin Goodman Trail, said Young, who is also a health promoter at South Riverdale Community Health Centre.
“It would add an improvement to people’s daily commute and give them some control over conditions that affect their lives,” he said. “Cycling is beneficial to people’s physical and mental health.”
Options being presented in the report include a bike path on Leslie Street (currently under construction but no plans for bike lanes), as well as Cherry Street and Carlaw Avenue, he said.
In the past, Ward 30 Bikes successfully advocated for the creation of bike lanes on Dundas Street East.