Laneways as Bikeways is a collaborative project designed to explore opportunities for using laneways to address gaps in Toronto's cycling network.
Canadian Urban Institute is working with the The Laneway Project and the Community Bicycle Network,to undertake engagement with local cyclists and stakeholders and conduct research to identify challenges and opportunities for adapting Toronto's laneways to create safe and efficient cycling routes. The objective is to assess the feasibility of using laneways as bike routes in the short and medium terms, while more significant infrastructure investment is being undertaken, in accordance with the Cycling Network Ten Year Plan.
Toronto has a dense network of more than 2400 public laneways, spanning over 300 linear kilometers and running throughout our most built-up downtown and midtown neighbourhoods. The Laneway Project’s research over the past two years has demonstrated that laneways are largely underutilized and are an “untapped” resource of public space.
Laneways are already separated from the main roads, and by their very nature (narrow widths, multiple users) require lower traffic speeds. People tend not to drive in laneways unless absolutely necessary. Laneways also provide an opportunity to introduce new design or safety measures - traffic calming, wayfinding, pavement painting, bollards - without having a significant impact on the of the functionality of the local transportation network, or causing conflict among local businesses. They could provide an opportunity for a “lighter, quicker, cheaper” solution, meaning that they can offer more immediate, temporary and lower-cost solutions.
More research and feedback from cyclists and stakeholders is needed to better understand the feasibility of using laneways as bikeways.
For additional iresearch, you can download the Full Background Research Report.