Keele-Weston Bikeways Extension Petition
To Councillor Nunziata,
Re: Keele-Weston and other bikeways for transit-reliant residents
We have seen that cycling and safety infrastructure has been improved throughout Toronto, as a response to social distance requirements due to COVID-19. This has mainly taken place along major streets in the mid and downtown core of Toronto.
We look forward to discussing with the councillor how we can have additional bike lane projects that can service the residents of York South–Weston, both within and outside the electoral district boundaries. Specifically, the installation of cycling infrastructure along Keele-Weston between Bloor St W, and Oak St; a bike lane along this lane has been identified as a priority in a report produced by York South–Weston residents in 2018 and endorsed by councillor Nunziata at the Public Works Committee in April of 2018, but that hasn’t yet materialized in any detailed studies, let alone installation. A well designed, protected bike lane along the length of Weston Rd is useful for the safety and convenience of local residents and all road users, including people who walk and drive. Such a bike lane can provide residents of all ages and abilities an opportunity to use active transportation as a means to get to work, school and to shop locally. This bike lane can also create a connection to many existing active transportation infrastructure, including the recently opened extension of the Bloor bike lane, the Annette bike lane, the Humber River Recreation trail, and other routes and destinations.
We need also to examine the factors of class, race, and social vulnerability that play into why and how our neighborhoods have been hit harder by this pandemic. For example, data published by the City of Toronto’s Public Health office shows that a resident of Weston is 23 times more likely to contract COVID-19 than someone living in the Beaches. The data related to COVID-19 is unfortunately a continuation of a trend documented by public health officials in previous years: the concept of “social determinants of health” has been discussed repeatedly at the (Neighborhood Improvement Area) NIA tables of Mount Dennis and Weston over many years. Improvements to our transportation policies and infrastructure are part of the solution to the glaring disparity in health outcomes for Toronto residents, disparity that is pronounced along income levels, job types, and across ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Many of us are essential/frontline workers who had to work through the pandemic and rely overwhelmingly on the TTC. COVID-19 has exacerbated and highlighted many issues we face here, including overcrowded buses. With some of the busiest bus routes, including the 89 Weston and 35 Jane, bike lane extensions are now more appropriate and urgent than ever, as they can create an alternative for us to commute to our jobs, as well as reduce crowding on buses for those of us who have to take the bus. The same sound logic that was used in recent months to create the bike lanes along the Danforth, University Avenue and Bloor Street West.
We look forward to your response and hope that a Keele-Weston bike lane can become a reality sooner than later and that a (community) meeting can be set up to discuss the next steps.
Please sign below as resident endorsement if you live within Ward 5 of York South-Weston (Toronto). All data collected is protected and will be deleted once a confirmed receipt is given by Councillor Nunziata's office.
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