Bells on Yonge is organized by Cycle Toronto’s Yonge Working Group. The 2014 ride will be the third annual Bells on Yonge. It is modelled after the Bells on Bloor ride, which follows a route aligned with the Bloor subway line.
Significant residential densities at Yonge’s high-rise nodes (North York Centre, Eglinton, Davisville, St. Clair, Downtown) mean that there are a large number of bike-owners who live near Yonge St. Unfortunately, the bike unfriendliness of Yonge Street itself currently deters many cyclists from riding between the various nodes. Particularly troublesome barriers are the 401-Yonge interchange and the Davenport Escarpment (south of St. Clair) .
If the city spends relatively modest sums on a Yonge bikeway, Torontonians will be able to cycle along our main street far more easily and safely than is now the case. A bikeway will also take some pressure off of the overcrowded Yonge subway during rush hour.
Our goal is to work towards the installation of a safe bikeway in the Yonge corridor extending from Steeles Ave. to the lake. The City of Toronto’s official Bike Plan fails to address this need. Ideally, we would see protected bike lanes installed on Yonge Street itself. In the near term, certain workarounds may be necessary – for instance, at the 401.
North of Sheppard there are plans to install northbound bike lanes on Doris, which is one block east of Yonge, and southbound lanes on Beecroft, which is one block west of Yonge. These will be welcome additions to Toronto’s inventory of bike lanes and will be great for cyclists travelling longer distances. We believe it would be great for shoppers and merchants if there would also be lanes on Yonge between Sheppard and Steeles, but that is a longer-term goal. Along other sections of the Yonge corridor the city may elect to put bike lanes on parallel streets such as Duplex, and though they would be an improvement, our preference is protected cycle tracks on Yonge itself.