Establishing bikeways close to main subway lines has many benefits.
Casual cyclists need not feel guilty about cycling downhill and returning by TTC. On Saturdays, bikes are allowed on the subway system at any hour. Some Bells on Yonge participants may prefer to save energy by using the subway to get to one of the ride’s three start points, which are located near the Finch, Lawrence and Rosedale stations. Or, riders who are weary at the end of the afternoon may return home from the BIKESTOCK festival by subway via the Queen or Osgoode stations.
Bikes and subways are a combination that also benefits regular commuters. When different modes of transportation run in parallel, it makes easy so-called “Bike-and-Ride”, multimodal travel. Torontonians whose homes lie between subway stations may have to cover up to two kilometres along local streets simply to reach the nearest subway station. This initial leg of the journey will be swifter if it is done on a bike (which can be parked outside the station).
The TTC allows bicycles to be carried onto the subway only during off-peak hours, when they system has excess capacity. If a bikeway is established along the Yonge subway corridor, commuters will cycle downtown in far greater numbers during rush hour, when the subway is strained to the limit. The combined effect of these cyclist travel patterns would help rebalance the current asymmetries in hour-to-hour subway usage levels.
A downtown relief subway line is unlikely to be finished this decade. Fortunately, a bikeway can take some of the pressure off of the Yonge subway in the near future – at a fraction of the cost of a rapid transit line.