Ask Torontoist: What Happened to the Spadina Avenue "Bike Lanes"?
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Ask Torontoist: What Happened to the Spadina Avenue “Bike Lanes”?

Ask Torontoist features questions posed by you, and answered by our elite team of specially trained investigative experts (also known as our staff). Send your questions to [email protected].

Reader Fabio asks:

I biked to work on October 8 (High Park to King Street West) and noticed that the bike lanes (or, better saying, the curb lanes) on Spadina are gone. Do you guys know what’s going on? Rob Ford isn’t the mayor yet…

Black erasure marks are all that remain of Spadina Avenue’s shoulder lanes. Photo by Harry Choi/Torontoist.

Torontoist answers:

No, Rob Ford―whose stance on bike lanes is confusing at best―is not mayor yet. And yes, those curb lanes (they weren’t actual bike lanes) are gone. All that remain of them now are black lines, where the white ones were presumably pressure-washed away.
But word from the City is that the missing shoulder lanes will soon be replaced by another type of bike-friendly road marking: as some have already surmised, sharrows are on the way.
Sharrows are those white arrows with bike symbols beneath them. One recent rogue installation put a different spin on the design.
Sharrows already exist on sections of the shoulders of several of downtown Toronto’s big traffic corridors, including part of Bloor Street, and College Street west of Manning. They aren’t the same thing as bike lanes; they don’t mark out exclusive space on the road for cyclists. They’re intended only to indicate to drivers that the right-of-way is to be shared with bikes, and also to provide a visual cue to help cyclists mind their positions on the road, so they don’t get whacked by the opening doors of cars parked on the street.
Daniel Egan, Manager of Pedestrian and Cycling Infrastructure at the City’s Transportation Services division, told us in an email that sharrows will be coming to Spadina Avenue in late October, “weather permitting.”
The Spadina Avenue sharrows are only one of several road-marking projects planned this fall as part of the City’s ongoing efforts to expand Toronto’s bikeway network. A list of the rest is available on the City’s website.
Ask Torontoist illustration by Sasha Plotnikova/Torontoist.