Sports & Health

New bike lanes coming this spring

Cyclists may feel safer hopping on their bikes to get around thanks to newly-designated bicycle lanes that will improve connections to existing bicycle lanes.

York Regional Council has approved a bicycle lane on Ninth Line south of Hoover Park Drive to north of Donald Cousens Parkway in the City of Markham and Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

It also approved a designated bicycle lane on Prospect Street, northbound and southbound from Lydia Street to Timothy Street in Newmarket. The bicycle lanes will be operational beginning Monday, May 1. Street signs and pavement markings will be installed this spring.

“During development of the 2022 Transportation Master Plan (TMP), we heard that residents want more sustainable transportation options, like cycling, that reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Commissioner of Public Works Erin Mahoney says in a report to council.

The move to lower-carbon options also contributes to healthier communities by encouraging more physical activity and reducing traffic-related pollution and noise. To make active transportation easier and safer for all travellers, the TMP identifies road widening projects that include the addition of multi-use paths for bicycle and pedestrian traffic or dedicated cycle tracks in roadside boulevards, Mahoney adds.

In January 2021, Regional Council approved Markham’s request for 24-hour whistle cessation on Ninth Line along the GO Stouffville corridor. As part of safety measures for the Ninth Line at-grade railway crossing south of 19th Avenue, Metrolinx will construct an off-road cycle track for cyclists to cross the skewed railway crossing at a right angle.

Under the Municipal Act, 2001, a municipal council can pass bylaws respecting highways, including parking, traffic and designated bike lanes. Designating lanes for the exclusive use of bicycles separates cyclists from motorists on the road. Bicycle lanes can be delineated from motor vehicle lanes by pavement markings and/or physical barriers. Delineating lanes may help improve safety and comfort for cyclists by reducing the potential for conflict and injuries and could help improve overall traffic flow along the two-lane corridor.

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