# M I N I M U M G R I D

73% of Torontonians say the lack of cycling infrastructure in this city is holding them back from riding more.

Which candidates for Mayor or City Councillor support creating a Minimum Grid of connected bike lanes across the entire city of Toronto?

Above: Protected bike lane in Chicago. Photo courtesy Green Lane Project. 73% statistic courtesy Share the Road.

NEW: Show your support by putting a Minimum Grid ribbon on your bike!

Pick up a ribbon at a Cycle Toronto event or at one of the following bike shops. Leave it on your bike until election day, October 27.

Bateman's Bicycle Company (Bathurst & Dupont)
Biketoons (Yonge & Davisville)
Curbside Cycle (Bathurst & Bloor)
Cyclepath Norco (Yonge & Eglinton)
Cycle Solutions (Kingston & Main location only)
Sweet Pete's Bike Shop (Bloor & Dufferin location only)
Timbuk2 (Queen & Peter)
Urbane Cyclist Co-op (Queen & John)

Photo by Ryan Muscat.

Ask every candidate these questions:

1) “Do you support building a Minimum Grid of 100 km of protected bike lanes on main streets across Toronto by 2018?”

Above: Wellesley Street has new "bollards" (vertical plastic markers) and an increased buffer to separate bikes from other traffic. Read more about protected bike lanes ("cycle tracks") here.

2) “Do you support building a Minimum Grid of 100 km of bicycle boulevards on residential streets across Toronto by 2018?”

Above: Shaw Street is still one-way for cars, but now it's two-way for bikes, and the speed limit was reduced to 30 km/h, creating a bicycle boulevard. Read more about bicycle boulevards here.

Why support a Minimum Grid?


73% of Torontonians say that the lack of cycling infrastructure is holding them back from riding more often. (Share the Road)


55% of all trips that Torontonians make are less than 7 kilometres in length, which can typically be travelled by bicycle in 30 minutes or less. (Road to Health)


Our streets aren't getting wider. This image shows the space taken by 60 people: in 60 cars, on one extended bus or streetcar, or on their bicycles. (Photo by City of Muenster)


Air pollution in Toronto leads to an estimated 1,300 premature deaths per year. (Toronto Public Health)


Health Canada recommends 2.5 hours of physical activity per week. Biking to school or work is an easy way to integrate exercise into each day.

Bike lanes are affordable

Bicycle boulevards on residential streets (paint & signage):
$50,000/km (City of Toronto)

Protected bike lane using paint & bollards (retrofit):
$125,000/km (City of Toronto)

Protected bike lane using hard curbs (reconstruction):
$320,000/km (Road to Health)

Road resurfacing for 4-lane road:
$1,000,000/km (City of Toronto)

Road reconstruction for 4-lane road:
$4,000,000/km (City of Toronto)

Repairs to the elevated section of the Gardiner over 10 years:
$72,140,000/km (City of Toronto)

The above quotes include the cost of studies if applicable.
Pictured here: Bicycle boulevard in Vancouver. Photo courtsey Payton Chung.

What candidates are saying

Click here for a spread­sheet of councillor and mayoral candi­dates' responses when we asked if they support the Minimum Grid. They were also asked 11 other trans­por­tation questions for an election survey created by the Toronto Centre for Active Trans­por­tation, Toronto Environ­mental Alliance, Cycle Toronto, Walk Toronto, and Canada Walks.


Has endorsed the Minimum Grid, and committed to adding physically separated bike lanes on Bloor, Yonge, Dundas, and College, creating priority routes for bikes, increasing zero-tolerance enforcement against bike lane violators, and making cycling a year-round option in Toronto. Read his full policy here.


Has committed to expand­ing the cycling net­work and add­ing a speci­fic line item for bike lane main­tenance to oper­ating budget. However, he has not committed to hard targets.

His support is still unclear for the Eglinton Connects pro­ject, which would bring pro­tected bike lanes to Eg­linton and act as a back­bone to the Minimum Grid. Cycle Toronto pushed back against his initial oppo­sition here and Mr. Tory qua­lified his posi­tion here.


Has com­mitted to build­ing 200km of separated and desig­nated bike lanes and boulevards over 4 years, fast-track­ing pilot projects, improv­ing maintenance, side guards on the City's fleet and support for Eglinton Connects.


Committed to doubling bike lane fund­ing, reduc­ing barriers to building bike lanes, and address­ing accident hotspots.

He also committed to elim­inating onstreet park­ing on main streets in down­town Toronto to make way for bike infra­structure and reduce congestion.


Hasn't announced a bike policy.

Check back here for updates on candidates' bike policies as they announce them.


PATRICK BROWN, Partner/Owner at McLeish Orlando LLP; Chair of the Ontario Safety League; triggered Ontario Coronor's Report on Cycling Deaths

“The Court of Appeal has recognized that a municipality has a responsibility to ensure reasonable steps are taken to make roads safe for all users, including cyclists. It is not politics. It is part of their civic responsibility.”

BETH SAVAN, Senior Fellow at Massey College; Senior Lecturer at School of the Environment, University of Toronto; Principal Investigator, Toronto Cycling Think & Do Tank, University of Toronto

“It's long overdue for Toronto, with one of the highest rates of cycling in the downtown and midtown areas of North America, to have a strong safe cycling grid to attract even more cyclists, improving our health, environment and our local economy.”

GIL PENALOSA, Executive Director, 8-80 Cities

“One bikeway is nothing. A city needs a #MinimumGrid of protected bikeways and bike boulevards interconnecting origins and destinations across Toronto. The 'last kilometre' connecting the grid to final destinations must be 30km/h max streets. If riding a bicycle is not safe for an 8 year old or an 80 year old, then it's not safe enough; we must make cycling safe for ALL.”

MARK GARNER, Executive Director, Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area

“A Minimum Grid makes our streets safer and more accessible for everyone. It benefits businesses by bringing more people onto the street and providing them with safe connections between all of Toronto's unique neighborhoods.”

STEVE MERKER, Vice President, Business Development at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

“Productivity. That's what a safe, convenient, and efficient bike grid will accomplish. More productivity with our health (bike riding is proactive healthcare), relationships (cycling is often faster and will lead to more time spent with family and friends), work (getting to work on time reduces lost productivity), our air quality (fewer cars equals less pollution), and our personal finances (cycling is inexpensive).”

GAVIN GARDINER, singer-songwriter, The Wooden Sky

“As an avid cyclist and the owner two vehicles I think safe bike lanes are an absolute necessity in the city. There needs to be a mutual respect between both drivers and cyclists. The introduction of safe bike lanes will help prove that we as a city believe in bicycles a relevant, safe and responsible mode of transportation.”

JEREMY FISHER, singer-songwriter

“I support a Minimum Grid because transportation is a key issue in this election. Toronto is a growing city and needs solutions for the increase in traffic congestion. A Minimum Grid would be good for all Torontonians, regardless of their chosen mode of transportation.”

History and context

By the end of 2013, the City of Toronto's on-street bikeway network had barely grown from 2009 levels. Despite increased ridership, City Hall reduced safe on-street cycling infrastructure by removing bike lanes on Pharmacy Ave, Birchmount Rd and Jarvis St. City Hall also created Toronto's first protected bike lanes on Sherbourne St, retrofitted Wellesley St with paint and bollards and created a bicycle boulevard on Shaw St.

While Toronto's pace at installing on-street infrastructure has been glacial, cities around the world are embracing cycling as a smart, efficient and healthy mode of transportation, and are building networks of safe cycling infrastructure. The City of Chicago, for example, built over 54 km of bike lanes in 2012 as part of an ambitious "Streets for Cycling" plan that will improve on cycling facilities and add roughly 1050 kilometres of bike lanes by 2020. They followed that up with 32 km of protected & buffered bike lanes in 2013.

The 2001 Bike Plan called for 495 km of on-street bike lanes by 2011. How many did we build over that 10 year period? Roughly 112 km, or 23% of the plan. According to Share the Road Cycling Coalition, 73% of Torontonians want to ride more often, but the lack of safe cycling infrastructure is holding them back.

A grid of protected bike lanes supported by a network of bicycle boulevards is a vital way to get Torontonians moving. Ridership rises when biking is easy, safe and comfortable. A study from Portland, Oregon found that 60% of people are interested but concerned about cycling for transportation. A Minimum Grid would help that 60% cycle more often, creating a transportation system that is easier, safer, more sustainable, and more fun.

Minimum Grid

Investment in Toronto's on-street network of bike lanes has stalled. We need a specific commitment from City Hall for a network of protected bike lanes across Toronto, supported by a grid of bicycle boulevards. A city-wide 2 km x 2 km grid of bike lanes is crucial to provide all Torontonians with a safe cycling option (2001 Toronto Bike Plan, 2013 Bicycle Policy Framework). There are hundreds of kilometres we could add to Toronto streets. For the next term of council, we need to invest in the minimum required to add safe on-street connections not just in downtown Toronto, but across the entire city.

We're calling on all candidates in the 2014 municipal election to commit to creating a Minimum Grid of 100 km of protected bike lanes and 100 km of bicycle boulevards during the 2014-2018 term of council to get Torontonians moving by bicycle.

What can you do?


Ask your candidates for city councillor or mayor if they support building a Minimum Grid. Be specific — a Minimum Grid means 100 km of protected bike lanes and 100 km of bicycle boulevards, connected together to form a grid, across the whole city of Toronto by 2018.


Join Cycle Toronto to support this campaign and help us push for a better bike city. The more members we have, the stronger our voice!


Sign the Minimum Grid petition started by supporters on Avaaz. It has over 1000 names on it so far!


Show your support for a Minimum Grid by putting a yellow Minimum Grid ribbon on your bike, and leave it there until election day.


Share this page on social media, and use the hashtag #MinimumGrid.