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Naama Blonder and Misha Bereznyak | Smart Density
This SHIFT submission proposes conflict-free bike routes using existing railway corridors with surplus land. This creation of a network of grade-separated bike trails would complement the existing cycling network, and facilitate safe and fast cycling.
While the GTA municipalities, and especially Toronto, have been improving their cycling infrastructure, cycling networks tend to be only useful for short-distance trips. The reason is that cyclists are forced to frequently stop at intersections just like motorists, but without enjoying the speed or the safety offered by cars. Grade separation provides the opportunity for continuous cycling at a higher average speed and without the effort of stopping and speeding up at each stop.
Besides the direct benefits to its users, the proposed GO Bike network would also provide broader social and ecological benefits—improving cycling enhances public health by promoting exercise and reducing stress, removing users from dangerous suburban arterial roads improves road safety and reducing travel by car cuts down on air pollution and carbon emissions. On top of that, the project improves social justice since it disproportionately benefits areas away from the core, and many of these areas are home to disadvantaged communities who have seen very few improvements in walkability and cycling infrastructure.
Creating an express network (of anything) is usually expensive and complicated, but in this case, the foundations of this network already exist in railway corridors. This means we have an unusual opportunity to boost our cycling infrastructure cheaply, simply and quickly.
Learn more about this project at the SHIFT 2019 Infrastructure/Architecture Challenge Presentation
(May 24, 2019, 6:30 PM), at the 2019 OAA Annual Conference, which takes place in Quebec City.
For more information on the SHIFT Challenge, please visit: www.shiftchallenge.ca.