Public consultation process of Woodbine bike lanes was substantial

There has been some discussion across the new Beaches—East York ward during this election about the bike lanes on Woodbine Avenue.

One issue that’s arisen has been the perceived lack of consultation with residents, or that our voices weren’t heard.

While the bike lanes were imperfect by design and certainly by implementation, we would like to set that record straight on the question of consultation.

As is outlined on the city’s website, the public consultation for the Woodbine Bike Lanes Project took place in late spring and early summer of 2016 with more than 36,000 flyers delivered via Canada Post in the area as well as 2,000 postcards handed out at local events and other venues.

Door canvassing was conducted by the local councillors, Mary-Margaret McMahon and Janet Davis, along with tweets about the public events being held.

In addition, e-mail invitations were send to eight area associations including both BIA’s such as Danforth Mosaic and neighbourhood associations such as Woodbine Gardens Homeowner Association and The Beach Hill Neighbourhood Association.

The public consultations that took place in June 2016 included stakeholder meetings with the local ward cycle groups in the former Ward 31 and Ward 32, along with Norway Public School and Norway Avenue residents.

Two public drop-in events were also held: one at the Stan Wadlow Clubhouse on June 22, 2016 and one at St. John the Baptist Norway Church on June 23, 2016.

In addition to these events, there was also an online feedback form that was available from June 22 – July 8, 2016 and a subscription option to be included on the Woodbine Bike Lanes email list that was made available on the city’s website.

This, in our opinion, represents a substantial consultation process worthy of this scale of change.

The same city website shows what happens when citizen concerns cause the city to change their plans: an original part of the city’s plan was for a contra-flow bike lane on the first block of Norway east of Woodbine.

After consultation with residents of that street in June 2016, who were adamantly opposed to such a bike lane, the city dropped the plan.

We are members of 32 Spokes, a local citizen group of people in this ward with an interest in these issues. We’ve been working with the city on the evolution of the Woodbine bike lanes, and believe that solutions to improve them for all who travel on Woodbine are available.

We welcome constructive participation in that process and invite all citizens of the new, unified Ward 19 to get involved to ensure safe options for all the different modes of transportation we have in our city.

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