Adelaide/Richmond cycle tracks lead to less car, bike crashes

There have been double-digit decreases in vehicle and bike crashes on several cycle tracks that Toronto city staff are recommending become permanent, although there was also a big jump in pedestrian collisions on one of them. 

Transportation Services is recommending the tracks on Adelaide and Richmond become fixtures in the city, as well as those on Simcoe and Peter. 

Since the tracks were installed between 2014 and 2016, overall cyclist collisions have decreased 73 per cent. 

For motor vehicles, the overall drop in collisions is 18 per cent, including 28 for the Richmond corridor. 

While there's also been a 16 per cent decrease for pedestrian collisions on Adelaide, the concerning jump is on Richmond, where there's been a 55 per cent increase. 

"It's certainly higher than I would've liked," said Cllr. Joe Cressy, whose Ward 10 is one of the two that includes the sets of tracks. "But I think this is why when we make it permanent, the opportunity is to improve it." 

"The nature of a pilot is that you throw down some paint, you throw down some signs and you pop up some bollards, that's not a significant enough design modification to truly make this a safe piece of infrastructure for anybody." 

A city study suggests also moving the Adelaide track from the south side of the street to the north, at a cost of $315,000. 

"That's pretty straight-forward," he said of the cost. "If you were making changes to a road reconfiguration for vehicles, it would be in the millions." 

A city report says the rationale for the move is because currently, cyclists have to merge with cars where the track is used for pick-up and drop-offs in front of First Canadian Place and Scotia Plaza, which includes 300 commercial vehicles per day needing access. 

"Moving the cycle track to the north side will eliminate potential conflicts between cyclists and turning trucks," the report said. 

City staff say the change will also improve traffic flow on University, York and Jarvis along Adelaide, while projecting a 23 per cent increase to on-street parking. 

As for how the network has increased overall cyclist traffic, the increase is significant. 

They now represent about one-third of all traffic mode along the corridor, with the largest increases coming on Richmond. 

The first phase of the Richmond-Adelaide lanes saw increased volumes of 1,194 per cent after installation, plus another 828 per cent after the second phase. 

As for the impact on vehicle traffic, city data suggests it wasn't significant impacted. 

"Between 2013 and 2016, during the AM and PM periods, there was an average 1 minute and 31 second increase in travel time on Richmond Street East and Richmond Street West and an average 57 second decrease in travel time on Adelaide Street East and Adelaide Street West," the report said. 

The recommendations will go before committee on later this month, with a scheduled vote before council on January 30th. 

To read the full report, click here.