For more than a hundred years the Remenyi House of Music has sold some of the finest instruments in the city. “My father and I travel the world looking for the best,” said general manager Michael Remenyi.
For the last 37 years the business has been a fixture near the corner of Bay Street and Avenue Road, one of the ends of a 2.4-km bike lane that cycling advocates and the city are proposing.
“Our customers specifically say it’s hard for them to come down to Bloor Street because of the congestion and limited parking,” Remenyi said Monday. “So this is just one more thing that would add to the deterrence.”
The bike lane would stretch west to Shaw Street. Around 135 parking spots would be removed to accommodate the two lanes – one going in either direction – but some spots would remain and alternate between blocks.
“You’re always within parking on your side of the street either right in front of you or from a half a block to either side,” said Councillor Mike Layton, a vocal cycling advocate who said residents have been overwhelmingly supportive of the idea.
“Resident associations – the six that represent this area – are firmly behind it.”
The pilot project would last for one year, after which city staff would carefully study the impacts.
“This is going to be a pilot project perhaps unlike many others we’ve done in the past where there is going to be scrupulous, very detailed study done on the consequences,” said Mayor John Tory. He stressed this was just a pilot project that would last one year.
Another concern is safety. “If you have one lane east/west on Bloor Street, if there’s an emergency, it shuts down the whole street or they may not be able to access the street,” said Remenyi.
The bike lane pilot project would cost around $500,000 and the loss in parking revenue would be around $840,000 a year. But some local businesses could benefit from increased bike access.
“There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence suggesting that there are a lot of people traveling by car, but when you look at some of the studies out there from other jurisdictions it’s actually the opposite that’s true,” said Layton.
The public works committee approved the proposal Monday, sending the the final decision to council on May 3 and 4.