Toronto city council unanimously approved changes to traffic and parking regulations on Tuesday, clearing the way for almost nine kilometres of new priority bus lanes.
The updated regulations will see 8.5 km of priority RapidTO bus lanes run along Eglinton Avenue East, Kingston Road, and Morningside Avenue.
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RapidTO is a network of priority transit corridors across the city.
Toronto City Council unanimously approves RapidTO bus lanes to improve reliability and capacity on Eglinton Avenue East.
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) July 28, 2020
“The improved speed, reliability and increased capacity of bus routes in the RapidTO network will result in a faster and more reliable commute, which will improve access to employment, healthcare and community services, as well as transit equity and inclusion of Neighborhood Improvement Areas for residents,” the city said.
On July 14, the TTC Board approved a report to fast-track the installation of priority bus lanes and other service-enhancing measures on five of its busiest corridors.
Improved reliability and increased capacity of bus routes in the RapidTO network will result in faster commutes, which will improve access to employment, healthcare, and community services, according to the city.
The five corridors, which had a combined “pre-COVID-19 ridership” of 220,000 passengers per weekday, includes the following:
- Eglinton Avenue East/Kingston Road/Morningside Avenue from Kennedy Subway Station to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus
- Jane Street from Eglinton Avenue West to Steeles Avenue West
- Dufferin Street from Dufferin Gate to Wilson Avenue
- Steeles Avenue West from Yonge Street to Pioneer Village Subway Station
- Finch Avenue East from Yonge Street to McCowan Road
- Lawrence East (East of Victoria Park to Rouge Hills Drive) was subsequently added as the sixth priority corridor
The new bus lanes will be reserved for buses and bicycles only and be identified through red coloured streets. The city says there is a one-time installation cost of approximately $7.8 million.
In addition, the current High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on Eglinton Avenue East and curbside general-purpose lanes on Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue will be converted to priority bus lanes.
The changes are estimated to reduce transit travel time on an average of two to five minutes per trip.
“The decrease in travel time equates to annual savings of $2.5 million in operating costs and a one-time capital cost savings of approximately $6.3 million, as a result of fewer buses required to provide the same level of service on the corridor,” the city said in a release.
“These cost savings could allow the TTC to reinvest in other transit opportunities in this corridor, as demand increases or in other areas of the city where there is crowding on transit.”