On February 26, 2018 TCAT made a submission to the City of Toronto Public Works and Infrastructure Committee regarding a proposal for a pilot BikeShare program in Scarborough (PW27.8).
Our submission described the need and interest in cycling in Scarborough that we have found through our Scarborough Cycles project over the past two years. Although Scarborough is often perceived as a place where car ownership is universal, our research has found many neighbourhoods where more than a quarter of households do not own a car. These residents rely on transit, walking, and rides from others to get around, and often these modes of travel are insufficient, limiting access to work, education, health and settlement services, and social opportunities. Cycling can help fill this mobility gap and increase independence. About half a million trips taken each day in Scarborough are less than 5km (DMG, 2014), a distance easily cycled in 20 minutes.
Cycling also offers significant health benefits, which are of particular importance, considering the health challenges that Scarborough and other Toronto suburbs are facing. East Scarborough, where this pilot is proposed, has the highest incidence of diabetes in Toronto (Toronto Public Health, 2017).
The proposed Bike Share pilot would add additional access to bicycles, and would also help normalize cycling in Scarborough. From a transportation system perspective, installing Bike Share is relatively affordable ($50,000 capital cost for one station).
The City may wish to additionally consider how Bike Share Toronto could strategically address health and transportation disparities by looking at models in a growing number of jurisdictions, which incorporate social equity into their mandates, including Hamilton Bike Share ‘Everyone Rides’ initiative and Los Angeles’ Metro Bike Share which makes bike share an integral component of public transit.
We commend the City for the success of its current BikeShare program. Adopting the pilot would broaden access to Bike Share and active transportation to a greater number of Toronto residents, and inform how to make Toronto Bike Share a city-wide program that is accessible to all residents as a viable transportation option.
Read the full submission here.