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Fifth car lane on Jarvis will reopen ahead of schedule

A cyclist rides in the bike lanes on Jarvis Street in Toronto.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Despite protests to stop the removal of the Jarvis Street bike lanes and the restoration of a reversible lane, the city has completed work on Jarvis ahead of schedule.

The centre lane from Queen to Isabella streets will open Saturday, Nov. 17 at 9 a.m. The lane will operate primarily as a southbound lane, but to help alleviate traffic gridlock during the afternoon rush hour, it will act as a northbound lane from 3:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, according to a written statement from the City of Toronto.

"I think people will be pleased that this lane is in," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong. "We can finally and hopefully close the book on this file and move on."

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The lane will close for five minutes when the direction needs to be switched. The closure will be indicated by a signal with a red "X." Lane direction signals will be used to indicate which way motorists should drive.

The Jarvis bike lanes are a legacy of former mayor David Miller. They became a contentious topic because their installation led to the removal of the reversible lane. On Oct. 2, council voted 24-19 against a motion that would have spared them.

Installing the bike lanes cost $86,000. Removing them and reviving the reversible lane cost approximately $330,000.

Mr. Minnan-Wong said the separated bike lanes on Sherbourne Street, touted as an alternative to the Jarvis bike lanes, will be completed "very shortly."

About a dozen protesters tried to physically block the removal of the bike lanes on Monday and Tuesday by occupying them. The protests led to the arrest of one man who was charged with mischief.

But Mr. Minnan-Wong said the protests did not delay work on the road. He added that the city did not prioritize the restoration of the road over other projects. The work was initially expected to be completed by the end of the year.

"There weren't any needless delays," Mr. Minnan-Wong said. "The protesters didn't really delay what we wanted to do, and the installation of the lights went well."

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With files from Kelly Grant

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