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Cyclists rides across the new two-way bike lane separated from traffic on the Dunsmuir Viaduct in Vancouver March 10, 2010.John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

A network of separated bike lanes that crisscross the downtown is part of a staff report on cycling options for the city.

The proposal for new bike lanes that are physically separated from traffic on city-centre streets (see map to right) is being championed by Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the public works committee. That committee will discuss the report next week, which will also be the first chance for Toronto cyclists to tell the city what they think about the option.

Andrea Garcia, a director at the Toronto Cyclists Union, says research shows protected lanes improve safety and encourage more people to use a bike. "We think they are great for Toronto."

There has been talk in Toronto about separate lanes for cyclists for about a decade, she said, but the idea gained new support and attention after city staff were asked to study the issue this spring. The report, to be released Thursday as part of the committee agenda, will also look at a network of bike paths, an option favoured by Mayor Rob Ford.

Councillor Minnan-Wong said the city has enough money in its five-year public works plan to construct the separate lanes. Some streets in the proposed network, such as Sherbourne Street, are already scheduled for major work, he said.

While the staff report is not expected to make any recommendations for the removal of bike lanes on Jarvis Street, councillors could make that recommendation, he said.