A bike ride by Toronto cyclists took place along Jarvis Street to protest the removal of the street’s existing bike lanes.

City council voted on July 13, 2011 to get rid of the lanes — and the paint will likely be removed this year — but cycling advocates have taken the fight to Queen’s Park.

“Here’s what we know: since the installation of bike lanes on Jarvis, the number of cyclists has tripled,” Cycle Toronto’s Jared Kolb said in a statement.

“We’ve seen a drop in collision rates across the board, making the street safer for everyone.  Scrubbing the bike lanes and re-installing the fifth reversible lane will cost a quarter-million dollars.”

Cycle Toronto (formerly the Toronto Cyclists’ Union), which organized the protest, has asked the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to conduct an environmental assessment (EA) on the project. If approved, the EA would have to be performed before the lanes could be removed.

According to a city report released in June 2011, the number of daily cyclists on Jarvis rose from 290 to 890, while the number of motorists has remained constant at 13,000.

City staff said that travel times have increased by approximately two minutes in both directions during the morning rush, and by three to five minutes in the evening rush.

The Jarvis bike lanes were installed in July 2010. According to the city, the lanes cost $59,000 to install and will cost an estimated $200,000 to remove.

Wednesday’s protest began 6 p.m. Wednesday at Allan Gardens and concluded at city hall around 7:30 p.m..