It was a decision that some believe helped set the table for this year’s transportation-focused city elections and proved a turning point for Toronto’s cycling community.

With the installation of bike lanes on Jarvis Street, beginning Friday, motorists and cyclists will be able to gauge the impact of last year’s hard-fought battle to remove the reversible centre lane in favour of bikes.

Partial road closures and lane reductions between Queen and Charles streets through the week of July 26 will inevitably stoke the anger of motorists who waged a loud battle against the scheme.

The paint and the dismantling of the signals over the centre lane will only cost about $65,000.

But Daniel Egan, Toronto’s manager of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, says the 2009 controversy over the bike lanes “was overblown.”

“It was pitched as a war against cars — quite frankly it’s going to be a four-lane arterial road like every other street downtown. That (reversible) centre lane did cause a lot of confusion,” he said.

Once people have had a chance to get used to the new lanes in the fall, the city will be assessing the impact on bike and car traffic, said Egan.

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