BikingToronto - Information about Cycling in Toronto <data:blog.pageTitle/>



posted by Joe on Monday, December 07, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

James D. Shwartz, editor of The Urban Country, has made this great video of an early morning (and chilly) ride along the West Toronto Railpath:

Read about the railpath in James' article here.

Share your thoughts on the West Toronto Railpath in the BikingToronto Forum

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



A Toronto Police officer who parked his cruiser in a bike lane to get his lunch is getting no love from his superiors, who are coming down hard on his "stupid" and "unacceptable" actions.

On Sunday,the Sun witnessed a city cop sitting inside the Grillway Cafe, at Runnymede Rd. and Annette St., while his cruiser was blocking a bike lane on Annette.

The officer was parked there for at least 20 minutes before leaving the cafe with a can of pop and a paper lunch bag.

But instead of protecting their own, Toronto Police brass called the officer's parking actions "stupid" and "unacceptable."


[image of copcar in bikelane at Runnymede and Annette taken Fri, Nov. 20 from MyBikeLane.com]

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Toronto Cyclists Union has a campaign going now to not only increase the amount of the fine someone gets for parking in a bikelane, but also to get parking enforcement officers to pay attention to bikelane parkers more:


  • Lend your voice in support of added enforcement for parking/stopping in bike lane infractions, and to double this fine from $60 to $120.

    RE: Toronto Police Services Board meeting, Nov 19, 2009

    The Toronto Cyclists Union will be making a written and in-person deputation asking that the fine for parking / stopping in a bike lane be doubled to $120, and that Toronto Police - Parking Enforcement be compelled to have it's officers begin prioritizing the ticketing of all manner of vehicles stopped or parked illegally in bike lanes throughout the city.

    **Please take 5 minutes before 10am on Thursday November 19th to email your support for both of these requests being made on your behalf by the Toronto Cyclists Union.

The Union is also giving people some sample text to email to the Toronto Police Services Board in advance of the meeting... which I have made into an autofilled email link (clicking on this should pre-populate an email in your email client - I've tested it in Outlook, at least):


Subject: Bike Lane Parking Enforcement and Fine Increase

As a cyclist (and occasional driver) in Toronto, I would like to express my support for an increase in the set fine amount for parking / stopping in a bike lane to $120.

Additionally, I believe that Parking Enforcement Officers should prioritize more rigorous enforcement of the no-stopping in bike lanes bylaw.

Cars, delivery trucks and buses parked in bike lanes are a serious threat to the safety of cyclists in Toronto. Cyclists are most vulnerable when they are forced to move out of a bike lane to go around motor vehicles stopped in the lane dedicated to the safe passage of cyclists.

Sincerely,
Your name
Toronto Cyclists Union member / supporter.

Click here to open an auto-filled email, and customize it to your liking. :)

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Great post from The Urban Country about some previously unreleased details about the Bixi public bike system that Toronto is getting next year:

TorontoBIXI2

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country

After a successful launch in Montreal last May, BIXI has served more than 1 million users – an amazing accomplishment for its first year.

The system is however shutting down now as Montreal prepares for the ensuing winter. On November 1st, BIXI started taking down the less frequently used stations and BIXI rentals will no longer be available after November 30th – making its triumphant return in May 2010.

But fear not Torontonians - I have been told the BIXI system in Toronto will have no such restrictions! The city plans to keep Toronto’s BIXI system open all-year-round! A detail that has previously not been released and I had to pry out of City Hall.

A recent article on BIXI in Toronto by Walrus Magazine re-ignited my BIXI nostalgia. You see, I had tested out the BIXI system in Montreal in July for 4 days and although the system isn’t perfect, I was amazed at the possibilities it has for cycling culture in Toronto.

The City of Toronto had indicated it would release more details in Fall 2009 in its May 26th Staff Report – but these details have yet to be released.

The Walrus Magazine article unfortunately left me with more questions than it had answered, so I began my own quest to get more information on a BIXI system for Toronto.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

It's good to hear that like other LRT lines, the Eglinton Crosstown plans include bikelanes. :)


TTC to talk Eglinton line, critics wary

A draft plan of the 35-kilo-metre route -- which runs from Pearson Airport in the west to Kennedy Station in the east -- will be considered by the Toronto Transit Commission today.

While about 10 kilometres of the line would be buried through mid-town Toronto, its path through suburban sections of Etobicoke and Scarborough calls for a prohibition on left-hand turns at many major intersections and the creation of U-turn lanes mid-block so vehicles can change directions to access businesses or north-south corridors.

It would also create bike lanes along much of Eglinton.

Full Article

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posted by Joe on Monday, November 09, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Interesting post on the Walrus' blog last month on the forthcoming Public Bike System (or Bixi Toronto) planned to launch in 2010:


Driving the Lane: Toronto Prepares for Public Bicycling

Toronto’s updated plan, modeled after Montreal’s two-year old BIXI and the 20,000–strong Vélib “shared bicycle” program in Paris, proposes a start-up service area bounded by High Park in the west, Broadview Avenue in the east, Bloor Street in the north and Lake Ontario to the south. The projected system — roughly 300 rental stations with an initial capacity of 1,000 bicycles, to be increased to 10,000 over the next decade — will inevitably place a greater number of commuters on some of the city’s busiest roads. As a public transportation venture, a bicycle system presents a unique safety imperative. But are bike lanes the solution? Beyond their formidable logistic and financial considerations, would separate lanes ease the competing interests of cyclists and motorists?

I call city councillor Adrian Heaps, chair of the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee. Beyond novelty users at the program’s inception, he expects that a public bicycle system will appeal to three distinct categories of riders: those who typically use taxis to travel short distances, those who currently use car-share services for shopping trips, and, in non-winter months, tourists. Ultimately, the councillor says, the TCAC’s goal is to reduce car traffic in the downtown core, not to convert drivers outright. Ideally, cyclists and drivers would learn to share without incident. Heaps, though, is skeptical about the partitioning of bike lanes on existing roads as an easy remedy. “Putting a bucket of paint on the road doesn’t make a safer bike corridor,” he says. “It comes down to mutual respect.”

Full Article

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 04, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Sure, we're world-famous for our post and ring bike racks... but where else is there to park your bicycle in Toronto? Turns out, you've got plenty of options...

There's the "Classic":

Toronto bike rack


At BMO Field there are arches:

cne-bike-rack_0085

In Parkdale you get glasses:

Bike Rack - Toronto 1

Much, much more on Duncan's City Ride

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Back in April, SmartCentres appealed the OMBs decision to not allow a bigbox development in Leslieville.

News from Paul Young of the South Riverdale Community Health Centre is that this request has been denied:

  • The Ontario Divisional Court has just handed down their decision.

    The request for appeal of the OMB's decision has been denied.

    To quote our lawyer, Eric Gillespie,

    "There is no ability to appeal from this decision, so this is the end for SmartCentres' case."

    We'd like to thank Eric, the city lawyer Brendan O'Callahan, and everyone who participated at the OMB hearing or contributed toward helping the cause for our community!

Here's a few blog posts about the subject:

SmartCentres and their Dumb BigBox Parking Lot Plan for the Lakeshore Multi-Use Path (April 2008)

OMB Stops Walmart - Good News for East End Cyclists (March 2009)

SmartCentres Appeals Pro-Neighbourhood and Pro-Cyclist OMB Decision (April 2009)

  • This is great news for Toronto cyclists because not only will a 1,700 parking lot NOT be built, but the proposed SmartCentre plan called for multiple multi-lane driveways to be built across the multi-use path that runs along the north side of Lakeshore Boulevarde.

    The development would have turned a nice and well-used multi-use path...

    ... into an intersection like the one at Lakeshore and Leslie:

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posted by Joe on Monday, October 26, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Councillor Adam Giambrone invites you to the official opening of the West Toronto Railpath Park on Friday, October 30, 2009. Councillor Giambrone, the City of Toronto, and Friends of the West Toronto Railpath are pleased to open the first 2.1 km of this exciting recreational trail.

* Date: Friday, October 30, 2009
* Location: West Toronto Railpath entrance at Wallace Avenue (south of Dupont, west of Perth, north of Bloor). (map)

* Time:
o 2:00 p.m. – Opening Remarks
o 2:15 p.m. – Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
o 2:20 p.m. – cyclists gathered ride the trail and enjoy the sculptures
o 2:25 p.m. – interested participants invited walk 2.1 km and explore the trail and sculptures
* RSVP: Toronto Protocol RSVP Line 416-392-7667

The West Toronto Railpath Park is a new 2.1 kilometre multi-use trail that is perfect for cyclists, joggers, and people out for a stroll. Travelling alongside the railway corridor, it features extensive naturalized landscaping to create an appealing public space.

More Info (and Photos!) in the Biking Toronto Forum

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posted by Joe on Monday, October 26, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Toronto Ride For Heart bike-a-thon on the DVP 6


Driving the Lane: Toronto Prepares for Public Bicycling

by Emily Testa

What do Jack Layton and David Byrne have in common? Sure, Layton’s Twitter account tells us he’ll be busking on the Danforth this Saturday, but at press time, the range of his musical talent remains untested. No, it’s a shared interest in the future of cycling that unites the current NDP leader and former Talking Head, who will participate in an October 24 panel discussion at the International Festival of Authors. Along with Toronto Cyclists Union executive director Yvonne Bambrick and urban designer Ken Greenberg, Layton and Byrne will discuss the potential of urban planning — specifically, bike lanes — to improve the political climate of cycling in Toronto and around the world.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Want to know what's possible with bikelanes in a big city like Toronto? Look no further than New York (a much bigger city) for some inspiration. It doesn't take miracles to get cycling infrastructure like this... just political guts. :)




Bike lanes: In some cities people are literally dying to have them and some people go so far as to mark their own. Here in New York City, it feels like every time I get on my bike there is a new bike lane - sometimes on the left, sometimes buffered, and sometimes completely separated from automobile traffic. To understand these lanes, I had the opportunity to go for a ride with the NYC DOT bicycle boys. They explained the classes of bike lanes and showed off some of these inventive facilities. You can use Ride the City to find a safe bike route in New York City and watch this video to see what lanes are used on your route.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Waterfront Toronto has released their October newsletter, which includes an update on the Queens Quay Revitalization:

Queens Quay Martin Goodman Trail
Waterfront Toronto’s plan to transform Queens Quay into a grand lakefront boulevard was approved overwhelmingly at October’s City Council meeting. The recommendation to replace two lanes of traffic south of the streetcar tracks with a beautiful linear park stems from a two-year long Environmental Assessment (EA) process that featured extensive public input.

The plan will be submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) in November for approval, and the public will have a 30-day comment period during which they can review the full project report and provide feedback.

If approved by the MOE, Waterfront Toronto will begin schematic design for the entire project area from Spadina Avenue to Parliament Street. This first phase of design, which is expected to take about four months, will result in a comprehensive layout of the street from end to end and will be followed by detailed design work.

The construction of the revitalized Queens Quay will occur in phases to match funding availability. The first phase of construction, which will begin in the central waterfront, will be determined during schematic design. Phase one construction is expected to begin about one year after approval of the EA and will take 12 to 18 months to complete. The design and construction process will include numerous opportunities for public feedback.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Great news via the Don Watcher Blog:


Since the summer the city has been busy creating a new trail in the East Don. The new trail will link a park known locally as Milne Hollow which is accessible from Lawrence Ave. East just east of the Don Valley Parkway and an unnamed park at the north end of the Wynford Park neighbourhood.

The sign says that the eventual plan is to have the trail link up all the way south to the Forks of the Don although it may be a little tricky finding space south of Eglinton Ave. East since there is little wiggle room past the Flemingdon Park Golf Course. Here a few pix from the new trail.


Trail just south of Milne Hollow lined with limestone gravel


A little farther south the path lining changes to wood chips


The path as it goes under the CPR main line just north of Wynford Park

Talk about the new trail on the BikingToronto Forum

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

From Duncan's City Ride:

With only one bicycle station currently in Toronto, the lifetime membership doesn't provide access to anything else, but that should change in the near future as some TTC stations (and hopefully elsewhere) begin adding their own bicycle stations.

However, since this is only a pilot project, then what could the future of bicycle stations in Toronto become?

First, let's go to Chicago:


McDonald's Cycle Center offers not only secure parking, but showers, repair service and even bicycle rentals. It's essentially a one-stop shop for cyclists.

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posted by Joe on Saturday, October 03, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Sharrows on Bloor Street at Yonge Street

Sharrows on Bloor Street East at Church Street
Sharrows on Bloor at Yonge (top) and Church (bottom). Photos by David Topping/Torontoist.

Though they only last for three hundred metres so far, this is no small victory for cyclists. Bloor Street East, between just west of Yonge and just east of Church, has just gained freshly painted sharrows on both sides of the street. From what we saw today on the recently renovated roadway, they seem to be doing their jobs already: motorists are giving cyclists a bit more space than usual, and cyclists have moved a bit more into the road rather than towards the curb.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Originally posted on the Forum:

Very nice post on The Urban Country about Montreal's new Bixi system, from the point of view of a tourist from Toronto:

The $15 million BIXI program – the largest of its kind in North America - consists of 300 bicycle stations scattered around downtown Montreal; supplying 3000 bicycles that are available to anyone with a working credit card. A BIXI user can purchase a membership for $5/day, $28/month, or $78/year. The membership entitles the rider to unlimited use of the BIXI system, providing the first 30-minutes of each trip for free. Additional charges only apply if the bicycle is used for more than 30-minutes at a time. Like Paris’ Vélib’ system - which offers 20,000 bicycles at 1,450 stations - it encourages users to take short trips to increase the user capacity.

Read more and discuss on the Forum.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Originally posted in the Forum:

The National Post had an article yesterday on Toronto pursuing a bike rental system:

"Toronto is looking to spend $11-million to buy 3,000 bicycles, stands and software from the Public Bike System, aka “BIXI,” run by the City of Montreal’s parking authority, says a May 26 report from Toronto’s public works and infrastructure committee. The report recommends the city enter negotiations with Montreal and return with a draft agreement in the fall."

Read more and discuss in the Forum.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Originally posted in the Forum:

Cyclists love the new bike lanes on Annette St., except for a spot where it's filled with parked vehicles.

Our Saturday column targeted a Toronto police trailer loaded with crowd-control barricades blocking the southbound bike lane on St. George St., in front of the Chinese consulate between Bloor St. and Davenport Rd.

Read more and discuss in the Forum

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posted by Joe on Thursday, July 09, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The first section of the Railpath is finally open... Vic Gedris has a few cool photos of it:




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posted by Joe on Friday, June 19, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

From BikeLaneDiary:





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posted by Joe on Thursday, June 18, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Danforth BIA seems to be starting a campaign against bikelanes on the Danforth... setting up a petition for their members to say they do not support bikelanes because they don't want to lose parking.

This seems rather short-sighted, so I wonder if they've thought of who shops in their stores and how they get there.

I have sent them an email saying that I support Bikelanes on the Danforth, and also sent it to the Greektown BIA and the Danforth Mosaic BIA... who also may be thinking about bikelanes.

You can send these 3 BIAs an email as well. Clicking here will open up an email in your mail program addressed to the BIAs with the subject line that you support bikelanes on the Danforth.

If you'd like to fill in the body of the email with info about you living near the Danforth or that you travel there to shop, that would be helpful too.

The emails of the BIAs are:

bia@thedanforth.ca
bia@greektowntoronto.com
info@danforthmosaicbia.com

Here is the text of my email, if you want to cut-and-paste it into your email:
Hi there,

I *support* bikelanes on the Danforth... and if the city does it properly, it can be a win-win for cyclist and business.

For instance, what if the city's report recommends making parking on the Danforth permanent? Instead of having driving customers rush out of your stores at 4 pm to avoid getting tickets? What if those driving customers stayed in your stores because parking was allowed even during rush hour?

Please consider that although a lot of people use the Danforth to commute to downtown from Scarborough or further points east... all they are doing is going *through*... they do not stop. They do not shop.

Another great reason to support bikelanes on the Danforth is that they help encourage a walkable and pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood. The more comfortable people feel on the street, the more time they are going to spend there... meeting friends, browsing in stores, and eating a meal. Bikelanes not only provide a buffer between moving car traffic and pedestrians, but cyclists can stop and park and shop easier than car drivers can.

Please give some consideration to how many of your customers get to your stores by what transportation method. It is my experience that although there is some street parking on the Danforth, as well as "Green P" parking lots, a lot of your business comes from residents living nearby walking to your stores, or biking to your stores, or people living elsewhere in the city taking the subway to your stores.

People spend money. Cars don't. Make the Danforth people-friendly!

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posted by Joe on Thursday, June 04, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

As BikingToronto let you know on Monday... The Public Works Committee discussed 24 km of new bikelanes at their meeting yesterday... and improved them all. Here are a couple excerpts from news articles about it:
Toronto Sun: New bike lanes approved by city
City councillors swear they're not "anti-car," but their public works and infrastructure committee is most definitely "bike-friendly". Yesterday, the committee approved 24 km of new bike lanes throughout the city, authorized staff to work towards setting up a public bicycle sharing system a year from now with a private company, and vowed to find a way to punish motorized bike riders using the sidewalk.

National Post: More bike lanes, but not on Bloor – yet...
As the public works committee today approved the installation of some 24 kilometres of new bike lanes in Toronto, defenders of the driver railed about the cost, while cyclists complained the city is neglecting the most obvious east-west artery – Bloor Street. But for the chair of the committee though, addressing Toronto’s dearth of dedicated space for two-wheeled commuters has become a personal challenge.
Need to know where all these new bikelanes are going to be?

Here is a Google Map of all the proposed regular bikelanes (red) and contra-flow (allowing travel on one-way streets) bikelanes (green):

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posted by Joe on Monday, June 01, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



Great news... after issuing an
REOI (Request for Expressions of Interest) for a Public Bicycles Project in April, Toronto is moving ahead... with one item on the agenda (page 27) of the June 3rd Public Works and Infrastructure Meeting (PDF file) being to negotiate with the Public Bicycle System Company:
The General Manager, Transportation Services, recommends that:

City Council authorize the General Manager, Transportation Services, in consultation
with the City Solicitor, to undertake negotiations with the Public Bicycle System
Company, as the sole respondent to the City’s Request for Expressions of Interest which was pre-qualified as a potential vendor capable of offering a public bicycle system not dependant on advertising within the street right-of-way, to develop a proposal to implement and operate a Toronto public bicycle system at no cost to the City and, if successful, to report back in Fall 2009 on a proposed draft agreement, in order to launch a public bicycle system in Spring 2010.

I am a bit wary of this, personally... if the agreement will be during this upcoming Fall... there doesn't seem to be enough time to set up a well thought-out and bug-free system by Spring 2010. Montreal's Bixi was a few years in the making.

I'd personally prefer to see the City take their time on this to make sure it's done correctly, rather than rushing it through to appease environmental or cycling interests.

What do you think?

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posted by Joe on Monday, June 01, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Public Works Committee is discussing (pages 25-27 - PDF file) a bunch of new bikelanes on June 3rd. They come to 24.1 km in total.

Here is the list:
The General Manager, Transportation Services, recommends that:

1 City Council approve the installation of bicycle lanes on the following roadways:
a. Bellamy Road North, from Porchester Drive to Brimorton Drive;
b. Bloor Street West, from Mill Road to Beamish Drive;
c. Brock Avenue, from a point 25 metres north of Seaford Avenue to Florence
Street;
d. Crescent Town Road, from Dawes Road to Victoria Park Avenue;
e. Huntingwood Drive, from Victoria Park Avenue to Birchmount Road;
f. Lansdowne Avenue, from Rideau Avenue to Dundas Street West;
g. Moore Avenue, from Welland Avenue to Bayview Avenue;
h. Rathburn Road, from Mimico Creek to Islington Avenue;
i. The West Mall, from the Queensway to Bloor Street West;
j. The Westway, from Martin Grove Road to Royal York Road; and
k. Trethewey Drive, from Jane Street to Black Creek Drive.

2. City Council approve the installation of contra-flow bicycle lanes on the following
roadways:
a. Argyle Street, from Northcote Avenue to Lisgar Street, from Dovercourt Road
to Ossington Avenue, and from Shaw Street to Givins Street;
b. Bellwoods Avenue, from a point 90 metres north of Queen Street West to
Robinson Street;
c. Glen Cedar Road, from Dewbourne Avenue to Eglinton Avenue West;
d. Fermanagh Avenue, from Roncesvalles Avenue to Sorauren Avenue;
e. Florence Street, from Brock Avenue to Sheridan Avenue;
f. Gladstone Avenue, from Waterloo Avenue to Argyle Street;
g. Havelock Street, from Lindsey Avenue to Dewson Street;
h. Lindsey Avenue, from Brock Avenue to Dufferin Street;
i. Maitland Place, from Jarvis Street to a point 100 metres west of Homewood
Avenue;
j. Shaw Street, from Dundas Street West to Harbord Street;
h. Waterloo Avenue, from Dufferin Street to Gladstone Avenue.

Here is a Google Map of all the proposed regular bikelanes (red) and contra-flow (allowing travel on one-way streets) bikelanes (green):







It looks like the city is trying to make bicycle travel in the west-end of downtown a little easier, with little bits of contra-flow bikelanes connecting up popular cycling streets.

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posted by Joe on Friday, May 29, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Come out to support cycling, and safer bike lanes (or, well, just MORE lanes period)!

Bells on Bloor, Toronto's largest ever pedal-powered parade, is this Sunday, May 31! Leaves from High Park, Bloor Street Entrance, at 12:00 noon and rides to Queen's Park.

Twitter
BellsOnBloor

Facebook Event Page
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=61985699030

Website
http://www.bellsonbloor.ca

Petition for bike lanes on Bloor
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/bike-lanes-on-bloor


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posted by Joe on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

City Council approved bikelanes for Jarvis on Monday. I was there along with a lot of other cyclists to show support for this. I took photos for you. :)


Before Council.





Lots of cyclists in attendance.



The mayor introduces the item, and then has a "spirited discussion" with Denzil Minnan-Wong about it.

I was there all morning (they didn't end up approving it until around 6:00 pm), and it was both interesting and boring. I think the most entertaining part was watching Councillor Doug Holyday throwing tantrums because he thought no one was answering his questions. I just think he wasn't listening carefully, because his questions were answered well, both by the mayor and transportation staff.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark


(rendering of the new proposal)

Wow. After just a few weeks, Metrolinx has bowed to public pressure and changed
its plans for Strachan Avenue. It had originally planned a "Super-Bridge" on Strachan to span the rail corridor, but is now opting to lower the rail corridor and build a smaller bridge that respects the local community... and they're going to include bikelanes.

Here's the news from Councillor Joe Pantalone's office:
It is with the greatest pleasure that I am writing to let you know that Metrolinx has listened to the residents, businesses and other organizations that sent hundreds and hundreds of messages and letters regarding the rail grade separation at Strachan Avenue.

You will recall that all of us have been arguing for an urban friendly solution and against a solution that would have severely damaged our neighbourhood and our city. On all our behalf, I met with Mr. Rob Prichard, the new President and CEO of Metrolinx, last Monday morning.

The result of this, and countless other discussion, is a win-win outcome for our neighbourhood and Metrolinx. Here are some of the details of what Metrolinx will now propose and I support:

1) The super-bridge that cuts off Strachan Avenue from Douro Street and Wellington Street West is gone;

2) The rail corridor will be lowered at the Wellington Street West/Douro Street intersection will be 1.1 metres higher (approximately one foot higher than what the City proposed) * (see attached rendering).
The intersection will not significantly be affected with all traffic/pedestrian/cycling
turns as they are at the present time; and

3) To further reduce the height of the new bridge, Metrolinx has thinned the brick deck. To also address the issue of creating a cycling and pedestrian friendly corridor to our Waterfront and to our neighbourhoods, cycling lanes and pedestrian sidewalks now are included in the proposal.

While the details are not fully worked out, I am confident that this new proposal meets what we all have strived to achieve over the past year: to keep Strachan Avenue an urban friendly street. While there will be some construction disruption as this increased GO Transit and Union Station service to Pearson Airport are built, these now become matters of detail that can be solved.

Metrolinx will hold its second Open House on June 16th, 2009 at Historic Fort York between 3:00 and 8:00 pm. At that time, this acceptable solution will be formally presented to the community.

I want to conclude by thanking our MPP Rosario Marchese and our MP Olivia Chow for working closely with us. I want to thank Mr. Prichard and those at MetroLinx who listened to us, City of Toronto staff who worked hard behind the scenes, and I want to thank you for getting involved and, by doing so, making our Toronto an even better place to live, work and play as we expand our much needed public transit system in Toronto and the GTA.

Sincerely,
Joe Pantalone
Deputy Mayor
City of Toronto

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



City Council has voted
in favour of installing bikelanes on Jarvis when the reversible 5th lane is removed!

What do you think of the decision?

Were you at City Council yesterday to show your support? BikingToronto was... and we'll have photos up soon. :)

Does Jarvis need bikelanes, or are the nearby bikelanes on Sherbourne sufficient?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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posted by Joe on Friday, May 22, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

From the Toronto Cyclists Union:

Hello fellow cyclists!


Your presence is strongly recommended, and politely requested, for the Jarvis St. bike lane vote at,

Council Chambers, City Hall
Monday May 25th - 9:30am
HELMETS ON!!

(we need to stand out since the pro-car folks are wearing yellow t-shirts...)


**No signs please. Respectful silence. Positive energy & attitude.

Here we go folks - our chance to show City Council that Torontonians want bike lanes is happening first thing Monday morning!!

The Jarvis St. redesign, including full bike lanes, is scheduled as the first order of business at this precedent setting city council meeting.

Right after the Bike Month kick-off Pancake Breakfast in Nathan Phillips Square, we ask that you proceed to Council Chambers at 9:30am. (What a way to kick off bike month eh...)

We want to have as many of our city's cyclists bring in and amplify the positive energy of the start of Bike Month when the topic is being discussed, because I can guarantee that there will be many yellow T-shirted car drivers there to oppose these bike lanes and any redesign that might slow 'their' inner city highway to Rosedale, Moore Park, etc...!!

Hope to see you there with your helmet on ;) Strength in Numbers!!

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The City of Toronto has been working a while on preparing the city's first BikeStation at Union Station - a secure bike parking facility aimed at the hundreds of thousands of people who come in to downtown Toronto via train to work each day.

Most of these people hop on the TTC for a short trip to somewhere in the downtown core, so the city is hoping to entice some of these workers to bike to work from Union station by providing economical and secure bike parking with the BikeStation.

Membership benefits
The benefits of an individual membership include:

* 24-hour secure bicycle parking (card entry)
* Access to showers and lockers at a location nearby (5 day complimentary pass to Goodlife Fitness)
* Use of the shared bike program (see terms)
* 10% off bicycle parts and accessories (at participating local bike shops)
* Bicycle Station t-shirt


Fees
One-time registration fee: $25
Parking plans:
1 month $20
4 months $60
Pay and Park: $2


The BikeStation is located in the York Street Teamway (click on map above for a larger version), and opens Tuesday, May 26 at 8 a.m.

View the city's BikeStation webpage for much more information.

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posted by Joe on Monday, May 11, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

A great comment was left yesterday on BikingToronto by Tamy, a Montreal resident who *loves* her city and the new Bixi bikesharing program. So much so that she made a video about seeing Montreal by Bixi!

Toronto is looking at Bikesharing too, so lets hope this video is widely seen.

Here's Tamy's comment, with the video embedded below:

Every big city of Canada should have a BIXI system. I'm from Montreal and I can't wait for it to launch this week :-) I think it's already inspiring a lot of cities in Canada and in the States.

There's a rack right next to my apartment, and I'm a girl who takes her car on the daily, don't want my own bike because I would have to transport it up the stairs every night and morning, but Bixi makes it really easy for me. Plus there's tons of city bike routes that lead to the main business districts, so it's perfect for work. So sick of being stuck in traffic...

I actually had the chance to try a bixi bike before the launch and I was really satisfied, although they are a bit heavy. Anyway, if ever you're planning on coming to Montreal this summer, I just put together a nice little video of my favorite bike paths in MTL, on a Bixi of course ;)

http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/Blogs/Girls-Getaway/Bike-Taxi-BIXI



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, May 06, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Great little video from the Star's "VideoZone"... a nice introduction to Montreal's new Bixi BikeShare system.

Put your pointer over the photo below to see the video controls.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, April 23, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

OCAD has put out a news release about the announcement of the winning design at their Gateway BikeStand Design competition last friday, along with photos:

Rosete and Mach’s first-place design will now proceed to development and implementation, with their bike stands built as part of the new building designed by architect Robert Chang. Justin Rosete and Erica Mach with Mayor Miller

“I’m incredibly proud of what these students have done and that this work will stand as a testament to the tremendous wealth of talent we have in Toronto,” said Mayor Miller. “Their designs are not only representative of the general excellence coming out of OCAD, they will make a real and positive difference in beautifying the city's public realm.”


“Part of our university’s design philosophy is to create objects, environments and experiences that nurture community, satisfy needs and empower individuals — and I think the imaginative and innovative designs produced by our students embody all of these qualities,” said OCAD President Sara Diamond. “Through community-based competitions like the Gateway Bike Stand Challenge, OCAD students are contributing to the enhancement of Toronto’s streetscape.”


OCAD Gateway Bike Stand Challenge winners (left to right): Jaeho Shin and Jihoon Lee; EV Kelly Hui and Olivier Mayrand; OCAD President Sara Diamond and Toronto Mayor David Miller; Erica Mach and Justin Rosete; Michael Pham; Adam Kereliuk.
Photo: Lino Ragno



Councillor Adam Vaughan and OCAD President Sara Diamond view the bike stand models.
Photo: Lino Ragno



OCAD Gateway Bike Stand Challenge winners Justin Rosete and Erica Mach.
Photo: Lino Ragno



Toronto Mayor David Miller views the bike stand models.
Photo: Lino Ragno



OCAD Gateway Bike Stand Challenge winners (left to right): Justin Garek, Councillor Adam Vaughan, Councillor Bill Saundercook, Justin Rosete, Erica Mach, Mayor David Miller, OCAD President Sara Diamond and architect Robert Chang.
Photo: Lino Ragno



OCAD Gateway Bike Stand Challenge winners (left to right): Jaeho Shin, Jihoon Lee, Olivier Mayrand, EV Kelly Hui, Justin Rosete, Erica Mach, Mayor David Miller, Michael Pham and Adam Kereliuk.
Photo: Lino Ragno



OCAD Gateway Bike Stand Challenge winners Justin Rosete and Erica Mach with Toronto Mayor David Miller (who tweeted the photo).
Photo: Lino Ragno


More info in the OCAD News Release.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, April 23, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark


The City of Toronto
has just posted a REOI (Request for Expressions of Interest) for a "Public Bicycles Project"... they are trying to gauge interest from companies for setting up a BikeSharing program (following the lead of Paris, Montreal, D.C., etc.):
The purpose of this REOI is to pre-qualify Respondents capable of offering a Public Bicycle System that provides a fleet of bicycles, conveniently located throughout the city at secure, automated self-serve parking stations for a subsequent Request for Proposals (RFP) process. The Public Bicycle System being considered in this REOI shall not include any advertising in the public right-of-way.
There's a ton of information in the REOI about what the city wants... so I encourage you to read it for yourself... but I did like seeing that the City wants a program to start with 3,000 bikes in the central part of the city (from Dupont in the north to the lake in the south, from High Park in the west to Broadview in the east).
Scope of Work The Vendor shall:
- Finance the provision and operation of the program, at no net cost to the City
- Install, operate and maintain the Public Bicycles and the bicycle parking stations
- Recommend locations for the bicycle parking stations
- Promote the Public Bicycles Program within Toronto
- Manage customer information, education and safety
- Manage financial systems
- Share surplus benefits arising from the operation of the scheme with the City.

In its part the City of Toronto will:
- Licence the Vendor to install, operate and maintain the Public Bicycle program
- Grant advertising rights to the Vendor o Licence the Vendor to occupy space on City of Toronto property for the operation of the Public Bicycle System.
- Approve the locations, circulate to utilities, prepare drawings
- Retain ownership of the Public Bicycle System, including the bicycles, bicycle parking stations, and any related supporting software and hardware.
Check out the REOI (Request for Expressions of Interest) for a ton more info.


Also... yay! Toronto is officially looking at BikeSharing!!!

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Ever wonder why Toronto and the GTA are planned the way they are? You may be interested in a panel discussion tonight at the Gladstone Hotel:

John Sewell’s new book The Shape of the Suburbs: Understanding Toronto’s Sprawl provides the jumping off point for a panel discussion on how the suburbs developed as they did and where we might go from here.

Where: The Gladstone Hotel (Queen & Gladstone, accessed via 501 Queen and 29 Dufferin or whatever your favourite form of transport might be).

When: Tuesday, April 21. Doors open at 7, panel discussion begins at 7:30.

Cost: $5, or free if you buy the book.

Who: John Sewell (moderator), Mayor Rob Burton (Oakville), Deputy Mayor Jack Heath (Markham), Mayor Steve Parrish (Ajax), Kim Storey (architect, urban designer, partner in Brown & Storey Architects)

This event is part of Pages Books’ This Is Not A Reading Series.

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posted by Joe on Friday, April 17, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

I cruised down to OCAD at lunch today to catch the announcement of the winners of their Gateway Bike Stand Competition, and thought I'd share the results with you.

The owner and architect of the property at 226 Queen Street West (rendering on the right) wanted to support the creation of a signifier of this vibrant corner of Toronto by widening the pedestrian sidewalk for enhancement to create a “gateway” to these two important neighbourhoods (Queen West and McCaul/The Grange), and to support the greening of Toronto by providing infrastructure for bicycle users.

1st Place
(winner of $6,000 and design to go into production)

Submission by Justin Rosete (second-year Industrial Design)
and Erica Mach (second-year Drawing & Painting).






2nd Place
(winner of $3000)


"Express(sion)"

by Kelli EV Hui and Olivier Mayrand (both second-year Industrial Design).













3rd Place
(winner of $2000)


"Art History Movement"

by Jaeho Shin (third-year Graphic Design) and Jihoon Lee (fourth-year Advertising).





4th Place
(winner of $1000)

"Urban Relic"

by Adam Kereliuk (third-year Industrial Design).







5th Place
(winner of $1000)

Submission by Michael Pham (second-year Environmental Design).









It was also announced that there will be another judging of winners #2 - #5 for a bikestand installation somewhere along Queen West.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Yvonne Bambrick of the Toronto Cyclists Union left an excellent comment yesterday in our post linking to the Globe and Mail article about Streetcar Stop "Bump-Outs" with rounded curbs to allow cyclists to ride over them planned for Roncesvalles. I've included it below... what do *you* think? Respond in the comments section below or add on to Yvonne's comment.


Re: BikingToronto: Headlines: Bike-Friendly Streetcar Stops?
I believe that any re-design that encourages cyclists to ride into a pedestrian space (extended sidewalk) would be a mistake.

The extended sidewalk re-design that seems most appropriate - stops cars from driving past streetcars that are loading/unloading, but allows cyclists the space to get through without requiring them to ride onto the sidewalk space, was the version that left a 1.5m gap between the sidewalk and the edge of the streetcar. This design would also likely make snow clearing much more straightforward, while keeping pedestrian and vehicle spaces clearly distinguished.

Link

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark




On April 24, 2009 UrbanToronto.ca will launch an on-line pedestrian bridge design charette that invites seasoned professionals and talented amateurs to contribute design concepts for the long-awaited pedestrian and cyclist bridge over Toronto’s downtown rail corridor.

Architects, engineers, students and urban hobbyists are invited to think outside the box (truss).

Please visit the NEW CHARETTE SECTION of UrbanToronto and find out how you can help.


Link to UrbanToronto Thread:
http://www.urbantoronto.ca/showthread.php?t=8990

Past BikingToronto Posts about this topic:
Bridging the Railyards at Cityplace

Toronto Star Article from 2007:
A bridge too much?

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Back in early March, BikingToronto brought you news that the Ontario Municipal Board had sided with the City of Toronto over SmartCentre's plans to build a "Big Box" development (including a rumoured Walmart) in Leslieville.

Even though the 15 day appeal period has come and gone, SmartCentres is now attempting to appeal the decision, according to the Globe & Mail:
A major developer rebuffed in its bid to build a large retail complex, believed to be anchored by Wal-Mart, in Leslieville now wants to appeal the decision and collect $1.4-million in costs from the city...

The OMB rejected the proposal for the 700,000-square-foot shopping centre because the city's official plan had designated the lands for industrial use, not retail.

The developers had hoped to convert the former Toronto Film Studios site owned jointly by Rose Corp. and SmartCentres...

"SmartCentres believes that the boarderred in law and exceeded its jurisdiction in arriving at its decision," she said in a statement.

The SmartCentre plan called for multiple multi-lane driveways to be built across the multi-use path that runs along the north side of Lakeshore Boulevarde.



The development would have turned a nice and well-used multi-use path...



... into an intersection like the one at Lakeshore and Leslie:




More BikingToronto posts about SmartCentre's Leslieville plans:

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark


From Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone's office, via the Bike Union, comes news that Metrolinx is planning a big "Super-Bridge" for Strachan Avenue where it passes over the CN rail corridor.

Below is the email from Pantalone's office, but first here are the reasons the city is against a Strachan overpass (from this PDF):

An overpass on Strachan would be the cheapest crossing to construct because it would have little or no affect on either existing utilities or railway operations during
construction. However, there are serious problems associated with the overpass approach that are direct consequences of the length of the approaches and their impact on existing and future developments within the Strachan corridor:

- Closes important cross streets including Canniff, Douro/Wellington and East Liberty, severely compromising local circulation; Mitigating measures including increased gradients on the approaches and lowering the tracks slightly provided minimum benefit in terms of street connectivity;
- The cost of repairing the interrupted street network, including land acquisition and
capital construction, would be significant;
- Requires an alternate access route to Quality Meats, most likely from Bathurst Street at Front Street;
- Concentrates all traffic on the King/Strachan intersection, which would further impact
an already stressed public transit corridor;
- Exaggerates the “rollercoaster” profile of Strachan Avenue produced largely by the
existing Lakeshore corridor overpass;
- Creates an uninviting and undesirable environment for pedestrians and cyclists;
- Compromises the street frontage of existing developments north of the tracks and
future developments to the south; existing residential buildings north of the tracks
would have a massive retaining wall in their front yards;
- The limited existing right-of-way forces a solution with narrow sidewalks, substandard
driving lanes and no bike lanes.
- Due to the increased clearance required over the tracks, the structure including
approaches would be extended, thus impacting more of the street;
- The above-ground structure including approaches would constitute a devastating
visual imposition on the existing and future fabric along this part of Strachan Avenue,
and would further erode the continuity of the Strachan view corridor.

Email from the Bike Union, and Pantalone's email:

The Toronto Cyclists Union urges you to read and take action on this message from Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone - received this morning.

Have your say at the Metrolinx Open House tomorrow:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
3:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Fort York, Blue Barracks - 100 Garrison Road



URGENT! Strachan Ave Super-Bridge

Dear neighbours,

MetroLinx is NOT listening!

At 8:30 this morning - one day before "MetroLinx's Open House" - I was informed that MetroLinx dropped the community's and City of Toronto's preferred option for the Strachan - At - Grade elimination; a call for the lowering of the tracks with Strachan passing over top.
(See the City of Toronto Staff Report (PDF):
http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2008/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-16917.pdf).

Today, MetroLinx offers one sole solution -- a bridge that will tear at the urban fabric of our community. Not only does MetroLinx's sole "solution " force the closure of Douro Street and Wellington Street at Strachan Avenue, but it entails the erection of an ugly super structure (think another Gardiner Expressway?) smack in the middle of some of Toronto's most vibrant, historic, and creative neighbourhoods (Niagara Neighbourhood, Liberty Village, Exhibition Place, Fort York and the Waterfront).

As your (Ward 19) Toronto City Councillor, I am surprised and disappointed that our alternative has been unilaterally dismissed. What can you do? In the first instance, you and your neighbours can attend the Open House - TOMORROW - Wednesday, April 15, 2009 from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Fort York, Blue Barracks - 100 Garrison Road. Make our voices heard!

Please use these two links for more information:
http://www.metrolinx.com/gsse/default.aspx
http://www.metrolinx.com/gsse/community/open_house.aspx

Sincerely,
Joe Pantalone
Deputy Mayor
City of Toronto
416-392- 4009

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posted by Joe on Thursday, March 26, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark


Waterfront Toronto has just released plans for the new "people-friendly" Queens Quay that we got a taste of back in 2006 with "Quay to the City" (photos at the end of this post). This of course includes the "connection" of the east and west portions of the Martin-Goodman Trail with a physically seperate two-way cycling path on the southern portion of the street (a good idea of how this will work is in the photos at the end of this post):

Waterfront Toronto yesterday unveiled its lofty $192-million plan, which seeks to overhaul the lake-side road between Bathurst and Parliament streets. The transformation would turn Queens Quay into a European-style boulevard, with wide, tree-lined pedestrian walking lanes, an extended waterfront boardwalk, increased green space, more expedient public transit and a widened cycling trail.

The proposed renovations would eliminate two traffic lanes south of the dedicated streetcar lane currently in place, allowing for increased walking room framed by two rows of trees next to the waterfront. The remaining two lanes north of the streetcar lane, both of which currently run westbound, will either be reduced to a single westbound lane with dedicated parking or converted into one lane flowing in each direction.

Chris Glaisek, Waterfront Toronto's vice-president of planning and design, said the goal is to make Queens Quay more "Main Street" than main thoroughfare.

"It should be local. It should be a retail destination. It should be the heart of a neighbourhood," he said...

"It should be a place that you say, 'I want to go to Barcelona because I want to see the Ramblas,' or 'I want to go to Paris because I want to see the Champs d'Elysee,' or 'I want to go to Toronto because I want to see Queens Quay.' "


Photos from 2006's Quay to the City:





Quay to the City, Aug. 11-20, 2006

Quay to the City, Aug. 11-20, 2006

Quay to the City, Aug. 11-20, 2006



News Articles about this:

National Post: Waterfront "grand gateway" proposed
Toronto Star: Lakefront plan gives pedestrians top priority
Globe and Mail: Group plans a facelift fit for Queens Quay
Toronto Sun: Facelift for Queen's Quay

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, March 10, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Last week saw some great news come from the Ontario Municipal Board (there's a sentence I thought I'd never type...) in the form of them siding with the City of Toronto against SmartCentres and their plan for "Big Box" retail (including a rumoured WalMart) along Eastern Avenue in Leslieville:

Toronto is declaring victory after the Ontario Municipal Board sided with the city, blocking a big box retail complex in Leslieville.

In a 56-page ruling, released today, vice-chair James McKenzie said the proposals "do not constitute good planning" and "will very likely destabilize" the area known as the South of Eastern Employment District near the intersection of Lake Shore Blvd. E. and Leslie St.

The SmartCentres proposal called for multi-level retail, service, commercial, office and entertainment uses, covering nearly 700,000 square feet.


This is great news for Toronto cyclists because not only will a 1,700 parking lot NOT be built, but the proposed SmartCentre plan called for multiple multi-lane driveways to be built across the multi-use path that runs along the north side of Lakeshore Boulevarde.



The development would have turned a nice and well-used multi-use path...



... into an intersection like the one at Lakeshore and Leslie:




News links about this:


More BikingToronto posts about SmartCentre's Leslieville plans:

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, March 04, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Remember the study report from the Clean Air Partnership about bikelanes being good for business in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood?

There is now a webinar presentation of the results available on March 25th:

Is your community considering investing in its public realm through an improved pedestrian environment or increasing transportation options through the installation of on-road bike lanes? Often, such proposals involve removing some on-street parking and are met with opposition from merchants who fear that the reallocation of road space would hurt business.

A recent study in Toronto found that contrary to common public perception, the evidence shows that removing on-street parking to install a bicycle lane or widened sidewalk would likely increase not decrease commercial activity. The study – conducted in July of 2008 – surveyed the opinions and preferences of merchants and patrons on Bloor Street and analyzed parking usage data in the Annex area.

The Clean Air Partnership is pleased to invite you to participate in a webinar profiling the findings of the study, the tools and methodology used and a discussion on how a similar study could be conducted in your community. The findings of this study will also be presented in May at Velo-City 2009 in Brussels – the world’s largest conference devoted to bicycling.

Date: March 25th, 2009
Time: 2:30 pm Eastern Standard Time
Host: The Clean Air Partnership
Presenter: Fred Sztabinski

This webinar is offered to participants free of charge.

Participation is limited to the first 40 registrants.

To register for this webinar please click here.

To read the study report please click here (PDF).

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posted by Joe on Monday, March 02, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



On the 3rd anniversary of the launch of Take the Tooker and the 5th anniversary of the passing of Canadian climate and cycling activist Tooker Gomberg, members of Take the Tooker and Bells on Bloor will join some Bloor merchants to ride en masse along Bloor St. to City Hall. There they will unfurl their 120 foot mobile bike lane before submitting their 5000-signature petition calling for bike lanes on Bloor.
Wed. Mar. 4, 2009
  • 12:30 p.m. - cyclists arrive at City Hall and unfurl the 120 ft. mobile bike lane under the Mayor's office
  • 12:40 p.m. - all cyclists will park their bikes and walk up to the Mayor's office to submit their 5000 name petition calling for bike lanes on Bloor.
More information available in Take the Tooker's press release (PDF).

[Photo by Gabi]

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark


An interesting idea was posted the other day in the comments section of the Photo of the Day of Montreal's Bixi being demonstrated in Toronto.

BikingToronto reader Barry el Ditto posted this, and it makes complete sense... why have every Canadian City re-invent the bikesharing system:


Why don't all the cities in Canada that are interested in seting up public bike programs, just go with the BIXI model. It's been thought-out and it's ready to go; in our climate.

The ecoomies of scale would be tremendous.

Across Canada every city could have its own BIXI system. Just pick a different colour and logo for each different city.

This could be part of a Canadian national identity, yet still --through different colours and logos--retain a local identity.



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The City of Toronto and the Toronto Cyclists Union are holding an open house to discuss West End Bikeway projects to be completed in 2009 and 2010 in the downtown west end. These projects have been identified in collaboration with cyclists over the past few months. We invite you to attend the open house to learn more about the proposed projects and share your thoughts with us.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Parkdale Public Library, Auditorium
1303 Queen Street West (between Cowan and Brock)

Councillor Gord Perks posted about this on his "Park Post" a few days ago... and includes very interesting links to a couple of PDF documents you may enjoy:
- Summary of all West End BikeWay Idea Submissions from Toronto Residents
- All Submissions mapped out on a map of the west end.

This Open House has been added to the Events Calendar, as well.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, February 17, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The latest TCAT news bulletin is reporting on a new report from the Clean Air Partnership that shows that bicycle-friendly infrastructure not only doesn't hurt business, it actually helps it:
Contrary to common public perception, the evidence shows that removing on-street parking to install a bicycle lane or widened sidewalk would likely increase not decrease commercial activity. "This report should alleviate concerns that downtown business owners have about on-street bicycle lanes", said Eva Ligeti, Executive Director of the Clean Air Partnership.
The study interviewed 61 merchants and 538 patrons of businesses in the "Annex" section of Bloor Street (between Spadina and Bathurst) in July 2008.
On the question of installing a bike lane and removing half the on‐street parking, almost 75% of businesses thought their business would improve or stay the same, while slightly more than 25% thought the change would bring in fewer customers.
Overall, most visitors get to Bloor Annex on foot, followed by public transit, bicycle and finally car. Amongst those who live or work in the area, two‐thirds walk, 14% cycle, another 14% take public transit, and only 5% drive. For those who do not live or work in the area, 54% take public transit, 20% walk, 16% drive, and 10% cycle.

It's a no-brainer to probably most of us who are interested in bikes and pedestrian-friendly urban planning, but is shocking news to those in society that think that only people who own or exclusively use cars buy things.

Read more in the TCAT news item, or check out the entire document (PDF) for yourself.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, February 12, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



Those of you who love biking the waterfront via the Martin Goodman Trail will be pleased to know that the new Unwin bridge (just east of the foot of Leslie St.) will be open by March according to Jack Lackey (the Fixer) in the Toronto Star.

The old bridge was closed in 2006 (I'm assuming for structural reasons, as that was one old bridge). The new one is for people hiking and cycling the Martin Goodman Trail, while a vehicular one will be done by May.

Be sure and check out the "Free Martin Goodman" snow clearing video posted last week.

[photo from Ash2276 on Flickr]

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Today is our last day to send in feedback about the Jarvis Streetscape Improvement Project.

The City is looking to eliminate 1 of Jarvis' 5 lanes, and wants your opinion on what should be done with the space. A treed median? Wider sidewalks? Bikelanes?

There has been a lot of support for bikelanes on Jarvis, as it is currently a very dangerous and highway-like biking experience, but drivers in North Toronto and Rosedale are starting to kick up a fuss about losing a "quick link" to downtown, even though city studies show only a few seconds will be added to a trip when the street is reduced from 5 to 4 lanes.

Please email your thoughts
to: jarvis@toronto.ca
cc: mayor_miller@toronto.ca, councillor_rae@toronto.ca, info@bikeunion.to, info@bikingtoronto.com
Clicking that email link should open up an email addressed to the above addresses and with the subject line "I support Bikelanes on Jarvis". Give it a try.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



You may have seen the news that Toronto's proposed 2009 budget means things like a 4% increase in property taxes, more money for social programs and keeping TTC fares frozen at current levels.

If you're like me, then all of the above is interesting, but you're also curious about how cycling infrastructure is addressed in the proposed $8.6 billion budget.

Here's what the press release says:
  • Open 70km of additional bike lanes; increase the number of bike stations and bicycle lockers ($0.210M gross, $0 net)
This is in keeping with the overall plan to finish the BikePlan by 2012... you can see the 2008 progress of the BikePlan in this PDF from the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee.

[thanks to Duarte Da Silva for the press release link]

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posted by Joe on Friday, February 06, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Cyclists in Toronto know that one of the nicest rides in the city is the Martin-Goodman Trail along the waterfront. It's so popular, in fact, that this winter the city is using it as a trail project on keeping bike routes clear after a big hub-bub last winter about snowbanks covering bikelanes.

Chris Shulgan has made a great short film called "Free Martin-Goodman" that interviews not only the people now using the trail year-round, but also the people who do all the work to move that snow. Chris also wrote an article about it for the Globe and Mail.


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posted by Joe on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

There's something banging around the internet today about a supposed new campaign by the TTC to "warmly welcome" cyclists with signs that say when bikes ARE allowed on the transit system as opposed to when they are NOT.

The "TTC press release" (below) is probably fake, because it mis-spells things like TTC Chair Adam Giambrone's name as "Giambroni", but IF this is a hoax... it's a benign and relatively positive one.

Some signs at TTC booths have been altered as well... but it looks like something has been pasted over the old bicycle signs.





[photos by Martin Reis]

Possible Hoax "Press Release":

TTC launches the "WARM WELCOME" campaign

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Toronto Transit Commission announces it's new bike-friendly attitude for Toronto two-wheelers with the "Warm Welcome" campaign.

Starting today the TTC is changing the signage at all of it's subway stations, replacing the NO BICYCLES during rush-hour signs, to a more positive sign (a bike symbol in a green circle) displaying the times when bicycles are allowed.

TTC by-law No. 1, Section 17 has not changed, but the presentation of it has. Instead of prohibiting bicycles, the new signs welcome bicycles all day Saturday and Sunday/Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 3:30pm and 6:30pm to close.

The move is part of the Transit City Strategy, the first step in an effort to make the TTC a more integrated commuter system.

The effort hopes to encourage Toronto cyclists, especially those with long commutes, to continue biking all winter, knowing that when it's too cold or snowy, they are welcome to come aboard.

"To all you brave cyclists who ride all winter long, this is just a little change to help you go a long way." says TTC commissioner Adam Giambroni.

The TTC is currently studying the feasibility of other initiatives such as "bike priority" train cars, inviting cyclists aboard even at rush hour, as well as partnering with the new "Bike Share Program" to have bicycles available to borrow at every station.

The Warm Welcome campaign is timed to coincide with the City of Toronto's effort to promote winter riding and their "Coldest Ride of the Year" event scheduled for this Friday, Jan 30, noon, at the rear entrance of City Hall.

For more information, please contact

Toronto Transit Commission
Media Relations
(416) 393-3741


Also note that the link to the TTC booth photos have "Action1" in the URL... something usually found with "actions" put on by independent groups.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, January 21, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



The Jarvis Streetscape Improvement project is having a Public Open House tomorrow, and bikelanes are on the agenda. A good summary of the issues is provided by the Toronto Cyclists Union:
Few streets downtown so desperately need bike lanes, and are so obviously suited to having them, than Jarvis south of Bloor. The city is planning to narrow Jarvis from five lanes to four, but are not yet convinced that bike lanes should be part of the mix. Opposition is forming from drivers who want to keep it a five lane commuting route. A public meeting is being held this Thursday, Jan. 22; we urge you to come out and support bike lanes on Jarvis.

Date: Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
Time: Open House 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Currie Hall, 105 Maitland Street

The Toronto Cyclists Union believes there is ample room on Jarvis Street for bike lanes, as well as safe sidewalks and attractive landscaping. It is the city's responsibility to make sure all users of the road are taken care of, and taking care of cyclists will go a long way to making Jarvis a more interesting, vibrant street, and less of a north/south commuter highway.


Past BikingToronto posts about this issue:

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posted by Joe on Thursday, December 18, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Toronto Coalition for Active Transport (TCAT), the Community Bicycle Network (CBN), and the Clean Air Partnership (CAP) have just released a report (PDF) summarizing the findings of the Bikes as a Public Good Forum held in September 2008.

Amongst the things discussed were:
  • User Groups & Marketing
  • Service Area
  • Technology & Infrastructure
  • Financing
"Discussion was initiated with two short film screenings, Bike Share in Paris by Streetfilms and Tina Hahn’s Tales of a Yellow Bike, and a series of presentations: Herb van den Dool on the Community Bicycle Network’s BikeShare program, Alain Ayotte on Stationnement de Montreal’s new Bixi program, Nate Kvamme on Humana’s Freewheelin programs and David Boyce on Veloway transportation’s approach to bicycle sharing. The audience of approximately eighty people unanimously supported the implementation of a new program.

At the stakeholder roundtable, participants concluded that a new program should allow for flexible access and registration options to accommodate low income roups, expand from the downtown core to the suburbs in a two‐phase implementation process and target a variety of user groups. They suggested that urban professionals, transit users and tourists would be the target market, that bicycle rental hubs should be integrated with existing and planned mobility hubs and transit infrastructure will be paramunt to its’ success."

The full report is available on the TCAT site (PDF).

You can also find the Presentations and the Summary Report of the Forum on the TCAT site as well.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, December 10, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Anyone who lives in the east end of the old City of Toronto (like me!) will tell you that the biggest hurdle they overcome when biking to and fro work is figuring out how to get across the Don Valley on the Prince Edward (Bloor) Viaduct safely.

As the only connection over the Don Valley between Gerrard Street and the Millwood Bridge linking East York and Leaside, the Viaduct is an essential link to downtown for anyone living in southern East York or along the Danforth and many parts of southern Scarborough.

Yet, for all of the importance of the Viaduct as a cycling route, it is still pretty dangerous for cyclists, due largely to road design geared towards automobiles.

Luke Siragusa, a Toronto cyclist, took it upon himself to develop a report in PDF format (since endorsed by organizations such as the Toronto Bicycling Network and the Toronto Cyclists Union) about the risks faced by cyclists using the Viaduct, but also the best ways to improve the situation.

I've put a copy of the report (PDF) here on BikingToronto. I encourage you to check it out - Luke has done a good job, including taking many photos of the road design issues in question.

Past Prince Edward Viaduct Cycling Safety Posts:
Making the Bloor Viaduct Safer for Cyclists

Photos of the Day on the Viaduct:
Photo of the Day: Bloor Viaduct Critical Mass
Photo of the Day: Prince Edward Viaduct
Photo of the Day: Viaduct Mass

Photo of the Day: Cold Morning on the Viaduct
Photo of the Day: The Prince Edward Viaduct

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posted by Joe on Thursday, October 09, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



The enormously successful
BikeTrain program has not only been extended into October this year (there is space available on the Oct. 17-19 weekend), but they've also been awarded two prestigious tourism awards!
The Bike Train Initiative has won two awards for its contributions to the Ontario tourism industry and its innovative approach to capturing an emerging market. The Bike Train was honoured with the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation's Best Tourism Marketing Partnership, and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario's Excellence Award for Tourism Innovation.
These awards recognize the successful development and launch of this collaborative project, and the growing cycle tourism market opportunities and economic benefits for the Province of Ontario.

More Information about the BikeTrain:

The Bike Train is a new initiative that encourages low impact tourism and healthy lifestyles. This service combines two sustainable modes of transportation - bikes and trains - allowing passengers to reduce their carbon footprint, and have fun too!

By enjoying local and regional tourist attractions Bike Train passengers are avoiding long distance car journeys and air travel that produce abundant greenhouse gas emissions. You can enjoy wines and produce from the Greenbelt, interact with Ontario farmers and get to know the world around you.


Related Posts:
[photo by Martin Reis]

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 08, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



The Safe Cycling Coalition is hitting the courts tomorrow, as an intervenor in the Bloor Street Reconstruction Lawsuit.

If you'd like to attend:
Day: Thursday, Oct. 9th, 2008
Time: 10 am - 5 pm
Location: Main Court House - 130 Queen St. West (map)
Name of Case: William Ashley Ltd v. City of Toronto

Here's some background info about the case, from a previous post:
1. Bloor-Yorkville BIA wants to re-do Bloor Street to make it nicer for pedestrians, including more trees, more flowers, wider sidewalks, no parking, less traffic lanes. They are willing to donate millions of dollars towards this "transformation"

2. City of Toronto says "ok" and allegedly skips important environmental assessment process, although the BIA plan ignores things like placing bikelanes on this popular cycling street, or even making p
rovisions for bikeracks.

3. "Concerned About Bloor", a group of merchants concerned about the loss of parking, pursues a lawsuit against the City, saying it shouldn't skip things like environmental assessments

4. The above-mentioned "Safe Cycling Coalition" applies for and is granted permission to intervene in the lawsuit - allowing them to make the case for bikelanes


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posted by Joe on Thursday, October 02, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



A very good opinion piece by Jonathan Goldsbie is in this week's issue of Eye Weekly.


It starts out like any other pro-cycling and anti-automobile rant about the slow implementation of Toronto's Bike Plan (these rants ignore the fact that politicians have to balance the needs and wants of all their constituents, cyclists and non-cyclists, no matter what is best for the environment or public health):
What if I told you that you could kill a man — or a woman or a child — for the low cost of $110? No jail time. No criminal record. No other fines or fees. Quite a bargain, huh? And you may not even have to pay that much, if you successfully challenge the penalty in court. The offer is not gonna get any sweeter than this. I dare you, find a better deal. Kill a person, pay $110, move on with your life.

When I finished reading the above paragraph, the first in the article, I was tempted to stop. No one really needs another rant about bikelanes (which is what it's about, despite the title). What is needed to get the Bike Plan implemented quickly and properly is rational and logical persuasion.

I was glad I kept reading though, because the article explores the politician's side of things, using Councillor
Glenn De Baeremaeker (himself an avid cyclist, biking to City Hall all year) and his efforts to balance the wants of all his constituents to illustrate:
"There are 200 families that will lose parking [if bikelanes are installed on Brimorton Drive]" he told me. "Staff said the people who are losing parking can park across the street." So why can't they? "People who live on both sides of the road have parking ... Most people, when they have a parking spot in front of their house, they see that as how their family functions. It's been that way since they bought the house in 1950. To take parking away is an emotional issue for many people."


The thing is, these spots are in addition to front-yard parking. These are spots for visitors. Visitors who will have to cross the street, something Glenn was hesitant to ask them to do, as it's "essentially a four-lane road right now" and not everyone is able-bodied enough to be able to navigate that.


I encourage you to check out the full article. It's a good step on the way to rational discourse and progress on cycling infrastructure in Toronto.



(photo of Glenn De Baeremaeker courtesy of the Star)

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 01, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Great news from InsideToronto:
"There is clearly a demand here," [City Councillor] Gord Perks said, looking around a less-than-full parking lot at the Keele Street subway station.

Although cars were not in abundance, bikes were a different story. They filled the bike racks in front of the station and were locked to just about anything they could be locked to in the rear of the station.

[Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park] Peggy Nash said bike lockers would provide peace of mind for cyclists. Bike lockers are enclosed secure bicycle parking that provides protection from theft, vandalism and inclement weather. Nash and Perks put in a request to have lockers installed while the station is being re-done. They said it is all part and parcel of the work they have been doing together to promote bike infrastructure and alternative transportation.

This is great first step in the pursuit of "intermodal connectivity" (having practical infrastructure that allows people to switch easily from one mode of transportation to another) in Toronto.

If you live in Gord Perk's Ward (Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park), but even if you don't, send him an email that tells him you support Bike Lockers at Keele Subway Station (and others too!)

Links:

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



This week, Eye Weekly has a pretty good synopsis of the whole Yorkville Bloor Street Reconstruction issue:

The transformation has been hailed as a pedestrian-friendly revitalization that will encourage shoppers to spend far more time salivating in and around the big-ticket boutiques of the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood. And there’s no doubt that “extensive tree plantings in innovative and sustainable soil cell systems, widened granite sidewalks, seasonal flowerbeds and attractive up-lighting for each tree” would enhance the experience of even the casual heel-toe commuter. But some are arguing that the effort to keep pedestrians in the area is making it more difficult for all other traffic (both auto and bicycle) to get through.

While it's not cool that the City of Toronto is seemingly by-passing proper environmental assessments because the rich businesses of Yorkville are contributing lots of money to this project, it should be noted that city staff had said that this section of Bloor won't have parking, but will have wide curb lanes (possible location for future bikelanes or sharrows):

Daniel Egan, the city's manager of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, said the narrower road and lack of parked cars would make the new Bloor better for cyclists, although activists disputed this.

Mr. Egan said traffic volumes - 30,000 cars a day - meant that the new narrower Bloor still needed four lanes and could not accommodate full-size bike lanes. However, he said the street could be retrofitted with bike lanes later.


The "Safe Cycling Coalition" has been granted permission to intervene in the lawsuit against the City (which argues that the City skipped important things like environmental assessments), which is a step forward for some cycling advocates in this city. Using the system will produce far more gains for the benefit of Toronto cyclists than rebelling against it.

More at Eye Weekly | Image at top from Eye Weekly





Related Posts on BikingToronto:

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



Following up on the
post from earlier today, the Toronto Star has more details from the Metrolinx $50 billion Greater Toronto Area transit plan (I've excerpted the cycling stuff for you):

There are about 100 projects in the plan. The key aspects include:

...2. An integrated cycling and walking network with more than 7,000 kilometres of dedicated cycling lanes.

...5. A network of connected mobility hubs that will be more than simply train stations, according to MacIsaac. The bigger versions will be destinations in of themselves and they will all provide a way to connect various modes of transportation from heavy rail to biking.

More details at the Star.

Thankfully, cycling infrastructure is insanely cheap compared to subways, light rail, and pretty well every other transit option besides walking. Let's hope this translates into significant cycling infrastructure - as one can never tell how long money will flow from the Provincial and Federal levels of government to implement plans such as these.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



The Toronto Star has a bit of the information coming from Metrolinx (the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority) today about a transit plan for the next 25 years:

The plan, released today by Metrolinx, includes no recommendations for road tolls or other taxes to pay for the transit improvements that are being called the most ambitions of our life time.

The experience of the other cities shows it is best to offer transportation alternatives before asking people to pay new fees, Metrolix chair Rob MacIsaac said...

When implemented in 25 years, 75 per cent of Toronto area residents would live within two kilometres of a dedicated transit line.


I can't find the full plan document online anywhere yet (when I do I'll let you know), but this sounds like excellent news for cycling in Toronto and the surrounding region. Having 75% of GTA residents within 2 km of a dedicated transit line can make cycling a preferred option for residents getting to those transit lines.

Add this to Metrolinx's previously stated intentions of making transit "hubs" cater to pedestrians and cyclists, and we have a recipe for great cycling infrastructure and utilization.

News Links about this:

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posted by Joe on Thursday, September 18, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



Above you'll see a photo of one of Toronto's most bike-friendly councillors, Joe Mihevc, trying out the brand new Vaughan Road Bike Lane (which runs from St. Clair East to Winona).

From Joe's Newsletter:
The City installed a new bicycle lane on Vaughan Road between St. Clair Avenue and Winona Drive last month. The installation included a dedicated, signed bike lane with pavement markings on the north-bound side of Vaughan Road and a wide curb lane on the south-bound side. The wide curb lane is not considered a dedicated bike lane, but it will have signs installed indicating it is a bike route. The installation of the bikeway route signs were not part of this work, but should be installed later on in the Fall.

Parking on the north-bound side of Vaughan Road is not affected by the proposed bike lane and there currently is no parking on the south-bound side of Vaughan Road.

I am looking forward to trying out these new bikelanes the next time I'm in the area.

I have heard that some "advocates" in Toronto cycling circles are criticizing these new bikelanes, citing things such as the opening doors of parked cars encroaches on them, as well as that they're aren't many cyclists that use Vaughan Road.

Can you believe those reasons?

I can't.

Firstly, I agree that bikelanes right up against where cars park are a problem. New cyclists often forget about opening car doors (since they are usually pre-occupied with the moving vehicles on the other side fo them), and car occupants often forget to check for bikes before opening their doors. This is NOT a reason to abandon painting a new bikelane. New bikelanes create a sense of security for new and established cyclists alike, whether the "dooring" risk is present or not.

The argument that this bikelane is "not where cyclists are" does not make sense. Using this logic, there should never be bikelanes installed anywhere in the city (or the suburbs) where there are no cyclists. There are very few cyclists in places like Scarborough and North York because the roads are planned around the car. The installation of bikelanes in areas like this tell residents that the road is now safer for them if they are on their bikes.

Thanks for your work in support of "active transportation" Joe Mihevc. The more bikelanes the better, especially where cyclist numbers are low (for now).


The Vaughan Road Bikelane has been added to the Toronto Bikelanes Map.


We've started a forum topic in the BikingToronto Community about this.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

A BikingToronto reader (hi Sara!) sent in a photo of the Stephen Drive Bike Lane that went in earlier this summer. Stephen Drive is a short little street that runs north from the Queensway to the west of the Humber Valley, and is a common route for anyone wanting to get from the Queensway to the Humber Valley Trail.

In fact, it's essential for anyone biking from the mouth of the Humber River up the Humber Valley - as it's a connection between the lower part of the trail (by Humber Bay) to the upper part north of Bloor St.

Stephen Drive Bike Lane


You can see this bikelane on GoogleMaps, and is of course on the BikeLanes Map.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



There's a press release floating around today about a "coalition of cycling advocates" named the
"Safe Cycling Coalition" being granted permission to intervene ("being able to present arguments or evidence defending the interests of people who are not parties to the legal proceedings but who face related problems") in the merchant-sponsored lawsuit against the City of Toronto and the Bloor-Yorkville Business Improvement Association.

To make a long explanation a lot shorter for you, here's my quick synopsis of what has happened concerning this so far:
1. Bloor-Yorkville BIA wants to re-do Bloor Street to make it nicer for pedestrians, including more trees, more flowers, wider sidewalks, no parking, less traffic lanes. They are willing to donate millions of dollars towards this "transformation"

2. City of Toronto says "ok" and allegedly skips important environmental assessment process, although the BIA plan ignores things like placing bikelanes on this popular cycling street, or even making p
rovisions for bikeracks.

3. "Concerned About Bloor", a group of merchants concerned about the loss of parking, pursues a lawsuit against the City, saying it shouldn't skip things like environmental assessments

4. The above-mentioned "Safe Cycling Coalition" applies for and is granted permission to intervene in the lawsuit - allowing them to make the case for bikelanes


I was
planning to link to the news release, but I can't find it online anywhere (I received it twice via email), so I'm going to post it here for you:

Toronto Cyclists Take Battle for Safe Streets to Court

Coalition of Bicycle Advocates Intervene in Court Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2008

TORONTO: In what is likely the first intervention of its kind in Ontario legal history, a coalition of cycling advocates, the Safe Cycling Coalition, has sought and (yesterday) been granted the right to intervene in an Ontario court case.

The case, first brought to the Ontario Superior Court in August by certain downtown merchants, alleges that the City of Toronto violated the province's Environmental Assessment Act when it proceeded with the Bloor St. Transformation Project --- along Yorkville's so-called Mink Mile --- and failed to properly consult the public or to study alternatives.

"This is about one of Toronto's most valuable public spaces -- a $25 million 'transformation' of that space warrants public consultation," explains Margaret Hastings-James, a Bloor Street bike-commuter who began to advocate for bike lanes when hit, and nearly crushed, by a truck in 2002. "The huge volume of pedestrian and cyclist traffic in this area demands an allotment of dedicated and safe space."

The intervening citizen advocate group, asserts that proper classification of the project would have allowed cyclists the opportunity to highlight provincial laws that direct municipalities to ensure the safety of all roadway users by including features such as bike lanes.

"The Bloor St. Transformation Project does have some positive features for pedestrian traffic," said Angela Bischoff, lead contact for the Coalition. "Unfortunately the City has again forgotten cyclists. Motor vehicles will get about 15 meters in width of the public roadway, and cyclists will get zero. That's not fair, and it's certainly not safe."

According to a 2007 Toronto Public Health report, 440 people die in Toronto each year from the effects of traffic pollution. The same report indicated that the death toll could be reduced dramatically by investing in cleaner options such as mass transit and better cycling infrastructure.

"The battle for safer cycling conditions in Toronto has now reached a new phase," said Albert Koehl, a lawyer representing the group. "The urgency of problems like global warming and air pollution means we can no longer tolerate old-school approaches to fixing our inefficient and dirty transportation system. Bicycles are zero-emission vehicles that deserve a safe space on our roads."

In August 2008 William Ashley China Ltd. filed an action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court) for a declaration that the city's decision to proceed with the Bloor St. Transformation Project was illegal. On Sept. 9, 2008 the Safe Cycling Coalition applied to the Court for an order allowing it to intervene. The application was granted on Sept. 15.

The members of the Coalition include cycling advocates with over five decades of combined cycling advocacy experience. They include Angela Bischoff, Margaret Hastings-James, Hamish Wilson, Martin Reis, and Kristen Courtney.

The hearing of the case (William Ashley China Ltd. v. City of Toronto) is scheduled for Oct. 9, 2008.


Contacts:
Albert Koehl, lawyer, 416-533-1231
Angela Bischoff, 647-342-1964




[Rendering of Planned Transformation at top of this post from the Bloor-Yorkville BIA website]


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posted by Joe on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

The City of Toronto has just finished painting two new bikelanes! Specifically Pond Road up at York University (between Sentinel and Shoreham) and a big 2.5 km stretch on in Scarborough on Birchmount Road (between St. Clair East and Kingston Road).

They are having Bike Lane Opening Events for these two bikelanes (just like they did with Logan, Vaughan Rd and Finch). I've put all the details in blog posts over in the Events Blog for you:
Also, I've updated the Bikelanes Map with these new bikelanes too.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, September 11, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

You may have caught this if you pay attention to the Today's Headlines posts here on BikingToronto, but the goal of 50 km of new bikelanes in 2008 has hit a speed bump.

The Toronto Star reports that 7 km of bikelanes have been "deferred" by the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee:

Toronto's bike plan has hit another snag, making it unlikely the city will reach its goal of installing 50 kilometres of new bike lanes and paths this year.

"It's not as likely as it was yesterday," Daniel Egan, manager of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, acknowledged after yesterday's public works committee meeting, where councillors deferred voting on 7 kilometres of new bike lanes.

The deferred bikelanes include 3.1 km on Brimorton Drive (from Brimley Road to Scarborough Golf Club Road) in Scarborough and 3.0 km on Horner Avenue (from Browns Line to Judson Street) in Etobicoke.

The good news is that the committee did approve 6.1 kilometres of lanes on Renforth Rd. (from Bloor Street West to Rathburn Road) , The Queensway (from 250 metres east of High Street to Windermere Avenue) and Conlins Rd. (from Ellesmere Road to Sheppard Avenue East).


Committee Report (PDF file). Bikelane stuff is on pages 5-7.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 28, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



You've probably seen the news that Yonge and Dundas is now a "Scramble" / Pedestrian Priority / Barnes Dance intersection. This means that in addition to the north-south and east-west phases of the traffic lights, there is now a 3rd phase where the traffic lights are red for all vehicular traffic and pedestrians can do whatever they want:

Toronto launched the first pedestrian priority traffic lights — also known as scramble crossings or Barnes dance — at the busy intersection this morning.

For a 28-second period in every cycle, cars face a red light in all directions.

During that time, pedestrians are allowed to cross in any direction — side to side, or corner to corner.

Pedestrians are also allowed to cross in the conventional way, in the same direction as traffic, when vehicles are using the intersection. [Toronto Star]

If you're wondering how this effects you if you're cycling through the intersection, I'll remind you (which I shouldn't have to, of course) that cyclists are supposed to stop at red lights. Just like cars. There is a reminder in the most recent issue of Cyclometer:
When a Pedestrian Priority Phase is in effect, a red signal is shown for all vehicles (this includes bicycles) while the ?walk? display is shown in all directions for pedestrians, including diagonally across the intersection.


This activity is used at intersections with heavy pedestrian traffic. It is intended to reduce conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles by providing exclusive phases for pedestrians.


If cyclists wish to cross on the Pedestrian Priority Phase, they must walk their bikes through the intersection.



Any cyclist who rides their bike through the red light during the Pedestrian Priority Phase would be contravening the Highway Traffic Act Section 144(18).


The fine and associated cost for motorists or cyclists running a red light is $190.00. Go to: http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/safety/index.htm and look for the Highway Traffic Act link on the right side of the screen.


[Top photo from the Star, sign photo from Spacing]

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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 28, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

More of Logan is now a Bikelane, and City of Toronto Cycling staff are inviting cyclists to a party to open the new section:

The Logan Avenue bike lane has now been installed from Gerrard St. E to Dundas St. E.


Come join the City's cycling staff celebrate the opening of this new bike lane on Wednesday September 3rd, from 4-6 p.m. Free juice and treats will be served.


The installation of the Logan Avenue bike lane brings the total length of bike lanes in Toronto at 81.6 kilometres. The Bike Plan calls for the installation of nearly 500 kilometres of bike lanes by 2012 - and this new bike lane brings us one step closer to achieving our goal.


We look forward to seeing you at the Logan Avenue bike lane event!


This event has been added to the Events Calendar.

[photo from Spacing]

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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 28, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Hi everyone,

I'm adding to my previous post (about the Eastern Ave. bikelane) to tell you that the new section of Logan Avenue bikelane (between Gerrard and Dundas) has been painted and is now on the Toronto Bikelanes Map too.

Now, Logan Avenue has either a painted bikelane or a "shared roadway" (a signed, on-street route) for almost it's entire length (except for one section between Danforth and Bain Avenue) from the Cosburn Ave bikelanes all the way down to Lakeshore Boulevarde!

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 27, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to give you the heads-up that I recently added the new Eastern Avenue bikelane (between Logan and Leslie) to the Toronto Bikelanes Map.

I'll update the map again when the Vaughan Road bikelanes are completed.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Ward 21 (St. Paul's West) City Councillor Joe Mihevc has sent out a notification to cycling advocates across the city that the installation of the Vaughan Road Bikelane (from St. Clair W. to Winona Dr.) is scheduled to start tomorrow, Aug. 27 (weather permitting).

Once they are painted, they'll be added to the BikingToronto Bikelane Map.

Related Posts:
TCAT News: New Bikelanes in Joe Mihevc's Ward, and More! [Aug. 13, 2007]
New Bikelanes coming to Wellesley, Vaughan and Shaw [May 6, 2008]

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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 21, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



Very big news coming from the Toronto Star this morning... that the City wants to emulate Paris' Velib bikesharing system:

Toronto is getting the wheels in motion to roll out a high-tech rent-a-bike program next year, not unlike a wildly successful one in Paris, says the head of the city's cycling committee.

"It will be announced sometime in the late fall and launched in the summer of 2009," Councillor Adrian Heaps said.

Heaps said Toronto plans to emulate the best aspects of programs in other jurisdictions and would include automated stations, with swipe-card access, with a subscription that would give access to a uniform style of bicycle "that is tried and proven around the world."


Details still to be worked out include where the bikes will be, how many there will be, and how much it will cost... so, pretty important stuff. It's good to see them considering subway stops and "intermodal hubs" (places where different modes of transportation intersect) as logical places to put bikes.

The Paris program has about 20,000 bikes and 1,400 self-serve rental kiosks. For about $50/year, cyclists can swipe their credit card at a kiosk, unlock a bike, ride it across town and drop it off at another kiosk. The first 30 minutes are free with fees starting at $2 for each additional half hour.


[Velib photo by littlepois]

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



Back in May I posted about the proposed plans (PDF) for the Sheppard Ave. LRT (part of TransitCity) and how they included bikelanes:



Now it's time for the Eglinton Avenue LRT to be discussed:

From the Project FAQs (PDF File):

Q14) Will there be bike lanes on any portion of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT route?

Bike lanes will be considered for inclusion along or adjacent to the entire route. In many instances, bicycle routes currently exist parallel to Eglinton Avenue, and could potentially serve as the bicycle path along the corridor.


We Want Your Input
We are having five Open Houses to explain the project, to show you what we hope to achieve, to get your comments, and to answer any questions you may have. Please drop in any time between 6:30pm and 9:00pm at any of the Open Houses. We look forward to meeting you there.

Tuesday, August 19
6:30pm to 9:00pm
Leaside Arena, 1073 Millwood Rd. (Map)

Monday, August 25
6:30pm to 9:00pm
Humber Valley United Church, 76 Anglesey Blvd. (Map)

Wednesday, August 27
6:30pm to 9:00pm
Don Montgomery Community Recreation Centre
(Formerly the Mid Scarborough Community Centre)
2467 Eglinton Ave, E. (Map)

Thursday, September 4
6:30pm to 9:00pm
Richview Baptist Church
1548 Kipling Avenue (Map)

These Open Houses are perfect opportunities to let City Staff and Politicians know that along with transit, bikelanes are cheap and easy infrastructure upgrades that can help the city meet environmental objectives.

I'll be adding these Open Houses to the BikingToronto Events Page, so you can always check there for them too.

[via BikeToronto, which has a great post about this too]

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



Last week, the Spacing Wire posted about the rise of scooters and E-Bikes (or PABs - Power Assisted Bicycles) in this age of environmental concerns and rising gasoline prices:
The PABs have not been without controversy. Many cyclists on muscle-powered bikes are frustrated that the larger PABs – electric scooters – are being ridden in bike lanes and pathways in parks.

They argue that the electric scooters’ bulk and weight pose safety risks to other cyclists, and that there needs to be greater clarity as to what qualifies as a PAB, and what should be considered a full-grown scooter.

However, others have argued that the electric scooters are appropriately labeled as a PAB because of their limited maximum speed of 32 km/h (which is much slower than traditional scooters).

There's definitely been an increase in scooters along my commute (Gerrard Street East). While as recently as last summer I'd see a couple scooters a week, this summer I'm seeing 3-4 every day, each way. That works out to about 30 a week.

E-bikes have been a bit more rare along my commute, but I do see the occasional one - and always used as a scooter... the pedals never seem to be used.

As for using the bikelanes... what do you think?

Should e-bikes be able to use bikelanes? What about gas-powered scooters?

Should the bikelanes be only for "human powered" vehicles, or should the entire road be fair game - to encourage sharing of the public roadway for all users?

Discuss it on the BikingToronto Community too!




[Top photo by Word Freak at the GreenLiving Show in the spring of 2008, bottom photo by PatJandak]

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

The CBC and CityNews are reporting that a group of businesses in Yorkville are filing a lawsuit against the city regarding the planned reconstruction of the "posh" shopping district.
"The Bloor Street Transformation Project was flawed from the start. It has been planned, and is now being executed without the expertise of retail businesses on Bloor," Ruby said in a prepared statement.

Some Toronto cycling advocates are hoping that this may put the issue of bikelanes on this part of Bloor back "on the table", but I wouldn't be so sure, as one of the main concerns of the merchant group is the "loss of parking".

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posted by Joe on Thursday, July 10, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



What might be Toronto's shortest bikelane is on Chester Hill Avenue and it has just gained an important feature... bikelane stencils!

Thanks to Val Dodge who posted the above photo and has a nice rundown of how a 70 metre bikelane (on one side of a one-way street) has taken 5 months to (almost) complete.

I'm chalking the slow progress up to city staff forgetting about Chester Hill Avenue because it's small and concentrating on the "bigger" bikelanes (yet all bikelanes are created equal...) like Royal York and Rogers Road.

The Chester Hill Avenue Bikelane is now part of the Toronto Bikelane Map.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, July 10, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Progress has been slow so far on the West Toronto Railpath - and some people may have even forgot about it, as designs for it were unveiled way back in March 2007, but the South Junction Triangle Residents Association (who live near the north end of the railpath) are reporting that preliminary construction has begun, and have some photos:



The above will eventually look something like this:



In case you haven't heard of the Railpath yet, it is intended to be:
"more than a park. It will be a strategic green transportation corridor running diagonally across the street grid in the West end of the City. It will help change the way people travel in Toronto’s West end and it will enable them to make more environmentally-sound transportation choices."

This first stage runs from just north of Dupont down to Dundas, with plans to eventually extend it all the way to the King & Strachan area - providing cyclists, rollerbladers and pedestrians with a continuous, car-free path from the west end to downtown.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 09, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Toronto has recently finished extending the Royal York Bikelane from Delroy Drive to the Mimico Creek. Anyone familiar with a map of bikelanes in Toronto knows that bikelanes are intermittent on Royal York.... so far.

Even better, the city is throwing an opening party for the lanes (as they recently did with the Rogers Road lanes):
Come join the City's cycling staff celebrate the opening of this new bike lane on Tuesday July 15th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on the east side of Royal York Road, at Castlebar Road . Free juice and snacks will be provided.

Thanks to BikingToronto reader Sara, here are some photos of the new bikelanes at Coney Road:

New Royal York Bikelanes at Coney Road

New Royal York Bikelanes at Coney Road

New Royal York Bikelanes at Coney Road


I've added these new lanes to the Bikelanes Map, and the Bikelane Opening Event to the Events Calendar. :)

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posted by Joe on Monday, July 07, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

About a month ago, we posted about the upcoming Bloor Street Transformation project, which will not include bikelanes (although the City is looking at the possibility Bloor-Danforth Bikelanes) or even bikeposts, as the Business Improvement Area sponsored plan apparently does not want cyclists in the "posh" shopping district of Toronto.

There's an Information Night tomorrow night about the project, and it's always good when cyclists remind others that streets are public spaces, and cyclists have as much right to public space as cars and pedestrians.

Information Night information from TaketheTooker:

Hey folks, the Bloor Street BIA is hosting a Bloor Street Transformation Information Night on Tues, and we have to be out in force! Numbers are everything! Can each of you attend, and invite a few others to come along?

For your info, Council recently approved the reconstruction plan on Bloor between Ave. Rd. and Church St., which will remove car parking but will NOT include bike lanes! Let the BIA know what you think about their $25 million dollar plan which excludes bikes.

——–

Bloor Street Transformation Information Night
Tues. July 8 at 6 p.m.
Marriott Bloor-Yorkville Hotel, 90 Bloor St. East
Forest Hill Ballroom

Learn the details of this exciting project and see the new design, which will transform Bloor St! The architects and City of Toronto Technical Services will present the new streetscape plan and proposed construction
schedule.

RSVP your attendance via email to urbandesign@bloor-yorkville.com or call 416 928 3553 x 26




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posted by Joe on Friday, July 04, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark




The Toronto Urban Renewal Network (TURN) has been working hard to help ensure that the South Kingsway - Queensway interchange becomes friendlier to cyclists and pedestrians in the upcoming scheduled refurbishment of the intersection.

They need your help to ensure planners and politicians know that lots of Torontonians want less emphasis on auto-centric planning and more attention to cyclist and pedestrian infrastructure.

Here is a recent email from TURN that lays out the information for you:

The City of Toronto has close to a million bucks to spend on a substantial redesign of this 1950s style expressway interchange. The original 'link road' plan, which included eliminating three of four ramps, would have created a safer, more accessible and human scale environment for 2,000 new residents moving into the area.


Unfortunately, a powerful local ratepayers association (Swansea Area Ratepayers Association - SARA) wants to maintain the status quo and has decided to support a fairly feeble band-aid solution that the city has just come up with (see attached). TURN is supporting the city's original 'link road' plan or, at the very least, request that city staff go back to the drawing board to come up with a better proposal with the help of a community design charrette. This would ensure that city policies (OP, bike plan, transit city plan, pedestrian strategy, climate change plan) and future Metrolinx directions are met. In other words, TURN wants transportation-related policy to be implemented when it literally 'hits the road'!


Things are coming to a head on Monday, July 7th @ 2:00PM when the new city report goes to Etobicoke-York Community Council (EYCC) where it will be debated and deputations will be heard. SARA is pulling out all the stops to get their members and other 1950s thinkers out to this meeting -- they've brought out over 90 people to previous meetings. TURN must do the same. Would you be willing to make a deputation and/or write a letter supporting TURN's position? Here are a few reasons to do so:


1) Poor consultation process (e.g. new residents not informed, summer timing of report, outdated project info on city website, Saundercook neglect -- and comparison to far-superior transport consultations like Jarvis Street and Bloor-Dundas West)


2) Poor traffic operation/design solution (many safety, accessibility issues for all modes not resolved)


3) Inconsistency with policies (e.g. OP, bike plan, pedestrian plan, climate change, health, Metrolinx)


4) Legal issues (e.g. Planning Act, City of Toronto Act- Road Classification project

report 'routing' policies)


5) Financial/Economic Implications (e.g. city has $ to spend NOW to do it right, gas prices).


6) Inconsistency with other projects and studies (e.g. Queensway Bike Lanes, Western Waterfront Study, 6 Points, Gardiner EA)


For more SKQI project history, see http://www.torenewal.ca/?q=node/3. To register to make a deputation, see http://www.torenewal.ca/?q=node/10. If you cannot be there in person, a letter template can be found at http://www.torenewal.ca/?q=node/6 -- feel free to customize this letter and send to clerk ASAP - by July 3rd is best but up until July 6th latest.


Thanks very much for considering this request. Please let us know if you can attend the July 7th EYCC meeting or if you have any questions.


Toronto Urban Renewal Network

www.torenewal.ca

toronto_turn@hotmail.com


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posted by Joe on Thursday, June 26, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

City of Toronto Cycling staff are doing great things in 2008 - a great example is this party for the "official" opening of the Rogers Road Bike Lane:



The Rogers bike lane has been installed from Oakwood Avenue to Old Weston Road. Come join the City's cycling staff celebrate this new bike lane on Thursday July 3rd from 8 to 10 a.m. at Boon Avenue & Rogers Road. There will be free coffee, juice and treats! ZM Cycle & Fitness will also provide free bike repairs at the event.

The installation of the Rogers bike lane brings the total length of bike lanes in Toronto at 78.6 kilometers. The Bike Plan call for the installation of nearly 500 kilometers of bike lanes by 2012 - and this new bike lane brings us one step closer to achieving our goal.


In the event of heavy rain or thunderstorms, please join us on our rain date on Wednesday July 9th.


I hope they keep doing this for bike lanes as they are installed...


If you have questions about this event, contact Alex Bowron with the City of Toronto at (416) 338-5091 or bugs@toronto.ca

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



Curious about the 2008 implementation of the Bikeway Network (the bikelane part of the City's BikePlan)?

If you don't know what the Bikeway Network is, here's a very good description from the City's website:
Principle:
All Toronto residents will be within a five minute bicycle ride to the bikeway network.

Objectives:
The City of Toronto will:
* Complete the bikeway network in 10 years;
* Ensure the safe and comfortable year round operation of bikeways through design, signage, enforcement and maintenance; and
* Connect Toronto's network to bikeways in adjacent municipalities.
Here's what has happened in regards to the Bikeway Network so far, and what is planned for the rest of the year, and all streets linked go to a GoogleMap of the bikelane (thanks to Anthony from the Toronto Cyclists Union for forwarding the information to me):

The installation of bicycle lanes on Rogers Road has just been completed. These lanes, approved by City Council in the Fall of 2007, extend from Old Weston Road to Oakwood Avenue, a distance of 2.6 kilometres.
You should also note the following:
The following projects are approved by City Council, awaiting installation (9.1 km):
  1. Logan Avenue from Dundas Street East (including contra-flow lane from Gerrard Street East to Simpson Avenue) and Carlaw Avenue from Riverdale Avenue, 0.9 km
  2. Yonge Street from Queens Quay to Front Street, 0.6 km
  3. Royal York Road from Delroy Drive to Mimico Creek, 1.5 km
  4. Stephen Drive from The Queensway to Berry Road, 0.8 km
  5. The Pond Road from Sentinel Road to Shoreham Drive, 0.9 km
  6. Shaw Street (contra-flow lane) from Barton Avenue to Dupont Street, 0.6 km
  7. Shaw Street from Dupont Street to south of Acores Street/Wychrest Avenue, 0.2 km
  8. Wellesley Street from Queen's Park Crescent West to Parliament Street, 2.0 km
  9. Vaughan Road from St. Clair Avenue West to Winona Drive, 1.6 km
The following projects have been approved by the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on June 4, and will be considered at the June 23, 24 City Council Meeting (7.6 km):
  1. Annette Street from Runnymede Road to Dundas Street West, 1.8 km
  2. Dupont Street from Dundas Street West to Lansdowne Avenue, 1.0 km
  3. Marlee Avenue from Roselawn Avenue to Dell Park Avenue, 1.4 km
  4. Pharmacy Avenue from south of Denton Avenue to south of Alvinston Road, 3.4 km
The following projects will be considered by the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee at its June 27 meeting (6.8 km):
  1. Stanley Avenue (contra-flow lane) from Royal York Road to Superior Avenue, 0.6 km
  2. Royal York Road from Cavell Avenue to Manitoba Street, 0.8 km
  3. Simcoe Street/Lower Simcoe Street from Queens Quay West to Front Street West, 0.6 km
  4. Birchmount Road from Kingston Road to south of St. Clair Avenue East, 2.4 km
  5. Conlins Road from Military Trail to Sheppard Avenue East, 2.4 km

What bikelane are you looking forward to? Discuss it the BikingToronto Community.

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posted by Joe on Friday, June 13, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



Not all things are going bad for cyclists on Bloor St. The Royal Ontario Museum has unveiled 12 artful bikeracks that not only secure bikes but serve as sidewalk sculpture. Each takes it's inspiration from an exhibit within the museum.

If you're interested in more artful bikeracks, there are a few in Parkdale as well as others unveiled this spring near Yonge & Lawrence.



What other neighbourhoods could benefit from custom artsy bikeracks? I bet some pretty nice distinctive ones would fit well into places like the Gerrard India Bazaar, the Danforth, and Little Italy, to name a few.

Discuss it in the BikingToronto Community.

[top photo from the Star, bottom from the Post]

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



It looks like construction is starting this summer on the $20-million "makeover" of Bloor Street between Avenue Road and Church Street, according to the Globe and Mail.

All on-street parking on Bloor is being taken out, surprisingly with the support of most merchants along the stretch.

Cycling advocates are concerned about there not being any bikelanes in the plans, even though City of Toronto Staff are looking at the possibility of Bloor-Danforth bikelanes running across the city.

Daniel Egan, the city's manager of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, said the narrower road and lack of parked cars would make the new Bloor better for cyclists, although activists disputed this.

Mr. Egan said traffic volumes - 30,000 cars a day - meant that the new narrower Bloor still needed four lanes and could not accommodate full-size bike lanes. However, he said the street could be retrofitted with bike lanes later.


I'm more concerned with something I read a few months ago in a TCAT Newsletter - that there are NO plans to install ANY bikeracks in this plan.

Rich people bike too, you know.

Still... it is nice to see some space previously devoted to cars being given to pedestrians.

I've started a discussion thread for this in the BikingToronto Community.

[rendering above from Bloor-Yorkville.com]


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posted by Joe on Thursday, June 05, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Most of the Annette Street Bikelane has been approved by City Council, but a short portion between Runnymede and Jane has been held up by bikelane-phobic area merchants.

Essentially, businesses think bikelanes will hurt their businesses, and want the bikelane moved to a parallel street, while cycling advocates are trying to convince them that bikelanes slow down car traffic and create safer pedestrian realms.

The other bikelanes proposed (Marlee, Dupont and Pharmacy) were approved - you can read more information about these in the BikeToronto.ca post about it.

What do you think? Discuss it on the BikingToronto Community.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, June 04, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Portland has them, San Francisco has them, New York City has them, and now Toronto has Bike Boxes too!

You can see a couple other photos that Martin Reis took of this Bike Box at the intersection of Harbord and Bathurst in his Flickr collection.

Don't know what a Bike Box is or how it's useful? Here's a nice instructional video from Streetfilms:







UPDATE: This Bike Box was not an official one, but one done by the Urban Repair Squad. It has since disappeared.

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posted by Joe on Friday, May 23, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

It looks like Sheppard Avenue will be the first part of the Transit City LRT Plan to be installed, and the great news about it (other than the obviously good news that the TTC system is being expanded) is that the plan is for a much more people and bike-friendly Sheppard Avenue from Don Mills to Meadowvale.

The full details are on the city's website, with a very informative PDF, but I've pulled out the two renderings of the street plans for you.


As you can tell - there are big plans afoot to turn streets like Sheppard into community-based streets, and not just clogged arteries to somewhere else.

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posted by Joe on Friday, May 16, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Metrolinx (the former Greater Toronto Transportation Authority) is currently undertaking an ambitious project to create a comprehensive transportation plan for the entire Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, including transit, cars, and active transportation (walking and cycling).

More at Spacing Toronto.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

There are 3 public meetings coming up in Mississauga to gather public input for the Mississauga Cycling Master Plan:

Saturday, 10 May, 2008
3 sessions: 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm
Meadowvale Community Centre
Timothy Street Room
6655 Glen Erin Drive (map)

Tuesday, 27 May, 2008
2 sessions: 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm
Mississauga Civic Centre
Great Hall, 300 City Centre Dr. (map)

Thursday, 29 May, 2008
2 sessions: 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm
Malton Community Centre
Multi Purpose Room #1
3540 Morning Star Dr. (map)

Saturday, 31 May, 2008
3 sessions: 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm
Cawthra Community Centre and Arena
Petrescue Hall, 1399 Cawthra Rd. (map)


If you're unable to make it to one of these meetings, you can fill out a survey online.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



Thanks to Torontoist, we know that there are new artful bikeracks adorning Yonge Street north of Lawrence. Commissioned by the Yonge Lawrence Village BIA, these remind one of the Parkdale Community Centre bikerack project of last year.



Click on photos to enlarge
(images courtesy of Yonge Lawrence Village BIA)


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posted by Joe on Tuesday, May 06, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



Tomorrow, the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee is meeting and discussing the approval of the installation of 3 bikelanes for phase 1 of the 2008 bikelane installation plan, the first to be put in under the new streamlined plan (PDF). Under this plan, bikelanes are approved in "batches" without going to community councils (which could often hold things up for months or years) as this cycling infrastructure benefits the whole city, from both traffic and environmental standpoints.

Wellesley Street(from Queens Park Circle to Parliament, 2 km), Vaughan Road (Winona to St. Clair, 1.6 km) and Shaw Street (Barton to Dupont, 0.6 km) are all scheduled to get bikelanes this year, as explained in this BikeToronto post, by the ever-informative Martin Koob:
The report, 2008 Bikeway Network Program - Phase 1 Installation of Bicycle Lanes, contains proposals for 3 bicycle lanes that total 4.2 km to be built in 4 city wards. The report indicates that the 4 Councillors from these wards, Adam Vaughan Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina, Joe Mihevc Ward 21 St. Paul's, Kyle Rae Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale and Pam McConnell Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale are in support of these projects so there should be no hurdles left in getting these new bike lanes approved. ...

At a meeting with cycling community groups on April 21, 2008 Councillor Heaps repeated his promise that 50 km of bicycle lanes would be built and he outlined his strategy for ensuring that gets done. The first step was getting the approval process in place, the second was getting Councillors on side for projects in their ward. Councillor Heaps has been working behind the scenes for the past months to get a list of projects together that can be approved before City Council recesses for the summer. The 50 km of projects for 2008 has been divided into 3 phases. The next two phases should come to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee at its next two meetings on June 4th and June 27th, 2008.

Great additions to the BikePlan!

[image and much more info on BikeToronto.ca]

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posted by Joe on Thursday, May 01, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

I work with people in Pickering and Ajax, and they keep telling me that the waterfront cycling trails there are beautiful. They also tell me that they'd bike to work if there was a safe way into the city - as the only method right now is to use Lawrence East and Kingston Road - which are not cyclist-friendly. We need the Martin-Goodman Trail extended through Scarborough, please.

It's also the case that lots of Toronto cyclists would like to try out the Ajax and Pickering waterfronts for weekend rides but are held up by the same lack of access.

Luckily there's a new awareness campaign called "GO by Bike" which aims to let Toronto cyclists know that we can take the GO Train to Ajax (bikes are allowed on GO Trains at any time except during weekday rush hours) or anywhere else, really:
It's a project conceived by Donald Wiedman that encourages cyclists to take a Sunday GO train to Ajax and ride a leisurely 15 km back along the Waterfront Trail to the Rouge Hill station, where they can catch another train back into the city. Not only do you get to avoid the nasty ride along Kingston Road, but you get to leave the car at home too. And best of all, because GO-by-Bike is promoting an existing capability on all GO trains along the Lakeshore line, you aren't limited to travelling to or from any particular station, or on any particular train, or at any particular time. You're completely free to go at your own pace and can even roll your own custom tour instead of taking one of the pre-surveyed routes covering the waterfront, Highland Creek, Petticoat Creek, Duffins Creek, and more.

Wiedman saw an opportunity to promote both transit and cycling in the spaces around Toronto and approached GO Transit with "a handshake and a smile. I told them right up front that I wasn't looking for help, I was looking to help." Wiedman also says that he wants cyclists to have "do-it-themselves" experiences rather than provide guided or structured tours. "Trails are ultimately self-serve." In the end, it's up to cyclists to set their itineraries, buy their GO tickets, and make the journey. GO-by-Bike plants the seed and provides suggestions, but the form, structure, and timing of the trips are entirely up to the individual cyclists.

Much more great info in the great Torontoist post about GO by Bike.

Links:

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posted by Joe on Monday, April 28, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



Christopher Hume has a nice article in the Star today about Toronto trailing other world-class cities in the installation of bicycle facilities like bikelanes, and does a rather good job of it:

It may be true we have 214 kilometres of bicycle lanes (though that's hard to believe) and that we have doubled our spending on bikes, but the real issue here is the culture.

In the minds of the vast majority of drivers, let alone civic politicians, bikes are for kids. They do not belong on main streets because they are a nuisance. They get in the way of the real traffic, i.e. cars and trucks, and don't deserve to be taken seriously.

The mayor and a tiny handful of councillors have noisily professed their commitment to two-wheeled transit, but the sound of their words is overshadowed by the silence of their inaction. ...

We could add bike lanes to every street in the city and still cycling in Toronto would be scary and dangerous. What's required is a social revolution on the order of what was done about smoking in recent decades. In other words, we need mass change.

How ironic that the report, prepared by the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation, should have been released at a time when fuel prices are skyrocketing. Suddenly, the news is full of concerned commuters shaking their heads and wondering how much longer they will be able to afford their lifestyle. For these poor people, cycling isn't an option. Trapped in their vehicular prisons, they are beginning to realize they have been sold an illusion; the car may represent mobility, but it means the exact opposite.

Hume doesn't just trot out the facts about how the BikePlan is behind, about how there aren't any significant bicycle lock-up facilities integrated (yet) with public transit stations (allowing someone to bike to a subway line instead of driving all the way downtown), and about what the cycling advocates want and the politicians promise.

More at the Star.

[image by me, at Spadina & College]

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posted by Joe on Thursday, April 24, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

BikeToronto.ca has a fantastic write-up of the proposed SmartCentre development, and how what they want to do will essentially destroy the multi-use path on the north side of Lakeshore Bourlevarde:
The image from the site plan drawing below shows the what appears to be the main entrance at the centre of the site which will have five lanes of traffic that cyclists and other path users will have to attempt to navigate to make their way along the path downtown or to the Don Trail. Also shown is the crossing on the west side of the site which is similar in dimension to the crossing on the east site of the site
Smart Centre Intersection Lake Shore East Path
Contained in a report to City Council the site plan shown the three crossings that are planned across the Lakeshore East Path.629, 633, and 675 Eastern Avenue - Official Plan and Zoning Application (see page 29). You can see a higher res version for the full site plan here at Joe Clark's Flickr page. This is a portion of that image showing the 5 lane intersection planned as what appears to be the main entrance to the mall as well as the entrance/exit on the west side of the site.

It appears only one of these crossings, the main entrance at the centre, will have traffic signals and from the designs it appears all crossings will have a significant amount of right hand turning traffic which is much more difficult to control. Cars and trucks turning right into the mall's 3 entrances will be a hazard to cyclists. Those making right hand turns out of the mall onto Lake Shore Blvd. will likely sit and block the path while they wait for an opening in traffic. I ride this path frequently and traffic is quite low at the street crossings at Booth, Logan, and Morse. These new intersections will be far different than those minor streets. They will rival the traffic at the major intersection at Leslie Street to the east. With 1,900 parking spaces this mall is designed to be a car magnet, and with 100 stores there will be a steady stream of trucks bringing in merchandise to the loading docks which appear to be located at the easternmost entrance.


The SmartCentre developers seem to think they can pull a fast one here... depicting the 5-lane entrance from the above diagram as such:


A sickening mis-representation of what will happen - that looks like 2 lanes, not 5... and with 1900 parking spots, more than 1 car will be entering or leaving... not to mention all the delivery trucks that will be going through here after coming from the Gardiner and the DVP.


In reality the development will turn a nice and well-used multi-use path...



... into an intersection like the one at Lakeshore and Leslie:




Contact your city councilor and MPP to ask them to stop this development.


Read more at BikeToronto.ca and visit NoBigBox.ca to learn about community opposition to this.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Mixed news from Annette Street. As BikingToronto reported back on April 2nd, Annette Street between Jane and the railway tracks east of Keele street is getting resurfaced, and this stretch of Annette is scheduled to get bikelanes according to the Bikeplan.

Inside Toronto is reporting that the Councillor for the area, Gord Perks, has gotten very little opposition to the bikelane plan, atleast for the section between Keele and the raintracks:

Perks expects bicycle lanes on Annette Street between Keele Street and the Rail Corridor east of Dundas Street West to be finished by late summer.

"The sense I get is there's an eagerness to get on with it in Ward 14," Perks said.

Bicycle lanes are not a contentious issue in the area because they will not interfere with existing on-street parking. Only one public meeting was needed, according to the councillor. ...

Toronto transportation staff will be submitting a report to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting regarding bike lanes on May 7. People are invited to attend the meeting and make a deputation.

This section between Keele and the rail corridor has few businesses to lose "precious parking", so that's why there is no opposition. The section between Keele and Jane may have more of an uphill battle.

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posted by Joe on Friday, April 18, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Transit Toronto runs down all the "traffic management" measures the city are enacting come Monday if there is a TTC Strike, including making some curblanes of roads cyclists only:
If a strike occurs, the City will extend the current bike-path network. It will designate the curb lanes on both sides of Bay Street between Queens Quay West and Yorkville Avenue, Dundas Street East between River Street and Broadview Avenue and Queens Quay West between Lower Spadina Avenue and Yonge Street for bicycles only. The City will ban stopping on all “bicycle-only” lanes.
We all know how well "designating" traffic lanes works - I'd love to see some kind of barrier blocking off non-cyclist traffic from these lanes (especially Bay) - even if it's just pylons, or anchored ballons, or anything really.

More at Transit Toronto.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark



In 2007 there was a big "hullabaloo" about the narrowing of Lansdowne from a street with fast traffic and parking on both sides to a street with wider sidewalks and trees on one side and parking (still more parking than actually used) on the other, as well as sharrows for cyclists on both sides.

Predictably, a local residents group called the Toronto Lansdowne Residents’ Association (their website seems to be non-existent now) proclaimed that this would be the end of the world... they said that traffic would be backed up all over the neighbourhood, causing more pollution and creating delays for the TTC and emergency vehicles. You can see some of their statements on a BlogTO post about it, in addition to the BikingToronto post I wrote that took apart their argument systemically, with facts.

I biked over to that part of the city after work last Wednesday, and took some photos... so we can all judge for ourselves if the elimination of parking and some bike sharrows have truly caused traffic chaos in this neighbourhood (these photos were all taken at approximately 5:40 PM, the "heart" of rush hour):









Maybe I am missing it, but I can't find any "chaos" in these photos... can you? It's hard to tell in these photos, but NONE of these vehicles were having any trouble moving... there weren't even line-ups at the traffic lights at College and Bloor Streets.

If someone from the Toronto Lansdowne Residents’ Association can let us all know if it's usually chaotic on Lansdowne and I just happened to bike by on the ONLY chaos-free day - I'm good with that too. I'm willing to visit again.

Lansdowne is much nicer now. Don't let anyone tell you that re-designing a street to take space away from cars is a bad thing.

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posted by Joe on Friday, April 11, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

This Sunday, April 13th, there will be a community rally at Jimmie Simpson Park at 870 Queen East (just east of the railway bridge) to rally in opposition to the proposed “power centre” development in Leslieville on Eastern Avenue.

The proposed development may bad for the area, despite the protestations of the developers and architect Jack Diamond (if anyone can tell me how an architect is qualified to spout off on larger issues urban planning, instead of sticking to individual buildings, I'm all ears) that it's not a "Big Box" development, anytime your plans include parking for 1900 cars it means that you're catering to people who drive and ignoring the human-scale neighbourhood planning that makes Leslieville great.

This also has a good chance of negatively affecting cyclists who like to use the multi-use path on the north side of Lakeshore Boulevarde (like me), because the developer wants the option of putting "driveways" across the path so those 1,900 cars can go in and out.

The city wants to designate the multi-use path as a linear park, so that the developer can't do this:

The SmartCentres proposal would require a signalized intersection on Lake Shore Boulevard, with a drive crossing the bicycle path, in order to manage traffic.

[ InsideToronto ]
This doesn't sound like a driveway, does it,? It sounds like a full-fledged intersection.

Here are some photos of what would happen to the multi-use path if Smart!Centres is allowed to build their "power centre" and make "driveways" to cater to automobiles:

Lakeshore Park - Now
The multi-use path at present: a great place to walk, bike and rollerblade.


Lakeshore Multi-Use Path - After?
The signalized intersection at Lakeshore and Leslie. We could have one, two, or MORE of these cut across the multi-use path - making it essentially useless as recreational infrastructure.


I can't find a site plan for the site anywhere, but other information I've found should make EVERYONE wary of these plans:

1. Using SmartCentres data (PDF file), the whole site is 18.47 acres, or about 805,000 square feet. They have planned for 1871 parking spots, and say that they can fit 2.91 parking spots into 1000 square feet. Do the math and you'll find that they'll be covering about 642,000 square feet with parking. That's over 75% of the entire site.

2. Using the renderings and elevations on their "Foundry District" site, SmartCentres has planned 2-3 story stores around the edges of their site - thus creating the 694,000 square feet of stores they have planned. Oh yeah, and there are breaks in the stores to let cars in and out of the parking in the middle.

So, they've got a big retail donut planned - stores around the outside, and a big giant empty hole of a parking lot in the middle, taking up 75% of all the space.

Here's a Google Maps mock-up of the site plan (which I suspect Smartcentres hasn't made publicly available because they are afraid that everyone will recognize that it's awful for the community.


View Larger Map


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posted by Joe on Thursday, April 10, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Here's an idea, from New York, that may be perfect for Jarvis (info about the Jarvis revitalization project can be found in this post):



Essentially, it has a two-way area for bikes on one side of the road, separated from car traffic by a treed "buffer".

Since the city says the sidewalks can't be widened due to utilities and infrastructure underneath the road - let the area stay as roadway, but a BIKE roadway.

I'm not certain of the measurements, but it's probably possible to have a two-way bike lane (each standard bikelane is about 1.5 metres wide) and a treed island in the space of just over 1 car lane - leaving 2 each way for cars.

This will make cycling on Jarvis insanely safe, thus promoting the city's environmental goals, as well as providing good protection for pedestrians.

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