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Toronto’s Best Bike Lane

Over some drinks at the Pilot last week a challenge was issued at the table of Biking Toronto Bloggers (Bloggees? Blogsters? Bloggites? Bloggonauts?): find the best bike lane in Toronto (Sure the answer can be pretty subjective but I think that’s sort of the point). I’ll be writing about my nomination: the St. George St/Beverley St bike lane. This bike lane, marked as route 35 in Toronto’s bike lane network, is the best bike lane for cyclists downtown and here’s why.

Source: Transport Canada

Network Connectivity

Running north/south in downtown Toronto, the St. George/Beverley bike lane is an important connection for those coming from midtown to downtown. A great bike lane is a bike lane that connects to other bike infrastructure making travel safe and efficient for cyclists. From the north, the bike lane connects to a series of sharrowed lanes including Balmoral rd/Tichester st (route 20), Russell Hill rd (route 35), Old Forest Hill rd/Dunvegan rd (route 33), and Barton/Lowther (route 16).

There are also several bike lanes which either connect to or are within easy access of reaching the St. George/Beverley lane such as Davenport rd (route 18), Harbord st/Hoskin rd (route 14), and College st (route 12). All of these connections easily make St. George/Beverley one of the best connected and important bike lane in the bike network.

Design

St. George Street was originally a busy thoroughfare for drivers adding danger for cyclists and pedestrians a like. In 1997, St. George underwent a “road diet”, narrowing the lane width for cars, increasing sidewalk widths, adding a bike lane as well as speed controlling infrastructure. These changes came in response to an increasing amount of drivers using a road with a really high flow of cyclists and pedestrians. Not only does the uplift look great but it has also increased safety for all users. This route may also be one of the faster alternatives; using St. George/Beverley from Dupont St down to Queen St W there are only six controlled intersections (some are semi-actuated and most of the time you will encounter them as green lights) and a handful of stop signs.

Road Use

Heading downtown during rush hour can be daunting for some since an increased volume of all types of traffic funnel into what little road space we have. Without the St. George/Beverley, cyclists would have little choice in terms of north/south connections into the downtown core: Spadina Ave, McCaul St, University Ave and Bay St are all examples of less than desirable routes for cyclists and the use of side roads which twist and wind all are not practical.

The road itself is in fantastic shape. Unlike roads such as Harbord it’s rare to encounter any potholes that can lead to a bumpy commute and the speed bumps on St. George between Harbord and College and cyclist friendly while slowing down traffic to a safe speed for everyone.

Neighbouring Amenities

One of the best things about St. George/Beverley is that it connects cyclists to where they want to go; it isn’t a road to nowhere. Neighbourhoods like the Annex, Queen West, University of Toronto, Chinatown, Kensington Market, and Hospital Row are either adjacent to or are a stone’s throw away from the bike lane. In addition, there are a lot of attractions within proximity from the Bata Shoe Museum to the Art Gallery of Ontario. And if you run into any bike problems there are a few bike shops nearby such as Urbane Cyclist, Bikes on Wheels, La Carrera Cycles and Curbside Cycle.



Posted: April 12th, 2010
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Filed under: Transportation Issues
Tags: , | 5 Comments »

5 Comments on “Toronto’s Best Bike Lane”

  1. 1 duncan said at 1:19 pm on April 12th, 2010:

    Great nomination, Bikeroo!

    http://bikingtoronto.com/bikingtoronto-com-asks-what-is-torontos-best-bike-lane/

  2. 2 Joe T. said at 4:52 pm on April 12th, 2010:

    For those wanting more details about BikingToronto’s Best Bike Lane call for submissions (Bikeroo’s is pretty good and convincing, I have to admit), see the blog post “What is Toronto’s Best Bike Lane?

  3. 3 lee said at 12:17 pm on June 19th, 2010:

    hello there! i just had to share (ever so smugly) that my commute to work (now former place of employment) is the best commute – from the humber river bridge to the ferry docks. trails perhaps 90% of the way. i know that’s not the intent of the post, but just really missed my ride to work. i have since moved jobs which takes me to – gasp – yonge and eg. cheers, mate!

  4. 4 Bikes Belong on John • Send your comments to the city today « Mez Dispenser said at 5:39 pm on June 28th, 2010:

    [...] longest uninterrupted north-south bike lane in central Toronto is ‘Route 35‘, which travels along Beverly, St George & Poplar Plains all the way from St Clair down [...]

  5. 5 Sauce Weekly: June 29 « bikeSauce said at 12:02 pm on June 29th, 2010:

    [...] longest uninterrupted north-south bike lane in central Toronto is ‘Route 35‘, which travels along Beverly, St George & Poplar Plains all the way from St Clair down to [...]


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