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Balancing Streetcar Accessibility with Cyclist Safety on the new Roncesvalles

There are a lot of BIAs in Toronto who see cyclists as a nuisance (I’m thinking specifically of the Yorkville BIAs exclusion of cycling infrastructure in their multimillion plans), but that isn’t the case with the Roncesvalles Village BIA.

Recently, plans have been unveiled for a reconfiguration of Roncesvalles that placed more emphasis on making it a people-friendly place (with more trees, more cafe space, and wider sidewalks) rather than a collection of parking spaces.

One of the significant features of the plan is “sidewalk bumpouts” which will bring the sidwalk almost all the way out to the streetcar tracks at some intersections – great for people and transit, but perhaps not so great for cyclists trying to get through.

So, they went back to the drawing board and came up with 3 options:

The planners are considering three options (PDF). The first has no cycling provisions, such as shown in the picture mentioned above. No one appears to be in favor of this option, and the BIA would strongly oppose any option that made no provision for cyclists.

The second (see image, right) would simply continue the “sharrow” zone, leaving a 1.6 metre space between the curb and the rail. This would mean that transit riders would not be able to step directly onto the streetcar, but at least would not have to cross a traffic lane. The third option calls for a 1.5 metre “bike trough” (click here (PDF) for an illustration) that would cut through the curb extension itself, mixing the pedestrian and cycling zones and allowing transit riders to board directly from the curb.

At a recent meeting with businesses and residents, the community expressed its preference for the second option out of what has been proposed.

Do you have any ideas on how best to balance the needs of cyclists with those of other users of the road? Please share your opinion by emailing the BIA or your local residents’ association, or leaving a comment.

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