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NEWS: Plans to shift Toronto’s bicycle strategy into high gear in the works

After years of backpedalling, Ontario is getting back on the path to creating a province-wide cycling network.

And in Toronto, where critics point out the city has failed to deliver the 495 km of bikeways it promised in 2001, there’s a new strategy in the works.

“The increased density in the way we’re building cities now means the urban sprawl days are behind us, which is a good thing,” says Eleanor McMahon, CEO of Share the Road, a cycling coalition she founded in 2008. Her husband, OPP Sgt. Greg Stobbart, was killed in a 2006 cycling accident with a dump truck near Milton.

Her coalition links organizations from across Ontario in the common goal of making all municipalities, from big cities to small towns, more bicycle-friendly.

Read More: Dedicated bike routes planned across province, including Toronto and GTA – Wheels.ca.

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INFRASTRUCTURE: Toronto does protected bikelanes correctly (for one block)

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If there’s one thing that bothers me about the slow installation of “physically separate” protected bikelanes on Sherbourne, Bloor East and Wellesley (soon to come to Richmond and Adelaide and Harbord/Hoskin) is just how half-assed it seems to be being done.

The key to “physically separate” is something physical between where cars drive and where bikes travel.  Aside from the north end of Sherbourne, which has some raised curbs (that cars still drive over), the city seems to be using flex-bollards… but installation is VERY inconsistent.

The photo above is of the ONLY place I’ve seen it done correctly in Toronto.  It’s on Sherbourne south of Shuter.  For one block.  The rest of Sherbourne has a few bollards sprinkled here and there, but one or a few bollards don’t do anything… you need a bunch of them like in the photo above for them to be effective.

They need to be close enough together too.  The ones in the above photo are about 10 feet apart.  On Wellesley, they’ve installed bollards between Sherbourne and Jarvis, but only every 20 feet (or more – photo below) – which means cars can still pull in to park.  NO bollards have been installed on Wellesley between Jarvis and Yonge.

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What about Bloor East between Sherbourne and the Viaduct (below)?  NOTHING.  It’s the worst separated bikelane EVER.

 

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All this is to say “What. The. HELL?”  You can NOT call these things “Protected Bikelanes” if they don’t actually PROTECT cyclists by keeping cars out of them.

You want more people biking in Toronto?  Make them feel safe.  You are NOT making them feel safe at all yet.

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INFRASTRUCTURE: Richmond West starts getting a contra-flow bikelane

The first part of the Richmond bikelane (which is supposed to be physically separated between York and Bathurst with flex-bollards) has been put in… but just in the section to the west of that stretch, between Bathurst and Niagara.

The Richmond W yellow bike lane has been painted between Bathurst and Niagara

via Twitter / TO_Cycling: The Richmond W yellow bike ….

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INFRASTRUCTURE: Why Protected Bike Lanes Matter

For anyone who rides a bike regularly, we know anecdotally that protected bike lanes make a huge difference. We feel safer. We feel welcome on the streets, navigating them calmly to get from place to place.

But just how safe are we, and how much does the design of our streets change behaviors?

Turns out, it’s a lot.

via Why Protected Bike Lanes Matter | San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

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INFRASTRUCTURE: Stephanie Street gets a contra-flow bikelane

A tiny little contra-flow bikelane was installed on Stephanie St. (the east-west street at the bottom of Grange Park).  This is great for cyclists going between Beverley and John, but raises a big question for me… namely, why this was installed so quickly while other bikelanes (Lansdowne was approved in 2009 and is STILL non-existant) exist on paper but that’s it, for YEARS.  Frustrating.

Thanks to last week’s unanimous council vote, Stephanie St is now 1-way for cars and 2-ways for bikes!

via Cycle Toronto – Facebook Page.

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