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Crackdown on Sidewalk Cycling ignores Cause of Problem

This is another case of treating the symptoms rather than the cause of a problem.

According to the Star, there are plans to “crack down” on cyclists riding on sidewalks:

Cycling on the sidewalk has become “a huge issue” in cities across the province within the last five years. But the laws governing it are inconsistent and moves to update them have been slow.

“There isn’t enough teeth in the law,” said Sgt. Angelo Costa, the traffic sergeant in 31 Division where the incident occurred. “All I can do is stop a cyclist, he has to identify himself to me and I can give him a ticket. There isn’t anything else . . . that’s going to change his behaviour.”

In January, Toronto’s public works committee recommended that council work on a strategy to get cyclists off the sidewalks.

The police services board then discussed the issue in July and sent a report on harmonizing and enforcing sidewalk cycling bylaws back to the committee.

This is all fine and good… let’s increase the fines for sidewalk cycling.

However, this entire Star article (plus most discussions of this issue) ignores the cause of sidewalk cycling… that cyclists (especially in the old boroughs and suburbs of Toronto) do not feel safe on the road because:

  1. there is NO cycling infrastructure
  2. posted speed limits for cars are often 80 km/h… and most cars do far above that, usually close to 100 km/h.

As a result, most cyclists in these areas take the sidewalk because it’s safer, and the sidewalks are mostly deserted because hardly anyone actually uses the sidewalks in the old boroughs and suburbs.

If you’re going to crack down on sidewalk cyclists, at least give them a safe alternative.

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New Plan calls for Cyclist and Pedestrian Friendly Yonge Street

Great news being reported by the Star this morning.  There is a “bold new plan” that calls for Yonge street sidewalks to be widened, narrowing car traffic to one lane in each direction (along with sharrows for bike traffic).

The report, to be released Wednesday, proposes dramatic changes in the section between Dundas and Gerrard Sts., including widening sidewalks, reducing car traffic to two lanes, and making it pedestrian only for special festivals.

The Yonge Street Planning Framework, written by Ken Greenberg of Greenberg Consultants and Marianne McKenna of KPMB Architects, is a blueprint for turning around this tired area that includes historic buildings, a new 75-storey condo tower and Ryerson University.

It’s designed to improve the public space, make the area more welcoming for retailers and encourage small businesses, including high-tech ventures, to set up shop.

Read about the plan at the Toronto Star’s website

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Making Leslie St. Safer for Cyclists and Pedestrians

Leslie and EasternOn Saturday, Nov. 20th, a group of people in South Riverdale got together to have a look at the safety features (or lack thereof) for pedestrians and cyclists on the stretch of Leslie Street between Lake Shore Boulevard and Queen St. The street will be reconstructed when the TTC builds their new streetcar car barns on the South East corner of Leslie and Lakeshore – as tracks will run up Leslie to Queen.

Embedded here are the notes from the Leslie Safety Tour, from Paul Young of the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

Leslie safety tour nov 20 2010

View more documents from bikingtoronto.
What do you think?  Is Leslie a good street to be a north-south connector for cyclists and pedestrians?
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