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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: How are the new Wellesley St. bike lanes working out?

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In a word, the new Wellesley “separated” bikelanes are “crappy”.   You can see the problem in the photo above… the bollards are too far apart.  They also weren’t installed on part of the curve on Wellesley between Jarvis and Sherbourne…. the absolute worst part of Wellesley for cars going into the bikelanes.

I thought this was because the bollards were incomplete, but statements by city staff make me think they think it’s done.  Bollards are also not installed near intersections, because I assume someone is worried about offending car drivers.   Drivers are also using the bikelanes for passing and right turns.  It’s infuriating.

Haven’t we paid enough time and energy and money catering to car drivers in this city?  Can’t we install a separated bikelane properly?   There are international bikelane standards out there.  Does Toronto use them?

There are two types of separated bike lane in Toronto: the ones on Sherbourne Street that discourage intrusion by drivers (but also allow access for emergency vehicles) with a gently raised curb and the newly upgraded lanes on Wellesley Street, which are marked by a strip of white collapsable bollards.

Read More: How are the new Wellesley St. bike lanes working out?

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Construction to begin on Wellesley Street separated bikelane

The initial phase of installation will see separated lanes placed on Wellesley Street from Parliament to Yonge streets. The remainder of the route, covering Wellesley Street West, connecting through Queen’s Park, and along Hoskin and Harbord streets to Ossington Street, will be installed next year.

Most of the route already has painted bike lanes installed, but physically separating the lanes has been a priority for Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, who chairs the public works committee at city hall. The city’s first separated cycle tracks were installed on Sherbourne Street last year, from Bloor to King streets, and are scheduled to be extended to the waterfront next year.

Full story: Construction set to begin on Wellesley Street bike path | Daily Xtra.

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The News Cycle for Thursday, May 17, 2012

 Website rates Canadian cities on bike-ability [CBC News]

Website rates Canadian cities on bike-ability

Researchers at UBC and Simon Fraser University have come up with a way to rate how good major Canadian cities are for cycling.

Modelled on a site called Walk-Score, researchers tallied up three factors: topography, bike accessibility to shops and the number of bike lanes. The results are then colour-coded on a map posted on a website.

The Fixer: Cycling on Kew Gardens paths is no crime after all [The Star]

The Fixer: Cycling on Kew Gardens paths is no crime after all

He did a computer search on the bylaw noted on the signs — 319-69 — which later became 1969-319, and “it turns out the bylaw was repealed 15 years ago and the city just hadn’t taken down the signs.”

Between the date of our column and Leroux’s investigation, all but one sign was removed, he said, noting that “the entire Fixer article is incorrect.”

June is Bike Month across Canada [Dandyhorse Magazine]

June is Bike Month across CanadaToronto’s Bike Month has evolved from a single Bike to Work Day in 1998 to become one of the largest events of its kind in the country. Bike Month is organized by the City of Toronto and theCycle Toronto (formerly Toronto Cyclists Union). Below are a just a couple of events dandy will be at, but check out their calendar for full event listings.

 

Urban Planet: Why Kids Don’t Ride to School Anymore [Spacing Toronto]

Urban Planet: Why Kids Don’t Ride to School Anymore

Did you ride your bike to school as a kid? According to this piece on NPR, back in 1969 nearly half of children got to school on foot or by bike. Today, that figure is closer to 13%. Reporter David Darlington talks about what has changed – from concerns about liability to sprawling neighbourhood design to a changing understanding of bikes as recreation rather than transportation.

 

Behind the scenes at Cervelo Cycles in Toronto [BlogTO]

Behind the scenes at Cervelo Cycles in TorontoCervélo might just be the most innovative bike company in the world — and its Toronto-based headquarters is the type of place to send a tingle up and down the average roadie’s spandex-clad back. One wall is entirely whiteboard — with sketches, equations, and complex diagrams offered as an inadvertent equivalent to decor. Men with rings on their pinky fingers spend their days tinkering with the latest and greatest in software applications, trying to find that optimal balance between strength, stiffness, and aerodynamics.

Cyclist hospitalized after downtown crash  [CityNews]

Cyclist hospitalized after downtown crashA cyclist was rushed to hospital after a crash in the city’s downtown overnight Saturday.

Police tell CityNews the victim was biking near Queen and Victoria Streets just after 1 a.m. when a driver slammed on the brakes, causing the cyclist to crash into the back of the car.

 

Councillor and TTC chair Karen Stintz bike infraction earns her a ‘scolding’ from police officer [National Post]

Karen Stintz bike infraction earns her a ‘scolding’ from police officer

The Toronto police officer in the cruiser behind her pulled the councillor over and reminded her she had to come to a full stop, like other vehicles.

“I said I was sorry, and that I would be more mindful in the future,” said Ms. Stintz, who tweeted about her encounter as a public service announcement. “The way she was scolding me, I’m fairly certain she did not know who I was,” she laughed.

Waiting on Wellesley [NOW Magazine]

Waiting on Wellesley

It’s becoming a not-so-proud tradition in Toronto: propose a bike lane, approve a bike lane, and then delay building the bike lane.

The city has consistently fallen short of targets set out in the official Bike Plan 10 years ago, and it appears the separated cycle track planned for Wellesley St. is the latest project to be pushed back. According to a report going before the public works committee next Wednesday, the separated lane from Queen’s Park Crescent to Sherbourne Ave. won’t be completed until 2013, a year later than originally planned.

 

About the News Cycle

The News Cycle is a periodic post which brings together links to news, events and other things which may be of interest to Toronto’s cyclists.

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