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Comments on Toronto Bikeway Network – 2011 Update

It’s less than a week since Mayor Ford’s Bikeplan was released and it faces it’s first formal review in a meeting of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee tomorrow, June 23, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. in City Hall.

If you can’t make it to the meeting y0u can submit your comments to the committee at the following site:
http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2011.PW5.1

For whatever it’s worth, I submitted the following comments:

To the City Clerk:

Please add my comments to the agenda for the June 23, 2011 Public Works and
Infrastructure Committee meeting on item 2011.PW5.1, Bikeway Network – 2011
Update

I understand that my comments and the personal information in this email
will form part of the public record and that my name will be listed as a
correspondent on agendas and minutes of City Council or its committees.
Also, I understand that agendas and minutes are posted online and my name
may be indexed by search engines like Google.

Comments:

I would like to register my comments on the “Bikeway Network – 2011 Update
Recommendations” as they are listed on the City of Toronto web site at the
following URL:

http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2011.PW5.1

I very much appreciate that the Mayor’s Bike Plan is solid effort to improve
Toronto’s cycling infrastructure in a tough economic climate and in light of
the Mayor’s mandate to cut costs.

However, the Bike Plan’s focus on off-street trails does not serve bike
commuters well. While all improvements are welcome, to concentrate improvements on
off-street trails, those in parks, hydro corridors and ravines, etc., leaves
commuters still needing to find a safe way to get from the trails to their
residences and places of work.  Cyclists still need the protection of a
well-planned system of on-street bike lanes throughout Toronto.

I would like to comment specifically on three of the points in the “Bikeway
Network – 2011 Update Recommendations”.

First:

1.f.)  Not proceed further at this time on work on the Bloor-Danforth Bikeway Environmental Assessment and direct that staff refocus the current available resources on achieving the elements outlined in this
recommendation.

We should continue the work on the Environmental Assessment. A
Bloor-Danforth Bikeway might be the most important piece of cycling
infrastructure in the city as it could form the backbone of a city-wide
network of bike lanes and trails.

Secondly, the following points:

5.         City Council provide direction regarding the possible removal of
existing bicycle lanes on Pharmacy Avenue, from Denton Avenue
to Alvinston Road.

6.         City Council provide direction regarding the possible removal of
existing bicycle lanes on Birchmount Road, from Kingston Road to St. Clair
Avenue East.

Council should direct that the Birchmount and Pharmacy bike lanes be left
intact for the following reasons:

1.   The Bike Lanes Do Not Impede Traffic: Toronto city staff have
concluded that there has been no significant adverse effect on traffic since
the bike lanes were approved by council in 2008. As a local resident who
uses Birchmount daily and Pharmacy weekly, I have never witnessed or been
in a volume-based delay on either road where the bike lanes exist.

2.   High Cost of Removing the Lanes: Mayor Ford has said Toronto is
“cash-strapped”. So why spend $210,000 to remove bike lanes for no good
reason? The Mayor and current city council were elected primarily because
of their promise to eliminate extra costs, trim budgets and “stop the gravy
train”. To spend money on the unnecessary removal of these bike lanes under
the current economic conditions would be, at very least, imprudent – if not
an incredible waste of money.

3.   Community Consultation Needed Before Making any Recommendations:
While I disagree with the contention of some people that the bike lanes were
installed without community consultation, if we accept the contention, it
would then be a “two wrongs” situation to remove the lanes without proper
and extensive community consultation. In particular, residents living
directly on Birchmount Rd. and Pharmacy Ave., those most affected by the
bike lanes, should be consulted.

4.  The Usage of the Bike Lanes must be reviewed in context of the Bike
Plan under which they were constructed: The criticism of both lanes, that
they are not well used, is unfair because they are a partial manifestation
of the previous Bike Plan, which was never fully implemented. Bike lanes
cannot succeed in isolation, as is the case with both of these lanes. They
must be connected to a network so riders can access them.
Given a connected network of bike lanes, including the Dawes Rd. bike lane
recommended in the Bikeway Network Update 2011, the proposed/under
construction St. Clair Ravine and Warden Woods bike paths, and the extension
of the Birchmount lane to Steeles Ave., cycle traffic would increase on both
lanes.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

Stephen Da Cambra

 



Posted: June 22nd, 2011
Author:
Filed under: Cycling Issues
Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The Night Rider

Last week’s clock rewind is yet another dead giveaway that winter approaches. And it’s turned many bike commuters into night riders

The basic trick to night riding is to see and be seen. Even on well-lit streets, darkness not only makes it more difficult to see, but also judge distances and direction, which means slower reaction times – for both drivers and riders.

Reflective helmet & clothing, rear light under seat, reflector and reflective tape on fender, reflective strips on pannier

Got Your Back?

In addition to the lights needed by law, a few simple additions to your bike will help drivers travelling in your direction spot and react to you a mile away:

Standard reflector – Many fenderless bikes don’t have rear reflectors, but try attaching one to your seat or bike frame.
Reflective Tape – Good old Canadian Tire or your local bike shop will have reflective tape for your bike and helmet
Reflective Strips – On clothing, panniers, helmets – anything. When buying any bike accessory that might be seen on the road, try to find one with reflective strips.
Armband – Armbands, visible from the back and front, help make your hand signals more visible
Safety Vest – Too cumbersome for many, the ultimate in nighttime visibility for others

Be Seen All around

Try to improve your visibility from all angles to help motorists approaching from the opposite direction or from other streets. Bright clothing is a good start.

Headlight, reflective tape on forks, reflector on rearview mirror

From the Front

Sometimes your headlight is all an oncoming drivers can see of you – and you’re competing with the headlights on the cars travelling in your direction.   Be seen and let ‘em know you’re coming down the road:

White front reflector – If you don’t have one, they’re usually reasonably priced packed together with a rear reflector.

Reflective tape – A couple bits, placed in the right spots, make a big difference.

Gloves – Day-glo or reflective gloves help you be seen and help drivers see your hand signals – read more on gloves for visibility at Duncan’s City Ride

From the Side

At night, especially during rush hour, many drivers approach intersections and simply scan each direction for headlights – not expecting to see a bicycle. Improving your visibility from the side will help you be seen by all cars in an intersection.

Wheel reflector, reflective tape on forks, headlight, reflective strips on panniers

Wheel reflectors – Made to be seen from the side, the motion of your wheels also helps wheel reflectors get noticed
Reflective tape – Yes, I know this is the third time I mentioned it – but it works really well all around your bike
Lights – You must have front and back lights anyway, choose ones that are visible from the side too

Remember, the darkness reduces your reaction times too. You’ll need to keep a closer watch for bumps and debris in the road. Quick glances over your shoulder are not as quick, the images in your rearview mirror not as easily identified.

Night riding takes a bit of adjustment, but it’s as much fun as riding at any other time of day.

Does anyone else have any tips on being seen at night?

(via fwd, photo via securiteroutiere)



Posted: November 17th, 2010
Author:
Filed under: Commuting
Tags: , , | 4 Comments »