“We Need to Slow Traffic Down” Gabe Klein – Chicago

While a few selfish councillors are trying to encourage speeding on a downtown Toronto street, in Chicago they’re trying to slow people down… and with good reason:

“Makes it safer for everybody, including the people who are driving too fast.”

With My Own Two Wheels

For many Americans, the bicycle is a choice. An expensive toy. An eco-conscious mode of transportation. For countless others across the globe, it is much more.

For Fred, a health worker in Zambia, the bicycle is a means of reaching twice as many patients. For Bharati, a teenager in India, it provides access to education. For Mirriam, a disabled Ghanaian woman, working on bicycles is an escape from the stigma attached to disabled people in her community. For Carlos, a farmer in Guatemala, pedal power is a way to help neighbors reduce their impact on the environment. For Sharkey, a young man in California, the bicycle is an escape from the gangs that consume so many of his peers.

With My Own Two Wheels weaves together the experiences of these five individuals into a single story about how the bicycle can change the world—one pedal stroke at a time.

Via Wend

Le Velo

Just in time for the TdF the same guy from the “Performance” and “Get Dirty” videos is back… This kinda could probably win Eurovision

Ford’s Mind Made Up on Jarvis Bike Lanes

The mayor’s response to my email in support of Jarvis bike lanes (and no doubt to every other email sent to him concerning the lanes):

Thank you for your email regarding the bike lanes on Jarvis Street.  I appreciate hearing from you.

Toronto’s economy loses billions of dollars every year from gridlock and traffic congestion.  We need to make the situation better – not worse.   The Jarvis Street bike lanes experiment has been a failure.  Ninety-four percent of commuters now face longer commutes on Jarvis Street.   Over 15,000 commuters each day are suffering from longer travel times, for the sake of 600 additional cyclists.

The City should remove the bike lanes as soon as possible and improve travel times for thousands of daily commuters.  City staff have been directed to develop a low-cost plan to do so.   Bike lanes were never intended to be installed on Jarvis Street.  The original Environmental Assessment recommended against installing bike lanes – but City Council amended the report to approve bike lanes anyway.

As promised during the mayoral election, I am dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. Please feel free to contact my office again at any time.

Yours truly,

Mayor Rob Ford
City of Toronto

With massive public support (though Cllr. John Parker’s back-handed motion means we can’t officially provide it to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee) the mayor has yet to change his tune. Bicycles are a pain in his ass, we’re swimming with sharks who drive unnecessarily large vehicles and need to do so at break neck speeds.

Covet: Woodgrain Bike Frames

Beautiful:

Via Rob’s Woodgrain Bike Frames

Biking to the Die-in in my Armani Jeans

Not sure what to make of the end of this video… a protest? they met that guy from the Radiohead video?

Passing the Buck on Safety at Ontario Place Parking Lot Entrances

There’s a steaming pile of mess out front of Ontario Place, and for once it isn’t left behind by our mounted police officers.

To redirect cyclists, joggers, rollerbladers and other non-Ontario Place guests from interfering with park entrance line ups (do they even exist these days?), the Martin Goodman Trail was redirected in 2008 and now runs beside Lake Shore Boulevard. In the process of straightening the trail and separating it from park visitor foot traffic, which is a good thing and a benefit to the hundreds who use this path to commute year round, a new issue has arisen.

As seen above, there are signs, there are traffic lights, and there are p-gates that narrow the path drastically.

I’ve written why these gates create more hazards than they supposedly prevent. Toronto Star’s The Fixer has written about the gates, not once, not twice but three times now.

First, The Fixer: Barricades are a big bang for cyclists:

The barriers, which are mounted to poles on both sides and swing out to cut the width of the trail by half, force cyclists to squeeze between them, sometimes with disastrous results, said McNally.

“I had a bad crash into one more than six weeks ago, when they were unexpectedly closed for the first time in my memory, during a morning commute,” he said.

“While I waited for assistance, another cyclist had similar spill,” he said, adding that it took five weeks to recover from the accident.

Then, The Fixer gets action: Martin Goodman Trail a little safer already:

The trio talked over ideas for thwarting motorists while reducing the risk to cyclists from the barriers, nearby utility poles and vehicles crossing the bike path as they turn onto Ontario Place Blvd.

The ideas include better signage for cyclists and painting the path red at the approach to the intersection (to warn them to slow down), as well as barriers made of flexible material that will give if a cyclist runs into one.

For now, Dann has agreed to open barriers on one side of the path, which will allow more space for cyclists to pass each other, while still serving as an impediment to vehicles.

And he’s looking hard at the other ideas, saying anything that is feasible and will improve safety at the intersection will be seriously considered.

And now, The Fixer: Metal gates return to menace cyclists:

The city parks department, which is responsible for the trail, decided to open them after our column, figuring the hazard they posed to cyclists was greater than the need to keep cars off.

But Ontario Place owns the property over which the trail runs and overruled the decision. It closed the gates again last week, saying vehicles on the trail are more dangerous to people than the barriers.

Jonathan Daley, Ontario Place’s director of corporate affairs, said drivers leaving from the Remembrance Dr. entrance at the west end of the park try to sneak onto the trail to get a jump on slow traffic.

Ontario Place decided to close them to ensure drivers don’t start using the trail again, said Daley, adding it is responsible for the safety of people on its property, even those using the trail.

In The Fixer’s follow-up, a van is seen driving along the trail. How did that van get there if the gates were closed? Obviously, the only activity these gates are actually inhibiting is the use of common sense in intersection design.

It appears as though Jonathan Daley at Ontario Place needs more encouragement to not only open and remove these p-gates, but he also needs a hand when it comes to creating a solution that does not put trail users into dangerous situations. Let’s take a visual look at what can be done to stave off the supposed problem of trail driving dummies:

portland springwater trail road intersection

How staggeringly simple! A single bollard on the dividing line and two more permanent fixtures on the path’s edge. The Martin Goodman Trail is cleared of snow all winter and to allow snow removal vehicles the p-gates remain open all winter. Using the above solution, the centre bollard can easily be removed and will not impede snow clearing vehicles.

Why then does Ontario Place (or at least their representative) feel that trail users must take full responsibility for a problem not caused by them and deal with a current solution that places them at greater risk of personal injury?

Send an e-mail to Jonathan Daley, Ontario Place’s director of corporate affairs, jonathan.daley@ontarioplace.com and let him know that the current situation along the Martin Goodman Trail is unacceptable, needlessly dangerous and finally, easily fixable.

 

Covet: PDW Takeout Basket

A front basket with a lock holder and bag that fits “a six pack of bottles, five burritos, three chinchillas or an extra layer of clothing” makes this one of the best basket/bag combos I’ve seen.

And there’s even a video:

Portland Design Works Takeout Basket

The Perils of Bike Lane Riding

Just because it’s a bike lane doesn’t mean everyone respects it. Case in point, College Street.

Via Neistat Brothers

Dave’s Ride for Heart Detour

Via Dave Ghent:

This year I finally got to participate in the Heart and Stroke ride for a cure, which goes along the 2 major highways in Toronto. Starting at Exhibition place you enter the gardiner, then go all the way along to the dvp, and up to York Mills rd. Then you turn around and go all the way back down to exhibition place again. 50 kilometres in total. About 20 minutes into my ride I blew my tire. After about an hour of walking with my head down and kicking stones, I went back to my apartment and fixed my flat, and finished the race. Check out the time-lapse of my adventure.