Via Bike Lane Diary
Evergreen Brick Works recently held their grand opening, and while events and a market have been held at the site all summer, access by bicycle has been somewhat limited.
Bayview, a street where the speed limit increases to 70 km/h (meaning 90 km/h to far too many drivers) in front of the Brick Works also has crumbling shoulders. Certainly an uninviting situation for anyone on two wheels.
However, the revitalization of the once abandoned site is bringing in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. In an e-mail from Dave Dunn of Cycling Infrastructure and Programs for the City of Toronto he explained that a new bi-directional and physically separated multi-use path will now connect the Rosedale Valley Drive multi-use trail to the Brick Works site. As well, a connection to Pottery Road will allow cyclists and pedestrians to access the site from the Lower Don Trail.
For added safety, Jersey barriers will be installed along Bayview separating cycling and pedestrian traffic, and the wooden bridge that runs under the Bayview access to the Don Valley Parkway is being repaired.
Here’s a Google Map created by Christina Bouchard detailing the changes currently being installed along Bayview (click for more details):
Photo via Flickr
The College Street bike lane is quite possibly one of Toronto’s most used. Hundreds, if not thousands, of cyclists use this east/west bike lane to go to work, school, shop or simply get across town. Unfortunately, this bike lane is also a perfect place to let your car idle while you quickly run into one of the many shops and businesses that line this busy street.
The bike lane starts at Bay Street at its east end. In the image above we see a cyclist using the lane, a parked bicycle and another cyclist peaking into a window, a nice little slice of daily life.
Heading west, we pass the long intersection of University Avenue. And we find our first bike lane parker. Sure, a delivery truck may only park for a few minutes at a time… many times a day, every weekday… oh I guess that adds up:
Moving further west, we see things are as they should be at Henry Street:
But then we spot a van on the south side of the street just east of St. George:
A little further west and it’s another white truck, only this one is much larger:
On the north side of College, east of Spadina, the bike lane ends as the road narrows. On the South side we see the bike lane makes the perfect place to park or wait for your next fare:
Even when not parked in the bike lane vehicles pose a risk… watch out for the “door prize”:
Just because you’re making deliveries in the bike lane doesn’t mean cyclists can get by you… you just make it more dangerous to do so:
Another delivery truck, another squeeze out for cyclists:
Delivery trucks could use empty parking spaces, but, since they don’t buy parking permits they could get a ticket, better stick to the bike lane:
As we continue our trip we see things get back to normal:
Parallel parking also poses a risk. Sure, it is a temporary risk that does come with the added benefit that cars are equipped with reverse lights, so you know they’re coming. I assume this car was waiting to park:
But after we pass by and look behind us, the car is still there and the way is perfectly clear. Possibly they are just very slow parallel parkers… hopefully:
On the south side it looks like a biker has met with a cyclist:
Is this a stand-off? I’m not sure what’s going on here, but that biker is quickly outnumbered:
And I bet you thought only parcel delivery trucks used the bike lane… All cube-shaped trucks are welcome of course:
And just a few more metres beyond Euclid, it’s delivery time:
And then we reach the end of the bike lane as College narrows and on-street parking is a must:
For cyclists using the College Street bike lane, I’m certain that the above images come as no surprise. The fact that the Google Street View car was able to capture this many bike lane parkers in such a brief amount of time shows just how prevalent this illegal activity is.
City cyclists know the horrors of the Sherbourne bike lane. Those opposed to the Jarvis revitalization point to this street to the east where they believe adequate cycling infrastructure is unused. It is being used, by delivery trucks as temporary parking. If any piece of cycling infrastructure in Toronto is an example of why paint does not make a bike lane, it is this stretch of torn up, crumbling and downright dangerous pavement. I’d much rather take my commuter through the advanced trails in the Don Valley than have to risk being tossed around on this stretch of road.
While city councilors and mayoral candidates may believe that bike lanes are not safe, they seem to be basing their opinions on the poor examples barely taking up space on our roads today. But, this point isn’t going unnoticed, as an article in the Natoinal Post points out:
City’s bike lanes need revamp: advocates
Alan Heisey, a Toronto lawyer and former chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, has been cycling in the city for 35 years, but he is against bike lanes. That is, he says that the current bike lanes — a strip of paint at the side of the road — simply aren’t safe.
“The bike lane ends up making the street more dangerous than if it wasn’t there because it gives the impression of safety,” Mr. Heisey said. “It forces bicyclists who are in the lane legally to swerve around the cars that are parked illegally.”
The solution to this, he says, is separated bike lanes.
In Toronto, poor surface conditions and improper use by motor vehicles combine to make our existing bike lanes unsafe. While I fully encourage the creation of separated bike lanes, I’d also like to see governments addressing the selfish attitudes that result in motorists ignoring and abusing infrastructure. The Toronto Cyclists Union is pushing for this change as they propose updates to the Motorists Handbook used as a primary teaching tool for new drivers.
1st Photo of Sherbourne Bike Lane via Torontoist.com taken 3 years ago (street condition remains the same today)
2nd Photo of 9th Avenue Bike Lane in New York City via NYCBikeMaps