Raw Video of the Bloor Viaduct Off-Ramp

By | March 22, 2010

One day last week I was in the Broadview and Danforth area for a while killing time, so I decided to take a couple short videos of the off-ramp between the Bloor Viaduct and the northbound Don Valley Parkway (satellite google map).  I set up my camera on the off-ramp ^ sign between the Danforth and the off-ramp (streetview).

Cyclists going eastbound over the Viaduct have to deal with crossing this off-ramp (which often has pretty quick traffic) so I thought capturing the how drivers and cyclists to highlight the need for some pavement markings (like a coloured bikelane) and lots of signs for drivers to give way to cyclists in this area..  Cars often go very fast along here, and crossing this lane can be hair-raising, even for experienced cyclists.


14 Comments

Brent Marshall on March 22, 2010 at 9:51 am.

It should also be mentioned that the speeds on this stretch of road are high enough to flip an SUV over this past weekend.

You didn’t manage to catch the late lane changers either into or out of the highway on ramp. Personally, I’d like to see one Eastbound lane removed. Better road signage before the off ramp would educate people that an off ramp is approaching. The right hand lane should be a mandatory right turn after the off ramp, with only a single lane continuing on to the Danforth. (There’s parked cars most of the time in the right lane of the Danforth anyways.)

Joe T. on March 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm.

Yeah… I just took a couple short vids – but you are right… there are late lane changers and people who speed up to get by you even though you know you’re trying to get across that lane.

Of course, MOST drivers are great and give you the right of way – once I signal my intent to move over – almost everyone slows down so I can get across… but it’s still a tough go even for cyclists who have done it a lot – you’re going at a pretty good clip, and you have to watch the road ahead while looking back for an opportunity to cross.

I think, ideally, the bikelanes on the Viaduct should be coloured blue, with it extending over the lane. A huge problem with driver perceptions in this area is that the bikelane does not cross the on-ramp lane – it just stops on one side and starts on the other.

Antony on March 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm.

One of the most scary spots of Toronto’s bikelane network. I’m amazed no-one’s been sideswiped or rear-ended here yet. Thanks for the videos Joe… but they make it look almost too easy!

Joe T. on March 23, 2010 at 9:04 am.

Yeah… I need to find another angle or something… my camera almost needs a better zoom function … it was a little too far away from where cyclists actually cross…

annied on March 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm.

Lane markings won’t slow down traffic and it won’t oblige drivers to yield or prevent them from trying to speed past cyclists and then cutting them off. The place needs traffic lights and a right turn as opposed to an off ramp. I wouldn’t let my 15-year old do this, and if you can’t let a 15-year old use a piece of infrastructure, then you’ve got a problem.

Amanda on March 23, 2010 at 1:01 pm.

Next time I’m riding through that stretch, I’ll let you know. My cycling confidence there pales in comparison to those cyclists. :(

leckyf on March 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm.

I’ve never had any real problems with this spot and that’s with 10 years of commuting through it.

Mind you, 95% of the time I’m there, it’s rush hour so the cars are all backed up.

Personally I move out of the bike lane a good 200 metres before the ramp, signal aggressively (can you do that?) and look for a gap.

I’m sure when the traffic’s not backed up it’s probably a little more difficult but the lights at Castle Frank still probably create a natural gap in traffic.

Joe T. on March 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm.

I’m kind of like Frank… I signal and move over far before the bikelane turns into a dotted one.

I do wait for at least a small gap in traffic (sometimes the gaps created by the Castle Frank lights don’t jibe with when I have to move over) and signal clearly, looking back quickly.

I always thank whatever driver has let me across the lane (whether they let me, or I have enough of a gap to get in front of them so they have time to slow down) with a little wave.

I kind of like Annie’s traffic light idea too… it would be a pain to stop there AND at the Broadview/Danforth intersection… but… it would be cool waiting to cross the ramp with a bunch of other cyclists.

'Xander on April 1, 2010 at 10:37 am.

That crossing is pretty scary, a single lane cyclist overpass bridge would be convenient. even if you had to go up a slight hill to go downhill to cross broadview…

Joe T. on April 1, 2010 at 11:08 am.

Interesting concept.

I just had another look at it on Google Maps – and I think I’ve found the ideal (if unlikely to happen) solution.

Make Broadview & Danforth into a 5-way intersection.

The Pizza-Pizza on the southwest corner would kind of be in the way… so either with movement of that building, or just “adjusting” things a little to work around it, the intersection would have 5 entrance points – forcing every direction to stop at red lights when need be.

This may be marketable to traffic engineers too – as it would provide easier access to the DVP for the entire area. At present – if anyone wants on the DVP, they have to cross the Viaduct and go on a roundabout route via the Bloor/Bayview exchange (itself a remnant of when an expressway was planned to go up the ravine to David A. Balfour Park and the Yonge & St. Clair area), or go down to Dundas, or go up to Don Mills.

annied on April 1, 2010 at 11:16 am.

Speaking of roundabout route – what about a roundabout?

Michael Holloway on March 26, 2011 at 8:57 am.

The second video gets the cyclists looking back and then darting for dear life across to their little ‘pathway through the horror’.

I was thinking you could try shooting from the sidewalk at the end of the bridge – looking east. Might be a better POV to get a better take on the cyclist’s experience there. Although this angle really get the terror of it all.

I still like your idea of a 5-way intersection at Broadview/Danforth that makes the on-ramp the fifth street. All traffic directions could then access the on ramp with the proper traffic light signal set up.

Michael Holloway on March 26, 2011 at 9:01 am.

@AnnieD,

I like your take:

“I wouldn’t let my 15-year old do this, and if you can’t let a 15-year old use a piece of infrastructure, then you’ve got a problem.”

Joe T. on March 26, 2011 at 9:55 am.

Great idea Michael – I’ll try and shoot a video of this (which is still kind of hairy even with the new markings the city put in last year) looking east soon.

Also agree with Annie – even people younger than 15 should be able to use it.

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