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TransitCity faces Challenges creating Meaningful Bicycle Commute Corridors through the Core

Apr 22, 2010 @ 14:51

On April 15th @bikerooTO and @JoFergs were talking on Twitter about #TransitCity, and specifically how bike corridors both north/south and east/west through the core were absent from the plan. This map illustrates where one big problem lies.

A way up the east side of the core. Notice the big problem just above bloor to just below St Clair, that's Mt Pleasant which is a hyway and a kill zone for bikes.

A way up the east side of the core. Notice the big problem just above Bloor to just below St Clair, that's Mt Pleasant which is a 'highway', and a 'kill zone' for cyclists.

The squiggly route through Rosedale is a product of the Great Don River taking a huge slice out of it’s flood plain as it dog-legs above Bloor. The roads in the area reflect that topography.

Several man-made barriers also present barriers to safe cycling.

  • Mt. Pleasant Blvd. is a highway and is not for bikes. Cars power down that hill that starts under 777 Jarvis.
  • The lack of a tunnel or a bridge across the railway tracks at the north end of Rosedale force bicycles out of the safe quiet side streets, and on to harrowing Yonge.

I think the east side of the core is uniquely suited for a commuter cycling corridor, a ‘super safeway’ for bikes (a shady pleasant ‘few-car’ route north and south that will ‘quiet’ neighborhood streets and increase property values).

This route has been added to the Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki, Sherbourne and Queen’s Quay to Eglington and Mt. Pleasant.
Next week: I’ve got in mind an east/west route through the top of the core just north of Bloor Street West, Dufferin to Sherbourne that I always use during business hours.


Posted: April 22nd, 2010
Filed under: Uncategorized
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Users ‘re-purposing’ Jones Avenue Bike Lanes – Two way bike lanes?!!

Apr 20, 2010 @ 16:50

Jones Avenue Bike Lane is my vote in Biking Toronto’s “What is Toronto’s Best Bike Lane?” contest.

Jones Avenue has a really nice bike lane in that Jones isn’t a really busy street and the topography is good for where it goes (Queen Street East to Danforth) – it’s a good way up the hill.

Cyclists who use the lanes are local people running errands, visiting friends. It’s a short route so there’s not a lot of commuter traffic as far as I can tell (I live on Jones and have a great view out my front window).

One peculiar thing I have noticed is that people often ride the bike lane on the wrong side of the street.  Say they’re heading  north on Jones with the intention of turning west onto Dundas (which also has a bike lane) – instead of waiting in the left turn lane at Dundas, or walking the bike through the intersection via the cross walks, or taking a right at Dundas and executing a safe U-turn on Dundas – they simply ride up the west side bike lane (against the legal flow of traffic) and then turn left into the south side Dundas bike lane (again against the legal flow of traffic) and merge over to the correct side of the street when it’s safe.

Google Street View, Jones Ave and Dundas looking north up Jones. Cyclist is south bound in the north bound bike lane

I got lucky. After I wrote this article I went looking for a nice image. This is Jones Avenue at Dundas Street East, northeast corner - Google Street View - note the cyclist is south bound in the north bound bike lane!

I’m a big supporter of redesigning infrastructure to make it fit the way people use it instead of forcing people into a box that came off an architect’s drafting table. I believe a modern architect should tour their completed projects to see how they work in the real world, and learn from it. I think City Planners should watch how infrastructure is used and redesign elements that aren’t working, to make them work better with the way people end up using them.

A good example is pathways in city parks, I’ve seen several examples where parks department workers have observed where people wear paths through the grass and then instead of putting up fences to keep people off the grass, they add paths where paths are being created anyway.

It’s brilliant, it’s thinking outside the box. I wonder if the city parks and recreation department has institutionalized this thinking  – or if  supervisors of maintenance at a individual park just see and do (I expect it’s the latter – feed back is welcome, do you work for Parks and Rec.?).

Anyway, what do you think of cyclists ‘re-purposing’ bike lanes – so they’re two way, both sides of the street?

Dangerous? Brilliant? Should they be ticketed? Thrown in jail? Forced to sweep bike lanes of glass all summer?

Perhaps the way bike lanes are used in particular neighbourhoods should determine what rules apply to them – perhaps a yellow marking system to designate that a two way use protocol is in effect?

Michael Holloway

Posted: April 20th, 2010
Filed under: Uncategorized
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Bicycles Crushed as Building facade falls on Yonge Street sidewalk

Apr 16, 2010 @ 13:44

Luckily no one was hurt on Yonge St. near Gould as a building’s facade collapsed at noon hour today. The accident happened right around the corner from Ryerson University.

Building's facade at Yonge and Glould falls on Bikes!

Building's facade at Yonge and Gould falls on Bikes!

Is it just me or are there bicycles in every story, every picture you see of the city these days (it’s just me). Cycling is on the rise in Toronto and predictably, because it’s a campus area there are a lot of bikes tied up along every street in the area. According to the CBC Radio reporter on the scene several bicycles can be seen sticking out of the pile of rubble.

A moment for the bikes…

I hope the owners had insurance.

Michael Holloway

Link to the CBC Toronto piece.
Image courtesy CBC Toronto.

Posted: April 16th, 2010
Filed under: Uncategorized
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New Usability at the Toronto/GTA Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki

Cyclists Sharing Routes around Toronto

Apr 6, 2010 @ 18:32

Biking Toronto’s Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki Project has made some changes that make it easier for people to contribute their favourite cycling routes.

  1. New “Submission Box” makes it easier to add maps
  2. “You Can Help!” section is simpler -  more links!
  3. Wider Format – Bigger Maps!

The New Submission Box.

If you’re a Biking Toronto Member (register here), you’re now automatically a member of the Map Making Wiki Project too! That means you can use the new fun, easier to use Submissions Box at the top of the Wiki’s main page. (It’s invisible if your not signed in)

Wiki Submission Box Biking Toronto Blog m holloway April 6 2010

Your name will appear, not mine :)

With the Submission Box you can:

  1. Upload a map from your computer
  2. Leave the URL of a map you’ve made
  3. Request a map

(see details in “You Can Help!”)

A Better “You Can Help!”

The “You Can Help” section in the sidebar is simpler. With new links and more options, it’s now easier to add maps to the Wiki!

New Wider Format – Bigger Maps!

The sidebar is narrower in the new format – so all the maps have been biggy-ed up to fill the new space. That makes it easier to see whether or not the map you’re looking at – is a map you need.

Wiki New Format Signed out Biking Toronto Blog m holloway April 6 2010

As before, simply click on the thumbnail map to go to the original interactive map where just like at Google Maps you can zoom in, zoom out or turn the satellite feature on. You can even change the map – and save your new, better version to post back at the Wiki!

Thanks to Joe T for all the help! :)

Michael Holloway
Wiki admin.

Posted: April 6th, 2010
Filed under: Uncategorized
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