See More Blogs | Login or Register to Start Your Own Blog
Main BikingToronto Page

Video: Across The Great Wall (of freeways) on Bicycle

Happy 2011 everyone.

The Great Wall of Freeways: the 401.

I was looking through Joe T’s, “BikingToronto in 2010: The Stats“, the year in review at BikingToronto – and, a long series of links got me to riconroy’s Youtube Channel where I found “Crossing the 401“.

Under the video is this description:

“Highway 401 cuts Toronto in two; crossing it on foot or bike is very difficult. Those who cannot, or decide not to drive, are forced to negotiate the dangerous roads and sidewalks.”

So, that links to recent posts here (article) about the “Squiggly Grid (label)” road lay out that make it so tough to find safe, efficient routes for cyclists in Toronto’s 519. But the real reason I’m posting the video is the song! This years favourite! : ]

“It’s not Safe” by “Gentleman Reg” is the perfect sound track for this vid.


A Toronto Cyclist’s Top 10 Complaints – in “Duncan’s City Ride“.

A Toronto Cyclist’s Top 10 Complaints – BikingToronto Forum.


Posted: January 3rd, 2011
Filed under: Uncategorized
Tags: , | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “Video: Across The Great Wall (of freeways) on Bicycle”

  1. 1 Todd Tyrtle said at 9:54 am on January 4th, 2011:

    I think that’s Keele – an absolutely insane (crossing. While I realize that the crossings are few and far between, some are definitely better than others:

    - I used to use Avenue Rd. Approaching from the south in the morning it was kind of hectic – like the first few min of this video. However, the good things are that it’s an overpass and that the road dead-ends a block after the 401. So after the eastbound onramp traffic thins and you can pass the westbound onramp from the left lane as few if any go further north. Meanwhile, you can continue east on Bombay Ave/Armour Blvd, and eventually cross Bathurst. A little further along and you’ll hit Faywood – a good northbound road that will take you up to Finch just east of Dufferin.

    - Alternately I’ve found that Bathurst, even though it’s an underpass, isn’t too bad, either. Going northbound, I come to Bathurst via Hotspur, go up to Marquette where there’s a light ( and then make a left onto Bathurst. I can usually get enough speed up that I’m virtually alone under the underpass and am into the left turn lane onto Wilson where I need to be before too much traffic hits. Southbound I join it via Charleswood (small street one block N. of Wilson. Here I have to merge into traffic but almost always hit a red light. Traffic and buses being what they are again, by the time I hit the underpass I’m at the same speed as the cars and have taken the lane. A few folks still try to pass a bit closely but not terribly often.

    - The best crossings are the off-road ones though these are a pain to get to for many. One is on the Don Trail just south of Sheppard. The only other one that I know of is on the Humber trail near Weston Rd. Adding a few more of these – perhaps at the end of a few of your ‘squiggly lines’ would be *very* much appreciated. I suspect not only by cyclists but by pedestrians whose neighbourhoods for whom the 401 is a giant wall dividing them from other parts of town.

  2. 2 michael holloway said at 11:25 pm on January 4th, 2011:

    Hey Todd,

    Thanks for taking the time.

    I took a tour of the Avenue Road route in Google Street Map; then I made a Map, which is in the Wiki, and has a blog post – which I hope to add more Great Wall through-points to soon.


    I looked the theBathurst Route but I can’t follow your instructions.

    You say,

    “I come to Bathurst via Hotspur, go up to Marquette where there’s a light ( and then make a left onto Bathurst…”.

    It sounds to me like, you come across on Hotspur then turn left onto Bathurst, up one block to Marquette and then turn left onto Bathurst. ?

    I’m obviously miss-reading what you’ve written. Could you try again?


    From the video, the on-ramps to the 401 at Keele seem to be the main danger points, along with the speed and lack of a bike lane.

    Bathurst looks like a batter way across the Great Wall as there is only one on-ramp – which perhaps should be removed with an eye to my next idea.

    Bathurst from Queen’s Quay to the 401 is too narrow for a bike lane plus two lanes of automobile traffic – as well it is one of the busiest routes in and out of the core … But with the addition of tunnels through the Bridge abutments perhaps the Bathurst underpass at the 401 could be a “Bikeway through-Point” – gathering bike routes like a fan hub, though tunnels in the bridge abutments, and again fanning out north of the Wall.


    With lighting that is bright enough to light the underpass even in day light – like the new lighting under the Rail Bridge at King Street and Atlantic Avenue – the Bathurst Underway could be a relatively safe route until tunnels are constructed – if that’s what is decided is a good solution here.

    (Authors Correction – 01 08 2011: The tunnel I mistakenly referred to is actually the new “Dufferin Jog Elimination” – under the same tracks, but at Dufferin and Queen – see picture: – The King St. at Atlantic Ave underpass needs the same “Stadium Lighting” – so motorists can see cyclists, when on a bright sunny day – as well as at night – they disappear into the shadows. mh)


    Tunneling is cheaper than bridge construction; we should have lots of them – big high tubes, really well lit and with police car only access ways through them.

    (I wonder if they have dig in communications, sewer or electrical infrastructure under these 400 series highways … hmmm, makes sense to do so… could kibosh the tunnel idea.)

    Anyways, that’s about it for the ideas inspired by your comment. Thanks, again.

    Hope to hear about more ‘under and over’ the Great Wall routes I can map.


  3. 3 Todd Tyrtle said at 5:29 am on January 5th, 2011:

    “It sounds to me like, you come across on Hotspur then turn left onto Bathurst, up one block to Marquette and then turn left onto Bathurst. ?”
    Yeah, that is awkwardly worded. I go across to Bathurst on Hotspur, walk quickly up to Marquette (where there’s a light) and then go left from there. Making a left from Hotspur would be nuts.

    Tunnels would be *fantastic* and I suspect you’re right – they wouldn’t cost a huge amount either. I’ve seen large culverts used all the time as pedestrian/bike tunnels. And really, using Bathurst as an example, that’s in need of one already. Before I felt comfortable riding under the 401 there I’d walk it across. The sidewalks under the bridge aren’t really wide enough even for a single person walking their bike to pass another person.

    Oh, and I forgot about another route that I didn’t mention (as I have never used it, its being so close to the off-road crossing. Don Mills Road is another good crossing from a safety standpoint as there are no on/off ramps there. I *have* ridden Don Mills from about York Mills south and find that road to be not too bad to ride on. The diamond lane makes for a *little* less hectic right lane. The challenge with this (a good challenge) is that the lights are widely spaced and seem to be timed pretty well so you could go much, if not all of the way from York Mills to Overlea (I don’t recommend going south of there) without stopping. No breaks to catch your breath!

Leave a Reply