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“Graph Paper” vs the “Squiggly Grid” – A popular post here, worth revisiting…

Back on December 12, 2010 I published, City of Toronto Transportation Grid: “Graph Paper” layout vs “Squiggly Grid”. I’m seeing in the WordPress Site Stats widget that the article has been getting a lot of views – and on an ongoing basis.

People in Toronto are talking about transportation issues. This article generated a great discussion when I first published it, perhaps we can talk some more about the way the 905 and the 416 are completely different cities – from a transportation infrastructure point of view at any rate.

Enjoy…  (A link to the original is at the bottom)

 

City of Toronto Transportation Grid: “Graph Paper” layout vs “Squiggly Grid”

City of Toronto Transportation Grid: “Graph Paper” layout is roughly the area inside the black border.

 

Over at Cat B’s VeloT.O. Blog, Cat put up an interesting article, “Nice jacket Mr. Cherry“, about the ranting Mayor and a hockey coach.

‘Nodders’ posted on this idea just after the October 25th 2010 election, “3,000 kms and Positioning the Toronto Cycling Community in a Non-Bike Friendly Environment“.

The cycle community needs to project a united and coherent message out to the voters of the city – to get what we all need; a city that moves, and moves safely.

It is important that we cyclists have the ears of the thoughtful voters of the city right now; a united, effective message.

Towards a better understanding here’s something I’ve been thinking about recently:

Unfortunately for cycling infrastructure planning there is not just one Toronto, there are two – the old and the new: The “Graph Paper” grid – the black box on the map – and the “Squiggly Grid”, which is everywhere else.

Planning Cycling Transportation Infrastructure: The Great Divide: The Graph Paper meets the Squiggly GridThe Great Divide: The old Graph Paper Grid meets the new Squiggly Grid at Taylor Creek, East York near Dawes Road

As such, planning a cycling infrastructure that works needs to first understand what we’re dealing with so cyclists aren’t talking at cross purposes. The conversation needs to be based on the infrastructure as it is; and going forward how to make changes that are possible as per how cyclists and cars use these two very different kinds of traffic grids – differently.

In the core of the city the road grid is like a page of graph paper; it’s easy to find off-arterial streets that work as direct, convenient, safe Bikeways.

In my opinion, these side streets that can be chosen to be Bikeways need to be “Enabled” to attract cyclists off the main streets, which are extremely dangerous, and to make driving a car on them a pain in the ass (sort of exactly opposite to the way things are now). These Bikeways on the old grid need lights where they cross main streets (and timed for bikes where possible) bike centric governance like Yield signs instead of 4-Way stops, no speed bumps in the shoulders, and painted solid bikeway lanes – to name a few ideas.

Then there’s the newer transportation infrastructure that is characterized by a grid of wide, highway type roads, about 2 kilometres apart, lined with boxes of separated neighbourhoods with roads that are full of curly-cues, circles and culdesacs – and that exit onto the arterial roads only at a few places. Here in my opinion and off the top of my head, Bikeways need to be two-way separated bike only roads *beside* the sidewalk and separated from arterial traffic by a physical barrier. People who actually live in these areas may have different and better ideas on this.

What do you think?

 

Read the original post, with a great discussion underneath – 16 comments:
City of Toronto Transportation Grid: “Graph Paper” layout vs “Squiggly Grid”

 

 

mh



Posted: February 27th, 2012
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If everyday was a Sunday in February – we wouldn’t need Bike Lanes on Leslie Street

New Video in a continuing series: A Cyclist’s-eye-view of riding Leslie Street – now with correct camera aperture, and a head-cam!!!
(video is letter-box, on it’s end – perfect for smart phones!)
Another ride along Leslie Street in February – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – this time on a Sunday. Fixed the aperture setting on my Samsung SE25 – so not over exposed. And, I mounted the camera to my head! :)

Leslie Street is one of of four access points that is available to cyclists and pedestrians for crossing Lake Shore Boulevard in order that they may visit the Water Front of Toronto – and the about to open, “Tommy Thompson Park” – which is just a little further south on the reclaimed Leslie Spit. (Leslie St and Unwin Av – Google Map: http://g.co/maps/q4xcz)

From a cyclist’s point of view, these videos attempt to tell the story of how dangerous Leslie Street is for bike riders and pedestrians – and I expect, how harrowing it is to drive it – having to share the road with slower moving things with so much else going on at the same time.

Video:  ”If everyday was a Sunday in February – we wouldn’t need Bike Lanes on Leslie Street

 

Leslie Street along this short section has four traffic lights and intersects three major transportation corridors: Queen Street, Eastern Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard. The forth set of stop lights is for the il-conceived exits onto Leslie for the Loblaws and Price Choppers parking lots.

The ‘chicane’ on Eastern, just as it approaches Leslie from the West, makes that intersection dangerous because all road users, from any direction – can’t see what’s coming. Add to that the fact that the Eastern Avenue East-bound Bike Lanes end at the intersection, and we have a confluence of use-vectors that add up to Information Overload.

The street as it is now configured is a death trap.

The reconstruction of Leslie because of the TTC construction starting next month (March 2012) is an opportunity for the people of the neighbourhood and our representatives (and staff) at City Hall to imagine a better street.

The Leslie Street Complete Streets Working Group is meeting periodically and has lobbied all concerned about this issue. We are now at the end of the City of Toronto mandated, ‘Pubic Consultation Process’ – with no ground given on bike infrastructure. Now I think, we enter a phase of political organizing – we have to get a ground swell of popular support for cycling infrastructure on Leslie Street.

For more more information, or to get involved – Contact me at, michaelholloway111(at)gmail(dot)com

—————-

This is Part 2 of an ongoing Series.

See it at my Youtube Channel - http://youtu.be/jLBqSykGn2Y

See Part 1 @Blog_FreeWheel – “Leslieville, a Grand Gateway to the green and wild places on the Great Lake Ontario” –  http://bikingtoronto.com/michaelhollowayblog/2012/02/25/leslieville-a-grand-gateway-to-the-green-and-wild-places-on-the-great-lake-ontario/

Or at my Youtube Channel: “Just your typical Bike Ride in Toronto on a Saturday afternoon in February” - http://youtu.be/NzU9Gk78Cck

—————-

 

mh



Posted: February 26th, 2012
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Leslieville, a Grand Gateway to the green and wild places on the Great Lake Ontario

Video of a little trek I took from Jones Avenue and Queen via Queen Street to Leslie Street, via Leslie to Lake Shore Boulevard.

Some residents of Toronto’s downtown east side neighbourhood known as Leslieville, want the City of Toronto to install cycling infrastructure along Leslie Street when it is redeveloped this year.

This video goes a measure to explain why, it’s dangerous for bicyclists on Leslie – that’s why you don’t see very many of them. But soon, with all the parks opening to the south and a gentrification ongoing in the neighbourhood – this street will be teaming with cyclists… because it is one of only a few Gateways across the Great Wall – Lake Shore Boulevard!

This is a pretty slow Saturday afternoon in February, no snow, no snow banks – just a hellish westerly gusting to about 60 km/hr..

Just your typical Bike Ride in Toronto on a Saturday afternoon in February

 

The TTC is building a ‘Car House’ (the Ashbridges Bay Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) Maintenance and Storage Facility – ) on a plot of land on the South-East corner of Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard – and to connect this cleaning a maintenance facility to the Toronto Transit Authority’s street car grid they are putting in street car tracks on Leslie Street from Queen Street, South down to approximately Commissioners Road.

Via Wikipedia - Streetcar track reconstruction at Bathurst Street and Queen Street.

Building a Grand Union at Bathurst Street and Queen Street West - 1997 (?)

 

The project is a major construction job:

1) A ‘three-quarter Grand Union’ at Queen Street and Leslie Street – so the new LRT cars travelling north can turn east or west – and so cars on Queen Street, traveling in either direction, can turn south to get back to the Car House;

2) Leslie street will need a new foundation to support the new LRT vehicles, each of which weighs in at 48,200 kg. The new vehicles are 30.2 metres, or 99 feet long – 25% longer than the longest street cars Toronto has now (the ‘articulated’, ALRV) which is 23 m or 75 feet. The TTC ssays they are ripping up the entire width of the street, sidewalks included.

3) The intersection of Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard has all kinds of infrastructure under it. I’m not privy to the details, but I’m assuming water and sewer, electrical, fiber-optic… . Apparently many of the conduit for these elements will not stand up to the stresses that a street car right of way over top of them will create. That means they’re going to have to dig deep and build steel re-enforced concrete conduits for all these various elements – and make sure all are accessible by maintenance crews from a variety of city departments.

 

So after all this – can we get separated bike lanes on Leslie Street so folks can cycle safely to:

-the Waterfront Cycling Trail (formerly Martin Goodman Trail);
-the new Port Lands Parks; and,
-the new Tommy Thompson Park on Leslie Spit

The Transportation Department says the road is too narrow for Bike Lanes. The City of Toronto agrees – there is no way to make the street wider, and besides the road will be a TTC right of way in 10-15 years as Leslie becomes a service route. And the TTC says no, we can’t make the street wider – not in this project – the 2 year environmental study is already done – There’ No Time!!!

And they’re all correct … but we still need separated cycling infrastructure in order to help get parents and their children south of the great barrier, the Great Wall – Lake Shore Boulevard.

What to do?

We need your in-put.

The Leslie Street Complete Streets Working Group is meeting periodically and has lobbied all concerned about this issue. We are now at the end of the City of Toronto mandated, ‘Pubic Consultation Process’ – with no ground given on bike infrastructure. Now I think, we enter a phase of political organizing – we have to get a ground swell of popular support for cycling infrastructure on Leslie Street.

One suggestion, for the short term – just paint on bike lanes, or sharrows – for now, then…

Please help – us, all together, we can create a better Leslie Street. Perhaps, as I have dreamt – a Grand Gateway to the green and wild paces along the Great Lake Ontario – just 850 metres to the south.

And a new identity for Leslieville and South Riverdale – place names that will be known by tourists around the world.

For more more information, or to get involved – Contact me at, michaelholloway111(at)gmail(dot)com

——————

See specifications for the new (LRT) street cars: TTC - http://lrv.ttc.ca/

Also at the TTC:  http://lrv.ttc.ca/Meet_Your_New_Ride.aspx

See the old ones:  Wikipedia:  ”Toronto streetcar system” —> 3.0 “Rolling Stock” —> 3.1 “Streetcars purchased by the TTC” (click on the links in the “Type” column to see the different vintages) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_streetcar_system#Streetcars_purchased_by_the_TTC.

This article was written under the video while it was up-loading – to see it there click on the video, or this link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzU9Gk78Cck&feature=youtu.be

mh



Posted: February 25th, 2012
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“Livable Cities” suburban residential densities can fund Subway Construction

 

In this amateur Urban Designer’s opinion, higher density building standards along mass transit corridors in Toronto’s suburbs – that mirror Toronto’s Core densities, with a large number of 3 story walk-up apartment buildings on single or double lots, and zoning changes to permit ‘alleyway Grand Parent Flats’ over top of/instead of garages – can  produce the necessary tax revenue needed to fund a Subway network in Toronto like those of London, Moscow and Paris.

 

Once outside the Circle Line subway, most of these Moscow Subway routes are above ground, separated train lines. The Circle Line is key to the Moscow Subway network – it allows most to avoid the core of the city – instead you use the Circle Line to get to the appropriate spoke in the wheel – and then transfer. Toronto needs a Circle Line to direct LRT volumes that are coming. Just $50Billion – an investment we should undertake now.

When Rob Ford was elected Mayor of Toronto in October 2010 he immediately proposed stopping construction of 3 of 4 Light Rapid Transit (LRT) lines in favour of redirecting the Provincial funding for them to subway construction. Subway construction costs a lot more than street level separated rail – so the bang for the buck fell well short of what residents perceived was needed. The number of kilometres of subway Toronto was going to get under Mayor Ford’s plan – and his inability to get private funding to augment the Provincial 8.4 Billion dollars already in the funding package – paled in light of the public transit commute experience that many Torontonians face each day.

The need for new mass transit in key areas of the city where population numbers are mushrooming - North Etobicoke, North York and North Scarborough - is making public transit – and the highway type roads there – next to useless at rush hour (now 3 hours long, morning and night). Grid lock and the perception that the Mayor didn’t really have a plan, caused a political backlash for the Mayor’s Office on transit. The result was that the Mayor’s public transit plan was effectively killed in favour of the existing LRT plan in a vote at Toronto City Council on February 8, 2012.

People are giving up on public transit and switching to back to cars –  which is leading to more expressway grid lock in a city that already has the longest automobile commute times in North America – or citizens are just leaving the labour force, because their commute time and compensation didn’t jive with the erosion of their quality of life – 3 hour commutes combined with the ‘new normal’ 12 hour work day.

The solution so far, for cash strapped cities with-in the neo-liberal schema of extremely low corporate tax rates, has been to invest in low cost surface rail separated from automobile traffic by transit right of ways. This LRT solution is the last option standing, mainly because of the low population densities in a suburban development model that was built based on the car.

We now understand that the model is unsustainable and that higher density development, walking and cycling infrastructure improvement, and more public transit is the long term answer.

Zoning increases needed to make Sheppard subway a reality: Chong
A rendering supplied by the Tridel development group to city planners. It shows what the intersection of Victoria Park Avenue and Sheppard Avenue East might look like after it were redeveloped using density rights allocated from the subway station.
(Image and Text courtesy of Inside Toronto – from the article sighted)

When Rob Ford asked private developers to come up with a workable subway funding strategy based on private borrowing that was financed over time by increases in tax revenues that would arrive through increased development along proposed subway routes – the developers came back with a plan for high towers at major intersections all across suburbia.

See, Inside Toronto:
Zoning increases needed to make Sheppard subway a reality: Chong
– Highrises at major intersections required to get support of developers”
 - http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/cityhall/article/1018260–zoning-increases-needed-to-make-sheppard-subway-a-reality-chong

They like to build condo’s apparently, and I guess they thought if their banks were going to foot the bill for public infrastructure – at a moment in time when the Mayor was over a barrel – they figured they could ask for the moon – and get it.

Silly, greedy capitalists – by doing so they pretty much killed the privatization of Public Transit in Toronto (likely Mayor Ford’s neo-con, hidden agenda for all public inheritances).

In this amateur Urban Designer’s opinion a less neighbourhood invasive option would make this kind of Subway financing do-able. Higher density building standards along mass transit corridors  in Toronto’s suburbs (extending one bus stop width on either side of the corridor) – that mirror Toronto’s Core densities, with a large number of 3 story walk-up apartment buildings on single or double lots, and zoning changes to permit ‘alleyway Grand Parent Flats’ over top of/instead of garages – can  produce the necessary tax revenue needed to fund a world class subway network in Toronto.

 

See more on Subway Financing – Ford Style – at SteveMunro.ca:

“Subway Financing Falling Apart? (Update 3)” – June 4, 2011 – http://stevemunro.ca/?p=5238

 

mh



Posted: February 17th, 2012
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Car Problems

Yeah, definitely a new camera.

See more xkcd – http://www.xkcd.com/

 

mh



Posted: February 17th, 2012
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