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Car: Overtake, Brake and Turn – Recipe for a Bike Collision

A ‘Video Bicycle Ride

Overtake, Brake and Turn – it’s an all too common practice, and a recipe for a car/bike collision – and in one recent case a cyclist’s death.  (see @Blog_FreeWheel –  http://bikingtoronto.com/michaelhollowayblog/2012/02/11/separated-cycling-infrastructure-taking-over-transportation-thinking-in-london-uk-election/)

In this short clip it’s noon rush hour, about half past 12 – just west of the Beaches, Toronto – 07 March 2012.

I’m cycling westbound on Queen Street just east of Woodbine – approaching Elmer Av.  A Car driver over takes me, cuts me off, brakes, and then makes a right hand turn at speed, up Elmer.

 

If I had not been breaking to also take the same corner, I likely would have had to bail into the curb.  If a pedestrian had stepped out to cross Elmer -(with right of way) this driver would have had a hard time avoiding hitting them – and I would have ended up on his roof.

This is a perfect example of a very common dangerous maneuver - having to get in front of the ‘perception’ that the cyclist is slowing you down.

Yes – ‘Perception’ – this road-rage-causing competitive driving is a neurosis.  His identity is based in this by-the-seat-of-your-pants-driving – with no thought given (until the unthinkable happens) to the consequences if this ‘Master of the Universe’ strategy fails.

If he had slowed and let me lead in my lane he would have parked his car maybe 5 seconds later than he did.

 

 

I created the video using a Samsung ES25 Digital Camera in Video Mode strapped to my head with a sweat band – and edited it with the YouTube Video Editor (http://www.youtube.com/editor)

See more (and soon more, more) video in this ‘Video Bicycle Ride’ series, at my Youtube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/michaelholloway111/videos

 

 

mh



Posted: March 7th, 2012
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Convenience Parking in the Dundas Bike Lane across from 55 Division

A Video Bicycle Ride

Convenience parking in Bike Lanes, just past busy intersections, is extremely dangerous for cyclists.

This short clip of me cycling the Dundas Bike Lanes at Coxwell on 05March2012, shows pretty well the experience of the cyclist when dealing with a parked van in the bike lane just past a busy intersection.

I’m a veteran cyclist – and I bike this route regularly – so I wasn’t surprised to see a car parked in this dangerous situation. As you can see in the video, I see it half a block before I get to the intersection – so I have time to decide what I’m going to do. (I decide to make a movie :)

What to Do?

Cyclist:
The best thing to do in this situation – if your lucky enough to notice it soon enough – is to change lanes well before the intersection, and take the middle of the centre lane through the intersection. If cars start honking at you use your left hand to signal a stop sign and continue calmly. Once they see the parked car in the bike lane they’ll wish they hadn’t done that.

Convenience Stopper / Parker:
For automobile drivers – if you can, if it’s not too far to walk for you, could you please pull your car as far up as you can from the corner – it gives unsuspecting cyclists time to change lanes or stop before they hit your car – or die in a collision.

Civil Society:
For the Toronto Police Services Board – could you please see to it that Officers enforce the Bike Lane no parking laws?

 

 

See more (and soon more) ‘Video Bicycle Rides’ at my Youtube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/michaelholloway111/videos

 

 

mh



Posted: March 6th, 2012
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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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