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‘The Great Wall’ – Highway 401 – cyclists describe ways across the busiest highway in the North America

For cyclists and pedestrians, the 401 highway cuts Toronto in two – for them ironically, the highway is a barrier to transportation.

In exploring the ways in which cyclists navigate the Great Wall I hope we can discover what’s missing from the infrastructure puzzle to enable a sustainable city.

Today in comments – over at a post introducing the “Great Wall” theme here in The Blog – Todd Tyrtle left some tried and tested solutions. So far I’ve made a map of the first of his suggestions.

Click on the map image below (opens in a new window) to go to the map in The Wiki, which links to the original Google Map.

(You may be wondering, ‘What happened to Google Maps embed feature anyway???’. It’s in beta, still testing, hopefully it will be back soon.)

(Google Map link: )

Todd Tyrtle's Avenue Road Route - Over the Great Wall

Toronto/GTA Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki – “Finch Ave. West to Bloor St. West and Avenue Road“.


Posted: January 4th, 2011
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“Bikeway Route” around dangerous Coxwell and Lower Gerrard

Older areas of the cities road grid are laid out like graph paper – as such it is easy to find alternative, convenient, efficient and safe routes for commute Bikeways. If these routes are “enabled” for bikes, and to deter car traffic, they will become the cyclists preferred route – in my humble opinion.

Tonight I walked a route from Woodbine to Jones and found new avenues for a Bikeway that circumvents the dangerous and congested, Lower Gerrard between Coxwell and Greenwood Avenues.

Here’s an image of “BikeWay: Gerrard-Fairford-Woodfield Alternative“.
(Title links to the Google Map)

See the map at the Toronto/GTA Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki)

BikeWay: Gerrard-Fairford-Woodfield Alternative around Lower Gerrard - Coxwell to Greenwood.

Traveling West along Gerrard Street East in the Upper Beaches…

At the bottom of the big sweeping hill that starts just east of Woodbine on Gerrard Street is Coxwell Avenue. At this corner the street turns south down Coxwell to Lower Gerrard then continues west into the Core of the City of Toronto – ending at University Avenue south of College Street. Its a great route, but it has an evil side…

This ‘work around’ the extremely busy, and dangerous Lower Gerrard between Coxwell and Greenwood takes Fairford to Woodfield and then avoids Gerrard with an alley route that gets the cyclist to west of Greenwood – just short of the Jones Avenue Bike lanes.

Woodfield Avenue, just north of Gerrard, looking west along the alley that goes almost to Jones Avenue

This beautiful alley could be enabled as a safe, efficient and convenient Bikeway route.

On the Map I’ve added obvious, connecting routes along the way, to existing bicycle infrastructure in the neighbourhood:

The Great Dundas Street East Bike Lanes
Jones Avenue Bike Lanes
Greenwood Bike Lanes


Posted: December 14th, 2010
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East/West Corridors – part 2

May 10, 2010 @ 17:17

Shaw Street street needs to be signed two way bicycle traffic from Bloor to Dupont St..

Ckick on the map to see a larger version in the Bicycling Toronto Mapping Wiki

Ckick on the map to see a larger version in the Bicycling Toronto Mapping Wiki

(click on the map to go to the Bicycling Toronto Bicycle Route Mapping Project map.)
This is another east/west route that avoids Bloor St. West and the core. This is one of my favorite routes if I’m on the west side of the downtown and I want to get over to the east side. This route already has a lot of Bike Lanes on it but because of where we’re at in the planning process – and the political process – they are disconnected and sometimes funnel you into dangerous situations.

I started this map at Hallam St. because everyone should know about the Hallam St Bike lanes. Hallam connects with the Dupont Bike Lanes. But the intersection of Dupont and Ossington is very busy, zig zags there and during the afternoon rush hours in summer the sun sets straight down Dupont – making it hard for cars to see.

So I suggest Hallam to Shaw, north up Shaw (which is a one way south) to Dupont. The one way on Shaw Street is ‘in the way’ when trying to connect routes people use (see “King St West at Crawford to Yonge and St Clair“).I use it here because although Dupont is a great route East/Eest, it has some ‘avoids’, bicycle ‘hot spots’: the Dupont/Ossington intersection and the Dupont, Annette, Old Weston Road triangle at Dundas West. Once your on Dupont via the illegal Shaw cut, Dupont Bike Lanes takes you to Avenue Road – then through Rosedale via Roxborough Ave. then down Crescent Road to Sherbourne Street Bike Lanes and Bloor Street East Bike Lanes.

Original Map made at The Sports Distance Calculator:

Posted: May 10th, 2010
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Another East West Corridor that needs some signage changes to make it really work for cyclists

May 7, 2010 @ 17:57

#TransitCity is a visionary transportation strategy that the city of Toronto is asking for input on. This map high lights some problem areas along a route that has several bike paths already installed, but needs more added to connect them – and some changes made to one ways to make it really useful to cyclists.

Pretty good so far - but could use some 'bettering'.

Pretty good so far - but could use some 'bettering'.

To make this route great the following changes would draw cyclists off the main roads.

1. The biggy: Can we build a bridge from Wallace Ave. across the railway lands to Dundas West above Bloor that would connect via Glenlake Ave. to Keele and beyond? A nice sloping beautiful modern suspension bridge that one can cycle up – big enough for two lanes of bicycle traffic?

2. If Yarmouth Rd. was two way bicycle traffic you could connect Hallam to Barton Ave via Palmerston, thus avoiding Dufferin St..

3. Can we agree to change Lowther (one way) to two way bike traffic between Spadina Rd. and Huron St. – to then connect to Prince Arthur Ave.?

4. Prince Arthur east bound, south a bit on Avenue Rd. to Cumberland is a hellishly dangerous zig zag for this route. If you wait for the lights at Bloor to change you can do it. I don’t know what to suggest, just an FYI. Cumberland at Yonge zig zag to Asquith Ave is evil as well, and the traffic never seems to stop there. It’s worse than the Avenue Rd. problem above.

5. Can we make Cambridge Ave just east of the Bloor Viaduct north off Bloor St. East viaduct a bicycle – two way?

With these mostly cosmetic changes (aside from the bridge that would connect this corridor to the Humber Valley trail system and Etobicoke), we could build a really good east west corridor that is safe, beautiful and quiet.

Go to: “Toronto/GTA Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki Project” Map.
Click here to see an interactive ‘Google Map’ of the route, at the “Sport Distance Calculator”.

Michael Holloway

Posted: May 7th, 2010
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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
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