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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
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