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Sunday at the bike park

The bike park made an ideal destination for a short family bike ride. Here is Lucy on her Xtracycle mounted throne.
lucyseat

This park truly has something for all ability levels. Daughter #2 warms up here.
warmup

Riding the logs.
logs

Working the bumps.
bumps2

bumps1

Mom joins in on the fun.
bumps3

I’d be doing better if my toe clips weren’t pointed downwards.
bumptrack

Getting some air on the ramps.
air

I towed the folder down to the bike park with the Xtracycle. (Photo by Janet J. Wilson)
photo 5

The Sunnyside Bike Park had a soft opening today.

If you see this at the gate on Ellis, no worries: just ride around on the grass to the right, and you’ll see that there is a gap in the new permanent wooden fence.
gate
sign

There have been a few finishing touches since the volunteer work day a few weeks ago. There are now signs indicating the difficulty of various features
difficulty ranging from easy
skiils0
to more difficult.
advanced

It was great to see the first riders officially roaming the park.

The jump area
crew
jump1

jump4

jump3

jump2

The wall feature.
wall2

wall1

The BMX tracks.
dirt

pump1

pump2 I found the black pump track to be a bit tricky on my pink commuter, but it was OK as long as I didn’t try to pedal around the corners.

The bike park is all ages.
kid2

skills

kid1

Some of the dirt ramps are already showing some signs of erosion.erosion

There will be a stakeholder meeting on Tuesday to start hammering out how this track can be supported and maintained by the community. It will take all of us to pull together to make this park a fun place for everyone.

Also, the Ward13 group of Cycle Toronto is working to get the city to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety at the crossings between Windermere, Ellis and Colborne Lodge, and Lakeshore Drive and the Queensway. The need for better crossings at Ellis and Lakeshore is particularly acute, given the proximity to the bike park. Here is a sketch of what we want at this intersection.
e&Lonepage1

If you support these types of changes for better safety for both pedestrians and cyclists, here is an online petition.

Last year, I scoped out the existing conditions where a new bikeway was due to be installed along Point Grey Rd and Cornwall Ave in Vancouver. The decision to put this is in was not without controversy, and post-installation, the arguments for and against are still continuing, with the main municipal opposition party promising to take the greenway out if they win a majority on the next city council.

With the greenway being somewhat less than two weeks old, it was a good opportunity to check it out. These photos were taken while travelling in the eastbound direction, whereas last year’s post was in the opposite sequence.

Here is a sign on 4th at Alma that has been tagged with an indication of one sentiment about the road closure.
almasign

This is the west end of the new section, on Pt. Grey road and Alma, facing east.almaeast

Turning 180 degrees on this spot, you see an new bidirectional bike lane headed west towards Jericho Beach.almawest

You can compare this view with the photo below that I took last year.
at-alma

The westward bike lane continues until it ends at the parking lot for Jericho Beach, and the connection to the Seaside Trail.
tojerichoatjericho

The seaside trail is a mixed use gravel trail that goes all the way to Spanish Banks, and ends at the hill on NW Marine Dr that leads up to the UBC Campus.
seaside For you Michiganders out there, think really good chip seal with a great view of the beach and mountains.

Going back to Alma and heading east, here is the first of several islands that indicate the direction of flow of traffic. I didn’t keep track of which way you were supposed to drive along Pt. Grey, but it seemed to me that the direction reversed at least once, and that local residents were still able to drive in both directions in some sections. There were certainly places where there were cars parked pointed in both directions.pg1

Sharrows in this narrow section.
pg2pg3

Again, compare to last year.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This year.
pg4

Last year.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just short of MacDonald, we start seeing a major change to a protected bidirectional lane.
pg5

Here is the intersection with MacDonald, looking back west.
atmcdonald

Compare this with last year.
atmcdonald

Or this Google Map view that hasn’t been updated.
macdonaldold

At Stephens St, the intersection is beautifully finished.
stephen1

Looking north.stephen2

View from across Pt. Grey, with cyclist push button.
stephen3

As I approach the intersection with Trafalgar, you can see that the concrete median has lowered sections to accommodate the driveways of the houses on the north side.
cw1

From this map, you can see that cyclists are expected to turn left, rather than to continue on straight on Cormwall Ave.
mapcw2

Compare to this Google Map View.
trafalgarold

This short section of residential Pt. Grey is very quiet.
cw3

At Kits Beach, bikes are routed onto what used to be a sidewalk on the north side of Cornwall Ave.
cw4

This is rather unfortunate as there are many opportunities for pedestrian/bike conflict, especially with the heavy foot traffic to the pool and the beach.
cw5

Just past this section, we are routed through a parking lot!
cw6 Perhaps the sections along Cornwall were the hardest to resolve to the satisfaction of all parties, but I don’t think that the current solutions are optimal.

More experienced cyclists will simply choose to use Cornwall Ave as they have in the past.
cw7

On balance, the Greenway does do what it was intended. In conjunction with the extensive revisions at the south end of the Burrard St. bridge, there is now a safe, mostly protected bike route all the way from downtown to Kits and the beaches further west. It certainly seems to be attracting more families and tourists on bikes out this way.
family

It also certainly benefits the very fortunate residents of Pt. Grey Rd since it must be much easier for them to back their cars out from their driveways with the absence of traffic. I expect that those like Nelson Skalbania, David Suzuki and Chip Wilson will see their property values shoot up even further.

One hopes that there will be similar benefits from the West Toronto Railpath Extension, although the feel of that project is considerably grittier.

In the comments on an earlier post, Alexwarrior mentioned that I should check out the revised bike routes at the south end of the Burrard St. bridge. I also wanted to see the relatively new bike route along Comox St. as well, which provides a connector between the Hornby bike lanes and Stanley Park.

This section of the Vancouver bike map shows a whole maze of routes at the south end of the Burrard St. bridge. It was time to hop on the bike to see them for myself.
Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 3.53.55 PM

Approaching the bridge from Kits along Cornwall, I see that there are new protected bike lanes just past the Cypress St. bike route.
DSC03562

This is the north side of the same intersection, showing how bikes that are westbound can turn south on Cypress.
DSC03564

Continuing east to the bridge, I see new green markings on Burrard St. Note also the bicycle green light.DSC03566

Standing just on the other side of Burrard, but looking north, you can see how bike traffic headed across the bridge merges with the green bike crossing in the previous picture.
DSC03567

Headed north across the bridge, nothing much has changed from past years.
DSC03568

This bike rental place at Hornby and Pacific is new. In the lower right hand corner of the image, you can see that the green bike markings are a little the worse for wear in spots.
DSC03569

Not even one block north from the corner is another bike rental place, this one affliated with another bike shop that I had visited in the past.DSC03570
Could this clustering of bike related business have anything to do with the improved bicycle infrastructure???

This signage along Hornby is new. I seriously doubt that I can walk 1/3 as fast as I can bike.
DSC03571

Here’s the intersection with the new bike along Comox. Note the attempt to mark a resting area for bikes from both directions on Hornby that want to turn west on Comox.
DSC03572

There is a short bit of bidirectional bike lane that turns right at Burrard.
DSC03573

This bit of the bike map shows the connection between these two bike routes, with the short segment shown in the previous photo, that jogs north before turning west.
Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 3.54.30 PM

Here is where the bike lane turns left (west) across Burrard onto Comox.
DSC03574

This I’ve never seen before: a wide bidirectional bike lane headed diagonally across a major intersection.
DSC03575

After crossing Burrard, the bike lane continues west. This first section is a separated bidirectional lane.DSC03577

Here is a transition to a contraflow lane on a one way segment of the roadway.
DSC03578

This narrower section just has sharrows, with car traffic in both directions.
DSC03580

Crossing Denman, which is another busy street, there is another diagonal crossing.
DSC03581

From this point further west, the bike lane is a quite street that connects to Stanley Park. This signage on Denman indicates the “Greenway”.
DSC03582

Headed back towards downtown on Comox, here is another contraflow lane. Notice that the road markings include a buffer zone, unlike the ones in Toronto.
DSC03583
At the end of this same block, bikes are separated from cars making a right turn onto a one way street by transitioning to a bidirectional lane.
DSC03584

Looking back from roughly the same point, you can see sharrows that direct bikes to the bidirectional lane.
DSC03579

Now I’m headed south on Burrard towards the bridge. The painted bike lane is between a bus lane and the car traffic (as indicated by the signage).
DSC03585

Mixing it up with traffic, watching for merging buses: this is just like Toronto!
DSC03586

A couple of blocks before the bridge, we have a short segment of protected bike lane.
DSC03587

An attempt to separate pedestrians from bikes since the sidewalk here as been removed because of construction.
DSC03588

Now approaching the bridge. Bright green outlines the bike lane across major driveways.
DSC03589

Much better road markings at the intersection with Pacific.
DSC03590

Compare it to this picture taken a couple of years ago.
pacific&burrard

Crossing a right turn lane before the bridge.
DSC03591

Southbound at the south end of the bridge, bikes are now physically separated from two lanes of car traffic turning right.
DSC03592

Now you have the option of turning right into Kits, or continuing straight along Burrard.
DSC03593

This signs show that this routing is relatively recent?
DSC03594

If you turn right towards Kits, you get a short section of bidirectional that will connect to both the Cypress and the Seaside bikeways.
DSC03595 Note that this means this section of roadway has a bidirectional bike lane in addition to the separated bike lane on the other side, shown in the second photo of this post.

If you continue south on Burrard, the crossing is clearly marked in green, with separate phasing for the bike traffic light.
DSC03597

After half a block, you can continue a short distance further south, or turn to the right towards the York bikeway.
DSC03600

Going south, the bike lane ends at 1st St.
DSC03599

If you turn right, here is another bidirectional bike lane.DSC03601

It connects with Cypress here, and continues further to the west as well.
DSC03602

All in all, the city has done an amazing job with the south end of the Burrard St. bridge, giving cyclists numerous options to access the bridge within three of four small blocks. I cannot help comparing this to Toronto, where Sherbourne is offered up as an alternative to Jarvis, when these two parallel streets are about 300m apart.

Riding around Vancouver: always inspiring and a little depressing at the same time for this Toronto resident.

bikes vs. cars

Dropped by a Farmer’s Market in Seattle this weekend. DSC03509 Lots of tasty looking produce.
DSC03511

This sign advertises a nice promotion: anyone biking to the market gets a $2 voucher.DSC03516

At one end of the market I met William the poet. He writes poems on the spot for any topic.
DSC03514

I asked him to write something on “bikes versus cars” and this is what he came up with:

bikes vs cars

rolling circles
border the triangle
as Divinci (sic) decodes
the fabric of movement.
beyond walking capabilities
bicycles devour
the racket of cars
on the deep breath of near flight.
arrive fully
endorphined or
depleted under
the autobahn of
chance.

wG Seattle, WA 2014.

More fun to look at the original, with the variable kerning of his battered manual typewriter.
DSC03528

Thanks for the inspiration, William!

Back on the west coast for our annual visit. My first dilemma: a misplaced bike lock key for the Dahon that I keep stashed out here. Solution: I walk over to the Bike Kitchen, which is a student run shop in the basement of the student services centre.
DSC03442 After they were satisfied that I was the owner of the bike with lock, a nice fellow named Phillip cut off the U lock with a handy grinder.DSC03441

Here is some secure bike parking behind the Chemistry building.
DSC03452

I was wandering around because I wanted to see a bit of the UBC Grand Prix, a criterium being run today on campus.
DSC03485

Lots of action in the Cat 3-4 race.DSC03489

Later this week, I’ll be biking around town to look at the updates to the local bike infrastructure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFolks,

UPDATE: Park will open at noon on July 18, 2014!!

despite a lot of recent media coverage, the park is not open, and apparently some people have been breaking down the construction fences to ride it. This will only delay the official opening. Don’t spoil it for everyone!

See the following e-mail:

Dear Friends,

Thank you to those of you who were able to come out on June 30 for our volunteer work day. We were really impressed by everyone’s enthusiasm, with about 40 people out to the site on short notice for some sweat equity and product testing.

The site is still closed to the public. There are still a number of things we need to finish like fencing and signage. We hope to officially open very soon. If everything goes smoothly we should be opening in the next couple of weeks.

Stay out of the site
One of the things we are concerned about is that people have been tearing down our construction fences to go for a ride. The site is still officially a construction site that is closed to the public. Tearing down our fences will slow down the official opening of the park if we have to spend our resources re-installing or re-enforcing fences rather than finishing off those last few things we need to get done.

Don’t ride 24hrs after rain
We are also concerned that people are riding the park when it’s wet. Because most of the features are clay they are susceptible to erosion and we expect that additional maintenance of the park will be required after heavy rain, however if people are riding the park when it’s wet it will significantly increase the speed of erosion and ruin the park. For the long term health and sustainability of the park, please help us get the word out that people should not be riding 24 hours after rain, to give the site some time to dry out. This rule also applies to any of the dirt trails you may be enjoying in our ravines.

I would appreciate your help in getting the word out.

Please contact me if you have any questions or tweet us @TOtrees.

Thanks again for your help,
Karen
Karen Sun
Parks Program Officer- Stewardship
City of Toronto – Natural Environment & Community Programs

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