Since mid September, on my regular commuting route, I’ve been following the day to day changes as the Harbord Bike Lane upgrades have gradually been installed. The first sign of any change that I noticed was the start of the painted buffered bike lanes at the west end of Harbord, nearest Ossington. Here is a photo from Sept 17 showing the first finished section past Shaw St, headed west.
Sadly, for most of Harbord, this is what passes as an enhanced bike lane: roughly a foot wide buffer between two painted lines. You can see the mockup of the road cross section from the original plan below:
From that day, there was visible progress on a daily basis, with old bike lanes being erased in sections gradually moving east, followed by painting within a day or so. Here is the west most part of Harbord again, this time looking east.
In this particular section, you can see the erasure of the old bike lane marking, and it seems that the buffer has been added by narrowing the old bike lane. At other points, the position of the buffer more or less straddles the old bike lane marking.
At the same time, there was quite a bit of roadwork at the intersection of Hoskins and Queen’s Park Crescent, with the conversion of that intersection to a “T” configuration so that the triangular island that facilitated high speed right turns was taken out.
Here is what the intersection looked like before construction.
More significantly, work had started on short segment of bidirectional separated bike lane that connects this intersection with Wellesley.
By Sept. 23, the eastward progress of new bike lane markings had reached Montrose.
This was the first time that I noticed that they were going to do something different at the intersection: note the total erasure of all markings (which makes the road a little rough) and the word “Green”.
At the same time, there as some more progress on the connector at Queen’s Park Crescent, with the first section of the bike lane being paved.
Further south, there is a gap in the separator.
This shows the nature of the intersection with Wellesley. You can see that the bike lane directs bike traffic down the connector and then east, whereas car traffic is brought to a right angle stop. The gap in the previous picture is meant to allow southbound bikes to cross into the traffic lane so that bikes can then turn right into U of T.
Around the same time, someone posted this video of the Hoskins / Queens’ Park Crescent intersection in its present state, showing that it puts bikes in conflict with right turning cars.
However, it was pointed out that there will be separate bike crossing lights here with appropriate phasing so that this sort of bike/car conflict will be reduced.
We are hoping that this intersection design works out, since we are proposing a similar fix for the elimination of a right turn lane from Ellis to Lakeshore.
October marked the appearance of the promised green lane markings, with the first one just before Ossington.
It was extended back to the previously painted bike lane on the evening before Oct. 9.
This provides a clear indication to motorists that the bike lane continues right up to the intersection. You can compare this to what we had before, with the bike lane tapering to nothing at the bus stop before the intersection, and just some sharrows beyond that point.
Things seem to have slowed down now, with the steady eastward progress of the bike lane markings stopping dead at Borden.
I hope that this is not a bad sign, since the section of Harbord between Borden and Spadina has only sharrows now, and so the addition of a bike lane along this section to provide continuity past Spadina is one of the most significant parts of the whole project. Adding bike lanes on both sides of this section entails removal of parking from one side of the street, which is why it was opposed by several local businesses, most notably the Harbord Bakery.
I posted this picture of another green box on FB
which led to a very long discussion thread. One interesting bit of information from City Staff was that similar green boxes are planned for:
most will be north and south side
-ones with a 2 will be advanced left lane for bikes”
Looking forward to these enhancements!