Cycle Toronto organized a ride down the Sherbourne Bike Lanes to solicit comments from users. Fifteen riders showed up, including two members of the City Cycling Infrastructure staff, as well as Cycle Toronto representatives from both Wards 27 and 28.
Before we got going, Dan gave a general overview of the entire project. He mentioned that initial snow clearance of the bike lane was done in tandem with the plowing of the street, but additional sweeps were necessary afterwards since the bike lane would get blocked by snow from intersecting driverways, etc.
He also explained that there were two distinct designs for the bike lane, north and south of Gerrard St. North of Gerrard, the bike lanes are segregated from traffic by raised curbs with rounded tops. South of Gerrard, due to the much higher density of driveways, they used a rolled curb design. If they had gone with the raised curbs in the southern section, there would have been so many gaps that only about 40% of the length of the bike lane would have curbs. Finally, he noted that the green markings are incomplete at this point. Any place where there is a green stripe will be filled to the full width of the lane next spring, to make it look like the southbound section nearest Bloor. The material needs to be applied in warmer weather.
During the second session, there was a question about bi-directional bike lanes. Dan explained that they would require separate signaling for bikes at intersections (this is what is done on the Hornby bike lanes in Vancouver to the best of my recollection) and that would cause too much delay for transit along this corridor. Bidirectional bike lanes are being considered for parts of the Harbord/Wellesley lanes, in particular the section through Queen’s Park.
We wrapped up the ride at Bloor and Sherbourne. Comments were generally positive, although there were some differences of opinion about issues such as the relative merits of the two bike lane designs, and the utility of specific features such as the marked bike boxes dedicated to indirect left hand turns. Cycle Toronto is soliciting feedback on the Sherbourne bike lane for the next several weeks with this online form. Here Dan is talking about having caught a fish THIS BIG. (Actually I was too far away to hear what he was saying).
This feedback will be important since the City is open to further enhancements such as increased signage, more road markings, and installation of flexible bollards. In addition, the City will be monitoring usage as well as other issues such as snow clearance, and police enforcement of illegal parking. They will use what is learned here in the implementation of other separated bike lanes to be rolled out elsewhere in the downtown area.
You can compare today’s photos with the renderings posted by the City during the planning stages.
Overall, it was a very informative event, and it I also enjoyed riding the bike lanes with many like minded cyclists. It was also good taking a second look since snow clearance issues changed my earlier impressions.