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This past Saturday, Ward13bikes co-captains Janet Joy and I arranged a ride around the lakefront with Councillor Sarah Doucette and MP Peggy Nash so that they could get a first hand look at the intersections where we are proposing changes to improve both pedestrian and cyclist safety. A full account of the ride has been posted on the Dandyhorse Magazine Blog.
Ward13-5

The money quote from Sarah was as follows:
“I knew about all of your proposals for these intersections, but to have seen them on two wheels is a totally different experience.”

Openstreets TO by bike

Today was the first running of Open Streets TO. The area of closure was scaled down from original proposals, so Bloor was only closed from Spadina to Parliament, and Yonge from Bloor to Queen. Heading down Bloor St. early Sunday morning, the road is totally clear.

bloorIt’s a shame that when the city laid down this nice new pavement, they didn’t see fit to put in a bike lane.

Upon reaching Spadina, I see the road closure.

roadclosed

The event is start to start at 8 am, when volunteers are still setting up an activity hub at Matt Cohen Park.startpano The group setting up coffee cups were publicizing the fact that 1.2 million such cups are thrown out each day in Toronto. They had 1078 coffee cups for people to draw on; this number is the total number of cups used in a day divided by the number of coffee shops in the city. Any way that you calculate it, a pretty sobering number.

cups

This map shows stickies where people came from to attend.

map1

A small group of us decided to tour the event by bike. We chose to ride on the early side while the streets were relatively empty. Here we are being sent off by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam who spearheaded the effort to get this event approved by City Council.

kwt

Bloor St. is totally empty as we set off around 8:30
bloorclear

This is our group of riders, including Dan, Peter, Laura from Ward 14, and Sam and Doug who were on the last ghost bike ride.

thrgroup

We stop by Holt Renfred to check out a shiny new Shinola bike on display. Very nice.

Right by the bike, a band called the Sidewalk Crusaders started pumping out some ska as we left. Here’s a video from someone else.

crusaders

Doug leads us down Yonge St.

downyonge

Lots of people were taking advantage of the clear streetscape, including this very well behaved dog.

pose

Honey made friends whenever we stopped.

honey1honey2

Cycle Toronto was doing bike valet just north of Queen.

bikevalet

The street just by the Eaton’s Centre was the most crowded we’d seen, and it was still not that packed.

yongenearqueen

Yonge Dundas Square was still deserted at 9:30 as we rode back north.

yongedundas

After reaching Bloor and Yonge again, we took the opportunity to do some legal bike parking against a pole that was the subject of a social media firestorm this past week.

parking1

Several other cyclists dropped by to chat when they saw us hanging around the pole, talking about the case which was resolved when the property management company in the area said that they would refrain from cutting locks to remove bikes locked to this pole.parking3

One of them had worked on the Bloor streetscaping project, and he pointed out the property line which was marked by a continuous break in the granite paving. Peter is pointing to the line, and it is clear that the TTC pole is on public land.

parking2

Lots of families out and about.

family

Heading out towards Parliament, the streets empty out once again.

toparliament

At the turnaround point, we meet long time Toronto bike blogger Herb.

herb

Heading back we see that things are getting a little more crowded. By this time, it was almost 10:30.

yonge&Bloor

Politicians in evidence.

yonge&Bloor2

By the ROM.

bytheROM When we rode by here earlier, the streets were eerily quiet, and you could hear the screech of the subway turning the corner below us.

Back at Bloor and Spadina, we meet Albert, who is promoting bikestock.albert

A few more dots had been added to the map.

map2

I overheard a CityTV reporter saying that many people hadn’t heard about this event.

end

Although I wasn’t there right at the end, I bet it was a shame to shut things down at noon, just as things got rolling. Other cites that have had open streets events have closed major roads for most of a day, which would seem to be better for turn out.

At any rate, thanks to the organizers and the many friendly volunteers that said “Hi!”. Let’s hope for an even better turnout in two weeks!

Bike Park updates

Another Sunday, another visit to the Sunnyside Bike Park. Before I get into the pictures, first a few updates about the park:

The city has installed a port a potty that will be maintained by Parks. This is a temporary measure until something happens with the building closer to Ellis Ave.
portapotty

Helmets are required. I had to warn one dad about this (his kids were wearing helmets).

There is a stewardship group that is working on a long term plan to plan for the future, and to keep this facility sustainable. At the first meeting, there were a few more updates:

  • Phase 1 is more or less complete except for some more landscaping and tree planting.
  • Phase 2 will include a circle drive dropoff area off Ellis Ave, and a picnic and amenity area that will also have a water fountain. They will try to have this complete by the end of this year. Hopefully they will also include a bike tool station and bicycle pump stand.
  • Phase 3 has to do with the building, and it will be a couple of years off. Peoples’ wish list for the building included washrooms, a community place, and possibly a bike shop and bike rentals. TORBA will come up with an initial proposal for the building.
  • Councillor Sarah Doucette seems to be on board with the intersection safety improvements that the Ward13 group of Cycle Toronto proposed. If you want better safety for pedestrians and cyclists crossing the intersection of Ellis and Lakeshore, there is still time to sign the online petition, as described in this previous post.

You can get an idea of what is planned for the entrance to the park in this image:
Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 2.13.30 PM Image source.
Also, there will be a volunteer maintenance day as per this message from the city:

Dear friends, We will be hosting a volunteer maintenance day at Sunnyside Bike Park on Tuesday August 19th from 6-8PM in partnership with the Toronto Off Road Bicycling Association. Please email trails@toronto.ca if you are interested in participating or have any questions about the event.

Finally, an official opening of the park is planned for September 20. More details will be posted as they become available.

Here we are headed down towards Ellis Ave. Lucy really likes her xtracycle mounted throne.
headeddown

Kids, kids everywhere.
kidzkidz2

K works the skills track.
ktrack

Lucy and I get in on the action.
xtracycletrack

K hammers up the hill on Ellis Ave.
uphill

Family bike rides are the best.
family

On Friday August 1, Immanuel Sinnadurai, a 17-year-old Lester B.Pearson high school student, was killed by a car at the corner of Neilson Rd and Sheppard Avenue East while riding his bike at about 5:30pm. He was remembered as “a whip smart student with a big heart“. This was doubly tragic since the driver of the car was only 16 years old.

Fourteen riders gathered at Bloor and Spadina for what was going to be a long ride to install a ghost bike.
group

Geoffrey supplied the ghost bike, lock and chain, but was not able to ride with us due to work committments.
geoff

Dave was our hard working beast of burden.
dave

Joey organized today’s ride and planned the route.
joey

This fellow rode a beautiful 40th anniversary Marinoni.
marinoni0marinoni1

and off we go.
bloor

Down Rosedale Valley Rd.
downthehill

Along the Bayview extension.
don1

Under the Bloor St. viaduct.
don2

A little peace and quiet, even in close proximity to the DVP.
peace

Under the southbound DVP.
don3

The group takes a break at the elephants.
don4

Climbing up out of the valley at Victoria Park Rd.
uphill

A little break at the top of the hill. Mike did the ride on fixed gear.
hillbreak

A relief to get off Pharmacy Rd. onto the Gatineau Hydro Corridor.
gat1

gat2

Had to avoid this construction along the trail.
gat3

Coming down off a bridge over the GO train line. It was a bit tricky for Dave to navigate the switchbacks.
gat4

Doug gives Honey an ice cream snack.
gat5

As I noted before, major road crossings on these off road multi use trails are well worked out. One could wish for similar things along the proposed “bike boulevards”.gat6

Why do they have bike racks at the ends of the trail segments? Are we supposed to ride up to the trail and then walk? They are pretty, though.
gat7

Did you know that there is a bidirectional bike lane on Ellesmere?
ellesmere

The crash site.
crash2

crash3

crash1

Installing the ghost bike.
install1

install2

install3

A moment of silence.
site1

doug

Traffic, always in a rush.
site2

Honey is a very laid back dog.
honey

It’s getting dark as we ride further north up Neilsen.
neilsen

Safety in numbers.
safetyinnumbers

post1

About half the group elected to ride the LRT home.
mccowan

The rest of use took a nature break before the ride back. Yum, a sugar donut for dinner.
post2

Tino is still drinking that French water. (D’eau!)post3

Back across the viaduct, and then down Bloor.
post4

post5

Thanks to all who rode last night. Also thanks to Joey for the organization, Geoff and Dave and Bike Pirates for arranging the ghost bike.

Please, no more memorial rides this year. Last year we had three in October and November.

Ride safe everyone!

on a side note: Kickstarted lighting was very well represented tonight.

Here I am with my Torch helmet.
torch

Tino showed up with another Blaze Laserlight.
tinotorch

Two Blazes on one ride. At times it was like having our own portable bike lane!2blazes

Tino having fun projecting onto buildings.
blazefun

Updates:

Tino has pictures here. He also notes that both Neilson and Sheppard were supposed to have bike lanes according to the 2001 Bike Master Plan.

August 30: police have charged two drivers with “dangerous driving causing death”, in association with this incident.

BM2014: Aug 7 update

Another week has gone by, and the bike is coming along. The shell is being fabricated offsite at Paterson Composites. Here you can see the MDF boards that were supporting the male forms.
shape

Here is Ellen’s bike, set up with a high stem with very little tiller to simulate the driving position for ETA. Justin is working on the electronics.
trainer

I think that the warranty on this fork has been voided.
ffork

Alex and Neil working on the spin down apparatus.
spindown

Alex and Calvin assembling the frame foam in the fixture.
framefoam

Here is the mount for the middrive.
middrive

The bottom bracket mount. The yellow is structural foam, and the blue will be dissolved out after layup.
bb

Test fitting.
testfit

The clearances are very tight all over.
kneez

Next up: frame layup.

BM2014: five weeks to go

It’s five weeks and a weekend until WHPSC 2014, and Aerovelo is running behind on the bike build, partially due to delays from external vendors. At this point, I can only show progress on bits and pieces. Here are the wheel fairing layups.
wheelfair

This fixture is going to be used to align everything during the layup on the frame.
fixture

Here’s one half of the foam piece that will be the bike’s frame.
framefoam

Here’s how the foam piece test fits into the fixture.
fixturefit

Marc is testing various tires for rolling resistance.
rolltest

Trefor is building up a front wheel for Eta. Their modelling shows that the bladed spokes should have less drag than a disc wheel when spinning in a wheel fairing. The team will be doing spin down tests next week, comparing a disc wheel to the spoked wheel to a trispoke wheel to validate the modelling.
treforwheel

Here is a picture of the spin down set up.

Next week, the frame and the shell molds will be laid up, and the bike will start looking more than a bike rather than bits and pieces.

Today was the official opening of the Jenna Morrison Memorial Footpath in Dufferin Grove. This wonderful new facility is in memory of Jenna Morrison who was tragically killed while riding her bike in 2011 at Dundas St W. and Sterling Rd. The size of the crowd was perhaps a pale reflection of the large number of lives that she touched.
DSC03781

The footpath itself was inspired by a reflexology footpath that Ms. Morrison encountered while visiting her mother in Korea many years ago. It is laid out in the shape of an infinity sign, a never-ending loop.
DSC03780

Councillor Bailao introduces the family, and talks about Ms. Morrison. She prefaced her remarks with a few comments about how pedestrians, cyclists and motorists must share the road, and that we need more “complete roads” [sic] in Toronto. She played an important role in facilitating this project.
DSC03789

Jenna’s husband Florian, and son Lucas.
DSC03792

Her mother recounting their memories of Korea and how the idea of the footpath came about.
DSC03795

The ribbon cutting.
DSC03801

Now shoes off for the family to walk the path.
DSC03803

Her initials at the crossing.
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Son and mother.
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Family and friends.
DSC03807

Oliva Chow introduced a private member’s bill about mandatory truck side guards when she was an MP. Given the nature of the accident, Jenna’s death may have been prevented by side guards. DSC03808 Ironically, the US appears to be moving first in this direction.

Everyone was then invited to walk.
DSC03809

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It was hard not to feel that Jenna’s spirit was with us this afternoon.
DSC03811

Update: Star coverage. Sun coverage.

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