Today was another Ward13 ride with several people to follow up on last summer’s ride with Sarah and Jacqueline. Sarah Doucette, of course being our city councillor, and Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati, the manager of cycling transportation for the city. At the beginning of the ride, we were also met by MPP Cheri DiNovo (who has been very supportive of bicycle related issues), as well as our MP Arif Virani. This was the first opportunity for us to talk to Arif about some bicycle related issues. Here he is arriving with two sons in tow.
Here are all of us.
and a JJW selfie version of the same picture with only about 5% JJW content.
After some discussion, it was decided that Arif and older son would join us for the first part of the ride along High Park Ave. It was a blazingly hot day, and he was riding a very small wheeled one speed.
One continuing issue at the south east corner of Bloor and High Park is the fact that the sharrows don’t do much to discourage drivers from leaving little space for bikes at the curb. However, we are grateful for the fact that the sharrows along High Park Ave extend across Bloor St.
Rest stop. Here we get a chance to pitch side guards for trucks to Arif, since this is a federal issue. We will send him notes on this issue, and he will see if he can find the private member’s bill that was submitted by Olivia Chow on this several years ago.
Shortly after this point, Arif and son took their leave and the rest of us continued along Annette to Baby Point Gates, and then to the top of St. Mark’s Hill. The signage here has been improved, and Sarah told us that the sign indicating that the cross traffic doesn’t stop took some work to be installed. Traffic control did not allow a 4 way stop at this intersection as this would entail the removal of the pedestrian crosswalk.
and down the hill we go.
Cruising back towards the Humber River trail.
This laneway behind one of the Old Mill condos is a public road so that people can ride from Old Mill Dr. to Riverview Gardens without going on Bloor St.
From this point, we rode along Bloor, and then down towards the lake via Ellis Ave and Bike Route 19. We bid adieu to Sarah at Deforest and Runnymede. Here we take another break at V’s lemonade stand, where the local speciality was lemonade with mint.
We had a discussion with Jacquelyn at the foot of Ellis Ave about the improvements that are scheduled to be done this year. The start has been held up by Toronto Water, who had been doing work under the bridge where the Gardiner goes over Ellis, but this appeared to be complete. The changes to come include:
- a road diet where Ellis is narrowed between Lakeshore and the Queensway, with the installation of a bike lane on both sides (already approved by City Council this spring).
- a southbound crossing for bikes across Lakeshore that will be adjacent to the existing pedestrian crossing, along with a bicycle signal light.
- a northbound bikes only crossing on the east side of the intersection.
With these changes, this intersection will be similar in configuration to that for Colborne Lodge at Lakeshore.
There won’t be large scale reconstruction of the median island, meaning that the sharrows for southbound bikes will likely skirt the end of the median. The removal of the biggest hazard: the right turn lane for cars that creates a small triangular island on the northwest corner, awaits additional funding that is associated with the next set of towers to go up just west of this point.
The other unfortunate piece of news is that traffic studies showed that the volume of car traffic will not make it possible to remove one of the two turning lanes where southbound cars turn left (east) onto Lakeshore. This, in turn, makes it impossible to have a pedestrian crossing on the east side as we requested in our proposal. This means that pedestrians crossing from the lake to the bike park will still have to cross north and then east, and they will have to stand on that tiny triangular island midway through the process.
Other improvements that are scheduled to happen (hopefully) this year include improved markings for bike lanes along Colborne Lodge into High Park, and sharrows up and down Ellis Ave marking the bike route along Deforest and Runnymede up to Bloor St.
One other bit of news that was passed along was that the installation of the Bloor bike lane pilot should be starting the Tuesday after the August 1 Civic Holiday, weather permitting.
Thanks to Sarah Doucette and Arif Virani for riding with us today. Also thanks to Cheri DiNovo for greeting us at the beginning of the ride. Special thanks to Jacquelyn for riding with us all the way to the end at the Lakeshore on such a hot day.
We look forward to seeing the promised infrastructure improvements. Making our streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians will make it easier for all of us to enjoy the many wonderful natural features of our Ward.