Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Scarborough Cycles is a community based program that is promoting cycling in the east end of the city. They have been running programs for three years now, including safe cycling workshops, group rides, and DIY drop in bike repair. They are currently based at Accesspoint Danforth, on Danforth just east of Victoria Park. They advertised a winter group ride, and I thought that I’d join in.

Here is our group at the start of the ride. Program manager Marvin is in blue, together with three of their youth volunteers, and Linda, who came over from midtown to join in as well.


Here we go down Victoria Park. The pavement is in pretty bad shape, but I’ve seen potholes all over the city after this particularly cold winter.



Downhill towards the lake.


On the Martin Goodman Trail, just west of Balmy Beach.


Working our way around one of the many remaining patches of black ice.


As we approached Woodbine Beach, we took the opportunity to check out the Winter Stations. Some of them were not finished yet, as the official opening is not until this Monday. We liked this Pussy Hat. The extensions made for nicely padded seating.


The next one had some pivoting cones on stilts. I was a bit disappointed that they weren’t designed to make noise; the cones were just hollow.



Here’s a closeup of one of their program bikes: a nicely kitted out Simcoe city bike.


Could have used a fat bike today.


The next exhibit was still under construction.


Regrettably, we didn’t have time to check the two or three remaining stations. We decided to head back up the hill, taking advantage of the Woodbine bike lane. Here we are riding through the infill neighbourhood that used to be the site of the Woodbine race track.


Marvin in the lead.


Here we are on Dixon Rd, which is the short east-west connector to the Woodbine bike lanes. They end one block north of Queen St.


Some green paint has been laid down near some of the intersections. Here the green paint is “protecting” us from the cars to our left that are wanting to turn right.


Then a quick ride east along the Danforth back to home base.


Marvin got this shot of me riding sweep.


The community hub has many services, including a walk in medical clinic, education workshops, settlement services, and youth activities. Here are just a few shots of the interior of the building, which is a converted warehouse.  The green roof has some gardens for produce, herbs, etc.


This shot looking down at the first floor shows the movable walls that are used to reconfigure rooms to accommodate events of different sizes. The place was buzzing, with a Bengali language activity in one area, and a seed swap in another.


Scarborough Cycles has big plans for 2018. Last year they provided about 1300 services, while they were running from May to December. This year they will be running all year round (hence the winter group ride), they have a second bike hub at the Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre, and they will be opening a third bike hub. As Marvin pointed out to the audience at this year’s Reading Line, there is only one bike shop in Scarborough, and so these bike hubs provide an accessible and essential service to the community.

Thanks to Marvin for showing me around, and for organizing today’s ride.



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Today was Cycle Toronto’s annual Coldest Day of the Year Ride. Unlike some years’ past, today it was genuinely cold at about -8°C, although it was not too windy. The ride was planned partially along the Danforth to show support for bike lanes on Danforth.

A small group of us rode in from High Park as a feeder to the main group.


Before we got going, I had to take a picture of John’s fancy Michelin snow tires.


And we’re off.


We picked up a few more riders at Bloor and Spadina before riding through downtown.


Across the viaduct. You can see that they remove the bollards during the winter for snow clearance, which is too bad.


As we pulled up to Danforth and Logan, I was impressed by the size of the gathered crowd. Here Jared makes a few announcements at the beginning.


On the other hand, Honey does not look impressed.


Councillors Fletcher and McMahon show their support for bike lanes on Danforth. Mary Margaret admitted that she doesn’t ride in the winter, but she wore an appropriate toque.


Staging the large number of riders at the start.


Pause at Broadview.


Across the Viaduct.



Paused at Sherbourne.


Down Sherbourne.


We are riding safely under the speed limit.


Stuart and Mark.


Along Richmond.



In the above picture, just to the left of the woman in red, you can see someone with a massive pair of orange pogies. I got a better shot of them at the start. They are by Dogwood Designs.


Kids were along for the ride as well.




This fellow from Whitby was part of a group from Durham County who came in to ride with us and to show their support.


Along King, being careful of the streetcar tracks.


At our destination: Betty’s.


Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing the ride, and to everyone else for riding along.

Update: CBC coverage

Rob Z’s photos on Flickr

Coverage in Dandyhorse Magazine by Rob Z.

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This past Tuesday, Cycle Toronto invited people from Etobicoke for a meeting to update us about what the City of Toronto has planned for the cycling network over the next three years. It was also a chance to meet others, and to network.


Here Katie Whitman from the City cycling unit updates us on the plans for the next three years. When I get her slide deck, I will update this post, but my notes say that for Ward 13 and parts nearby, we can look forward to:

  • 2018: Road markings at Jane and Annette, Runnymede at Bloor (already done?) and St. Clair; completion of the Lakeshore Cycle Track between Norris and First.
  • 2019: Detailed study of a Runnymede to Scarlett Rd connection. This would be tied into the larger project of the Scarlett Rd bridge and intersection reconfiguration.
  • 2020: Eglinton Jane to Weston connection.

She said that the list of projects for each Ward were on their website. However, I found the information on the site was confusing and incomplete. For example, here is their map of Ward 13:

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 9.12.48 PM

by cross indexing to their list, I see:

  • #30 Dundas – (Royal York to Scarlett) and St Clair – (Runnymede to Scarlett) Proposed Bike lanes
  • #48 Lambton Baby Point Neighbourhood Connections, Proposed Quiet Street Routes
  • #8 Bloor – (Keele to Dundas Street West); Major Corridor Study – Proposed Bike Lanes or Cycle Tracks
  • there is no information on 610
  • 611 might correspond to the intersection improvements at the Lakeshore for which we have been advocating for four years, but again they aren’t on any list.

Pamela Gough, TDSB Trustee talked about some of the initiatives that she has been involved with, including safe routes to school, Biking to School Day, Biking to School Week, and the TDSB task force on Active Transportation. All pretty words, but they don’t address safety issues caused by the enormous number of people driving their kids to school. I had a side conversation with her afterwards, and I told her that in Japan, driving kids to elementary schools is illegal. I didn’t suggest that this would work here, but I did say that if the TDSB was serious about pedestrian safety, they should get behind VRU. I will be following up with her.

Darnell Harris talked about some of the issues of getting around the Black Creek area.


He asked us to consider more broadly the issue of non motorized mobility, rather than cycle tracks. He reinforced this message by showing slides of people in motorized wheelchairs using bike lanes.

There were also several presentations from the South Etobicoke Cycling Committee that seem pretty active. Dave talked about the need for bike lanes along the Queensway, arguing that bike infra should be along streets where there are destinations, such as restaurants, No Frills, and even Ikea.  Someone else talked about their seven year fight to get a bike rack by the LCBO in Sobey’s plaza. She eventually escalated this issue to the top brass at LCBO, and as a result, the LCBO will provide bike parking for all LCBO’s where it is possible to provide it. (Many LCBO’s are on leased land, and the landowner might not agree in some cases).

During the brief networking session, I talked with Johnny from the Ward11 Pedestrian and Cycling Committee that was put together by Councillor Nunziata. I will be following up with that group so that our two wards can collaborate on connections across the our boundary at the north end of our ward.

Cycle Toronto posted some pictures from the evening here:


Katie Whitman’s slides listing bike projects for Etobicoke district for 2018-2020 are here.

CI&P – Katie Wittmann – Etobicoke Cycle TO Advocacy Summit Presentation

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City TV just did a short piece on clearing snow from bike lanes.

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 7.59.47 PM.png

For my portion, I was interviewed for about 10 minutes on all manner of subjects related to winter biking, including what to wear (just regular winter clothes are enough), what bike equipment to have (fenders are good, and lights. They took close ups of my studded tires, but I tried to make the point that 90% of the winter, roads are clear of snow and ice.) etc. I didn’t really grok to the fact that they were focusing on what the city could do better. When they asked that question, I talked about the need for more infra, and to make a connected bike network.

At least they included my plug for the Bloor bike lanes. Oh, and I had the foresight to remove my helmet mirror so that I only looked 90% Fred.

Update: I posted some pictures of good and bad bike lane snow clearance at Dandyhorse.

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Memorial ride for Daryl Craig

This morning we had a ride in memory of Daryl Craig who died on December 20, after being struck by a cube van on College St, near Ossington. Cyclists started gathering at Spadina and Bloor before 10 am.


Some of the usual suspects are looking a bit cold (Patrick, Albert, Hamish)


A couple of pictures of Sam’s nicely detailed winter bike.


David arrives with the banner. We knew that someone had already placed a ghost bike at the crash site.


Joey makes a few announcements to start things off.


I count 31 cyclists, just before we set off.


and we’re off, headed south on Spadina.


Turning west on Harbord.


South on Shaw.


At College and Shaw.


Taking the lane on College.

This section is narrow and has streetcar tracks and lots of on street parking, all of which could have contributed to the tragic collision.


Joey leads the way


At the crash site.


The ghost bike, already provided by family and friends.


Not much road width to display the banner.



This is what passes for bike infra along this section.


RIP Daryl R. Craig. Deepest condolences to his family and friends.


Thanks to all who rode with us to remember a fellow cyclist.

Wayne Scott’s pictures are here.

Video by Michael Whitla

Update: Metronews coverage.

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Good friend Tim Potter (Sustainable transportation manager for Michigan State University Bikes) dropped by this weekend, and of course he wanted to check out some of the bike infrastructure since it had been at least four years since he and I had ridden around town.

Here is my really bad picture of Tim…


and from his much better picture, you can see that we are checking out the Bloor bike lane. (all photos with me in it are by Tim, except where noted)


Next stop, dropping by the bike team to see what is going on. Here Tim poses by Eta Prime.


Bruce and Calvin were working on the plug for Arbiter.


I’m posing beside this year’s WHPSC poster.


Tim was riding the Brompton that day.


Overall, it was nice to ride around with someone who was appreciative of the improvements in bike infrastructure in the downtown area.

Here we are back at home, with matching N+1 shirts. Get yours here. (photo  M Koga)


His daughter designed this shirt, which is available on Amazon.


Note that the shirt means different things to different people:

  • from the viewpoint of a Michigander, if you are cycling on the road, more often than not drivers will yell at you to “get on the sidewalk”.
  • from my viewpoint in Toronto, is says that we shouldn’t be cycling on the sidewalk.

And then it was time for beer, this particular example from Henderson’s Brewing.


The next day, Tim checks out Hoopdriver Bicycles (unfortunately closed on a Sunday morning).


Since there was snow in the forecast, and I just happened to have an excellent bike mechanic as a guest….


Tim is impressed that the Haul a Day can stand on end.


Tim shows me his patented method of mounting tires.


To cap the day off, I had a chance to tag along with Tim to meet Chris Phelan, Executive director of the Ride of Silence. (Photo H Potter).


I was honoured to fill him in on some of the things that have been happening in Toronto, particularly with regards to the collaborations with organizations like Friends and Families for Safe Streets, and the united push for VRU legislation.



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Candlelight Walk and Vigil

The third Sunday of November is the World Day for Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. To mark this occasion, Friends and Families for Safe Streets organized a candlelight walk and vigil.

We met up at David Pecault Square.DSC05635

Kevin from Cycle Toronto passes out LED candles for those who didn’t have one.


And we’re off.


Down Simcoe St. towards the lakefront.


It was quite a blustery evening, and so there were regroups to relight candles.


We walked along the lakefront until the Music Garden.



Kasia Briegmann-Samson of FFSS introduced the World Day of Remembrance, and noted how is has been a global event, although it was only recently that it was marked in Toronto. She said that the theme for this year was to take action, and noted some progress towards vulnerable road user legislation.  She also said that because of increased awareness of the large number of deaths by traffic that media have substituted the work “collision” for “accident” in most of their coverage. Still there is much more to do.


Jess Spieker spoke next. As a survivor of road violence, she talked about how she was hit by a car and severely injured. She told us about the injustice of having the driver walk away with about a $300 fine. She has also has had ongoing struggles getting adequate coverage for medical expenses and therapy from her insurance company, as opposed to the driver who no doubt had her car fixed within a few weeks at most.


Kasia then read out the names of some recent road victims. This was followed by brief statements from Gary Sim’s daughter and Erica Stark’s mother. There was a minute of silence.

The vigil was brought to a close by a ringing of bells and stamping of feet in solidarity with the friends and family of road victims.

Thanks to everyone who walked with us tonight.


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