Archive for the ‘Bike Infrastructure’ Category

Today was the 100th consecutive day of biking for me this year. I decided to mark the day by doing some deliveries for the bike brigade.

Did I mention that the weather was gorgeous, and it was the first shorts ride of the year as well?

Chatting at the pick up point with our fearless leader, Dave Shellnutt, the biking lawyer.

Deliveries done, I dropped by Urbane Cyclist on the way home to pick up some fancy MKS half clips. I am a big fan of half clips.

The bike brigade texted me to drop by again, and they gave me this flag! Triple logos in this picture.

I also decided to drop by the Alex Amaro ghost bike. Thanks to whoever has been keeping the bike looking beautiful.

I also wanted to check out the Bloor bike lanes between Lansdowne and Dundas West since I had heard that the hydro work under one of the bridges was done. Nice to see this family taking advantage of the bike lane.

I did note that the parents directed their kids onto the sidewalk for the underpasses. This one only has a painted buffer at the moment.

The hydro work under the rail path bridge is done, but apparently Metrolinx has to do a little more work before the bike lane is installed. It is not clear if the city will lay down stripes in the meantime.

Two other brief notes, one happy, one sad.

Last night I was extremely honoured to be named “bike advocate of the year” by the Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition. I have to note that many people who are part of this group have done more than I towards bike infrastructure, but they took themselves out of the running by being part of the organization that was giving out the award. You know who you are….

Congratulations to all the award winners. I am doubly honoured to be in such good company.

Second thing: the truck driver that killed Douglas Crosbie was acquitted of all charges today.

Stay safe, and get out there and enjoy the weather.

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A little over a week ago, I took some photos of the single track near the lighthouse in Tommy Thompson Park. I rode by today to see what the city had done. It was heartbreaking.

Everything has been bulldozed flat leaving a desolate moonscape, and somewhat of a road that will turn into a mud pit when it rains.

For some reason I was most upset by what happened towards the south end. There used to be a nice ridge of gravel that had a narrow path that had been worn smooth by footfall and cycle tracks. For some reason, they decided to rip up the ridge, leaving ugly mounds of gravel.

It’s almost as if what was left behind was deliberately made as unattractive as possible. Certainly there was no attempt to restore things to any kind of “natural state”.

The other thing I noticed was two new very ugly mirrors placed at two intersections.

It would be nice if the city put these where they were needed, for example at the intersection of Brock and Florence.

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It was announced recently that the city is going to remove the built single track that is a little east of the lighthouse, starting Monday March 29. The stated reason is that there are some “hazardous structures” that could pose a danger to the public. Since it is going to rain on both Friday and Sunday, and the spit is a madhouse on Saturdays, I look a little time off this afternoon for one last ride.

Here is where you take the unassumed road that is the alternate route to the lighthouse.

Just before the road meets up with the main paved road, you go off to the left at this point.

Turn right at the shore, and here you go.

Lots of lovely little paths to choose from.

This feature is out of commission.

This is the south end of the trails. Beyond this point, there is a straight path along a gravel ridge.

Nice detail here.

Every jump has a detour around it.

Three kids were hanging out in this hut.

None of the people that I talked to were aware of the fact that these trails were scheduled for demolition on Monday. In fact, an older woman who had hiked in was so upset that it sounded like she was ready to lie down in front of the bulldozers next week. She said that the fellow that put this together had been working on it for over ten years, and that it was one of her favourite spots in the park.

Did I mention that it was a lovely day?

Thanks to the unnamed artisan who put all this together. Rest assured that your handiwork provided much joy to others over the years.

Update: coverage about the removal on Blog TO

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The fixer column in the Toronto Star recently published a column called “Toronto is finally keeping cycling lanes clear of ice and snow in winter“. This of course has not been my experience, but I will hand things over to guest editor Hamish Wilson for his commentary.

Hamish Wilson (left) with fellow bike advocate Wayne Scott

While undoubtedly there has to be cause for praising the City’s removal of snow and care for some bike lanes, it’s absolutely not the case that such clear biking is the norm in some other parts of the City. While the dedicated bike facilities do seem to be consistently plowed, that’s only a small portion of what a cyclist might travel on, including the rest of the network. On a critical piece of bikeway, a finally-long-and-linked-in-summer Bloor/Danforth route that also provides subway relief, the Viaduct area seems to be remaining spotty and dangerous, even though the City is at times removing the snowbanks. The paint-only bike lanes in particular, between Castle Frank and Parliament especially, function more as a place to put snow into, and we have bike lines beside a highway, not a bike lane. There also remains a nasty pinch point on the rightwards curve at the top of Parliament, where all faster vehicles cut in to the bike lane exactly where a ponding exists, which can become ice. Fresh – and welcome – repaving recently didn’t get this fixed, and while Notice of Hazard etc. was given, shrug, nobody killed. Heck, even the extra effort of snow removal on the same day of the article may actually leave the bike lanes far less useful than the expressed intent as the standards aren’t to get to smooth dry pavement perhaps, but instead, something that a vehicle can drive over. Pouring salt on to the area isn’t as much of a solution as the City might like either: salt is now starting to show up as efflorescence on the masonry balustrades of the Viaduct, but – like sealing the gutters of the Viaduct – the interest of the City isn’t in preserving structural integrity because that’s a reason to stick the hands out for infrastructure monies from other levels of government. So while sure, there are some excellent efforts at times and in some places, it’s still far too dangerous and uneven, though one might think Canadians would know how to plow snow.

Going eastbound South side east of Sherbourne, not as bad as all that because of buffer. Internal time/date stamp is horribly off on third hand/old camera fwiw, but these are all yesterday.
But Not so Good, though better than say, Queen, and roads with tracks….thankfully not-fast traffic
Westbound at Castle Frank – totally! useless… and it’s a Highway, no interest in putting up a show-speed sign in painted empty median at top of Parliament either vs. side streets somewhere….
BIke LANES please, not bike lines, nor snowbanks, nor bike lakes as sometimes can occur…. approaching pinch point danger….
Today, maybe all of it is cleared out – was thinking that the City might have upped its care here from previous years, but at crosswalk markings is where the worst of pinch point is.

There’s a change in buffer width right at most concentrated pinch that a bit of cheap paint could start to fix, but nope, and there’s that ponding too, which if City did remove snow previous weeks, they left a batch of snow/ice EXACTLY at the worst spot. Yet another killing spot that oh, that’s dangerous maybe, but ignore till something does happen.
Astounding how the federal level can ship TO billions without ANY hesitation or restriction on performance – as if it’s all about pouring concrete and buying votes. If there’s any seriousness about improving biking to combat climate change and in this B/Danforth corridor as subway relief/options, it really MUST become far more consistently even/safe for riding year-round.
Notice of Hazard btw; and despite a degree of attention, NO, it is not as Mr. Sferrazza claimed yesterday, and I suspect that indented parking bays on College/St. George/Spadina are pretty much unplowed again, so the cars park out in to the bike lane, because again, the City doesn’t know how to plow snow.
Or it’s given away all of it’s leverage in extra-long 7-year contracts, and is that normal???
Plus City core itself is still! badly screwed/dominated by suburbans; tiresome.

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I had to go downtown on an errand today so I took the opportunity to check out the snow clearance on the Bloor bike lanes between Keele and High Park. This is what I saw just east of Runnymede which was not a good sign.

Lack of snow clearance is particularly problematic on the section between Kennedy and Clendenan since the bike lane weaves in and out of curb cuts, and you have to cross a concrete drainage ditch at shallow angles. If the bike lane is not completely clear of snow, this drainage channel could ice over, and that would be a severe hazard.

The only parts of the bike lane that were plowed were sections where the road plow could move in towards the curb, like at this bus stop.

Approaching Parkside, I see that the bike lane is properly cleared west of Parkdale and Keele.

I did see this plow going the other direction, so I hoped that when I checked back later, the plowing would extend further west.

However, as of about 1:15 this afternoon, still no joy west of Keele.

Pictures on twitter from earlier this morning made it clear that the Bloor bike lane was plowed early and well in the sections closer to downtown.

Hopefully the city will do a better job of getting the plowing done all the way west to Runnymede.

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The intersection between College and Dundas St W has been one of the more dangerous spots for cyclists. It was scheduled for improvements this year, and construction was finished sometime in the last month. I finally got a chance to look at the changes today.

A diagram of the planned changes is here:

Yesterday I took advantage of the plus Celsius temps to wash down the underside of the cargo bike and to swap in the studded tires. The hope is that the rest of the winter will be warm enough that this was unnecessary.

Headed down on the rail path. It was totally clear, and obviously had been heavily salted recently.

Stopping off at Hendersons to pick up an online order.

This building on the south side of Dundas at Sterling burned down two days ago. Apparently it had already been bought by Metrolinx.

Now approaching the intersection headed east, you see two new stoplights before Lansdowne.

Here is a wide angle view that also gives a closer look at the lay-by for cyclists wanting to turn left onto College.

The traffic light for left turning cyclists is synchronized with both the pedestrian crossing, and the left turn light for cars. One possible improvement is to put down some green paint to make the sharrows for cyclists more visible. The markings on the concrete around the street car tracks are not very visible.

Approaching the intersection from the north side on College.

The stub of St Helens Ave between Dundas St W and College St N has been blocked off, and the space used to accommodate a large bikeshare station.

This intersection is now much safer for both pedestrians and cyclists. Thanks to Councillor Bailao who was a very strong advocate for this change in her ward.

Dec 30: One slight update. This morning you can see that I was the first to use the lay by, waiting for the light to cross over to College.

Since there is no beg button or sensor for bikes at this spot, you need to keep an eagle eye on the traffic lights. The car left turn lights are synchronized with the bike crossing lights.

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We got a little more snow overnight than forecast, to the extent that today was really my first snowy commute of the year. Always an opportunity to take a look at snow clearance, particularly this year when the number of protected bike lanes has greatly increased.

Here is the Bloor bike lane at about Emerson. Looks pretty good.

Ironically this is the only point where I was blocked, by a private snow plow, no less.

No plowing on the Shaw contraflow.

No bike lane plowing on Harbord either.

Even though Harbord is on the list of bike routes with snow clearance, I was particularly disappointed by the lack of clearance of the newly protected parts of Harbord, like the stretch on the north side by Central Tech. Note the bike on the sidewalk, which was probably cleared by the TDSB.

No clearance on this bit by Robarts Library either.

I did see a mini plow clearing the sidewalk along Harbord just west of Spadina. It is possible that with more calls for sidewalk snow clearance downtown (and not just in select suburbs), there will be more competition for a fixed amount of snow clearing equipment. The city needs to step up its game to make sure that those that walk or bike in winter get the support they need.

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About a month ago I previewed the Keddy Access trail in Hamilton before it was officially open. At that point in time, there was still work to be done at the top end of the trail. This past Friday, Cycle Hamilton announced that the trail was officially open. This morning I took a few pictures of the top end of the trail to update my previous post.

Here is the end of the spur on West 5th. It is unfortunate that the trail ends in a sidewalk. From this point north, W 5th is a high speed arterial with two lanes of car traffic in both directions, and needless to say, it is not bike friendly, even though Google Maps seems to think otherwise. I do understand that there are plans to extend some kind of trail or bike lane as far as Brantdale, which means at least you can take back streets as far north south as Fennell.

The sign directing pedestrians to the left will make sense a little further along the trail.

A few hundred meters along the pedestrians are separated from bike traffic.

For parts of the West 5th spur, the road surface has not been improved. My guess is that since this part is elevated, they couldn’t pave over the expansion joints. However, you can see that a little further on, the surface has been repaved.

The crossing that allows the trail to access Southam Park.

A brand new ramp gives access to the park.

Looking back from the top of the ramp.

From the top of the ramp, you can go north south on this paved pathway, or go east west to join onto Claremont Drive.

The paved path leads to Inverness Ave.

During the few minutes that I spent biking around and taking these pictures, I saw at least three other cyclists checking things out, this on a rather cold windy morning. I’d say that this trail is going to be a huge success. The only disappointment is the lack of safe bike infrastructure to connect the top end to Hamilton Mountain. The difference in bike infrastructure downtown and on the mountain is pretty stark, and I imagine this has to do with the preferences of the local councillors. We have similar issues in Toronto, with the Brimley bike lanes just being in the process of being removed this past week.

CBC coverage. ‘I think he would have been thrilled’: Family grateful Jay Keddy’s name lives on in trail

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Today was the last TBN tourist ride of the season. Who knew that we would have decent riding weather this late in the year? Eight hardy souls showed up at the start.

Danny Harvey has been the organizer of the Tourist B rides all year. Thanks Danny!

And we’re off, headed to King City and beyond.

Waiting for the light at Center St.

Another look at the intersection improvements at Center and Dufferin. These curb indents for left turning cyclists is an interesting idea, perhaps safer than the design at Bloor and High Park?

This sign across the intersection explains how to use them.

The last time I was up here, I noted that the raised bike lane abruptly ends without a ramp. (picture taken this August)

This is their solution:

As it turns out, this ride was a carbon copy of a ride back at the end of August, except that we turned back short of Kettleby. Here is the lead group at King Vaughan and Keele. Sam really wants to make sure I see him.

We took a detour on the way back to pay our respects at the Daniel Bertini ghost bike, just north of 16th sideroad on Keele.

Every opportunity to ride in good weather this late in the year is a blessing. Even better in the company of fellow cyclists. Thanks TBN, and here’s to hoping that we have lots of good riding in 2021.

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John Offutt was a recently retired school teacher who was also an avid cyclist.

This Toronto Star article sums up his life: “John Offutt quit a lucrative job to become a Toronto public school teacher. He was killed last month by a turning cement truck driver

Dec 20 Update from the Star: “John Offutt’s life was a rich poem. To the citizens of Toronto, he contributed more than a verse

He died when he was right hooked by a cement truck in Mimico, at the intersection of Royal York and Judson. Today, a ghost bike was installed in his memory.

Just before setting off from near Bloor and Lansdowne.

The bike lanes are starting to be installed on Bloor between Dundas and Indian Rd.

At the foot of Ellis Ave.

Crossing the Humber. Note the newly paved path on the east side of the river seen in the background.

Approaching the crash site, just north of the GO train tracks on Royal York.

There was already a memorial here.

Realizing that we didn’t have a long enough chain to go around this pole.

Putting it around these cables. We will come back with a longer chain to move the bike to the pole.

Displaying the banner.

Another cement truck passes by.

It is bitterly ironic that the neighbourhood had been wanting the cement plant to move for years, and that the city bought the land last fall and gave the company one year to move.

Rob Z also posted his thoughts about the inadequacy of bike infrastructure along Royal York.

Tenzing rode with us. He was taking video for a documentary about ghost bikes in Toronto.

There are some articles about the deceased:

Deepest condolences to his family and friends. The sign on the bike is temporary and will be replaced.

ARC regrets that they did not organize a group ride in view of COVID restrictions. We encourage people to visit the bike in his memory.

His obituary is here.

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