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Archive for the ‘Bike Infrastructure’ Category

Update:

The midtown Yonge St bike lane pilot goes in front of the Infrastructure and Environment committee this morning. Yonge4All organized a rally at City Hall at 9, timed so that it would be just before the IEC meeting started. Robin Richardson was our MC.

She reminded us that Yonge4All is a community group that brings together many different groups with the common interest in making Yonge St a safer, complete street for everyone.

Our first speaker was Councillor Brad Bradford. He reflected on the positive effect of the Danforth bike lanes on his ward. He also emphasized that broad consultation and working with all sides is the way to get these types of projects done. He has been impressed with the work that had gone into this initiative.

Next, urbanist Ken Greenberg says that Yonge St is emblematic of our city. He described the unfortunate transformation of the city by the automobile over many decades, and was glad to see this trend slowly reversing. He has been involved with both Reimagining Yonge and YongeTOmorrow, and described the midtown pilot as an important missing piece.

Councillor Amber Morley was happy to see this initiative, and hopes that similar things will be happening in her ward of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. Such a sea change from former Councillor Mark Grimes.

Toronto Centre Councillor Chris Moise is also supportive, and reminds us that the Bayview bike lanes are also being considered today.

Stephen Job represents a group of property developers. He said that reducing parking requirements enables the creation of more housing, and that people will only consider such developments if they see that cycling and transit are real and safe alternatives to the car.

Finally, Councillor Diane Saxe led us in a rousing round of questions and answers where the crowd response was always “Bike Lanes!” She was presented with that green binder, which symbolized the more than 8000 signatures on the petition.

Finally, a group picture of some of the leaders of Yonge4All.

In the interest of balanced reporting, I will note that there was also a smaller crowd of anti bike lane people off to the side.

Thanks to all the people that are staying for the day to give deputations (over 80 people have registered to speak). I’ll report back with updates when they are available.

You can follow some of what is happening in this twitter thread.

Update: Emotions run high during Yonge Street bike lane debate (Toronto Star)

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Yonge 4 All is a community based group that has been campaigning to make the bike lanes on Yonge Street permanent. To be specific, the bike lanes that have been installed as a pilot project between Bloor St and Davisville are under consideration to become permanent. The Infrastructure and Environment Committee will be considering them on Monday as agenda item IE 1.4. If you click on the item, you will see that:

The General Manager, Transportation Services recommends that:  

1. City Council approve the ActiveTO Yonge Street Cycling Network Expansion project installed in 2021 currently in place as permanent and in doing so, authorize the necessary by-law amendments to retain the following locations as a permanent installation:

a. Yonge Street: 150 metres north of Davisville Avenue to 100 metres south of Bloor Street (cycle tracks, Ward 11 and 12).

2. City Council approve the ActiveTO Bayview Cycling Network Expansion project installed in 2021 currently in place as permanent and in doing so, authorize the necessary by-law amendments to retain the following locations as a permanent installation:

a. Bayview Avenue: River Street to Front Street East (multi-use trail, Ward 13)

3. City Council amend cycling, traffic and parking regulations required in Chapter 886, Chapter 903, Chapter 910 and Chapter 950, as generally described in Attachment 2-Technical Amendments for By-law accuracy.

There are also links to the background study that shows that cycling traffic has increased significantly during the period of the pilot, and impact on motor traffic has been minimal.


There has also been quite a bit of coverage about the bike lanes:

If you wish to send a message to either the mayor and IEC about this issue, the committee will be accepting submissions until 5 pm on this Friday.

You can email IEC directly at: iec@toronto.ca, and use the subject line “My comments for 2023.IE1.4 on January 30, 2023 Infrastructure and Environment Committee”

Or you can use this handy link to write a letter to the Mayor and the members of the IEC.

Yonge 4 All will also be holding an event at Nathan Phillips Square on this Monday January 30 at 9 AM to symbolically present the mayor with a petition supporting the bike lanes, with over 8000 signatures.

If you want to read more about the long road to getting the Yonge bike lanes made permanent, Rob has an excellent summary on his blog.

Also bear in mind that in the longer term, there are also separate projects under consideration to put bike lanes between Finch and Sheppard [Transform Yonge], and restricting motor traffic on Yonge between College and Queen [YongeTOmorrow] (although the current proposal on the latter item only includes bike lanes as far south as Gerrard).

Update: as of this evening I see that 1021 emails or letters have been recorded on this item by the city clerk.

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I wasn’t going to post a snow clearance report but I saw something that was good news so here goes.

There is a stark difference in the condition of plowed vs unplowed side streets. Unplowed streets are going to be an ice rink with the hard freeze tonight.

Annette bike lanes looked like they had been plowed at some point, but there was enough residual snow and ice to make taking the lane a better option.

Bloor bike lane was decently plowed, but not salted, as also reported by David Shellnut.

I did notice that there were fewer obstructions in the bike lane, and sure enough I came upon a city crew clearing windrows at intersections. I thanked them profusely. If you look closely at the photo, you will see that the bike lane was temporarily blocked further on. This was to allow another worker to shovel more snow out of the bike lane. He was done and unblocked the lane as I rode by.

Not sure if this a new practice by the city, but the Bloor bike lane was in better shape than usual. I just hope that they lay down some salt before tonight.

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As of today (Monday January 23) the West Toronto Railpath will be closed at Bloor for about a year. Approaching Bloor from the north at Ernest Ave, the ramp associated with the earlier closure is still there.

If you continue south on the platform, you will discover that the second ramp back to the rail path is gone, and you can see the construction starting at Bloor. I wonder how that one bike is going to get back to its owner. At this point, your only option is to go through the station and down the stairs to Bloor.

Your better option is to turn east at Ernest to Symington, and then to cross Bloor at the offset intersection with Sterling. In principle you could also cross Bloor at Perth, but there is no signal there.

Unfortunately, there are no really good options going south from this point. You could ride against traffic on Sterling which is one way northbound, or you could go along the sidewalk to Perth.

This sign shows that the nearest access back to the Railpath is through the Henderson parking lot, at which point you might as well stay on Sterling until Dundas.

Riding north on the Railpath, you will see this sign at Bloor and your only choice is to go down the stairs.

There is a sign at Dundas about the closure, but it is easy to miss.

In summary, unless you are willing to carry your bike up and down stairs, the Railpath is blocked at Bloor, and you will have to consider a detour.

Riding the rest of the way into work this morning along College, I am reminded the sharrows are bullshit.

Late January 2023 update from Councillor Bravo’s office:

“The construction of the stoplight at Bloor and Perth is currently in the design phase. Construction is expected to start by the end of the year and will be coordinated with other works in this area.

Given the closure of the Railpath due to Metrolinx construction, our office has reached out to Staff regarding the possibility of fast-tracking the light or installing a temporary pedestrian crossover at this location.”

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Another year gone by, another 8000 km or so. A record distance over the year, just a bit beyond what I did the past two years, despite the fact that I did fewer long rides. Cyclemeter says I’m a bit over 8500 km, whereas veloviewer gives a slightly smaller total.

January:

I took advantage of a cold snap to ride the clear ice on Grenadier Pond in the course of testing out some pants. I could hear the ice sing.

Local bike advocate Janet Joy Wilson took a new job in the Big Apple, so she invited a few of us along for a group ride to mark the occasion.

Late January was unusually cold, and so I ventured out to Toronto Island to ride on the ice in the canals, with a bit of crunchy snow on top.

February:

Lots of local protests in support of the freedom convoy in Ottawa disrupted traffic in the downtown area on weekends. Didn’t affect biking so much.

March:

TCBC organized a ride to show support for extending the Bloor bike lanes all the way into Mississauga. The group was small because the ride had been postponed due to weather at the last minute, but some cyclists showed up anyway. So we went ahead and rode out from Runnymede and were met with a group coming the other direction at the bridge over Etobicoke Creek.

The official ride on March 20 happened with a much larger group including Midori and I on the tandem.

April:

I made a quick trip out to Portland for a wedding, and also checked out two cargo bike shops that I missed during my last visit, one of which was Splendid Cycles.

Cycle Toronto organized a ride to celebrate the success of the bike lanes on Shaw St. We were joined by long time supporter Councillor Mike Layton.

May:

Bike for Mike 2002 had rainy weather, but nevertheless I had a good time, and it was for a good cause.

May the fourth was the perfect day for a Star Wars themed ride.

I explored a bit of the Uxbridge to Lindsay rail trail. Didn’t make it as far as Neverland.

The Ride of Silence was back in person for the first time in three years but I was not able to attend.

The first ghost bike ride of the year was for Joshua Okoeguale, a 16 year old who was killed in Oshawa.

The annual bike month group commute was back this year.

HPVDT had a chance to test their tandem bike at a wind tunnel at Western University.

June:

The annual fund raising bike ride on the Gardiner and DVP was rebranded the Ride for Brain Health. I was doing ride support with TBN as per usual, but I also met up with colleagues from my department at the beginning.

A quick trip to Hamilton to see a promotion of the Keddy Access Trail.

July:

I had a streak of continuous days of bike riding that stretched back to Boxing Day 2020, but somehow I forgot to ride on July 1, so my streak ended at 517 days.

A quick trip to Woodstock NY to go to a concert by Nexus percussion. Got in some riding by the Ashokan Reservoir. Got to see the stage where 4′ 33″ was premiered.

Got a Switch e-bike conversion. Initial impressions were positive.

A ghost bike ride in Hamilton for Brian Woods, who was killed riding to his work at Limeridge Mall.

Doing a little exploring by bike of an unimproved section of the Etobicoke Creek Trail.

Another Burlington to Niagara ride with TBN.

Mike Layton decides not to run for re-election. The cycling community in Toronto has lost one of its strongest advocates.

August:

A number of years ago, I was on an organized ride from Seattle to Vancouver, but due to a flat tire and other issues, I ended up completing the ride but leaving a gap of about 100 km. I went back this year to fill in that gap. It was punishingly hot, but there was ice cream at the end.

Some nice gravel riding on the left coast.

A ride to promote safety on Parkside Drive, and to protest police ticketing of cyclists in High Park.

A TBN ride to Lake Simcoe.

September:

Testing our tandem speedbike at Downsview.

The World Human Powered Speed Challenge was back this year after two years of cancellations. Unfortunately our tandem crashed and we did not set any records.

Cycle Toronto organized fund raising rides in different areas of the city. I rode with the Scarborough group.

October:

A night time march down Yonge St to promote road safety.

A gravel ride between Belwood and Luther Marsh.

A ride with TBN during peak fall colours.

Third ghost bike ride of the year, this time near Streetsville.

Pre Halloween ride with the Neon Riders.

Hallowe’en Bike Parade.

November:

Checking out another section of the G2G trail.

The annual ride to remember Road Traffic Victims. It was cold and windy.

A TBN ride from Hamilton to home.

Dammit, we couldn’t get through one year without a ghost bike installed in Toronto. RIP Kartik Saini.

December:

Another ride down Yonge St with Santa.

A pair of pogies arrived from a small company in Ukraine, naturally in the colours of Ukrainian Flag.


I’ll also note in passing that an updated map of all ghost bike locations in the GTA has been posted. Thanks to Ingrid Buday for her work on this.

For some year end coverage of some of the upgrades to bike infra and associated public consultations for future projects, visit Rob Z’s blog.

Also see this year end summary from David Shellnut, the Biking Lawyer.


Wishing you all a safe year for 2023, with plenty of tailwinds!

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7 Roads is a small company in Ukraine that makes a full line of bike packing bags. I heard about them from this review of their pogies. I was intrigued since the pogies were advertised as dual purpose, i.e they would fit MTB type bars as well as drop bars. I was not sure if they were still able to produce bags given the situation in Ukraine so I sent them an email. Elena responded quickly, along with the following note:

“Thank you for supporting Ukrainians! We just spent around 2000 usd on Ecoflow (compact power station), cause we need to keep working, no matter of electricity black outs after russians bombardments. “

Ordering through their website was very smooth, and they can make their bags and pogies in your choice of colour scheme. I ordered a pair of XPac fabric pogies in the colours of the Ukrainian flag. They were shipped in about 10 days after the order. Understandably the shipping was a bit slow, and they arrived yesterday after about three weeks.

Close up of all the stickers that came with the order.

The zipper makes it easier to install than the other pogies that I’ve had.

Comparing them to the Dogwood Designs, I would say that they sweep back about the same amount, but the Dogwood Designs have a lot more volume forward of the opening for the straight bars. This photo is a bit deceiving: the Dogwood designs pogies have a lot more volume.

Here they are installed on my drop bar gravel bike. Note the reflective trim that appears grey in this photo.

It took a bit of fiddling to get them in the right position so that the brifter levers didn’t drag on the lining. Here you can see that they don’t have a baffle closing the space around the wrist. This has the advantage that it makes it easy to get your hands in and out of the pogies. The lining and insulation are pretty close around the hand so I’m not particularly concerned. Of course it was +8°C today, so it wasn’t really a good test of how warm these will be. I’ll update this post when I’ve had a chance to ride these in colder weather.

Given the glorious weather, I took a quick spin out to the Etobicoke Creek Trail. There was ice and snow on the creek, but the trail was clear, having been heavily salted in the past week.

As an update, they have taken the fence down at the south end of the crossing under the QEW. I don’t know if this means that the trail is now official open, but riding across is pretty easy for any bike that isn’t a skinny tired road bike….

although on this particular day there were patches of slippery mud.

Just had to take a picture of the pogies at this particular spot.

Bottom line: I highly recommend these pogies. They are very well made, and I would argue that they look more solid than even the Dogwood Designs pogies that are considerably more expensive. Also the ability to choose your colour scheme is pretty unique at this price point.

I’m a big fan of buying high quality bike gear from small companies that don’t offshore their production, such as Randi Jo Fabrications, Kitsbow Clothing, Arkel, Atwater Atelier, Rockgeist, and Carsick Designs.

I’m very happy to add 7Roads to this list, with the added bonus that I’m supporting a small business in Ukraine that is operating under difficult conditions.

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This morning was a balmy 3°C with little wind, so it was an opportunity to get in one more road ride before the winter storm promised for this weekend hit.

Here are some shots of the underpass under the QEW on the Etobicoke Creek Trail. You can see that they have done some grading so it is an easy gravel ride. Hopefully everything will be wrapped up and officially open early this coming spring.

The trail itself was lightly salted so I’m going to have to use the garden sprayer this afternoon.

One more shot on the way home.

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Shortly after the protected portions of the Bloor bike lane when in, the city also installed a few raised islands in selected locations to aid in loading and unloading, particularly where you might have accessibility needs for people taking Wheel Trans. A well known example is the island in front of Horizon Towers, just west of Dufferin.

Unfortunately, this particular island is also well known for poor drainage, with water often pooling on the east side of the island. In the above picture, you can see a small pipe as an attempt to provide some drainage, but it is easily blocked by trash or debris. Here is an example of flooding at this point.

image source

More recently some metal islands have cropped up in various places as an alternative to the asphalt islands. These have the advantage that drainage is no longer an issue, and perhaps they are cheaper and quicker to install? Here is a recently installed example at Avenue Rd.

However, as pointed out in the Cycling in Toronto FB group, the fact that the metal ramps are not flush with the curb creates a hazard. One can imagine biking on the plastic section that covers the gap to the curb, and then abruptly dropping off of the end,

Also I am not sure what the traction on these islands will be like in snowy or icy conditions, particularly on the metal ramps. In addition, I am not sure about the rationale for this particular placement as I would think most loading and unloading of passengers to the ROM would take place on the Queen’s Park Crescent side of the building.

In any case I applaud the fact that the city is trying out different solutions around bike infrastructure. Hopefully, they will figure out what works best, and then we can have some sort of consistency in the design and features of protected bike lanes across the city.

Update Dec 14 2022: There has been another of these islands installed on Bloor at Havelock, and note that staff have added two Flexi posts to warn cyclists to avoid the gap between the ramps and the curb.

This brings up the larger issue of how may more of these ramps are going to appear across the city. The question is whether they are going to be at every bus stop on every cycle track.

Update #2. Here is the vendor website, and the figure below shows flexiposts installed in a better position than the above photo.

Also this:

One more update: in some cases, the platforms are being installed with asphalt ramps.

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There was an article in the Star, one of a series along the general theme that the city is falling apart, about a guy named Tim who took it upon himself to move some of the concrete barriers along protected bike lanes that had been moved out of alignment by cars.

He put out a call for another round of fixing tonight. I decided to help out. Here are Tim and Brian at our meet up location at Yonge and Richmond.

We started east on Adelaide from Yonge. It was less than a block before we saw the first curb out of place.

Tim had brought two pry bars this time, along with a brick to serve as a fulcrum. After about a minute, the first curb had been moved.

After several similar repairs, we turned back at Parliament and came back along Richmond.

Here we are near Peter St.

Before and after pictures.

Here’s a video showing the process.

Here’s the last curb of the day, between Portland and Bathurst. Tim said he moved this the last time, and it has already been knocked out of place again.

All done.

I’ll also note that these large curbs are being placed in some areas where the buffer between the bike lane and the roadway is only about twice the width of the curb. This makes me wonder why the city is not going to use these curbs on Bloor underneath the railway underpasses where there is much more available width. Current plans are for the small curbs with bollards, which are not nearly as protective.

A blurry group photo to cap off the evening.

Thanks to Tim for organizing, and Brian for helping out. Tim and Brian did most of the work as I was spending most of my time taking photos. Sorry about that guys!

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This time of year, every day with temperatures in the plus range and no salt on the roads is an opportunity to get in a good ride. Today I went out to Tommy Thompson, but via the Beltline so that I could check out the recently opened entrance to the Moore Park Ravine.

This entrance has been under construction for a while (since August 2021 according to the project website). Prior to the construction, it was a fairly steep gravel descent that many cyclists would walk their bikes down.

During construction it looked like this (Google street view)

It is now a beautiful paved path that weaves its way much more gradually down the slope. Here is a picture from the top.

From a little further down, I get get the entire new section into a picture.

The pavement ends short of the bridge, but they have laid down some nice fine gravel up to the bridge.

I went out to the lighthouse just so I could log more than 50k for the day.

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