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Archive for the ‘Bike Infrastructure’ Category

Today was the annual “coldest day of the year ride”, even though it was clearly not the coldest day of the year (that would have been Wednesday or Thursday). This year’s ride was to be along Bloor/Danforth, to draw attention to the need for an extension of bike lanes in both the east and west directions. The ride started at Danforth and Logan, and a few of use decided to ride to the ride from High Park. Here are local stalwarts Janet Joy and John, along with Alex.

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On our way east, we picked up Laura and José.

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The Bloor bike lane being what it can be after inadequate snow clearance, sometimes it was better to be in the traffic lane.

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Now across the Prince Edward Viaduct. I think this is the first year where the city has left the flexiposts in place, which is great.

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Trying to stay out of the door zone on the Danforth.

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Now we arrive at Logan to be greeted by the sight of a very large crowd.

Keegan from CycleTO gets thing started. She tells us about a contest that is being run in conjunction with special winter edition Bikeshare bikes.

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Next up: Jared Kolb. He reminds us of the theme of today’s ride: Groundhog Day. Last year’s ride started at the same point, and just like last year, we are still calling for the installation of a Minimum Grid of bike infrastructure across the city.

Next, Toronto Danforth MP Julie Dabrusin. She apologized for not riding with us, but she had a broken arm. She said that the federal government is fully prepared to work in partnership with the city to install what ever the city decides.

Finally, Councillor Brad Bradford. It is obvious from the way he dresses that he is a real cyclist. He called for safer streets.

Now off we go, complete with police escort.

Back across the viaduct.

That’s a lot of cyclists.

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Rob Z and Janet Joy discussing bike infra.

Ironically, at the pace we were riding, and with a bike traffic jam, it was possible to pass the entire pack by using the bike lane.

I enjoyed talking with the fellow from France who was riding a truly nice 650B bike with 853 tubing, dynamo lighting, etc etc.

Approaching Dundas West, almost at the end of the ride.

The ride ended at the Wicket, just short of Indian Rd. Here is Doug and Honey again.

Another gratuitous Brompton picture.

After the ride, it was a pleasure to catch up with many of my bike friends, and to meet many more.

Quite a few people elected to use Bikeshare, and I heard that there was a trailer that was going to haul the bikes back downtown. I guess these bikes were still waiting to get picked up.

Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing the ride, Bikeshare for providing logistical support, and Toronto Police for the one way escort.

Both Wiarton Willie and Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring. Here’s hoping they are right.

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I posted some notes on snow clearance in bike lanes over on Dandyhorse. Almost froze my fingers by repeatedly taking photos while riding around in -17°C weather. Also had to punch in my security code on the phone every time because FaceID wasn’t working for me 😉

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Looking at the weather forecast, maybe we are done with the polar vortex after today.

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Nothing too serious, although rain is forecast for later in the day. First snow was a few days later than last year.

Snow clearance on Annette and Dupont was decent, but there was no evidence of ploughing on the Shaw contraflow.

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This despite the fact that Shaw is on the city’s list of priority snow clearance for bike lanes.

Ride safe and stay dry! At least I haven seen any patches of black ice like there was for the past few days.

 

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This weekend I took a trip to Windsor to take part in Bike the Bridge. This is an annual event where people are allowed to bike across the Ambassador Bridge. This year, the ride started and ended in Windsor.

I took VIA Rail to Windsor and took a few notes on bike infra on the ride to my hotel.

I was pleased to see some bike lanes, although you can see in this picture that they suffer the same connectivity issues as in Toronto.

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I do like the sewer grates that are cycle friendly.

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A brief interlude with beer.

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This morning, biking down to the river from the hotel, I see that the Bruce Ave. bike lane seems to disappear in October.

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No, I’m wrong, it is just moved to the other side of the street.

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Riding along the Riverfront Trail, I meet Louis and his wife. It turns out that Louis has done several rides with Tour de Afrique.

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He also kindly insisted that we stop so that he could take this shot of me with the bridge.

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I arrived at Assumption Park at about 8:15.

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Of course, with such a large number of bikes, there are always some interesting rides to check out. Here is a Pedego e-bike with really low step over.

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I like this integral cup holder.

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The sun comes out a bit to illuminate the bridge. Note the all important port a potties provided for us today.

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Time to line up.

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No wait, we are told to line up on the street.

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And off we go.

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Approaching the bridge.

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We get waved onto the bridge past the toll booths.

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Several of the people I talked to were excited by the fact that the new bridge is under construction, and that it will have a multi-use trail so that cyclists can cross at any time. I did not realize that the current bridge was slated to be torn down. You can get a sense of the deterioration of the bridge from this shot of the railing for pedestrians.

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Up we go.

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I was interested that the border was not marked on the bridge mid span, perhaps because it was privately owned.

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One of the ride marshalls reminds us to take it easy on the downhill.

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Approaching customs.

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We actually stop short of the customs booths to save us some trouble. The riders area all regrouped before recrossing the bridge.

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I take the opportunity to introduce myself to Tom, the only other Bromptonaut on today’s ride. He has a handpainted helmet that reflects the fact that he used to live in Pasadena.

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Off we go again.

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Maybe this direction is a bit steeper. Also note the traffic in the other direction.

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Dad provides a little boost.

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This direction is not as scenic.

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Thanks to these bridge workers for laying down rubber mats over the expansion joints.

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Waved through customs.

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Down Huron Church.

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They regroup us once again before the Riverfront Trail.

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I’m told this wood is a temporary measure to keep bits of the bridge from falling down.

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I’m liking this LMB logo since it includes a folding bike and a recumbent.

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I have a pleasant chat with Henry. I had admired his  vintage Centurion touring bike with chromed lugs as he flashed by me on the way down the bridge.

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Off we go along the Riverfront Trail.

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Henry and Tom.  It turns out that they know each other. Maybe everyone on this ride knows each other?

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Some riders that went along Riverside Dr merge with us.

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This section had a well marked bi directional bike lane.

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Regroup at a light where the trail ends so that we can cross to the other side of Riverside Dr.

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This is as far north as we got.

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Riding through nice residential neighbourhoods. At this point, we had a group of marshals at the front and we were allowed to pick up the pace a bit.

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Ottawa St.

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Little Italy.

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This is the front of the lead group.

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This woman asked me about how tough it was riding a folding bike up the bridge. I said that it was no more difficult that riding her single speed Schwinn Varsity. She told me that it was originally her grandmother’s bike, that it would last forever, and that she thought bikes these days seemed disposable to her.

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Turning back onto Huron Church.

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Arriving back at the park. Lunch is calling!

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The food line was very efficient. For those wondering about timing, the ride started at about 9, and the lead group was back at the park at about 10:45.

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Lunch (a BLT wrap) was very tasty, but too small!

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One last picture of another volunteer. I liked his vintage Cannondale Panniers which were in immaculate shape.

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It was a very enjoyable ride. A bit of a trek for a relatively short bike ride, but it was a unique experience, and I met lots of friendly people. Next time I’m in the area, I’m determined to ride on the Detroit side, perhaps with Slow Roll, or one of Henry’s rides on Thursday nights.

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Today was the most rain free day of a three day weekend, and so I planned to ride the holiday tourist ride out to Streetsville with TBN. However, it turns out that I was the only one that showed up. Many riders that might have shown up were probably on the Niagara ride that was rescheduled for today. Ride leader Joey was good enough to come out to the start, but he has been having issues with his knee, and so was unable to ride. I decided to ride it solo as it was a route that I had done a couple of times. Going solo allowed me some time to take pictures at my leisure.

The ghost bike at Colborne Lodge and Lakeshore for Jonas Mitchell has been extensively decorated.

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I’ve never noticed this mural at Islington and Lakeshore before.

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Shout out to Peter Wen: this is first time I’ve used the telehex on a ride: tightening up a loose bottle cage.

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On Mississauga Rd, a bike lane starts just before the underpass crossing the QEW. Just north of this point these wayfinding signs are new.

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Unfortuately, on this section just short of the connection to N. Service Rd, the sign is set back so far from the road that it is hard to read. These signs petered out north of UTM.

Just shy of UTM, a display of fall colours. They will be even better next weekend. Here’s hoping for sunny weather.

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On the north side of the intersection with Dundas, I see this unusual treatment of the bike lane. It seemed to work OK, but there wasn’t much traffic today.

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Downtown Streetsville. Never too cold for a little ice cream.

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Heading back east on Bristol Rd, I see that much of it has a bike lane along its length, for which they appear to have removed the on street parking on the north side. While this is much appreciated, I wish that the bike lane didn’t devolve to sharrows at major intersections like this one at Huronontario.

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The TBN route had me going south on Orbitor Dr into Centennial Park, but I elected to turn east on this new bi directional bike lane / multiuse trail on the north side of Eglinton. There are no markings at all on it, but it is plenty wide.

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OK there are a few markings near intersections.

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The path ends at Rathburn, but the intersection markings indicate that I should cross to the south side.

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Here I’m on the south east corner, looking east, and I see the familiar section of bike trail that goes under the 427.

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My impression is that the bike infra is getting a bit better in Mississauga, but there are still many gaps in the network, and also bike lanes starting and stopping at ward boundaries as well.

Overall, a nice ride that might just offset some of the calories that were consumed yesterday.

 

 

 

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Today was the 5th annual book ride put on by the Reading Line. This year’s theme was centred on the Bloor Viaduct, its history, the fact that it bridges different communities, and the fact that it is tied up with the experiences of different immigrants who make up the fabric of our city. We started our day in a courtyard on the grounds of Central Tech, near Bloor and Bathurst.

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Siva Vijenthira talked to us about her current and prior work with with various organizations like Cycle Toronto and Culture Link to encourage cycling among new immigrants and school groups in the city.

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Our first author reading was by Bethelem Terrefe Gebreyohannes who read from her debut book “Firewalkers” which is an account of her family’s escape from Ethiopia.

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The next reading was by Carrianne Leung who read from “That that time I loved you”, a series of interconnected stories about youth in Scarborough, under the shadow of a tragic event that happened in the neighbourhood.

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Next, Sarah Bradley from Cycle TO reminded us of the necessity for continuing advocacy for better cycling infrastructure.

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In the mean time, lead Joey Schwartz briefs the group of volunteer bike marshalls.

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Finally, our fearless leader Janet Joy Wilson starts getting the large crowd primed for the first segment of our ride, down Bloor to the Rosedale Valley School of the Arts.

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Joey gets the crowd energized.

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Lining up to leave.

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Along Bloor.

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One of our videographers was Kutaiba, who is a Syrian refugee. Motive transport was provided by Curbside Cycle, and motive power was provided by Geoffrey Bercarich.

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Chris Brunlett of Modacity and Janet Joy.

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I first met writer Amy Lavender Harris on the 2014 edition of the Reading Line book ride.

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Here we arrive at our second stop, a peaceful glade just south of Castle Frank subway station, on the grounds of the Rosedale Valley School of the Arts.

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Many of our announcements were also interpreted into ASL.

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Amanda O’Rourke, executive director of 8-80 cities, reminded us of the importance of making it easy for all ages to travel around the city. The vision statement of 8-80 cities:

“Whether you’re 8 or 80 years old, cities should work for everyone.”

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Chris and Melissa Brunlett told us of how they came to found Modacity, where they promote the benefits of walking, cycling and public transit. Melissa then read a short excerpt from their just released book “Building the Cycling City“.

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I asked Chris what he thought of the ride over, in particular the section of Bloor between Avenue Rd and Sherbourne. Suffice it to say that he was not impressed, and he said that he would definitely not be happy having his 12 year old daughter ride that route.

Our final speaker at this site was Ramón Pérez, a graphic novel artist who talked about being an immigrant, and finding his tribe among like minded artists here in Toronto. Drawing an analogy to the X -Men (the second group), he said that his groups’ superpowers were art. He is part of the Raid Studio, a group that encourages the next generation of comic book artists.

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Our next stop would be across the Bloor Viaduct, along the Danforth to East Lynn Park.

I think that the single most hazardous part of the ride is the east end of the viaduct where there is an offramp to the DVP. Here green paint is the only protection as cyclists have to navigate their way one lane over from the curb lane.

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Riding along the Danforth.

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I really liked the colorway of this Masi with 650b tires.

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Our final stop was East Lynn Park. I arrived a bit ahead of the main group and had the pleasure of listening to the tail end of a practice session by Wilson and the Castaways.

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There were many activities planned for the final stop, and some of this was made possible by “the Danny” AKA the Danforth Mosaic BIA.

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Geoffrey cooling his feet after an afternoon of piloting a very heavy cargo bike.

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Marvin Macaraig talked about the good work of Scarborough Cycles. I remember his talk from the last edition of the Reading Line, and one thing that stuck with me was the fact that there is only one bike shop in all of Scarborough. They run many bike related programs out of Access Point on Danforth, include community bike rides.

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Unfortunately at this point, I had to leave, so I was not able to hear the final two readings, as well as to see the other activities planned for the rest of the day.

As always, it was a pleasure to be part of the book ride experience. The event gets richer every year. I admire both the work of the many volunteers, as well as the tremendous energy of Janet Joy Wilson, who has been the driving force behind this event.

My reports on previous book rides:

2016 was the year I missed the ride, but you can read about Books on Bathurst at Dandyhorse Magazine.

Update:

Here is the pro video

 

 

 

 

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Last week, Cycle TO did a demonstration of a fully protected intersection at the intersection of St. George and Bloor. However, what kept it from being an effective demonstration was the fact that it was done during open streets, and so there was no barrier to having bikes just bike leisurely through the intersection, as if they were car traffic.

Today I found myself in Vancouver with a little time on my hands, so I took the opportunity to check out the first fully protected four way intersection that was just installed at Quebec and 1st.

Today’s ride was my old Dahon Speed Uno folder. One of the advantages of such a simple machine is that you can put it away for two years and then pull it out, put air in the tires, and just ride off.

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Here I am at the intersection, looking way too happy.

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The intersection is designed so that pedestrian and bike crossings are separated, and there are concrete islands that prevent right turning cars from intruding into the space for bikes and people on foot. Here is the diagram from the twitter post linked above.

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One thing that I found amusing was that on the south east corner, there was a dealer for these very odd electric vehicles.

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Ok, I’d settle for the Porsche on the end, but I did not get close enough to it to see if it was a replica.

Here are some cyclists waiting for a light. You see that they are naturally hugging the intersection side of the crossing.

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Here is a short video of me simulating an indirect left turn.

The thing that you notice at the end is the lack of a push button for the bike crossing.

However, you can see that there is a mount on the black pole.

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I also noticed that the pedestrian buttons were not active yet.

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I talked to this workman who was in the process of wiring up some of the signals. He confirmed that there will be push buttons for both cyclists and pedestrians at all four corners.

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Action photo of some cyclists crossing.

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Word is that we will eventually get a similar intersection as a pilot project at Bloor and St. George. However it will be probably two years away.

On the way back, I took a little detour to Duffin’s Donuts, a local eatery that appeared in the movie Edge of Seventeen, and also has a very interesting history that explains why it serves both donuts and tamales. Regretfully it was a bit early for lunch, but I had a nice cinnamon donut.

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Also rode through the woods for old times sake.

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Update: talking to Chris Bruntlett on the book ride, he said that it took three years of fighting to get this intersection built.

 

 

 

 

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