Archive for the ‘Bike Infrastructure’ Category

The Chippewa Rail Trail is a trail that will eventually extend from Hamilton to Caledonia. I passed the entrance to this trail on another ride, but finally got around to exploring it recently.

Here is the start at the southwest corner of the intersection of Dartnall and Stone Church in Hamilton.

Just a little further along is the actual start of the trail.

Be careful at the intersection with Rymal Rd. There can be a lot of traffic, and there is no particular accommodation to cross the road.

The trail itself is nicely graded, almost dead flat, and also straight as an arrow for about 15 km.

Crossing into Haldimand County at Haldibrook Road, the signage becomes more fancy.

This map show that the trail still does not go all the way to Caledonia.

Unfortunately, after about 3 km past this point, the trail comes to an end.

I was hoping from this Google street view from May 2018 that the construction had advanced past this point.

However, after 200 m, this is what you see. This is a glimpse of what the rail right of way might have looked like without enhancement.

I turned back at this point. Anyway, any day out on a bike is a good day.

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After much hemming and hawing from City Hall, the city finally decided to close some streets to both promote active transportation, and to reduce crowding for both pedestrians and cyclist along especially crowded routes. In particular, the Martin Goodman Trail has been very crowded on weekends, making social distancing rather difficult. In response to this issue, the city closed the east bound lanes of Lakeshore Blvd between Windermere and Stadium Rd. What a great enhancement of the Lakeshore, even if it is just for this long weekend.

Approaching Lakeshore from Ellis Ave.

Right away, we see a safety issue. There are northbound cyclists waiting to cross the westbound lanes that are not closed. Unfortunately, the newly installed bike crossing cannot be activated by cyclists waiting at the median.

Just as a side note, I’ve had issues with the new northbound bike crossing. The bike signal lights rely on a video sensor, and my success in being detected has only been about 50%.

What I think is going on is that the video camera’s view of cyclists (the blue arrow), is somewhat occluded by some wires that were hung up at the same time (red arrow).

I’ve had a little more success with the sensor if I stand right on this yellow dot.

If I stand closer to Lakeshore from this point, I don’t get detected. At any rate, I am disappointed that the city did not make the northbound bike crossing automatically triggered for every cycle since there is no car traffic making a left turn from Ellis to Lakeshore this weekend.

This issue aside, it was absolutely glorious to see bikes everywhere.

We were on the tandem.

Headed home.

For those of you downtown near the lake, I hope you got a chance to check this out. If not, the forecast for Sunday morning is still clear of rain.

I hope that they keep at least one lane closed for bidirectional bike traffic after this weekend to reduce crowding on the MGT, but I’m not holding my breath.

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Colin Fisher was killed by a hit and run driver early on the morning of May 2. Today a ghost bike was installed at the crash site in his memory.

In view of the requirements for social distancing, it was decided that a group ride to the crash site was not possible. Here is Kevin ready to ride. Thanks to Peter from the Brampton Bike Hub for providing the ghost bike.

Off we go.

Most of the route was along multi-use trails like this one on Chinguacousy Rd. However, there was very little signage to indicate that this was in fact not just a wide sidewalk.

Nice to see lots of families out on a very pleasant evening.

The streetscape at Bovaird and Mississauga is not pedestrian or bike friendly. The crash site was just a bit west of this point.

West of the intersection, Bovaird narrows to one lane in each direction with a gravel shoulder.

We arrive at the crash site.

There was already a memorial set up here.

Kevin installs the ghost bike.

I add a sign and a few flowers.

A minute of silence in memory of the deceased.

We are packing up. This is not a bike friendly stretch of road. Lots of high speed traffic, and also there is a dropoff between the asphalt and the gravel shoulder.

This trio reacted to the ghost bike as they rode past. Note that the crash site is a scant few minutes ride from the relative safety of a wider road with streetlights.

Kevin’s bike is lighter on the way back. Thanks for doing all of the hard work tonight!

The family is appealing to the driver to turn themselves in. Hopefully justice will be served.

Deepest condolences to Colin Fisher’s family and friends.

Update: Kevin’s 360° video of the entire ride.

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Off for a ride downtown to check on some lab equipment at U of T. On the way in, I see lots of cyclists, including this family on Annette. Makes me feel good about fighting for those bike lanes back in the day.

I’m assuming that this group was riding together while maintaining social distance.

On the way, I checked out a few sakura trees on Shanly. These have generally been the first to bloom in the west end.

I also wanted to check out the enhanced bike lane protection that was just installed earlier this week, on the north side of Bloor between Palmerston and Euclid. These are the bollards on curbs that are going to be used for the Bloor bike lane westward extension.

You can see the difference between the bollards on curbs and the old style bollards in this picture.

One thing that I noticed was that if I was waiting on a bike facing south at Euclid and I wanted to make a left hand turn, these new bollards screen my view of oncoming traffic to some extent.

I thought that this would be an issue for cars as well, but the position of a left turning driver is farther back, and so this would be the view.

One possible tweak would be to install the bollards at an angle so that they would not block the view as much, as per this diagram.

However, looking at the base of the bollards, it would seem that this would be difficult with the existing mounting system. Perhaps if the curbs were spaced a little further apart, that would be better. That would also give a little more space for those cyclists that want to weave in and out of the bike lane. At any rate, this early installation is a great chance for the city to get feedback on this new type of bike lane protection.

Finally, I wanted to check out the sakura grove by Robarts Library.

They are pretty close to blooming.

Interestingly enough, the branches of one tree that are closest to the wall get more reflected sunlight, and so they bloom earlier.

Just as a side note, U of T has fenced off the grass field at Kings College Circle. Perhaps this is the start of the reconstruction project where they will install underground parking, as well as banning car traffic and parking on the circle itself.

Just for completeness, I visited the High Park Sakura as well. These trees by the soccer fields usually bloom a bit early.

High Park has been closed to cars for a while, and there are plenty of cyclists and pedestrians about.

The sakura at the top of the hill by the Grenadier Restaurant are about a week away from full bloom, just a bit behind those at Robarts.

Of course the city plans to close the entire park during peak bloom. From the looks of things, they will probably close the park sometime this coming week.

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So it’s been a while since I posted a plot of the number of COVID-19 cases for various countries. This is a plot of log(cases per capita), which means that on this scale, -3 means the number of cases is 1 per 1000 people, and that exponential growth appears as a straight line. Here is the plot as it stands today.

Compared to the plot that I posted at the end of March, you can clearly see that the curves for both the US and Canada are starting to level off, meaning that there are fewer new cases each day, which is great news. The sad story in this graph is that the cases for Japan (green curve) continue to grow exponentially since they were very late to take serious measures to impose social distancing.

The data that I use to make the plot comes from worldometers.

They have recently added more columns of data. It is especially interesting to see the number of tests/ 1M population. If we rank the data by that column:

we get outliers like the Faeroe Islands (a real success story), and a bunch of smaller countries as well. Among the major EU countries, there is a decent amount of testing: Germany (25K), Italy (20.6K), with a couple of notable laggards like Sweden (7.4K) and the UK (6.5K). By comparison, Canada has done 13.4 K, and the US has made great strides recently to total 10.8K i.e. 10,800 tests per million. The sad story here is Japan once again, with only 796 tests per million, which puts them among much poorer countries such as Grenada (818) and Guinea-Bissau (672).

There are a couple of other compilations of data that I have been following. One is by the Financial Times. There is a lot to unpack on this webpage. Firstly you can look at the total number of new cases per day.

This would correspond to the slope of the curves in the first plot, and you can see that for a great number of countries, the number of cases per day is going down. In this plot, each curve has been shifted in time so that they start at the point where 30 cases were recorded in each country.

They also plot the total number of deaths per day, which differs from the number of cases each day due to the time lag between detection and potential demise.

Although trying to use models to predict the total number of deaths is a tricky business, you can use this data to make some rough estimates. For example, if we look at the curve for China, you can approximate the area under the curve by a triangle of height 130 and a width of about 70, which gives 4875, and the actual figure is 4632 as of today. If we assume a similar trend for the US, we note that the peak is later, which would make the curve wider, say a height of 2000 and a width of 120, which gives 120,000 total deaths, which is between the latest estimate from the best model (about 65,000) and the earlier results from the administration of about 200,000 fatalities. If we assume that Canada peaks at about day 30, then we get about 4800 fatalities. However, one should note that curves for countries like Italy and Iran are decreasing much more slowly than the curve for China.

Another interesting chart from FT is this one:

It is useful to visualize both the growth in the total of cases worldwide, as well as the changing distribution between countries. One amusing point: note the pink area labelled as “Rest of N. America”. AFAIK, if you take the US out of N. America, you are left with Canada. The sobering thing about this chart is the fact that most developing countries are still at a very early stage in the growth curve. Another striking thing is how the total number of daily deaths in Asia still remains a tiny sliver, even though this is the region where COVID-19 started.

The other website that is interesting is this one, that provides a log log plot of new cases per day versus time. There is almost a universal curve for growth, with the countries that are getting a handle on COVID-19 dropping down off of the straight line.

As a follow up to my earlier posts on grocery shopping by bike, I note that pallets of garden soil in front of the Pacific Ave NO Frills make accessing the bike racks while maintaining social distancing difficult. My solution is to park the bike away from the line up. It still has to be close to the margins of the parking lot so that the security locks on the grocery cart casters are not engaged.

I’m glad that I fixed up the kickstand on the cargo bike.

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Nowadays, any glimmer of good news is precious. At long last, the bicycle signal lights have been turned on at Ellis and Lakeshore. The signal lights were installed late last year, and road markings were also laid down, but the northbound crossing on the east side of the intersection was not usable since when walk signal was on for the southern half of the pedestrian crossing, traffic southbound on Ellis was still permitted to turn left onto eastbound Lakeshore.

Here you can see the southbound bike signal.

Here is the northbound signal for bikes. The “crossing closed” sign is still up.

Here is a shot that I took while I was crossing northbound.

Here is a video of the northbound crossing. The light is green for about 10 seconds, and then it turns red after about 14 seconds.

There are two quirks to note about the northbound crossing. Firstly, the crossing is green or yellow for a much shorter time than for the pedestrian walk signal on the southern half of the Lakeshore pedestrian crossing. The second point is that there appears to be a bike sensor for the northbound crossing. If there is not a bike waiting, then the northbound bike crossing is never turned on.

Next up for this intersection: getting rid of the right turn lane on the northwest corner of the intersection.

Update: Becky Katz has informed me that the city has switched to video sensing, and no longer needs to provide a mark where you should stand to trigger it. This explains why there was no markings on the asphalt where I stood with my bike to trigger the northbound crossing. It’s like magic!

Here is a picture of the video camera. It is mounted behind and above the northbound bike signal.

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A few pictures from the past week in chronological order

Social distancing is now the norm at grocery stores.

After reading numerous stories about the shortage of critical supplies at hospitals, including our local St. Joes, I decided to donate a container of lysol wipes that I got on the shopping trip pictured above, as well as most of a container of surgical masks that I had bought a week ago in Chinatown. On the way down, I biked along the Queensway to remind myself about the section of bike lane that is due to be improved. Here is the eastbound bike lane ending short of Claude Ave. It is truly unfortunate that the bike lane will not be extended all the way to Roncesvalles. The planning document says something about insufficient road width. At least there will be a significant reconstruction of the Roncy/Queen/King intersection that will make things safer for pedestrians and cyclists that alight from the MGT by crossing the pedestrian/bike bridge across Lakeshore.

The bike lane will be extended one block east to Glendale Ave, where there is a stoplight and pedestrian crossing. Right now, there are sharrows leading up to this intersection. It is truly unfortunate that the bike lane will not be extended all the way to Roncesvalles. The planning document says something about insufficient road width. At least there will be a significant reconstruction of the Roncy/Queen/King intersection that will make things safer for pedestrians and cyclists that alight from the MGT by crossing the pedestrian/bike bridge across Lakeshore.

Here I am just before dropping off the supplies, which were accepted gratefully. They said I should have emailed ahead of time, but I think they took pity on me because I had obviously biked in.

Today I had to run an errand to U of T, which was a ghost town.

In the lineup at PAT Central Market on the way home.

Also went by No Frills, where I hit the toilet paper jackpot. Always good to have a pair bungee cords in your panniers, just in case.

Stay safe and sane, everyone.

plot of log(cases per capita) for selected countries.

I don’t see any clear indication of the flattening of the curve for either the US or Canada. It’s going to be a long haul.

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