Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Bike Infrastructure’ Category

The bike team had a little group ride this morning, on a planned 47 km route. They said that they would cruise at about 30 kph.  I thought I would tag along. Can’t say I wasn’t warned.

Here is the before picture.

IMG_6826

The ride went east from downtown, along the lakefront and the Beach, and then further out on Kingston Rd, down and up Brimley, and then back west, taking in some of the Don Valley. At least that was the plan, but I got a flat right at Corktown Commons, so I got dropped right away.

I decided then to ride up to the Danforth and run the latter part of the course in reverse until I caught the group again. A bonus feature of this plan was that I would not have to ride the Brimley Rd. segment down and up the bluffs. I finally caught the lead group on Danforth just north of St. Clair.IMG_6827

After heading west on Danforth, we turn north on Woodbine, and I get to see part of the northern section of the recently installed bike lanes, albeit at a faster pace than usual. You can see that I’m getting dropped between every set of stop lights.

IMG_6828

Eventually I rode the last half of the route on my own. Long story short, since I was so far behind, after descending into the Don Valley on Bayview, I decided to take a detour to check out some of the features of the recently reopened lower Don Trail. Coming up from the Bayview/Pottery Rd intersection, here are some P gates on either side of the rail crossing.

IMG_6829

Here is the new pedestrian/ cyclist bridge that parallels the concrete roadway bridge.

IMG_6830

From the pictures that I had seen, I was a bit confused about exactly where this bridge was. Here, looking north from the east end of the bridge, you seen that the Pottery Rd crossing to go further north on the trail remains the same, with two offset crossings and a lot of pavement markings.

IMG_6831

However, if you look south from the same point, you see the connection to the Lower Don Trail. It was at this point that I realized I had never ridden this section between Pottery Rd and the Gerrard St. bridge.

IMG_6832

These sculptures look like bits of stonework that had fallen off of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

IMG_6833

The close spacing of the way finding signs suggests that they are more for pedestrians than cyclists.

IMG_6834

Here is the revised Belleville underpass, compete with cyclists on mural (and regrettably some fairly fresh tags).

IMG_6835

The team made it back to the shop in drips and drabs and were soon back to work on their various projects.

IMG_6837

Here is some speed data from my phone.

speed

The three sections where I was going more than 30 kph correspond to:

  1. downtown before my flat
  2. riding with the fast group. The only reason I wasn’t dropped right away was all the stoplights on Danforth.
  3. descending into the valley on Bayview.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 9.05.57 PMSparked by some of the reaction to the recent bike count, I thought it would be fun to look at a particular time segment (8:40 am to 9 am on Tuesday) with peak bike traffic, and this time count the cars.

In this particular segment, there were 237 bikes east bound (in the above image, the east bound bikes are going from lower right to upper left). During the same 20 minutes, I counted 162 cars. At first glance, it doesn’t seem to make sense since it looks like there are more cars on the road than bikes. However, in this image there are five bikes leading up to Brunswick and only four cars, with the bikes taking up much less room. An earlier count by Bells on Bloor indicated that about 80% of the cars during rush hour are singly occupied. This means that more people are being moved through the intersection by bikes than cars.

Put another way, even if the bike lanes were to be removed, and then two lanes of car traffic in the rush hour direction restored, if we were to move twice as many cars in the 20 minutes (a very generous assumption since some traffic is delayed by cars turning, etc), this would still be less than the number of people moved by the cars plus bike lane combination.

More food for thought….

Read Full Post »

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 3.04.23 AMThe Bloor bike lane pilot project was installed last summer to some fanfare. This fall, City Council will consider whether or not to make them permanent. It has been stated from the beginning by the Mayor that the decision on whether to keep them will be data driven, and indeed there has been an unprecedented amount of study done on the bike lanes, including traffic counts, and various measures of economic impact. The first hurdle for the bike lanes is the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) meeting on October 18, and as that date approaches, both advocates and opponents of the bike lane are gearing up.

Yesterday’s CBC news had an article that mentioned some of the lobbying for and against. One of the issues that is always brought up is the question of how many cyclists are using the bike lane. Councillor Mammolitti was quoted as saying he wants a list of names of those riding in the lanes.

“I think that it’s the same people that just keep going in a circle just to be counted,” he said at the Sept. 19 public works meeting.

In addition, Denzil Minnan-Wong tweeted the following:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.25.22 PM

in response to an article in the Toronto Star that said that the Bloor bike lanes are increasing the number of cyclists.  Unfortunately, both Minnan-Wong and Mammolitti are on PWIC. (Correction: D M-W is no longer on PWIC, but one can anticipate that Stephen Holiday will vote the same way that D M-W would.)

The city has cited a number of 4500 cyclists a day using the bike lanes, whereas various counts done by citizen groups such as Bells on Bloor and Cycle Toronto have come up with higher numbers.

Over the last week, 20 Bells on Bloor volunteers analyzed a video record of cyclists on Bloor at about Brunswick Ave, and for the first time, a full 24 hour count was done over five consecutive weekdays.

The results are in and the data show that over 6000 cyclists use the Bloor Bike Lanes on weekdays. A slightly deeper dive into the data shows some interesting trends. Here is a chart of the hourly variation, averaged over the five days.

chart

You can see that at the peak periods, there are over 600 cyclists an hour that pass by this point. Additionally during the entire daylight period, the minimum number of cyclists is over 200 an hour.

As one of the volunteers in the video analysis, I was assigned 6 am to 10 am on one of the days, and I was amused to see myself pass by during my commute. ( I was running a bit late that morning).

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 1.18.06 PM

The other things I noticed during the four hours:

  • I saw 12 total cargo bikes or bikes with trailers (including myself) (out of about 1400 bikes)
  • I only saw 5 sidewalk cyclists. I don’t have any data on whether this is a decrease from before the bike lanes were installed, but the number was lower than I expected.

The complete press release is here

BellsonBloor Bike Count Media Release FINAL Sept 28, 2017

and here is a sample video segment.

Metro News Coverage

Update: a great piece on iBikeTO by fellow blogger Herb.

Read Full Post »

Today was a ceremony to mark the opening of the Woodbine bike lanes that run from O’Connor to almost Queen St. A large crowd gathered at Woodbine and Danforth.

DSC04797

Kids are decorating a “Bikes on Woodbine” sign.

DSC04781

Getting the bike lane has been a long slog lead by Councillors Mary Margaret McMahon and Janet Davis.

DSC04786

Smile for the camera.

DSC04792

MM shows off the golden scissors.

DSC04784

and the bike lanes are now officially open!

DSC04795

At this point, Councillor Davis lead a group ride north. I joined the southbound group with Councillor McMahon.

DSC04800

DSC04802

The steeper section just south of Danforth is protected in both directions by flexiposts.

DSC01646

Approaching the bus stop at Kingston Rd, the bike lane disappears. the Ward32 group from Cycle Toronto had an enthusiastic group of volunteers at this corner.

DSC01650

It reappears, but then suddenly disappears again as we approach Queen.

DSC01651

Bike shop Velotique had set up a booth at Queen St, and there were some costumed representatives from the Beach as well.

DSC01652

DSC01653

They were giving out small bike related items. I picked up a mini LED brake light. Review to follow at some point.  Good use of an orange Yuba.

DSC01654As I ride back north, I see a pulse of cyclists riding south in the curb lane.

DSC01655

I’m still close to Queen and there is no bike lane in the northbound direction either.

DSC01656

Here is where the southbound bike lane ends, at Dixon. Councillor McMahon told me that there will be shadows from this point to Queen, but that cyclists will be encouraged to turn onto the contraflow lane on Dixon, which will eventually provide a safe connection to the MGT. DSC01657

Sure enough, at about the same point, the bike lane suddenly reappears in the northbound direction as well.

DSC01658

Markings interrupted again by a bus stop.

DSC01659

This little girl is about to tackle the first of two climbs.

DSC01660

Several sections of the northbound lane are parking buffered. However, the buffer zone to prevent dooming from the left is very narrow.

DSC01661

Cycle Toronto had a booth set up at Gerrard, and I see that I have one more climb to go before Danforth.

DSC01662

Apologies to Councillor Davis, but I did not have time today to check out the northern section which has more retail along Woodbine.  I’ll come back to see it another time.

Cycling back towards downtown, I’m thinking that it would be great to have bike lanes in the east-west direction as well.

DSC01663

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

On August 2, the city announced a significant expansion of the Toronto bike share network, with 70 new stations and 700 new bikes funded by a combination of federal, provincial and municipal funds. What was even more exciting was that the network would be expanded outside the downtown core. The city provided a map where the new stations were shown in green.EXPANSION-MAP

You can see from the map that there is a significant expansion in the west end with several stations in Ward 13, along with many in the neighbouring Wards 14 and 18. Particularly notable was the expansion along the lakefront, even going a short distance into Etobicoke.

The announcement was made at Ubisoft, and these new stations were promised by the end of the month. Sure enough, a bike share station was installed today on Ward St at Wallace Ave, with place for 23 bikes taking up what was three spaces of reserved car parking.

IMG_6129

I also heard that a new station just went in at the entrance to High Park, and sure enough, here it is on the southeast corner of High Park Ave and Bloor.

IMG_6130

It’s too bad that there is not another planned in the park by the Grenadier Restaurant. It would seem that this would be an ideal way to get people into the park. The closest stations will be at Keele and Bloor, and along the lakefront.  Nevertheless, it is exciting to see bike share finally come into our ward.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

On a brief trip to Hamilton, I had a chance to try out the bike share system, which was run by Social Bicycles.  Hamilton Bike Share has several different rate plans. As a very occasional user, I am on the $4 per hour plan. I started at the Hamilton GO terminal.

IMG_6119

They had recently added some more bikes and stations to the system, and the new bikes in white were an upgrade from the originals, going from three to eight speeds. Naturally I picked out the white one from this rack. I had the Sobi bike sharing app on my phone, but it appeared that I still had to punch in my user number and PIN manually.

Fun fact: there was a period of time when you could pay a fee to have a custom name put on a bike. Another fun fact: you can use their website or phone app to search for a particular bike by name.

IMG_6098

Riding north on James St. S, I pass the former James St. Baptist church which appeared in the Handmaid’s Tale while it was in the process of being demolished. Facadism, anyone?IMG_6101

Downtown Hamilton traffic is a bit more low key than in Toronto 😉

IMG_6102

One of the things I wanted to check out was the bi directional bike lanes along Cannon that were put in as a three year pilot in 2014. Cannon St. is a high speed arterial in the north end of the city, with one way traffic flowing west. One lane was converted over to a bi directional bike lane. One of the best features of this bike lane is that it cuts across a significant part of the city; it is 6.3 km long, which is about the distance from Keele to Church along Bloor St.

IMG_6103

Riding east (against the car traffic direction), there are bike traffic lights at each major intersection.

IMG_6104

There are also chevrons across major intersections.

IMG_6107

The bike lanes themselves are protected by combination of bollards and rubber bumpers.

IMG_6106

Here I am at my destination.

IMG_6111

Why did I come to this particular station?  It was to take this picture.

IMG_6108

Comparing the old and new models, one major difference is that the new basket is a bit smaller, but is made up of plate with small holes, rather than the old design of tubes. As noted in this detailed blog post, this allows smaller items to be carried in the basket.

IMG_6112

A “be seen” headlight is integrated into the front of each basket.

IMG_6115

The bike named “Mika” was looking a little worse for wear since the last time I saw it, which was two years ago, but it still looked functional. You can see the U shaped lock sticking out to the right.

IMG_6114

This pictures show the ends of the “U”

IMG_6113

When you unlock a bike, you stow the “U” in the handy carrier.

IMG_6099

Riding back to the GO station, I note the green boxes that show where bikes are supposed to wait before crossing both lanes of bike traffic as well as Cannon St. The placement of this one seems a bit odd, but all of them are place as far as possible away from car traffic.

IMG_6117

At the end of the trip, the phone app shows the charge. The LCD screen showed it as well, but the display reset before I could take a photo.

IMG_6118

By all accounts, Hamilton Bike Share has been a raging success. Reviewing press on the Cannon St. bike lanes, I see articles both in support, and somewhat more mixed.   They were put in in the first place with significant local support. In addition to significant increases in ridership, some data shows improved car traffic flow. I’ll be watching to see if they are made permanent.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Tonight was the second in a series of evening concerts put on by the Bicycle Music Festival, leading up to their main event on September 10. Cycle Toronto organized a ride from downtown to Taylor Creek Park.

Here we are in Asquith Green Park, just a block north of Bloor and Church.  Sam gets us organized.

DSC01832

Here we go down Rosedale Valley Rd.

DSC01834

Now north on Bayview Ave. It’s nice to have that solid guard rail between us and traffic.

DSC01837

Tunnel of trees.

DSC01838

Waiting for the Go Train to pass.

DSC01840

A brief water break at “the elephants”.

DSC01843

Caitlin of the Bicycle Music Festival provided the tunes during our ride.

DSC01844

Keagan just after she called in to say that we were going to arrive a little late.

DSC01845

and we’re here. Volunteers from Arts in the Parks show us where to turn.

DSC01847

Tonight’s band was Yuka, who laid down smooth Motown style grooves. I really wished that we had been able to provide a bigger crowd, but my guess is that a lot of people were scared off by the weather forecast of possible afternoon thundershowers.

DSC01849

DSC01851

DSC01856

Power for the sound system provided by bike, naturally. Note that the Yuba Mundo ridden by Caitlin is being put to work.

DSC01850

Riders had to keep the generated voltage within a certain range, as shown by the small meter.

DSC01857

DSC01869

A big thanks to YUKA, the Bicycle Music Festival, Cycle Toronto, and Arts in the Parks.

The next Sunset Series bike ride / concert is on August 15, with another following on August 29. All the infomation is at the Bicycle Music Festival website.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »