Archive for the ‘Bike Infrastructure’ Category

Not sure why it takes so long to get even just paint down at an intersection, but they finally put markings across Lakeshore at Colborne Lodge to indicate the position of the northbound bikes only crossing on the east side of the intersection.

I noted that these markings are already causing some confusion. Just before I took this picture, there were some pedestrians that walked across south from the median as if this was a crosswalk. We’ve asked for a pedestrian crossing on the east side but we were told that it would require major reconstruction, and it would slightly delay southbound cars turning left onto Lakeshore (God forbid!)

Just as a reference, here is a picture from 2018.

I see that they have also put some markings near the median on the west side where the Jonas Mitchell ghost bike is. Not really sure what the painted buffer is for. It will confuse cars that make a U turn from eastbound to westbound at this point.

There’s also a bit of green paint on the northeast corner, and they have painted buffers on the bike lane under the bridge.

Yes I know that the bike light is red, but it turned just as I was taking the picture. As everyone knows, you are not given a huge amount of time to cross.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised in retrospect that it took so long to put down the paint since it took the city seven years to retime the bike light.

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With Lakeshore West once again open as part of ActiveTO, it was the perfect opportunity to take Lucy out on the Buddyrider for more than just a short test ride.

Cruising along Lakeshore.

Lucy notices the banner from the Biking Lawyer.

One new feature was “an escape lane” that allowed eastbound cars to go beyond Jameson through another route via the CNE grounds. As a result, they put in all of these extra barriers. Makes one think that it would be easy to put barriers all along Lakeshore West so that they could dedicate one traffic lanes to bikes every day (at least during the summer)

At any rate, I assume that it was pressure from the public that forced the city to reopen Lakeshore West as part of ActiveTO. The schedule for July has it open this weekend, closed next weekend due to work on the Gardiner, partially open from Jameson eastwards for the next two weekends, and the fully open again on July 31-August 1. Hopefully they will open it also in August.

I will note that it was surprisingly uncrowded at midday today (Saturday). Perhaps it is part of the city emptying out for the long weekend for those who can afford to go out of town.

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The city ran a public consultation on June 10 about the plans to bridge the gap in the Humber River Trail north of Lawrence. As an update to my previous post, I have a few notes on what happened at the meeting.

Firstly, just a reminder that the slides that were presented are still available here, and there is still the opportunity to provide written input until June 21.

The overview of the three alternatives:

All but one of the public comments strongly favoured Option 1A, which was the only alignment that did not climb out of the valley and back down.

The only person that spoke against 1A was the superintendent of the Weston Golf and Country Club, which is the golf course on the West Bank where part of the trail would run. He made the following points.

  • Current land use has been over 100 years.
  • Path is within 3m of the green?
  • Analysis of safety only talks about traffic, and doesn’t take into account golf balls striking people.
  • Habitat impact along the bank
  • Serious flooding in that location
  • Vandalism having occurred to the course, even in the presence of existing barrier fencing.

Several questioners asked city staff directly if the golf course would be in the position to block option 1A. The only answer given was that negotiations were underway.

A few notes on option 2a:

  • Starting from south to north, this option has a ramp that brings the trail up to road level south of the tracks.
  • It then has a bidirectional bike lane plus sidewalk
  • North of the tracks it goes back down into the valley where there is a walkway built along the east bank.
  • It was noted that the ground on the east bank is rather unstable.
  • I raised a question about the narrow width of the walkway shown in the diagram, saying that it looked similar in width to the bridge across the Humber under Dundas St W. This would imply that cyclists would have to walk their bikes along this path. They responded that the rendering was generic and perhaps copied from another project, and that the path would have sufficient width.
  • It was noted that the construction costs of 2A was estimated to be higher than that for option 1A.

A few notes of option 3A:

  • This configuration has a bidirectional cycle track adjacent to the sidewalk on the west side of Weston Rd, north of the bridge.
  • Under the bridge is a pinch point, and so there is only enough width to have a multi use trail at this point: i.e. pedestrians and cyclists would mix. This would result in more pictures like this picture taken just north of the bridge:

Despite issues having to do with the golf course, there was strong support for option 1A. Once again, you have the opportunity to provide further feedback to the city before June 21, using this form.

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An eleven year old boy was struck and killed yesterday while riding his bike near the on ramp from northbound Warden to eastbound 407. After a quick consultation among the usual suspects, a snap decision was made to install a ghost bike in his memory today.

We meet up in Milliken Mills Park, which is close to the crash site.

Heading west on 14th Ave towards Warden.

You get a sense of how dangerous it is to bike on Warden in the vicinity of the 407.

We are at the crash site. We are met by Peter, a local cyclist.

Keenan assembles the ghost bike.

Locking it up.

The bike after decorations. You can see the on ramp in the background. While we were there we saw someone on a mobility scooter cross the onramp. It was hair raising watching this in the midst of approaching high speed traffic.

A picture of all in attendance.

Deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim. Thanks to Keenan for providing the ghost bike.

On the ride back downtown, Joey and I pass the ghost bike for Edouard Le Blanc on the Gatineau Hydro Corridor. We assume he is happy in heaven with how the Habs are doing.

Riding along the Danforth with the CafeTO installations. Note that there are spots where umbrellas intrude on the bike lane right at head height. On the plus side, the chicanes to accommodate the on the road seating seem less abrupt than last year.

A peek at the bike lanes on Bloor between Sherbourne and Avenue which were recently reconfigured to place the bike lane adjacent to the curb.

The section west of Bay has planters now interspersed with curbs which is a definite improvement. What was crazy was the number of people lined up to get into various shops.

Ride safe, everyone!

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A section of the Allen expressway between Eglinton and Lawrence was closed today as part of ActiveTO. The occasion was to mark the 50th anniversary of the cancelling of the Spadina Expressway that would have extended further south past Eglinton down the Cedarvale Ravine, and would have also obliterated a large part of the Annex Neighbourhood (where Jane Jacobs lived).

The only entrance to the closure area was just east of the Allen on the south side of Lawrence. Although everything I heard was that this was a one time only event, in case they do it again, if you are approaching from the south, you should bike up Shermount from the belt line and then turn left on the last street before Lawrence. There is a pathway at the end of the street that takes you right to the entrance of the closure. Marlee Ave is not a good alternative since it had much more traffic than usual, probably due to the closure.

Heading south towards Glencairn.

Nice to see Keagan (executive director of CycleTO), Sam and their daughter.

The south end of the closure. People were taking full advantage of the shade provided by the many overpasses.

Racing the subway back north.

Approaching the north end.

CycleTO had a tent set up under the northernmost bridge.

There were also plenty of these “slow down” signs on Shermount, but signs do nothing. Shermount is a straight, wide street, and if the city wanted cars to slow down, they would actually change the configuration with traffic calming measures like features to narrow the roadway. Wait a minute: what about a protected bike lane?

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As many cyclists know there is a gap in the Humber river trail in Weston between roughly north of Lawrence to Cardell Ave. Many cyclists use the sidewalk along Weston Rd, but this can lead to crowding and unsafe conditions, particularly under the railway bridge. I took these photos last week while southbound on Weston. No other cyclists joined me on the roadway behind the bus.

Furthermore, I found descending the stairs at Mallaby Park really unpleasant and crowded.

The city is in the middle of a study to see how to close this gap. There will be a public consultation on June 10 to discuss which of three alternatives are preferred. Please register for this meeting, or submit your feedback to the city before June 21, 2021.

There are three alternatives on the table.

Option 1A provides the safest route for both pedestrians and cyclists, and it is the only one that stays in the river valley. However it involves two bridges and intrudes on a private golf course.

Here is a picture of the West Bank of the Humber by the railway bridge on the golf course lands. Seems like there would be plenty of room for a path, don’t you think?

Option 2A has a cantilevered walkway on the east side of the river up until the railway, and then crosses under the rail bridge and connects further south.

Option 3 seems like a bad joke. It runs along Weston Rd and has some improvements for pedestrians but does very little for cyclists.

The timeline for the study shows that whatever is done isn’t going to happen until well after 2022.

So what is one to do in the meantime?

Here is a route that I learned from the Toronto Bicycling Network. On paper, it goes like this: south of Lawrence, get on Hickory Tree, then Little Ave. Turn left on Weston and then immediately right on King. Left on Rosemount to Queenslea, to Yelland and Oak. Then there is a trick, so it is better to show you pictures.

Leave the Humber Trail just past the tennis courts south of Lawrence.

Cross Lawrence at Little Ave.

Little curves right to meet Weston. You will turn left here at the light but immediately right again on King.

Follow the route as described above to Oak. (King->L on Rosemount->L on Queenslea->Yelland->L on Oak. Here is a map.

Here is the trick: on Oak, you turn right at the light (Knob Hill) before you reach Weston, into the driveway for a shopping centre.

Take the first left into the parking lot.

Immediately turn right into the parking garage.

Turn left in the parking garage just past that speed bump.

Like magic, the garage exits at a light that will take you across Weston to Cardell Ave, where you can rejoin the Humber River Trail.

Southbound, you can reverse these directions.

I’ve found that even in pre-pandemic times, this route feels much safer than going along Weston Rd. YMMV.

In any case, ride safe everyone!

Also, make sure you express your opinion on what the city should do in the long run to close this gap.

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Back in mid May, a fellow named Stephen posted a nice route on Facebook from downtown to Kleinburg that wended its way along the William Granger Greenway through both the Boyd Conservation Area and the Kortright Centre for Conservation.

His route took a faster route home along Islington. I decided to modify the route slightly so that once you crossed the 407, you joined the Humber River trail on the return leg. My version starts from Runnymede and Annette and is about 67 km round trip.

Islington is a good choice to cross the 407 since it is just a bridge with no interchange. If you pick a day and time when the traffic is not too bad, Islington is OK for biking.

Once you reach Langstaff, there is a MUP on the east side that you can use to the park entrance.

Here’s the entrance to Boyd Conservation Area.

I was not excited to see the entrance fee. However, if you bike in, it is free!

Pavement gives way to gravel.

Winding through the woods.

The trail has ups and downs, with some of the steeper sections being paved (one presumes to avoid erosion). After one of the steeper gravel climbs, you are rewarded with this view. It being a weekend, the trail was pretty busy.

More scenery. This is actually the Humber River Trail at this point.

Exiting the trail at the north end, I see signage that the trail is closed at Major Mac. The fencing was down and plenty of people were walking through, but I do not know if that was just because this was a weekend.

Looking 180° from the previous photo, you can see that we are back in civilization with the fight for parking.

At the park entrance. At this point, you are about a five minute bike ride from downtown Kleinburg.

Coming south out of Kleinburg, there is a MUP along Islington.

The route jogs one block over to Clarence St which has much less traffic.

This lasts until Woodbridge at which point you have to bike along Islington again to cross the 407.

Lots of wildflowers along the Humber River Trail.

My route takes a bit of a detour on the northbound leg in order to bridge the gap in the Humber River Trail. However, when I returned south, I went along Weston Rd. The city really needs to close this gap as you can see that many people use the sidewalk along this section.

Thanks to Stephen for posting the original version of the route. It was nice way to get up to Kleinberg, with some gravel riding thrown in for good measure. There were a few sections where there was loose gravel due to trail maintenance, but I saw plenty of people on hybrid bikes on the trail. Road bikes with skinny tires would struggle a bit.

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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.

July 2021 update: enough riders have been passing through so that there is now a smooth path through what used to be the roughest gravel section.

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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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