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Good friend Tim Potter (Sustainable transportation manager for Michigan State University Bikes) dropped by this weekend, and of course he wanted to check out some of the bike infrastructure since it had been at least four years since he and I had ridden around town.

Here is my really bad picture of Tim…

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and from his much better picture, you can see that we are checking out the Bloor bike lane. (all photos with me in it are by Tim, except where noted)

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Next stop, dropping by the bike team to see what is going on. Here Tim poses by Eta Prime.

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Bruce and Calvin were working on the plug for Arbiter.

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I’m posing beside this year’s WHPSC poster.

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Tim was riding the Brompton that day.

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Overall, it was nice to ride around with someone who was appreciative of the improvements in bike infrastructure in the downtown area.

Here we are back at home, with matching N+1 shirts. Get yours here. (photo  M Koga)

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His daughter designed this shirt, which is available on Amazon.

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Note that the shirt means different things to different people:

  • from the viewpoint of a Michigander, if you are cycling on the road, more often than not drivers will yell at you to “get on the sidewalk”.
  • from my viewpoint in Toronto, is says that we shouldn’t be cycling on the sidewalk.

And then it was time for beer, this particular example from Henderson’s Brewing.

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The next day, Tim checks out Hoopdriver Bicycles (unfortunately closed on a Sunday morning).

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Since there was snow in the forecast, and I just happened to have an excellent bike mechanic as a guest….

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Tim is impressed that the Haul a Day can stand on end.

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Tim shows me his patented method of mounting tires.

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To cap the day off, I had a chance to tag along with Tim to meet Chris Phelan, Executive director of the Ride of Silence. (Photo H Potter).

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I was honoured to fill him in on some of the things that have been happening in Toronto, particularly with regards to the collaborations with organizations like Friends and Families for Safe Streets, and the united push for VRU legislation.

 

 

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Cycle TO put out the word last night that the Bloor bike lanes were likely to be voted on today. I was able to attend the City Council meeting from after the lunch break, at 2 pm.

You can get a feel of what happened in the morning from Star transportation reporter Ben Spurr’s excellent twitter feed. (In fact if you just read his feed for the day, you’ll probably get a more coherent impression of the whole session than what I can provide from my sketchy notes to follow.)

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Cycle Toronto was well represented.

DSC01845The afternoon session started with quick consideration of some member motions.

MM34: TO as a nuclear free zone. Somewhat bizarrely, four councillors voted against this: Mammolitti, Colle, Burnside and Campbell.

After a few more quick motions, council returned to the discussion of the Bloor bike lanes.

Pasternak: has all the 800K allocated been spent? What is the incremental cost of making them permanent?

Jacquelyn Hayward-Gulati (JG): it depends on the nature of permanent features. Majority to be done as part of scheduled 2019 capital improvements.

Pasternak: How can we make bike funding to be more equitable.

JG: expanding to suburbs is a priority, but projects needed to be at a certain stage in order for the money to flow to it.

Shelley Carroll: clarified that the data was studied comprehensively. “We want to make sure that if we make a bike lane on a major arterial, that this would not justify removal of other bike lanes.”

Janet Davis: questions about the Danforth bike lane: original recommendation was to proceed with the major corridor study of the Danforth bike lane.  Should have taken place 2017-2019?

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JG: council made some changes in the plan.

JD: Danforth was removed from the major corridor studies

JG: only those studies that were under way went ahead and the others were deferred, not just Danforth

JD: can bike lanes be recommended in the context of the avenue study that is currently underway rather than waiting for a major corridor study?

JG: Recommendation could come back in spring 2018, prior to a major corridor study.?

Mammolitti:

Can this decision be reversed at any point in time? (Others mutter about Jarvis)

How much money would be spending if this was approved now until the next election?

Barbara Grey (BG): no addition money will be spent before the election, if there is no removal of the bike lanes.

GM: what about winter months?

BG: we didn’t do counts in winter on Bloor.

JG: council commended timing of Bloor study.

GM: talking about wanting the video. making the claim once again that counts were inflated by the same cyclists going in a circle, “just as their wheels do.”

Cut off by speaker

MMM: on to some serious questions, logical questions,

Do different jurisdictions use major corridor studies?

JG: provincial requirements for environment studies have changed.

MMM: no longer have to do EA?

JG: depends on the nature of the project. In this case, the corridor study was sufficient.

Jaye Robinson: raises the concern to the City manager: in her opinion, the two bodies that conducted the study were known to be biased towards bike lanes

Moneris: only deals with big retailers, not mom and pop shops

BG: Moneris has largest share of POS in Canada. 1/3 of businesses uses it along Bloor.

JR: some questions about sales levels. 70 businesses are against, and they pointed out: no surveys in Chinese, Arabic or Persian. Just English and some Korean.

JR: some polling was done, responses not all by owners.

JG: city made best efforts. TCAT, up to four attempts per business door to door.

JR: told yesterday that in the past few weeks: ridership has dropped by half according to business.

JG:  cyclist count at Bloor & Castle Frank 22% of summer volume during winter, somewhat larger fraction on Sherbourne.

JR: near miss collisions: near misses between cyclists and pedestrians.

JG: overall number went down, but that particular category went up.

JG: plans for accessible loading spaces. Will work further with the community to determine improvements.

J Mihevic: Asked some questions that reinforced validity of study

DMW: Are you attributing the spending increase (by customers of Bloor businesses to this project?

JG: there are many factors that can affect sales.

DMW: are you saying that the bike lanes didn’t affect business

JG: we saw some go up , some go down

DMW: so you are just putting this data out there, but it doesn’t mean anything. And are you aware that Moneris says that Moneris spending is going up 36% over the past 12 months.

BG: survey and Moneris data: bike lanes did not have a signficant impact.

DMW: 2/3 do not use Moneris:  these are the businesses that lost business.

DMW: wintertime: 75% fewer cyclists in winter, and more cars on the roads if the weather is cold.

JG: benefits of safety, and even with a 70% reduction, Bloor would be in the top ten of cyclist facilities in the city.

Fletcher: we don;’t have the money to initiate the Danforth Major corridor student right now?

JG: given the workplan, there is not enough staff for it to begin before the 2 year review of the 10 year cyclist plan (2019)  There is an early stage plan for Danforth. Coxwell to Victoria Park is Phase 1. Phase 2 is Coxwell to Broadview.

Stephen Holyday: What is the bike speed limit on MGT?

BG: 20 kph

SH: can we make the same cycling speed limit on Bloor?

BG: bike lanes subject to speed limit of roadway, can deal with speed through design, cites Roncy, and Wellesley

SH: Would you Call this pilot a success?

BG: yes

SH four criteria: pass on safety: 3% cyclists increase, is that a success? Would one additional cyclist would be a success?

BG: trend is increasing,

SH: car counts decreased. Is that a success?

BG: perception of safety

SH: delays times a success?

BG: in the context of the study

SH: parking is now maxed out. Is that a success?

SH: business owners: would you say given the concerns about not polling cash receipts, is this a success for business?

BG: heard both positive and negative at PWIC.  this is the most extensively studied bike lane.

Karygiannis: how many businesses were spoken to? What is this going to cost to maintain annually? Special snow clearance?

JG: 95K annual, incorporated into snow clearance

Cressy: Is this the most comphrensively studied transportation project. Did the bike lane improve safety? Should we make this bike lanes permanent?

Now: speakers:

Cressy: thanking transportation services staff, residents, Cycle Toronto and Bells on Bloor. Working for 40 years on this.

“Bike lanes on Bloor should be here to stay” “Bike lanes in our city should not be divisive” We can make improvements in pedestrian safety, accessibility, etc when we make the bike lanes permanent. “Now is the time to make these lanes permanent”

JR: I want to some of the issues that I raised at PWIC: “ I feel strongly that the process is as important as the outcome”. Study was not independent. Moneris data biased towards big retailers.

MOTION: consult with ABBA on changes to the cycle track design in 2018, in advance of the 2019 redesign.

Wong Tam:

Thanking staff. Council has made much bigger decisions with much less information (allude to subway and Gardiner extension rebuild) 10 years ago, people had a different opinion on bike lanes, 10 years from now they will have a different opinion. Some asking for more data, more information, suggest to defeat all these other motions. We don’t need more data. “The modal shift is coming” Later on: we will be discussing the need for information on the Scarborough subway. How can you vote for more info on one and none on the other. Pushing for Danforth bike lane.

Mike Ford:

MOTION: move to refer back to transportation manager for detailed cost analysis and a winter bike count, and to report back by first quarter 2018.

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“ I do support cycling infrastructure, BUT I support cycling infrastructure that makes sense for my residents.” Concerned that there is not info on Gardiner extension and the subway as well.

Voting on referral motion:

DEFEATED 9-30

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Mammolitti: MOTION: no additional funding for Bloor bike lane until after next election

Businesses on Bloor are being intimidated. Where are the cyclists coming from?  We are being denied that video. “This doesn’t end here, folks”. “Bike lanes do not to be on our streets.”

John Campbell: MOTION: more information from businesses needed, reporting back to PWIC 4th quarter 2018.

“When you look at the numbers, there’s no change in cycling” Why am I supporting the bike lanes: I rode Bloor before and after, and it was much safer.

Chin Lee: the request of consulting with business is already in the original recommendation.

Norm Kelly: talking about the city of the future.

Shelly Carroll: will support the staff recommendations, and not the requests for more information.

Councillor Shan: We all share the streets. “Support for bike lanes should not be misconstrued as a war on the car”

Karygiannis: did not get clear answers.  “Let’s give it another year” “Thank you staff, but your figures are not always right”

S Holiday: MOTION: safe bike speed limit and/of bike speed calming measures along the Bloor Street West cycle tracks.

Presents a report card on the Bloor lanes.

DeBaeremaeker: “(the bike lanes) They work for everybody”. “Safety and peoples lives are first and foremost”

Davis:

Virtually everyone supported the bike lanes at PWIC. Talks about how the bike lane on Dundas E have not killed business. “What we need to do is to complete this network all the way to Scarborough”

Mihevic:

Points out that there is a shift taking place in mobility downtown.  We need the suburban councillors to recognize this.

DiGiorgio:

As the number of cyclists increase, they will need passing lanes, we need will need more showers.  The cost of sharing space on the roads. We need user fees for cyclists.

DMW: “I am not supporting the bike lanes. These bike lanes as a manifestation of taking a step back” “this city is drowning in congestion, and what are we doing, we are taking it worse”.  Says he put in bike lanes that work while on PWIC “We put them in Richmond and Adelaide”. 900% increase in cycling. 700% increase on Richmond. Put bike lanes on secondary streets, not on Bloor.

Perrruza “left safer driving on Bloor with the bike lanes” Heard everything at PWIC.

Bailao: in the near futures, how are an additional 450K people going to move around the city. “Just one more way of getting around.”

Perks: Three things

  • Peer reviewed economic data
  • Report card: the scores are not equally important. Cites two deaths in his ward this year (Morgan and Delos Santos
  • Council asked for data, they got it, The time for asking for more studies is gone.

Mary Margaret McMahon: simply howing pictures of cyclists killed in 2017. “Providing safe cycling infrastructure is the difference between life and death”

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Layton: talking about safety.  “This community needs this bike lane” “Let’s show the world that Toronto is ready” Shows the page of the proposal to Amazon that shows the Bloor bike lanes.

Fletcher: “bikes are here to stay” Cites doctors for safe cycling, and FFSS. Disappointed that Danforth corridor study was delayed. “Bike lanes and roads go together”

Mayor Tory is the last speaker.

“We are not talking about a revolutionary change here.  It is an incremental change”. We are moving forward with a public consensus.

His favourite phrase is “Responsible balanced incremental change.”

Our aspirations are not those of a timid city, it is an ambitious city.  I believe this is the direction that the people want us to move in a responsible balanced incremental way.

There was a subtext to his remarks that we have studied this to death, and we need to get on with it, and one feels the same way about the Scarborough subway. Perhaps he figures that throwing the left a bone will ease passage of the 3.3 B subway extension.

Motion 1: Jaye Robinson (about consulting with ABBA)

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Carries narrowly (23-19). This motion is mostly harmless as a similar amendment was made at PWIC.

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Mammolitti motion on no more funding before next election:

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Defeated 5-37

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Campbell motion: more information from businesses needed, reporting back to PWIC 4th quarter 2018.

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Does not pass

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Hoyiday motion: bike speed limits.

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No 11-31

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Item as amended, i.e the staff recommendation that the Bloor bike lanes be made permanent.:

Passes, Good Perks voted no by mistake, so there was moment of hilarity followed by a revote. Final tally 36-6 in favour.

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Albert and Hamish looking elated immediately after the vote.

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Layton and Cressy facing a scrum of reporters.

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It was noted prior to the vote by several councillors that opponents pressed for more data, in spite of the extensive studies commissioned by the city. On the other hand, many of the same people will probably vote later this council meeting to press ahead with the one step Scarborough subway extension without considering additional information.

 

Many of us gathered afterwards at the Crafty Coyote, along the Bloor bike lane, naturally.

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Riding home, it’s good to feel that these lanes won’t go away.

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I wondered if my fellow cyclists were aware of what just happened, or if they have already taken the lanes for granted. The fact that they end at Shaw shows that we have more work to do, but for the moment, it has been a good day for bike advocacy in Toronto.

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A summary was crossposted to bellsonbloor.org, with links to media coverage, and video of the final vote.

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This evening there was another vigil for victims of road violence, also marking the first anniversary of the founding of Friends and Families for Safe Streets, an advocacy and support group.

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As per usual, the gathering was at the Peace Garden in Nathan Phillips Square. Here, people are setting up 53 silhouettes representing road victims thus far in 2017 (sadly this number was one too few at this point).

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David Stark, one of the founding members of FFSS, was one of the first speakers. Heartbreaking to see him hugging a silhouette. His wife Erica was killed by a car while walking on the sidewalk.

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There was a succession of speakers. I’m sorry that I didn’t catch the names.

 

 

Cycle Toronto providing a little respite from some drizzle.

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Luke Simcoe also spoke. He was the author of a series of articles about Toronto’s deadly streets.

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Kasia Samson-Briegmann, Tom Samson‘s widow, also spoke about several things, such as the local media now avoiding the term “accident” and replacing it with “collision”, as well as the prospects for vulnerable road user legislation.

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Finally, anyone who was affected by road violence was invited to speak.

Remembering Debbie Graves, struck and killed October 4.

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Gary Sim‘s daughter.

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Xavier Morgan‘s grandparents. His grandfather said that Toronto traffic “just needs to slow down”.

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A record turnout, despite the threat of rain.

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A group of powerful women all advocating for safer streets.

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Left to right, Counsellor McMahon, MPP Eleanor McMahon (founder of Share the Road Coalition), Counsellor Wong-Tam, Nancy Lea Smith (director of TCAT) (I’m sorry but I didn’t know the fifth person).

Cycle Toronto folks packing up the silhouettes. I was told that there was a frantic painting session last night. Also I met the artist who did all the cutouts with a jigsaw, but I regret I didn’t get her name. (Update: she is Gabrielle Thompson. She works with Pat Brown at McLeish Orlando.)

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After the gathering, there was a wake at a nearby bar. Mayor Tory was good enough to show up.

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I was lucky enough to talk to both him and Counsellor McMahon about my impressions of PWIC last week.

Slowly, the city and province seem to be moving in the right direction. Better infrastructure for both pedestrians and cyclists, as well as VRU legislation, are both important steps if we are going to be serious about Vision Zero.

Passing by the Gord Downie sing a long afterwards.

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and a peaceful ride home along Bloor.

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Regrettably, many of the same people will be out tomorrow night for a memorial ride.  Signing off for now.

Update: CBC coverage.

 

 

 

 

 

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Today was the day when the Bloor bike lane pilot was voted on by PWIC. It was a very long day, with the bike lanes as the last item (#9) on the agenda. What follows is some fragmentary notes from the day, since I don’t have the energy for a full write up. Crummy camera shots supplemented by screen shots from the City of Toronto video record. Much of the speakers quotes are paraphrased, except those in quotes that are as accurate as I can remember.

Here is the stack of correspondence for the meeting, mainly about item #9.

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and here is the speaker list for item 9:

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Mayor Tory comes and sits in for a few minutes to get quorum until Giorgio Mammolitti (GM) arrives.

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Mammolitti wants to amend motion to limit speaker time on item #9 to 3 minutes and to limit questions from councillors to 3 minutes.  Carries.

Councillor Anthony Peruzza (AP) is absent. (He was a potential yes).

During discussion of one of the earlier items about freight movement in the city, GM is convinced that the report is a trojan horse to introduce tricycle cargo bikes into the city. He imagines a “third world” dystopia where fridges and mattresses are delivered by cargo bike.

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Some of the usual suspects nod off during another of his rants, this one about “pandas that can rip your arm off”.

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I spot a block of potential speakers that will oppose the bike lanes, near the end of the list.

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All the other items were finished before the lunch break.

After lunch: here we go.

First deputants: bring out the school kids so that they can go back to school after they speak.

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GM wants to license cyclists so that they can pay for the bike lane.

Doctors for safe cycling: 3 MD’s make a joint presentation. They also sent a letter signed by 200 MD’s to Mayor and PWIC.

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“Lack of bicycle infrastructure has a real human cost”

Jillian Baker: pediatrician with young kids that she didn’t allow to bike on Bloor until the bike lane went in. Here she is facing a slide of her riding a bike.

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When I drive, I want fewer cars on the road. When I bike, I want fewer cars on the road”

Layton makes the point that driver’s licences don’t pay for roads, property taxes do.

Mammolitti: bikes and cars shouldn’t share the roads. Nobody wants to pay for bike infrastructure.

Kristine Hubbard, Operations Manager, Beck Taxi:

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Surprise: she is not against bike lanes. “We need to see people share the roads in a safe way”. Bike lanes also make drivers more confident because they know where the bikes are.   On the other hand she is against UBER: “If we are talking about risk mitigation, what about 50,000 untrained drivers on our streets?”

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment: “These bike lanes are a public health priority”

GM: what about the air pollution from cars stuck in traffic along Bloor

Kasia Briegmann-Samson, Friends and Families for Safe Streets (FFSS):

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“ It infuriates me when discussions about safety digress to parking spaces and traffic delays.”  “With all due respect, councillors, keep your condolences and build safe streets.”

Kyle Ashley: (traffic policeman who has been detailed to ticket cars parked in bike lanes)

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We are people, people who bike, people who drive.  Vision zero requires more than zero vision. “Public safety is not political”.

GM: “The mayor is pushing this without proper dialogue”.  “The majority of Torontonians do not want these bike lanes”.

Albert Koehl:

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“Safety has to be a priority, not something to be balanced against parking or business”

GM: “will you provide me with your video”. AK; you are welcome to it. JR: I felt there are gaps in the report. I asked for a supplemental report.

Robert Zaichkowski:

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“You can’t claim to support Vision Zero if you take out the Bloor bike lanes”

GM: “Are you happy that we are going to convert Bloor St into a much more run down atmosphere?”

2:45 pm: Councillor Perruzza arrives

GM: “ I don’t believe the numbers in this report, not for a second”

John Leeson:

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“instead of my deputation, I would like to use the next minute to remember the cyclist who was killed this morning.”

Gideon Formann: David Suzuki Foundation:

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Angus Red Forum poll: Across the city, almost 70% of Torontonians want the Bloor bike lanes to stay. “The bike lanes on BLoor are a unifying force for our city”

SH: is trying to get an answer about numerical thresholds of various measures to rule that the bike lanes are a success.

Jennifer Klein: Mirvish Village BIA supports the bike lanes “We need to have a street design that accommodates the maximum number of users, cars, pedestrians and cyclists, not just as a thouroughfare for cars.”

JC: how many businesses in the BIA  “Over 300”

Robert Shenton

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43% of ON budget, and of that 46% on seniors on healthcare.  Cycling improves health. “People like me are also the most vulnerable cyclists on the road. You build the safe infrastructure, and we’ll do our bit by staying healthy by biking.”

Brian Burchell  Bloor Annex BIA:

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“We approached the pilot cautiously.” The Annex BIA voted overwhelmingly to affirm the TCAT report. “We shaped the questions, and are confident of the study’s integrity’.

JC: why did the BIA endorse the pilot. “Because we believe in the results of the TCAT result, which we commissioned”.

“One challenge we have yet to overcome is the safety issue of cars turning right from Bloor. The bike lanes make difficult sight lines.”

JR: many businesses have said that the lanes have had negative impact.

BB: wanted to take the emotion out of the study.  On consultation We did an email blast to all businesses that we had email addresses: 30 day comment period. Seven responses.

JR: would it have been better to have independent bodies to conduct the study.

BB: we did some checks and balances to make sure the study was not biased.

GM: we are headed towards passing this thing and then going back to fix those issues. You don’t pass something and then try to fix it.

SH: what do you say to the east and west of you?  Would you advocate to the other BIA’s to do this. What if delays are compounded by extension?

BB: our business is to take care of our businesses in our area. We are not concerned about drive thru traffic.

Palmerston Residents Association (PARA):

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Makes the point of anticipating massive densification in the area. This will radically change the use of Bloor St.  “We simply have to accept that with the intensification mandated by the city, the only way that we can continue to survive is to encourage more cyclist and pedestrian traffic.”

GM: I keep hearing lots of opposition from phone calls.

GM: why didn’t we do the study in the winter?

Ila Bossons:  former head of PWIC: 80 years old.

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Bloor St moves quite well by car.  “Anyone who commutes long distances along Bloor by car is an utter total fool.” “What you are doing here is something that has been done for 50 years in my home country of Germany”.

GM: “ I am the only person on this committee who has had the privilege of working with you, and I decline to get in a debate with you”

Alan Wayne Scott (who gave a deputation despite great difficulty speaking due to cancer surgery.

‘what you should be discussing is how far we should be extending the bike lanes”. Rips up the certification of congratulations from Mel Lastman”. “It’s not worth the paper it is written on.  Do your work!”

ABBA: Barry Alper,  Michel Sauve, Miranda Black, (but seven people registered)

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“We are cyclists, and supporters of bike lanes”

“Safety of cyclists is paramount”

HOWEVER:

Insufficient time and resources devoted.

We suggest:

  • Different voices must be heard
  • Re design bike lanes
  • What can be done to improve them?
  • Please, let’s learn from other cities and neighbourhoods.
  • “The middle path”
  • Data
    • Business are down
    • Survey did not ask the right questions
    • BIA commissioned study from TCAT
    • We did our own survey
      • 70% of businesses
      • Loss of jobs outnumber new hires by 6 to 1
    • Moneris is only one of four credit card processors
    • Did the city ask about cash deposits?
  • Safety
    • Dooring is now possible from the passenger side
    • No one asked about comparative safety with other bike lanes like Harbord
    • Issues of lack of curbside access
  • Traffic flow
    • what are the hours of peak travel
    • Why no winter numbers?
    • Traffic flow by the hour data
  • Design
    • Montreal has summer and winter lanes
    • Bike lane design copied from Richmond or Adelaide.
  • Is business down enough to remove the bike lanes? No but we should do things to mitigate business losses

We would told this was a pilot. Finding a solution that reduces tension, increases understanding and moves us forward.

  • Hammering on accessibility and lack of curbside access.
  • Summer
    • On peak: remove all parking, HOV lanes for bikes
    • Off peak: restore all curbside access
  • Winter: remove bike lanes.

Provided staff with these plans yesterday.

Petition submitted to BIA to get an independent study.  They were not allowed to do so.

GM: just fishing for information to counter the bike lanes.

AP: is it true that you can say business is not necessarily down because of the bike lanes?

AP: I hear your design ideas, but I suspect from the safety persecutive, it would be better to keep the infrastructure the same all the time.

Stephen Holiday (SH): How can we gather the data independently.  Also people’s feelings important?

Jaye Robinson (JR): critical of some aspects of the survey. Also several of the bodies that did the study spoke out in favour of the bike lanes before the studies were launched.

Heather Kelly: Bloor Street Culture Corridor:

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continued support for bike lanes.

  • Some incremental changes might be required, but the bike lanes need to be made permanent
  • supporters include attendees and employees, feeling safer.

Jared Kolb is the last speaker. Here he is facing the committee.

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Now time for councillors to question staff:

GM: arguing about the request for raw video data with JHG

JHG: it was against the terms of FIPPA to release raw video.  1000’s of hours of video

GM: can I get a scrubbed version of the video if you are directed to do so by city council.

If so directed, we can get an estimate of cost and time to do so.

JHG: improvements can include green paint, and more fulsome improvements can be done at a time when further capital improvements along the corridor are made.

Speeches:

Joe Cressy: Bike lanes on Bloor are here to stay, so let’s make it so.

Janet Davis: also speaking strongly in favour. “The degree of distrust of staff was verging on harassment”. Also disappointed that there isn’t an immediate corridor study for Danforth is in the cards.

Chin Lee:

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Moves staff recommendation. (Anticipates amendments)

“We have to do the right thing, and the right thing is to make it permanent.” His own children are asking for a safe way to bike all the way downtown safely.

Steven Holyday:

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Motion to remove bike lanes, second motion to consult with ABBA and to do more polling of merchants.

From the very beginning of the process “Nobody wanted to admit what success looks like”

GM: two motions:

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  • One to conduct a poll
  • Request for video footage to be distributed to every councillor

What is the motive for the Mayor to be pushing this through as fast as possible? “ I don’t have to believe staff.”

He loudly states (as he did several times during the session) that he looks forward to being part of the next administration so that he can strip out the bike lane and generally fix the mess that is downtown.

Anthony Peruzza:

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Will support recommendation. Talked about driving along Bloor, and to see that it hasn’t fallen apart.

Crstin Carmichael Greb:

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Received numerous emails in support of bike lanes. “I wholeheartedly support the bike lanes on Bloor.”

Jaye Robinson:

“I just don’t thing we have this right at this stage”

Some confusion about the wording of her six motions.

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Several motions

  • Work with local businesses to mitigate concerns
  • Several different design improvements split in two motions
  • Collect year round data along Bloor. Permanent data collection
  • Mitigate bike/pedestrian conflicts
  • City council should support and promote local businesses along Bloor St.

Will support motion with these amendments.

So we have three yes votes, and it remains to be seen what happens with amendments.

SH motion to remove bike lanes:

2 for, 4 against: FAILS

SH motion to consult with ABBA

3 for, 3 against. FAILS

GM: request for video footage.

2 for, 4 against. FAILS

JR #4 (year round bike count)

5 for, 1 against

JR for other parts of motion

Unanimous

Motion as amended

4 for 2 against

In the end, the bike lanes are approved by this 6-4 vote, with some amendments from JR mainly having to do with suggestions for additional safety. One part of the motion has to do with year round monitoring of bike counts, but this shows a misunderstanding of the nature of the equipment the city used to take the video record, which is not suitable for winter use.

Meeting adjourned just before 8 pm.

If you are glutton for punishment, you can watch the whole afternoon here:

I left the meeting with mixed feelings: relief that the motion passed, but sadness that another cyclist was killed this morning, with the news received by tweet while we were all in the committee room.

If you want to do something:

Updates:

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There was an event nearby on the West Toronto Railpath timing around dusk. We thought it would be a nice opportunity to get in a little family outing.

Lucy wants to go for a bike ride.

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The event was put on by DeRail Art, and was entitled “We pause at twilight” It consisted of an audio track accessed from their website that we could access while we were guided along the rail path. At various points, we were directed to pause, and to think carefully about our surroundings, the movement of our bodies, and even at times the collective motion of the entire crowd.

Here on the bridge over Bloor, we are directed to face south. Of course there are always one or two who don’t take direction as well 😉

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It was interesting to see the repainting of the Red Cross building, and how the new paint deliberately avoided these vines.

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The evening event ended with us on the Wallace St. Bridge.

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Neighbourhood resident Vic was taking pictures as usual.

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It was also interesting to see the row of two storey live/work buildings almost complete, as one of the last parts of the Wallace Towns development.

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At this point Lucy was getting a little cold, so we wrapped her up like ET and headed home.

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Thanks to DeRail for an simulating event. Nice to see so many people turn out as well.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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Here is some speed data from my phone.

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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.

 

 

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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….

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