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Archive for the ‘Ward 13’ Category

Today was another of our annual rides with Sarah Doucette and company to review bike infrastructure in Ward 13. This year we changed things up a bit, and collaborated with Ward 14 to address issues at the intersections between Lakeshore Blvd and Colborne Lodge, Parkside, and Ellis. We gathered at the northwest corner of Colborne Lodge and Queensway for a group shot.

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We were fortunate to have representation from all three levels of government. From left to right, David (Ward14), Councillor Perks, Bhutila Karpoche (NDP Candidate for Parkdale-High Park), Eva (Ward 14), Shawn Dillon (Manager, Cycling Infrastructure, City of Toronto), Councillor Doucette, Arif Virani (MP, Parkdale-High Park), me (Ward 13) and Janet Joy (Ward 13).  In front, the Virani boys.

Janet Joy taking her selfie version of the group picture.

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and here is that selfie:

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(image source)

 

Shawn giving us an update on the plans for a section of the MGT where Xavier Morgan was killed. The question was why the temporary barrier had not been improved. The answer was that there was a comprehensive study done, and several intersections along the MGT will be fully redesigned. Construction is due to start sometime in the fall, and this might mean that parts of the MGT will require detour routing for a period of time.

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At this point, Gord and Bhutila had to leave, but not before they got a picture with my bike.

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Our first destination is Colborne Lodge and Lakeshore. Here Arif guides his boys across the Queensway, followed by the rest of us.

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Here we are at the south side of the intersection. This was the site of a serious collision between a cyclist and car just last week.

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One item of good news is that the northbound crossing for cyclists has had its bike signal retimed to give you 15s to cross before it turns yellow. We were told that this was done remotely on May 22, and then reconfirmed by a site visit on May 24. This video shows the change. The outer frame is video taken in May 2011. The inset was taken this week.

It is ironic that this retiming (which was originally requested in 2011) was done just this week. We don’t know if this change was triggered by the recent near fatal collision (although that involved a southbound cyclist on the west side of the intersection and a car that ran a red light), or by the timing of this audit ride.

Shawn also informed us that during 2018 we will be getting sharrows on both the east and west side of this intersection to indicate to cyclists where to cross, and to make the northbound crossing more apparent to both cyclists and motorists.

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One other smaller point is that the bicycle signal on the northeast corner is not aligned properly with the bike lane that continues under the bridge, and  it should be moved by installing a longer mounting arm. This has been recommended, but the timeline on this change is not clear.

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We asked for no right turn on red for westbound traffic on Lakeshore, but Shawn said that this would be “a major intervention” and would not be approved.

Next, onto Parkside.

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Just east of Parkside is this intersection between a parking lot entrance and the MGT with no signage for either cars or cyclists.

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We actually biked a little past Parkside in error and so here we are headed back.

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Now at the south side, looking at this very complicated intersection.

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The first step in crossing is to take a crosswalk to a large triangular island.

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After alighting on the island, you sill have to cross two more signalized crosswalks, and then finally a turning lane for high speed traffic to and from Parkside.

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This yield sign on the turning lane on the northwest corner was installed at the request of the Ward 14 bike advocacy group.

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However, it should be repositioned, as you can see that it is not visible until the last minute. Here is a shot from under the bridge, roughly where a southbound driver would be looking.

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David from Ward 14 points out the other yield sign on the northeast corner.

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The concept of cars yielding to pedestrians is inconsistent with the sign directing pedestrians to wait for a gap.

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Now back at the south side of Ellis and Lakeshore, which has been the subject of many past ward audit rides.

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Shawn promised that a northbound cyclist crossing similar to the one at Colborne Lodge will be installed this year (2018). Note that this was promised to us two years ago on a similar audit ride.  This will help reduce the number of hazardous crossings by cyclists cutting diagonally across the intersection.

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He also said that there is an ongoing effort to better coordinate between different units within transportation to streamline changes to road and bike infrastructure.

Here we go across the intersection, nice and slow as pedestrians.

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Here is the major safety hazard at this intersection. Pedestrians get stranded on this tiny triangular island on the northwest corner that is formed by a right turn lane from southbound Ellis to westbound Lakeshore.

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This point has been brought up in the past:

Sarah reiterates that this has been approved, but the funding was supposed to come from section 37 money associated with the condo development on the northeast corner of Lakeshore and Windermere. If her staff can’t track down the original agreement with the developer (which has changed in the interim) then she will get this inserted into the capital budget.

Additionally, the bike lanes on Ellis between Queensway and Lakeshore have been approved but this is held up by “signal timing issues”.

In the meantime, many families will continue to struggle with poor access, especially to the Sunnyside Bike Park.

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Another small point about the forthcoming northbound cyclists’ crossing on the east side: the curbcut where you might land if you go up on the sidewalk is not orientated in the correct direction.

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Shawn’s response was that legally you should continue on the street north on Ellis and then turn right into the driveway, but I can’t see kids on bikes wanting to do this.

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Sarah, Eva, David, and Janet Joy discussing a few last points with Shawn.

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At the end of the ride, we have several specific things that have been promised to us this year:

  • Sharrows on both sides of the intersection at Colborne Lodge.
  • Construction along the MGT near the Legion where Xavier Morgan was killed, including a permanent barrier.
  • Installation of a barrier along the sidewalks under the bridges at Parkside. This is intended for pedestrians, but in practice bikes also take the sidewalk here.
  • Installation of a northbound cyclists’ crossing at Ellis, making the intersection similar to Colborne Lodge.

Things that will be “looked into”

  • repositioning of yield signs at Parkside and Lakeshore.
  • signage for the offramp to the Budapest Park parking lot where it crosses the MGT.
  • redesigning the curb cut on the northeast corner of Lakeshore and Ellis when that northbound cyclists’ crossing goes in.

Thanks to everyone who came out this morning. Thanks to Shawn who spent a good deal of his morning with us, and to Sarah who stayed until the very end.

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It being a Sunday, I’d thought I’d take the scenic route to work. Even though it was a grey morning, a fresh coat of snow made everything look clean and bright, at least by TO standards. Here you can see that the city does a good job of maintaining the Martin Goodman Trail. Many runners out, but only three cyclists, who were a lycra clad trio.

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Curiously, the trail maintenance skips the bridge over the Humber River, although I could see that it continued on the other side.

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The new bike stations installed this past summer along the lake are not seeing much use during the winter.

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The dreaded pinch point on the MGT, finally fixed. Now the sidewalk is separated from bike traffic.

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Richmond bike lane, with the planters looking festive.

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The Henry Moore, relocated last summer to the middle of Grange Park.

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As freezing rain descends this afternoon, I think I’ll take my regular route home.

 

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Today was Cycle Toronto’s annual Coldest Day of the Year Ride. Unlike some years’ past, today it was genuinely cold at about -8°C, although it was not too windy. The ride was planned partially along the Danforth to show support for bike lanes on Danforth.

A small group of us rode in from High Park as a feeder to the main group.

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Before we got going, I had to take a picture of John’s fancy Michelin snow tires.

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And we’re off.

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We picked up a few more riders at Bloor and Spadina before riding through downtown.

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Across the viaduct. You can see that they remove the bollards during the winter for snow clearance, which is too bad.

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As we pulled up to Danforth and Logan, I was impressed by the size of the gathered crowd. Here Jared makes a few announcements at the beginning.

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On the other hand, Honey does not look impressed.

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Councillors Fletcher and McMahon show their support for bike lanes on Danforth. Mary Margaret admitted that she doesn’t ride in the winter, but she wore an appropriate toque.

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Staging the large number of riders at the start.

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Pause at Broadview.

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Across the Viaduct.

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Paused at Sherbourne.

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Down Sherbourne.

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We are riding safely under the speed limit.

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Stuart and Mark.

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Along Richmond.

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In the above picture, just to the left of the woman in red, you can see someone with a massive pair of orange pogies. I got a better shot of them at the start. They are by Dogwood Designs.

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Kids were along for the ride as well.

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Smile!

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This fellow from Whitby was part of a group from Durham County who came in to ride with us and to show their support.

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Along King, being careful of the streetcar tracks.

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At our destination: Betty’s.

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Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing the ride, and to everyone else for riding along.

Update: CBC coverage

Rob Z’s photos on Flickr

Coverage in Dandyhorse Magazine by Rob Z.

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This past Tuesday, Cycle Toronto invited people from Etobicoke for a meeting to update us about what the City of Toronto has planned for the cycling network over the next three years. It was also a chance to meet others, and to network.

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Here Katie Whitman from the City cycling unit updates us on the plans for the next three years. When I get her slide deck, I will update this post, but my notes say that for Ward 13 and parts nearby, we can look forward to:

  • 2018: Road markings at Jane and Annette, Runnymede at Bloor (already done?) and St. Clair; completion of the Lakeshore Cycle Track between Norris and First.
  • 2019: Detailed study of a Runnymede to Scarlett Rd connection. This would be tied into the larger project of the Scarlett Rd bridge and intersection reconfiguration.
  • 2020: Eglinton Jane to Weston connection.

She said that the list of projects for each Ward were on their website. However, I found the information on the site was confusing and incomplete. For example, here is their map of Ward 13:

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by cross indexing to their list, I see:

  • #30 Dundas – (Royal York to Scarlett) and St Clair – (Runnymede to Scarlett) Proposed Bike lanes
  • #48 Lambton Baby Point Neighbourhood Connections, Proposed Quiet Street Routes
  • #8 Bloor – (Keele to Dundas Street West); Major Corridor Study – Proposed Bike Lanes or Cycle Tracks
  • there is no information on 610
  • 611 might correspond to the intersection improvements at the Lakeshore for which we have been advocating for four years, but again they aren’t on any list.

Pamela Gough, TDSB Trustee talked about some of the initiatives that she has been involved with, including safe routes to school, Biking to School Day, Biking to School Week, and the TDSB task force on Active Transportation. All pretty words, but they don’t address safety issues caused by the enormous number of people driving their kids to school. I had a side conversation with her afterwards, and I told her that in Japan, driving kids to elementary schools is illegal. I didn’t suggest that this would work here, but I did say that if the TDSB was serious about pedestrian safety, they should get behind VRU. I will be following up with her.

Darnell Harris talked about some of the issues of getting around the Black Creek area.

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He asked us to consider more broadly the issue of non motorized mobility, rather than cycle tracks. He reinforced this message by showing slides of people in motorized wheelchairs using bike lanes.

There were also several presentations from the South Etobicoke Cycling Committee that seem pretty active. Dave talked about the need for bike lanes along the Queensway, arguing that bike infra should be along streets where there are destinations, such as restaurants, No Frills, and even Ikea.  Someone else talked about their seven year fight to get a bike rack by the LCBO in Sobey’s plaza. She eventually escalated this issue to the top brass at LCBO, and as a result, the LCBO will provide bike parking for all LCBO’s where it is possible to provide it. (Many LCBO’s are on leased land, and the landowner might not agree in some cases).

During the brief networking session, I talked with Johnny from the Ward11 Pedestrian and Cycling Committee that was put together by Councillor Nunziata. I will be following up with that group so that our two wards can collaborate on connections across the our boundary at the north end of our ward.

Cycle Toronto posted some pictures from the evening here:

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Katie Whitman’s slides listing bike projects for Etobicoke district for 2018-2020 are here.

CI&P – Katie Wittmann – Etobicoke Cycle TO Advocacy Summit Presentation

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Tonight was the first public consultation on a proposed reconstruction of the Scarlett Rd / Dundas St W intersection which involves substantial reconstruction of the railway bridge. The main point is to expand the roadway to four lanes, two in each direction. This will also allow southbound traffic to turn either east or west on Dundas St W.

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The city’s information page on the project is here.

The community meeting was packed. Ward 11 Councillor Nunziata started things off by outlining some of the history of the project, which was 20 years in the making. She noted that it is funded, and that it will happen over the next three years. Ward 13 Councillor Sarah Doucette was also at the meeting.

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Construction will start in the summer of 2018, and the project should be done in 2020.

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Various issues were raised by citizens at the meeting, including concerns about increased traffic going into the Humber River valley neighbourhood as a way to bypass Jane during rush hour.  One common refrain from staff was that the design was only at 30%, and details will be adjusted taking into account community input. There were about three questions about bike lanes (the first one from Janet Joy), but more significantly, there didn’t seem to be any grumblings about bike lanes from anyone in the room.

I was there to hear what they had to say about bike infrastructure, since some of the prior information indicated that there would be bike lanes under the bridge, as well as bike lanes on nearby sections of Dundas and St. Chair. Here is a diagram showing the bike network connections in the area of the project.

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Note that this map shows a bike lane on Jane between Scarlett and Jane, but no corresponding section along Dundas W.  Also, the maps and figures indicated the bike lanes as “future bike lanes”.  This is because any bike lanes actually installed are subject to approval by PWIC and City Council. It seems that the two local councillors are supportive.

Looking at more details of the maps showed that the bike lanes along Dundas St W fade out long before they can make useful connections to either Humbercrest or Humber Hill Avenue.

 

I was told that this is subject to change, when the roads are redone in the area, perhaps around 2019 or so. I was also told that the nature of the bike connection along St. Clair is still up in the air, and that the worst case scenario along this section would be shadows. The only bike infrastructure that appears to be fully baked into the plan is a short section of protected bike lane under the bridge. There is supposed to be a curb separating the bike lanes from traffic.

We’ll be keeping an eye on this project as there will be opportunities for further public input as the details of the plans firm up. I was also told that Councillor Nunziata has been in contract with a “Cycling Committee” in Ward 11.

At a minimum, we would like to see a bike lane along Dundas St W from Humber Hill Rd to Humbercrest. This would make coming up out of the valley (or from the Humber River Trail), cycling east along Dundas, and the turning south again into Baby Point, much safer than it is now.

I was talking to one of the cycling staff who had biked to the meeting, and it was telling that she said she had to ride on the sidewalk for part of the ride going under the bridge that is at the centre of the project. I myself rode north to the end of Runnymede, and then took back streets to the community centre where the meeting was held, thereby completely bypassing that intersection.

 

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Since August, I’ve enjoyed watching the gradual creation of a mural on the northeast side of the Dupont-Dundas intersection. I’ve been taking a few pictures during my commutes, and I’ve also stopped a couple of times to chat with the artists when I see them at work. This past Saturday was the official opening for the mural.  The opening was on the little triangle of grass on the south side of the intersection, with the prosaic name “Dundas – Dupont Traffic Island”

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Here are a couple of pictures during the painting:

August 2: the west most section has an indigenous theme

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August 4

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August 8: the section just before the bridge is nature themed.

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August 10

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August 10: Also there is some graffiti art being added in the underpass section

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August 18: more of the nature theme

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August 19: more work on the indigenous section.

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August 19-25: some work on an abstract bridge between the two sections

 

The ceremony starts with an acknowledgement of the lands.

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This mural was commissioned by Street Art (START) Toronto. It was a collaboration between artists Alexander Bacon and Que Rockford.

Councillor Bailao introduces the two artists present.

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Alexander Bacon (right) explained that he was very excited to work with Que Rockford, Que said that it was his first mural.  The mural is intended to show a balance and progression between indigenous culture and street art. He also brought in three graffiti artists to decorate the underpass section of the mural: Sight, Kwest, and Kane.

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Que explained some of the elements in his section of the mural. It is drawn from his heritage, which is primarily Anishnawbe,

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Going from left to right, it is a creation story, starting with the sun. Immediately to the right of the sun, the seven trees represent the seven teachings of the grandfathers, and the reflection shows the duality between the physical and the spiritual world. To the right, the figure is a gender neutral human, with surrounding figures grouped in fours for the four elements, and the four cardinal directions. Next is a panel showing a wolf family, since Que is of the wolf clan. There is both a male and female wolf, showing the balance between the genders. Finally, there is a mother and child, which shows the creation of people. The thirteen circles on her sleeve are the thirteen moons of the year.

The transition was a collaborative effort between both teams of artists. The nature theme returns just to the east of the bridge, after the graffiti sections.

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Ribbon cutting.

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Councillor Bailao with the two artists.

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I was very glad to learn more about this art that I ride past twice a day. It is different than the mural on the south side.  At the same time, the older mural has not been defaced very much at all. I hope that the new mural will also remain untouched as it is a wonderful addition to our streetscape.

If there are any misrepresentations above, they are my fault as I was not very good at taking notes on my phone while people were talking.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

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