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Archive for the ‘Ward 13’ Category

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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Today was our annual ride with Councillor Sarah Doucette to review progress on bike infrastructure. Since the weather was iffy, we decided to keep it short and to review the three intersections between Lakeshore Dr and Colborne Lodge, Ellis, and Windemere. These are the three intersections that were the focus of an infrastructure proposal that we sent to the city in 2014. The short summary is that nothing has really changed on this section of the lakefront since last year’s ride although there have been improvements elsewhere in the ward such as the sharrows on Ellis Ave. Today, Ward13 bikes was represented by Janet Joy, myself (Jun) and Jared. We were also joined by Jennifer from the City’s Cycling unit.

Here we are at Windermere and Lakeshore.

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This intersection has the most complete infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists across Lakeshore, which is ironic since you could argue that Windermere is the poorest route for cyclists (at least north of the Queensway). The pedestrian/bike crossing is on the west side of the intersection.

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The cyclist crossing is well marked with separate bicycle lights. However, the marking of the bike crossing is inconsistent. Jennifer told us that this was because the westbound lanes of Lakeshore were redone recently, and they conformed to the new standard, which is white paint markings on pavement. The other sections have the bike crossing indicated by red coloured pavement, which is the old standard. There is often some confusion about where the cyclists as opposed to the pedestrians should cross. We suggested that adding bi directional bike symbols in several places on the red pavement would help.

Here we are riding to Ellis.

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The crossing at Ellis is in serious need for improvement. There is a crossing on just the west side, and bikes are pedestrians are not separated. However, the single biggest hazard is the fact that the crossing ends in a small triangular island on the northwest corner defined by a right turn lane for cars southbound on Ellis turning west on Lakeshore. It is very small, and it only accommodates a small number of people.

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Southbound cyclists are given some guidance by signage and signals but pedestrians and bikes are not separated.

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Things are much more confusing for northbound cyclists since they are expected to cross on the same side of the intersection.  Here’s a good picture of the confusion at this crossing.

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(photo Janet Joy Wilson)

This intersection will be fixed in two stages. Firstly, there will be a northbound cyclists’ crossing installed on the east side of the intersection, similar to the one at Colborne Lodge. This, in addition to a bike lane on Ellis under the Gardiner are now promised to us as early as November 2017.  A more comprehensive fix of the intersection will not happen for a couple of years, but at that time the right turn lane will finally be taken out, and improvements to the west side of the intersection will happen at the same time.  Unfortunately, we cannot have a pedestrian crossing on the east side since that would conflict with the fact that there are two left turn lanes from Ellis onto Lakeshore. (one could ask why there have to be two left turn lanes in for all three streets in this short section of Lakeshore, and in fact, in an earlier master plan for this section of the lakeshore, Colborne Lodge under the Gardiner was supposed to be closed off to car traffic)

Here we are at Colborne Lodge.

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Here there is a crossing on the east side of the intersection for cyclists. However, the timing of the light is ridiculously short.

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We’ve been asked the city to retime this light for more than two years. We submitted this request today once again. It would also be useful to have sharrows to clearly indicate the bike crossing. Finally, we would like to eliminate the right turn on red for cars turning from westbound lakeshore to Colborne lodge, as this is a hazard for bikes crossing on this side of the intersection.

Here we are risking our lives using that very same crossing 😉

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and about to take a left turn on the Queensway, on our way home at the conclusion of our ride.

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Thanks very much to Sarah Doucette for riding with us, and for continuing to press for improvements here, and throughout our ward. Thanks also to Jennifer for taking notes on what she witness for herself today, to be passed on to the City.

 

 

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