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Archive for the ‘Ward 13’ Category

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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Today was the annual Group Commute that kicks off Bike Month in Toronto. As per usual, I started at High Park, bright and early under overcast skies, with a bit of rain threatening.

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Numbers were down from previous years, perhaps because of the weather.

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Are we’re off!

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At Keele.

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Bakfiets plus umbrella and dog.

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Regroup at Christie.

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Councillor Layton joins us!

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At Bay.

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This tower at Bloor and Yonge is more complete this year.

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The merged group at Charles is pretty big.

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Here we go down Yonge St.

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In a reversal of the usual situation, here is one lone SUV hemmed in on all sides by bike traffic.

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Approaching City Hall.

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That’s Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon right in front of me.

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The Bakfiets family is all smiles.

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Time for breakfast.

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Nice to have real maple syrup!

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Sitting under the arcade as the rain comes down, with a custard tart for breakfast. Could be worse….

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People were taking any available shelter.

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Cycle Toronto booth was busy selling shirts and memberships.

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This year’s T shirt is a nice bright purple, and if you look carefully, it features a cargobike.

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Numbers were down from last year, although I will resist the side to side photo comparison (as per the US inauguration).

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Wayne Scott interacting with some of Toronto’s finest.

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He and I had the only “Bike Lanes on Bloor” shirts in evidence.

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Mayor Tory addressing the crowd.

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The sun started peeking out, and more of the crowd came out from under shelter.

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Andy taking Elise to school.

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A press scrum around the mayor.

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All these kids (and some teachers) joined the ride, and also committed to biking to school during Bike Month.

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Thanks to the City of Toronto, Cycle Toronto, and all of the participating sponsors.

During my short ride the rest of the way to work, a charming couple behind me on McCaul reacted to my “Bike Lanes on Bloor” shirt by yelling that if you “wanted bike lanes on Bloor, you should f**king using them, you maniac!” which shows me that we still need a wider attitude adjustment in this city before people take cycling seriously as a mode of transport.

Ride on, and ride safe everyone!

 

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I can’t think of a better way to mark Family Day than with a bike ride. Fortunately, it is unseasonably warm, and all the ice on the roads has melted back over the preceding weekend. Lucy is patiently waiting while I get the bikes ready.

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Here we are just about to start.
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Here we go. K is enjoying her new, adult sized bike.

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As we expected, the park was packed, but there wasn’t a problem getting bike parking.

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Lucy had fun getting a little muddy.

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On the way home, you can see the continuous line of cars circulating in search of a parking spot.

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Looking back, our first family ride of the year was about a week earlier than last year. Looking forward, it looks like we still have some chance for snow in the forecast, but I’m glad we got out and about today.

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This time of year, every slightly warm weekend feels like it could be the last one of the year. We took the occasion to fit in a family bike ride down to the lake.

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Heading down Runnymede. I’m the only one looking psyched at this point.

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K at the turnaround point. This is her new bike; she has outgrown the Rambler by a fairly wide margin.

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Heading back across Mimico Creek on the Calatrava style bridge.

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These signs on the section of the path by all the tall condos are new. Pity they didn’t hire an artist that could draw a bike properly.

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Lucy complains if we’re not in the lead.

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Obligatory family picture.

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K insisted on taking a funny picture as well.

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Can you guess who is the clown in the family?

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Hope you all get a chance to get some riding in before the snow descends!

Update: I dug up a picture from Nov 2006 taken at more or less the same spot.2006-2016

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