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Archive for the ‘Ward 13’ Category

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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We’ve been asking the city to make access to the lakefront from Ward 13 safer for cyclists. One of the items on the list were sharrows on Ellis Ave, originally requested in 2010. My understanding is that the installation of sharrows was somewhat delayed by the Pan Am games. However they finally went in a couple of weeks ago. Here are some new sharrows in Runnymede, south of Bloor.
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Looking back northward, you can see that the downhill sharrows are by the curb, whereas the uphill (northbound) sharrows are in the door zone. However, there is not much road width here.
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Southbound on Runnymede, there is a sharrow with arrow directing us to turn left on DeForest.
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Similar arrows direct us south on Kennedy, then a short jog left to get to the top of Ellis Ave. The short section of Morningside is problematic as there is a lot of car traffic here that comes from all four directions.
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On Ellis Ave itself, both the downhill and uphill sharrows are by the curb. Unfortunately, in the sections where parking is allowed in the uphill directions, parked cars can totally obscure the sharrows.
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Ellis at Queensway. There is no sign of sharrows across the intersection yet, although sharrows were recently installed across the Queensway on Colborne Lodge Rd.
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There is also no sign of the short section of bike lane on Ellis under the Gardiner.
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My understanding is that there will be a northbound bikes only crossing installed on the east side of the Ellis-Lakeshore intersection, similar to the one at Colborne Lodge. Speaking of which, I wanted to check to see if they had retimed the bike crossing at Colborne Lodge.
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Here is a video. I pressed start just after the bike light turned green.

As you can see, the light is green for about 9 seconds, and then yellow for about 4 seconds. If you compare this with a video taken in 2011:

you can see that the bike crossing light has not been retimed, as we requested several years ago. I will note that the bike signal is now “bike shaped” which I guess is progress of a sort.  Also, I am disappointed to see that sharrows were not put in for this northbound bike crossing, as many people continue to bike across using the pedestrian crossing on the west side of the intersection.

A little further east, I came upon the wooden sculpture that commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising.
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I also see that the bike lane has been slightly rerouted at the entrance to the Boulevard Club, so that at least one car exiting the club can wait for traffic to clear on Lakeshore without blocking bike traffic.
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Just east of thing point, I was excited to see a pedestrian and bike bridge across to the south end of Dowling Ave. This is a picture of the north end of the bridge.
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You can see that this new bridge is much less wide than the original roadway.
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I was less excited to find out from this and other articles that this is just a temporary structure while the city conducts an environment assessment to decide whether to replace the roadway bridges at both Dunn and Dowling.

Update: I’ve been told by the Cycle Toronto Ward 14 group that the Dowling Bridge will be for pedestrians and cyclists only going forward, and that there is a proposal for Dowling to have a contraflow lane installed between Queen and King to improve access to this bridge.

This evening, we got the whole family together to take another picture of the time tunnel.
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Happy Canadian Thanksgiving everyone!

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Today was a great day for a bike ride with several hundred of my closest friends AKA Bells on Bloor. This year, the ride started and ended at Christie Pits since we were celebrating the installation of a bike lane pilot on a short 2.5 km section of Bloor St. Before the ride officially started, a smaller group of us gathered at High Park to ride to the ride.

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Our local MP Arif Virani rode along with us for the first part of the ride to show his support.

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I liked this heavily modded Dahon Mu with belt drive, Alfine 11 gearing, and loopwheels.  Apparently it was a prototype built for the Eurobike show some years ago.

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Lucy says time to ride.

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Stopped at Keele. For some reason, when you are riding with these guys, you get more respect from motorists!

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MJ leads us up the hill.

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Doug was rocking his brand new Fat Bike. With a front basket for Honey of course.

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A group shot upon our arrival across from Christie Pits.

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This must be the place.

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Bells specially decorated for the event were given out and mounted by volunteers.

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Had to get one myself.

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MC and chief ride organizer Albert Koehl gets things started.

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The crowd is enthusiastic.

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and now it’s time to ride.

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Angela and colleague in the lead with the official Bells on Bloor Banner.

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For your reference, this is what it says on the back (although the website is defunct, and has been replaced with bellsonbloor.org.

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Albert ringing his bell.

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Riding past the ROM.

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and along Bloor to Sherbourne.

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Back along Wellesley, and then turning north on Queen’s Park Crescent, which was fun because we were occupying the full width of the roadway.

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Police bike corking a BMW.

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Back along Bloor St.

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Greeted by the banner again at the end of the ride.

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Cycle Toronto was providing bike valet.

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There were many craft and food vendors. The longest line was for Pizza Libretto.

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This vendor regretted not having more of these shirts to sell.

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Large and small wheels!

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Just making sure that I get a decent shot of the forks on Doug’s bike.

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Honey had a good time.

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Thanks to the organizers of the ride, and to everyone who rode today.

Note that a different version of this blog post appears on the bells on bloor website, with more covearage of the speakers, and less bike geekery.

Also, here is a video.

 

Update: Dandyhorse coverage here.

 

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