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Archive for the ‘Ward 13’ Category

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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Today was another Ward13 ride with several people to follow up on last summer’s ride with Sarah and Jacqueline.  Sarah Doucette, of course being our city councillor, and Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati, the manager of cycling transportation for the city. At the beginning of the ride, we were also met by MPP Cheri DiNovo (who has been very supportive of bicycle related issues), as well as our MP Arif Virani.  This was the first opportunity for us to talk to Arif about some bicycle related issues.  Here he is arriving with two sons in tow.

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Here are all of us.

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(picture source)

and a JJW selfie version of the same picture with only about 5% JJW content.

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After some discussion, it was decided that Arif and older son would join us for the first part of the ride along High Park Ave. It was a blazingly hot day, and he was riding a very small wheeled one speed.

One continuing issue at the south east corner of Bloor and High Park is the fact that the sharrows don’t do much to discourage drivers from leaving little space for bikes at the curb. However, we are grateful for the fact that the sharrows along High Park Ave extend across Bloor St.

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Rest stop. Here we get a chance to pitch side guards for trucks to Arif, since this is a federal issue. We will send him notes on this issue, and he will see if he can find the private member’s bill that was submitted by Olivia Chow on this several years ago.

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Shortly after this point, Arif and son took their leave and the rest of us continued along Annette to Baby Point Gates, and then to the top of St. Mark’s Hill. The signage here has been improved, and Sarah told us that the sign indicating that the cross traffic doesn’t stop took some work to be installed. Traffic control did not allow a 4 way stop at this intersection as this would entail the removal of the pedestrian crosswalk.

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and down the hill we go.

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Cruising back towards the Humber River trail.

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Watermelon break.

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This laneway behind one of the Old Mill condos is a public road so that people can ride from Old Mill Dr. to Riverview Gardens without going on Bloor St.

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From this point, we rode along Bloor, and then down towards the lake via Ellis Ave and Bike Route 19. We bid adieu to Sarah at Deforest and Runnymede. Here we take another break at V’s lemonade stand, where the local speciality was lemonade with mint.

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We had a discussion with Jacquelyn at the foot of Ellis Ave about the improvements that are scheduled to be done this year. The start has been held up by Toronto Water, who had been doing work under the bridge where the Gardiner goes over Ellis, but this appeared to be complete. The changes to come include:

  • a road diet where Ellis is narrowed between Lakeshore and the Queensway, with the installation of a bike lane on both sides (already approved by City Council this spring).
  • a southbound crossing for bikes across Lakeshore that will be adjacent to the existing pedestrian crossing, along with a bicycle signal light.
  • a northbound bikes only crossing on the east side of the intersection.

With these changes, this intersection will be similar in configuration to that for Colborne Lodge at Lakeshore.

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There won’t be large scale reconstruction of the median island, meaning that the sharrows for southbound bikes will likely skirt the end of the median. The removal of the biggest hazard: the right turn lane for cars that creates a small triangular island on the northwest corner, awaits additional funding that is associated with the next set of towers to go up just west of this point.

The other unfortunate piece of news is that traffic studies showed that the volume of car traffic will not make it possible to remove one of the two turning lanes where southbound cars turn left (east) onto Lakeshore. This, in turn, makes it impossible to have a pedestrian crossing on the east side as we requested in our proposal. This means that pedestrians crossing from the lake to the bike park will still have to cross north and then east, and they will have to stand on that tiny triangular island midway through the process.

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(picture JJW)

Other improvements that are scheduled to happen (hopefully) this year include improved markings for bike lanes along Colborne Lodge into High Park, and sharrows up and down Ellis Ave marking the bike route along Deforest and Runnymede up to Bloor St.

One other bit of news that was passed along was that the installation of the Bloor bike lane pilot should be starting the Tuesday after the August 1 Civic Holiday, weather permitting.

Thanks to Sarah Doucette and Arif Virani for riding with us today. Also thanks to Cheri DiNovo for greeting us at the beginning of the ride. Special thanks to Jacquelyn for riding with us all the way to the end at the Lakeshore on such a hot day.

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We look forward to seeing the promised infrastructure improvements. Making our streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians will make it easier for all of us to enjoy the many wonderful natural features of our Ward.

 

 

 

 

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Our garage has been a bit of a mess lately and it has been difficult to fit in all the bikes.

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When they see this, people ask why so many. My wife is a good sport; she doesn’t even ask anymore. Anyway, it’s handy to have a large enough fleet so that when we have out of town guests, we can all take a quick spin around the neighbourhood.

Actually, this morning, the neighbours were also going to head off, so our driveway looked busier than usual. Between the two households, we could have our own Kidical Mass.

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We headed off to one of our local favourites for lunch. My nephew is liking the Haul a Day.

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Pho Huong didn’t have their patio set up yet, so it was perfect for bike parking.

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Riding back, we are taking advantage of the Annette St. bike lanes.

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After a short break, it was time to head down to the lake.

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Waiting at the foot of Ellis.

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By this time, we had some cloud cover, and this thankfully dropped the temperature a bit. The water was quite a bit warmer than last weekend.

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Headed back.

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Mandatory gelato break at Lola’s.

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Across the bridge.

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Another break at the top of Ellis.

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Also thankful for the bike lanes on Runnymede.

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Any day with a bike ride is a good day; a bike ride with family: even better.

 

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This is Victoria Day long weekend. Since it was so beautiful, we dragged the kids out for a ride down to the lake. Here Lucy and I are keeping an eye on the bikes ahead of us as we head down Ellis Ave.

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Trapped on that small triangular island on the northwest corner of Ellis and Lakeshore. Sometime this summer, there will be a northbound bikes only crossing installed on the other side of the intersection, but eventually we want the right turn lane for cars taken out so that this intersection is safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

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Selfie at the lake.

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Lucy loves digging in the gravel.

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Now headed home.

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Daughter #1 puts on a fake smile for dad.

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Waiting at another intersection that could be made safer.

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Water break at the top of the hill/

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Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

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