Albert takes us all to dinner

Last night, Albert invited all of the people who has worked with either Take the Tooker or Bells on Bloor to dinner at a restaurant (Real Thai) that was, of course, on the Bloor bike lane. He thanked us all for our work over the years. Angela Bischoff was also there, and she gave us a little background on Take the Tooker, and the beginnings of the Bells on Bloor bike parade (seen below). Hamish Wilson, you were missed.

Regrettably, this is the only picture that I can provide of the event.

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Still more work to be done, but for the time being, a moment to savour.

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Albert’s letter to the Toronto Star

Bloor bike lanes just a start

Albert’s letter to the Toronto Star, in response to the following article:

Despite Bloor bike lanes, Toronto lags on cycling infrastructure, critics say (Nov 12)

Cycling finally getting recognized as legitimate transportation: The Fixer (Nov 15)

and here’s a reminder of some of the work it took to get here:

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Bloor bike lanes approved by City Council

Yesterday was a good day for bicycle advocacy in Toronto.  City council voted 36-6 in favour of the staff recommendation that the Bloor bike lanes become permanent. The blow by blow of the meeting (at least the afternoon portion) is here.

Toronto Star:  Toronto council votes to make the Bloor St. bike lanes permanent

CBC news: The Bloor bike lanes are here to stay.

National Post: Chris Selley: Approval of permanent Bloor bike lanes brings us a step closer to getting along

Globe and Mail: City council votes 36-6 to make Bloor Street bicycle lanes permanent

Dandyhorse Magazine: Bloor gets a bike lane. (Albert said he started composing this article during the City Council meeting)

A few take aways from the meeting:

  • some immediate improvements will take place during the next year, likely including green paint on some portions of the existing trail
  • the final configuration of the permanent installation will not be clear for a while, but in any case they will have to wait for corridor capital improvements in 2019.
  • several councillors pointed out that there was much more close study of this bike lane pilot than either the Gardiner rebuild or the Scarborough subway.
  • it is clear that more than several councillors from the east end are very comfortable with pushing for bike lanes on Danforth. If this is to happen any time soon, it will be between Coxwell and Victoria Park.
  • Mayor John Tory’s support was key in making the yes vote as lopsided as it was.
  • There was a moment of hilarity when on the final vote, Gord Perks voted NO in error. Here is the proof:

He was allowed a revote so that the final tally was 36-6 in favour.

Hamish and Albert look happy immediately after passage.

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Riding home afterwards. I wondered if my fellow cyclists were aware of what just happened earlier in the evening.

Here, the bike lane ends at Shaw, showing that we have more work to do to get to the vision of an east-west bike lane spanning the city.

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A magical new supply of parking spots (along Bloor)

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A commentary by Albert Koehl on local merchants’ concern about the loss of parking spaces to the Bloor bike lane.

and remember that City Council will vote on making the Bloor bike lane pilot permanent at next week’s meeting (Nov 7-9, 2017)

 

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The awkward opposition to the Bloor bike lanes

An article by Albert Koehl about the opposition to the Bloor bike lanes, organized by Annex Business Bike Alliance (ABBA). The leader is Barry Alper, co-owner of Fresh on Bloor (rightmost person in the photo below)

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This group wants to be seen as pro bike lane, but their suggested improvements to the configuration of the pilot include:

  • bike lanes only during rush hours
  • bike lanes taken out in winter

Also read about their own survey of local merchant sentiment here.

If you want to see some businesses that clearly support the Bloor bike lanes, watch this:

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One step closer

Yesterday PWIC voted 4-2 to keep the Bloor bike lane pilot.  Holiday and Mammolitti opposed.

Toronto Star:

Bloor bike lanes one step closer to becoming permanent

The blow by blow account of the six hour meeting is here

Thanks to everyone who gave a deputation at the marathon six hour meeting, as well as Cycle Toronto, City Staff, guest councillors Janet Davis, Mary Margaret McMahon, Mike Layton, and especially Joe Cressy who stuck it out to the very end.

Next up: the city council vote in early November.

Global news:  Toronto’s Bloor bike lanes just took one more step toward permanency

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The countdown to PWIC

As we count down the days to the vote at PWIC on Wednesday October 18, the big news this past week as been the release of the long awaited study of the Bloor bike lane pilot commissioned by the city.

The agenda item for PWIC has a brief summary of the report along with the staff recommendation that the bike lanes be made permanent.

Recommendations

The General Manager, Transportation Services recommends that:

1.  City Council approve maintaining the eastbound and westbound cycle tracks on Bloor Street West, from Shaw Street to Avenue Road, as a permanent installation, including changes to the current design that will improve safety and operations, as part of 2019 Capital Works on Bloor Street West between Bathurst Street and Avenue Road.

City of Toronto information page on the study

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TCAT economic impact study

Why Bloor? Why Now? from Metcalf Foundation on Vimeo.

Star Coverage:

CBC Metro Morning interview with Barbara Gray, Head of Transportation Services.

Torontoist: Bloor Street bike lanes and the business of road safety

Dandyhorse: Report shows Bloor business is flourishing with new bike lanes

 

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Interview on Metro Morning

An interview on Metro Morning, featuring Albert Koehl and Barry Alper, owner of Fresh restaurants, who was quoted in the Sun as being against the Bloor bike lanes, but is now saying that he supports them but not in their current configuration.

Note also that the study on the Bloor bike lane pilot is due to be released this week, in advance of the PWIC meeting next Wednesday.

 

 

 

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ibikeTO post on the recent Annex Merchants survey

A group called the “Annex Business Bike Alliance” (ABBA) recently released a survey of merchants that they conducted. While their statements are not as negative about the bike lane pilot as a recent story in the Toronto Sun, they still effectively call for the removal of the bike lanes, suggesting such solutions as “rush hour only” or “seasonal” bike lanes. Their letters to city councillors is here:

ABBA_Letter_to_councillors

Herb of iBikeTO has written a great piece providing some perspective on the conclusions of ABBA. It is interesting reading, and a great counterpoint to ABBA and the Sun article.

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How many cyclists are using the Bloor bike lanes?

Bells on Bloor volunteers were busy last week analyzing a video record of traffic on Bloor near Brunswick, and for the first time, have provided the city with a 24 hour count over five consecutive weekdays.

chart

The results are in, and on one particular week in September, over 6000 cyclists used the bike lanes each day.  As we prepare for the October 18 PWIC meeting, let’s keep this in mind. You can also see from the above chart that over 600 cyclists per hour are seen at peak periods, and at no time during the day does this number dip below 200 bikes/hr (five day average).

Metro News Coverage.

Blog post on Biking in a Big City gives a few more details.

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Sample of video used for the bike count.

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