Bike Lanes on Danforth

Councillor Brad Bradford has posted some information about the bike lanes slated to be installed on the Danforth this summer.

Lots of interesting details in the renderings that were just posted. 24/7 car parking on both sides, and it looks like parking buffered bike lanes for the most part. It will be particularly interesting to see if the “artistic curb extensions” have any effect on driver behaviour.

It would have been preferable to see intersection treatments like those installed in San Jose. Something to considered for the future, when these bike lanes are evaluated in late 2021.

In the meantime, we await installation with baited breath. Once these are in, as well as the bike lanes between Avenue and Sherbourne, then we will finally have a continuous stretch from Runnymede to Dawes.

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Let’s keep the momentum going

Even though 40 km of bike lanes were approved by City Council last month, the new bike lanes fall well short of a real network of continuous cycling routes across the city.

This has been pointed out by us in the past, and Albert has written another letter to the office of recovery and rebuild. Read it here.

Rob Zaichkowski also provides some more details on what is really needed in the latest post on his excellent blog.

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I’ll hold off thanking the city for its bike lane expansion

article by Albert Koehl in NOW Toronto.

“The 40-kilometre plan announced last week offers residents what the mayor and council deem acceptable, instead of what they need”

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Toronto City Council approves 40 km of new bike lanes.

As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Toronto has started to implement a plan called ActiveTO “ActiveTO is about making sure people have space to get around while respecting physical distancing.”

Today, City Council took a huge step forward by approving a plan to add 40 km of new bike lanes. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is that the plan includes the westward expansion of the Bloor bike lanes from Shaw to Runnymede, as well as a large part of the Danforth from Broadview to Dawes Rd (between Main and Victoria Park), and the missing section between Avenue and Sherbourne. This provides a continuous 15 km path for cyclists along this important transport corridor.

The other bike infrastructure enhancements planned are:

Dundas Street East, from Sackville Street to Broadview Avenue, Cycle Track

University Avenue / Queens Park, from Adelaide Street to Bloor Street, Cycle Track

Huntingwood Drive, from Victoria Park Ave to Brimley Road, Bicycle Lane

Brimley Road, from Kingston Road to Lawrence Avenue, Cycle Track

Bayview Avenue, from River Street to Rosedale Valley Road, Multi-Use Trail

River Street, from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue, Multi-Use Trail

Wilmington Avenue, from Finch Avenue to Sheppard Avenue, Bicycle Lane

Faywood Boulevard, from Sheppard Avenue to Wilson Avenue, Bicycle Lane

The westward extension of the Bloor bike lane to Runnymede is still considered a pilot project that will have some degree of protection added (mainly bollards on curbs). It remains to be seen how all the other bike lanes are installed, but they are a temporary measure for as long as strict social distancing is required in Toronto. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how this will all turn out, but since this a pandemic response, the intention is to have all routes installed this summer.

Other routes are still under consideration to be added to the ActiveTO plan. In particular it was disappointing to see that none of Yonge St was included, particularly since it is vitally important to provide an alternative mode of transportation for those who want to avoid taking the TTC downtown during the pandemic.

Nevertheless, a historic day, with the vote in favour being 23-2.

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Star article by Albert Koehl

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extra space for both the line up and pedestrians in front of the No Frills in Bloor West Village

With the new ActiveTO initiative to open up road space for cyclists and pedestrians, it is time to continue to press for a real network of bike routes across the city. Here is an article in the Star by Albert, posted May 11, 2020.

At the same time, the city has been making incremental improvements to existing bike lanes, such as these bollards on curbs that appeared on Bloor between Palmerston and Euclid. These are similar to the protection that is planned for most of the westward extension of the Bloor bike lanes.

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Also this:

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2nd Danforth Study Public Consultation

The second public consultation of the Danforth study was held on January 27, the same evening as one of the Bloor bike lane consultations. Rob Zaichkowski went to both meetings, and he just posted a report on the Danforth study.

DSC06653It looks like 2021 would be the earliest possible date for a pilot bike lane east of the Don River, but Cycle Toronto is pushing to see if this timeline can be accelerated.

 

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Canvassing in Bloor West Village

Bells on Bloor volunteers gathered today in Bloor West Village to get an update on the status of the Bloor bike lane westward extension. The mood was optimistic.

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Afterwards, we set to work distributing the City of Toronto brochures about the impact of bike lanes to local businesses on Bloor between Jane and Dundas West. Here are Albert and Rob heading east.

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I headed west towards Jane. Most of the businesses that I talked to were supportive. One of the stories that I heard was from someone who was hit from behind while biking along Shaw St. Her daughter was also hit at Queen and River, and in that case it was a hit and run. The one exception was a businessman who talked to the BIA and was told that it was a done deal.  I tried to emphasize that cyclists are the ones that are the most likely to shop locally. I’m not sure that I convinced him.

At any rate, both during and after the canvassing, I did some shopping. Thanks to the Wine Shop, Cecil Ward & Sons, and Noodle Me.

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January 27 public consultation on the westward expansion of the Bloor Bike Lanes

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Today was the first of two public consultations on the westward expansion of the Bloor bike lane where a proposed design of the lanes was revealed to the public. Definitely a lack of adequate bike parking at the entrance.

A pretty good turnout. I took this picture before 5 pm!

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Around the perimeter of the room were many information panels showing some of the justification for the westward extension, as well as some of the metrics that were used to come up with the design. All of these panels are available at this link.

Here are some of the usual suspects gathered around one of the maps showing a section of the bike lane design.

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Kevin, Councillor Layton, and Albert. Also photobomb by Becky Katz, Manager of the Cycling and Pedestrian Projects Unit

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Here is the proposed design just west of Shaw. The good news is that the road width for the entire extension is larger than the narrowest sections between Spadina and Bathurst. As a result, there will not be any sections that are just painted lines, like the north side of Bloor near Brunswick. In the figure below, you will see a bike lane that is buffered by parking (light blue area) on the north side. The area that is cross hatched (indicated by the blue arrow) is intended as a loading zone. It is still separated from the bike lane by the dashed line that indicates bollards that are mounted on concrete curbs.

 

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Here is a picture showing the bollards on curbs that have been chosen as the most common type of protection to be used.

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The sections of Bloor west of Lansdowne that go under the railway bridges will have a typical cross section like this.

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Also along this section are a few parking spots (where previously there was no parking) in order to calm traffic.

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Here is the intersection with Dundas St W. The present configuration is more or less preserved, with a right turn lane for cars that will cross a marked bike lane. The bike lane at the corner will have green paint as it is marked as a bus stop.

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A different approach is used in the eastbound direction at Keele. Here, the present configuration is also preserved, with a right turn lane at the curb, requiring bikes to cross over with car traffic. This design could be problematic.

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Here is Rob writing a comment to that effect.

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There was also a rendering of the eastbound downhill section near the Runnymede Library. I don’t know about you, but one of the cyclists looks rather scared.

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The section of Bloor between Clendenan and Glendonwynne currently has indents in the curb for car parking. The new design has cyclists swerving into the area that is currently parking, and the cars will be buffering the bike lane. Here is a map of the area shown in that rendering.

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The city is accepting public input with an online survey form until Feburary 14.  Also, if you want another chance to see all of the presentation material, and to talk to city staff, there will be another public consultation on Thursday, January 30 from 4-8 pm at Lithuanian House, 1573 Bloor Street West.

City staff have stated that this is the signature project for 2020 in terms of bike infrastructure, and they are pulling out all the stops to make it happen. Many groups including Bells on Bloor and Cycle Toronto have been working on mustering public support as well. The project will be voted on in May for planned installation in August.

A few more notes specific to the section between Runnymede and Keele have been posted here.

Figures crossed.

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Bloor westward extension public consultations coming up

The public consultations for the westward extension of the Bloor bike lanes will be at:

  • Monday, Jan 27, 4-8 pm at St Wenceslaus Church, 496 Gladstone Ave Toronto ON M6H 3H9, Canada
  • Thursday Jan 30, 4-8 pm at Lithuanian House, 1573 Bloor St W

These consultations will be the first time that detailed designs of what is being proposed will be shown to the public. After this consultation, city staff will take into account public comment, and modify the design before it gets presented to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on May 5. From that point, it will get voted on by City Council for potential installation in August 2020. This westward expansion to Runnymede Ave would add 4.5 km to the current 2.4 km section between Avenue Rd and Shaw St.

If you want a preview of the information panels, they have just been posted.

Here is the slide summarizing where we are in the process.

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Regardless of whether or not you can make it to one of the consultations, you also have the opportunity to provide feedback on this form until Feb 14.

Late breaking news: there will also be a public consultation for the Danforth neighbourhood study.

  • The City is hosting a public Open House on Monday, January 27th, 2020 at Monarch Park Collegiate Institute, 1 Hanson Street. Drop-in any time between 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

This consultation is not strictly focused on bike lanes, but it opens the possibility to push for pilot bike lanes on the Danforth, perhaps as soon as this summer.

 

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Bloor western extension stakeholders meeting

Tonight there was a stakeholders meeting for the western extension of the Bloor bike lanes. I was pleased to see that one of the handouts was a brochure outlining the primary conclusions of a study of the impact of the Bloor bike lanes.

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There was a presentation of the background for the project, outlining the extensive process of consultation that is ongoing in advance of the first broad public consultation scheduled for late January.

The city presented a preliminary design for the western extension. The bottom line is that there will be continous bike lanes on both sides of the street from Shaw to Runnymede, with some level of protection along the whole route. Unlike the Bloor bike lanes on the north side in the Annex which have only a painted line in the narrowest section, there will be a minimum of a painted buffer with bollards, with more protection in other sections. One of the proposals for better protection is precast concrete curbs topped by bollards. The details of the street configuration varies along the length of the project. Where parking is maintained, the parked cars will be used as a buffer, and the bike lane will be curbside. There will have to be a limited number of gaps to allow for things like stops for the night bus, and accessibility at certain points such as beside retirement homes.

Here is the proposed cross section for both Bloordale and Bloorcourt. This will entail removing parking from one side of the street.

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The section between Lansdowne and Dundas West calls for special treatment since there are two underpasses. The treatment for the underpasses is a little different because of the width required by the pillars supporting the railway bridges.

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West of Dundas, there is sufficient road width to maintain parking on both sides.

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Many details of the design remain to be worked out. After the presentation, we were broken up into table groups in order to discuss two issues in particular: intersection designs, and considerations for loading, pickup and drop off, and accessibility.

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The atmosphere in the room was very positive.

Two of the usual suspects were all smiles afterwards (Kevin from Cycle Toronto, and Albert from Bells on Bloor)

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Next, city staff will flesh out a preliminary design based on the feedback collected at events such as the one tonight, and these will be presented at public consultations that will be during the last week in January. There will be two dates at two locations near the west and eastern ends of the project.

The intention is to have this project go to city council, and if approved, then installation is scheduled for August 2020. I was told that everything should be installed within a two week window.

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