Bike lane pilot public consultation

Today was the second public consultation for the proposed bike lane pilot on Bloor St. This was the first opportunity to comment on details of the design of the bike lanes, which will run from Avenue Rd. to Shaw St.

a more comprehensive write up of the design appears on the Dandyhorse blog.

Here is an animated GIF contrasting the new vision for Bloor St, compared with the existing conditions.

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Many of the usual suspects in attendance: here are Joey and Wayne.

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Wayne admires a shot of Bells on Bloor, described as a “bike lane advocacy ride”.

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The complete set of posters are available on the city website here, but here is a peek of several of the more interesting panels.

These panes represent the strongest opinions against the bike lanes, coming from drivers and businesses in the area.The fact that the opposition [amongst drivers and merchants] is only slightly more than the fraction in support is a huge sea change in public opinion. People who were self identified as either pedestrians or cyclists were strongly in support.

The overall concept of the bike lanes is to have protection on both sides, and the removal of parking from one side of the street. The sides with parking would alternate from north to south every couple of blocks as shown here. In terms of the options discussed at the previous meeting, this corresponds to option C (bike lane curbside), which provides maximum protection for cyclists.

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There were also long tables where it was possible to see the details of the design block by block. In this photo, I was struck by the long buffer zones both upstream and downstream of the parking spaces. Perhaps a future opportunity for more bike parking?

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This segment just west of the ROM shows a dropoff zone in front of the RCM on the south side, and a recessed drop off zone on the north side for the hotel. We’ll see how this design works out.

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The greatest concern, judging from the density of post it notes, was the intersection at Bloor and Bathurst, where the bike lane switches positions with a right turn lane. I was told by a traffic engineer that the rationale was that at this intersection, left turns are not allowed between 7 am and 10 pm, so it was more important to try to prioritize right turning traffic.

I actually don’t think this is an issue; a similar arrangement on Annette at Dundas West in the eastbound direction works out pretty well. However, there will be difficulties if there are long lines of cars turning right that are blocked by pedestrians crossing at rush hour.

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I was struck by the media attention at this meeting. Here are the TV trucks parked around the corner on Roberts St.

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and there certainly hasn’t been a shortage of media coverage, generally positive for once.

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but as a staff member said, “It’s nice to be talking about design…”

Next steps: the final design goes to a vote at the April 11 PWIC meeting, then onto City Council, perhaps in time for installation in June or July, if all goes well.

Fingers crossed.

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