July 05, 2016

June 2016 Toronto Cycling Updates

Happy belated Canada Day, fellow cyclists!

Last week brought some significant changes to Toronto’s cycling scene and the Bloor pilot project installation is still 1-2 months away.

Bike Share Expansion
New Bike Share station in Parkdale
The most important of these changes is Bike Share Toronto (formerly BIXI) is finally getting a much needed expansion five years after launch. 120 new stations are being added for a total of 200 and the number of bikes is being doubled to 2000. The new stations can be found in west end neighbourhoods such as Liberty Village and Parkdale and as far north as Davenport Road. As per this Dandyhorse article, the east end remains underserviced with stations limited mainly to Broadview and Danforth Avenues, though the expansion does mark the first stations east of the Don River.
Bike Share expansion (2011 in dark green & 2016 in light green)
Given there were calls to expand BIXI to 5000 bikes as per the Feeling Congested consultation series (Page 21 of Phase 2 Toolkit PDF file), the east end (bounded by the Don River, O’Connor Drive, and Victoria Park Avenue) should be the focus for the next phase of expansion; especially popular tourist areas such as Woodbine Beach and the Leslie Spit. I also suggest new stations at the following areas:
  • High Park (plus 1-2 stations along Roncesvalles Avenue)
  • Western Waterfront (e.g. Sunnyside Park/Pool, Humber Bay)
  • Eglinton Avenue (to serve future Crosstown LRT)
A smaller cluster around North York Centre could also be considered, given the area’s high density. However, it would not likely be connected because of the lower density along Yonge between Eglinton and Sheppard.

Waterfront
Smooth pavement on Lake Shore until water work at Symons Street
Bike lanes are coming soon on Lake Shore Boulevard from Norris Crescent to First Street (link to earlier post)! While riding along Lake Shore during the long weekend, I noticed some smooth new pavement along the eastbound curb lane from First to Symons Street, which is 270 metres before Norris. Some blocked off areas can be found from Symons to Norris for ongoing water work, but that work should be done in August per the City of Toronto’s website and the cycle tracks opened shortly after.
Dowling pedestrian & cycling bridge
In Parkdale, the Dowling Avenue pedestrian and cycling bridge has been completed. This should provide a safer Waterfront connection than Jameson Avenue – especially once the approved Dowling bike lanes get installed later this year or early 2017 – but I feel the City of Toronto should lay off the dismount signs. Unless it is along a sidewalk where riding is illegal except for children under 14, dismount signs always get ignored by cyclists and are really a lame way of saying “sorry, but there’s no room for proper cycling infrastructure”. The lamest of these examples can be found on a 60 metre gap on Queens Quay by Dan Leckie Way. “Yield to Pedestrians” signs would work better.
Signal Changes

To shed some new light on traffic signals, existing bicycle signals are being replaced with those showing bicycle symbols such as this example at Dundas and Shaw Streets. These lights were first used on Avenue Road in October 2015 with more replacements likely in the works.
New bicycle traffic lights at Dundas & Shaw
A final update in the downtown core is a “Bicycles Excepted” sign has finally been added to the “No Turns” sign at Yonge (southbound) and Richmond in order to legalize turns onto the cycle tracks.

Final Remarks

While big ticket items such as the Bloor pilot project, the new bike plan, and Vision Zero get all the attention, we should not lose sight of the smaller changes around us. After all, many smaller changes can add up to big improvements for Toronto’s cyclists.

Bike on!
Rob Z (e-mail)

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