Posts Tagged ‘biking’
Emma Heffernan’s Spacing Toronto article looks at how cost can discourage people from biking.
The line of middle aged men, balancing on bright green, step-through bikes, reach out their arms to the right. In turn, they each look over their right shoulder to check their blind spot. They then make the right turn. It is the parking lot of the Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre in Scarborough, and these men have just received the bikes that they will use all summer. Free of charge.
“Let’s stop here!” The group leader is in his mid-20s with hair to his shoulders. He gestures towards the post and ring racks that stand in a straight line on the edge of the parking lot. The men each curl their arm in a square shape, their hands pointing down to the ground, to signal the stop. The group leader gets off his bike and pulls out his lock. “This is the safest way to lock your bike,” he explains, as he loops the lock through the metal frame and the bike wheel. “Always try to use the middle metal pole, because some thieves can cut through the sides.”
The four men pull out their locks, and begin locking their bikes to the posts. “Like this?” One asks. The group leader nods. One does not correctly loop his lock through the frame; he has mistakenly only locked his back wheel. This is a mistake that could cost him his bike in Toronto.
Unfortunately, I am not being dramatic – according to the Toronto Star over 18,000 bikes were reported stolen across the Toronto region between January 1, 2010, and June 30, 2015. Having a bike stolen is upsetting for anyone, regardless of income. However, for low income individuals, the risk of having a bike stolen can mean the difference between justifying the upfront cost of investing in a bike – or not.
The expense associated with buying and maintaining a bike is a barrier to cycling for low-income individuals, according to a 2010 report from Portland that used focus groups with 49 people of color in low-income communities to understand their barriers to cycling. Though the report also notes that safety concerns and a lack of secure bicycle storage also influence whether low income individuals choose to bike, a majority – 60% of respondents – expressed concern about the cost of a bicycle.
The cost of bicycles is not just a barrier to cycling in Portland. A 2016 survey conducted by University of Toronto researchers as part of the Scarborough Cycles project found those in lower incomes brackets were more likely to respond that financial concerns were part of the reason why they would choose not to bicycle, even if the weather was good. Specifically, 10-15% of those with incomes under $60,000 believe that bicycles are too expensive. Similarly, 20-30% of these individuals did not own a working bicycle. Although worry that the bicycle might be stolen was a concern regardless of income, those in lower income brackets were more likely to list this as a barrier to cycling than those in higher income brackets.
At Torontoist, Alina Bykova writes about this park extension, funded in part by federal money.
After years of local organizing, things are finally getting underway for the West Toronto Railpath extension.
The federal government announced this week that it will fund $11.7 million of the estimated total of $23 million for the extension. The news comes as part of a larger provincial and federal initiative to fund transportation infrastructure in Ontario.
The Railpath extension itself was approved by the City of Toronto back in January 2016, and the construction of Phase Two has already started on the Dufferin Street Bridge, which is being expanded by Metrolinx to make way for extra train tracks and the cycling trail.
“It’s all systems go,” says Jared Kolb, the director of Cycle Toronto. “It’s a really exciting development for the city. This will enable and create a really safe cycling connection. Taking it down to Strachan in terms of connectivity will be crucial.”
The current Railpath is 6.5 kilometres long and was completed in 2009. It runs along the Kitchener GO train line from just north of Dupont Street to Dundas Street West. Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati, the manager of cycling infrastructure at the City of Toronto says that as of May 2013, about 1,000 cyclists and 100 pedestrians use the current trail on a daily basis, and estimates predict that 2,000 people will use the path daily once the extension is finished.
Phase Two will run from Dundas Street West just south of Bloor Street West along the train tracks to Abell Street, which is just east of Dufferin. The extension will also connect western Toronto neighbourhoods to Liberty Village, and hopes are that it will eventually connect to Fort York and the downtown core, although that phase is still being researched.
Torontoist reports on the Bloor bike lanes.
In May, Council voted overwhelmingly in favour of the installation of a Bloor Street bike lanes pilot project, much to the joy of Toronto cyclists. The street is an active artery for more than 3,000 cyclists daily, and the fight for a safer ride from Shaw Street to Avenue Road has been 40 years in the making.
The bike lanes are under construction, and while the flexipost bollards haven’t been installed yet, cyclists can test-ride the newly painted lines. Some commuters, however, are not yet accustomed to sharing the road.
Torontoist‘s Corbin Smith took his bike out for a spin yesterday, and found that—to little surprise—being a cyclist isn’t easy in Toronto, even with new bike lanes.
Smith rode from just west of Shaw past Avenue Road, where the the pilot project begins and ends. He ended his commute around Church Street.
At first, it was smooth sailing: the streets were fairly empty, and he had the lanes to himself on the west end.
Torontoist’s Emily Macrae looks at how Toronto can learn from Strasbourg’s approach to bikes, to bike parking in particular.
Cycling is a big deal in France’s seventh largest city. Strasbourg boasts 560 kilometres of bike lanes and 19,000 bike parking posts for a population of just over 275,000 in the city itself and around 768,000 in the metropolitan area. By comparison, Toronto has slightly more than 400 kilometres of bike lanes (including both protected cycle tracks and off-road trails) and 17,000 “post and ring” parking stands on sidewalks and boulevards.
One of these is not like the other.
The success of cycling infrastructure in Strasbourg is a result of partnerships between the city and other transportation agencies. Parcus, the city’s arms-length parking authority, manages parking lots throughout Strasbourg and incorporates bike parking as part of its facilities. Parcus provides free, supervised bike parking at five different parking lots across the city. Parking attendants are even equipped with repair kits and bike pumps.
In Toronto, the City’s Transportation Services Division is responsible for sidewalk bike parking as well as other short- and long-term bike parking facilities. Although Toronto is not yet home to automated underground bike storage, Transportation Services manages several other solutions that allow for a higher volume of bike parking and a greater level of security.
Much more there.
The Toronto Star‘s Ben Spurr writes about the Toronto police’s apparently continued pursuit of bike-lane violators.
Cyclists aren’t shy about giving David Armstrong advice on how to do his job.
“Give him the ticket, man!” shouted one rider on Monday afternoon, as Armstrong, a shift supervisor for Toronto Parking Enforcement, wrote up a driver for parking in a bicycle lane. “This is bulls–t!” the cyclist added before he pedalled away.
Monday marked first day of “Right 2 Bike,” a weeklong enforcement blitz targeting illegal parking in bicycle lanes.
To the many frustrated cyclists who complain about being forced into traffic by inconsiderate motorists, the blitz, which coincided with the annual Bike to Work Day, was long overdue.
But despite photos frequently circulated on social media that show cars invading Torontos’ bike lanes with seeming impunity, Armstrong is adamant that the parking enforcement unit takes the issue very seriously. According to the police, officers have issued over 23,000 tickets to drivers parked in bike lanes or separated cycle tracks since 2013.
Spacing Toronto describes the benefits of Toronto’s planned bike networks for east-end Scarborough.
On May 16th, the City of Toronto Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) recommended that City Council increase annual capital funding to $16 million for the proposed Ten Year Cycling Network Plan. This figure was recommended by Transportation Services staff and roughly doubles the City’s annual spending on cycling infrastructure. The plan calls for a total of 525 km of new cycling infrastructure throughout the city, including 280 km of bicycle lanes or cycle tracks on what the staff report refers to as ”Fast, Busy Streets”, 55 km of sidewalk-level boulevard trails also along ”Fast, Busy Streets”, and 190 km of cycling routes on ”Quiet Streets”.
In a previous post, I highlighted what Scarborough residents could expect from this new plan. To re-cap, building cycling infrastructure on major corridors like Kingston Rd., Danforth Ave., and Midland Ave. would improve transportation options, especially in southwest Scarborough, which has the highest levels of cycling mode share.
Therefore, it is promising that sections of both Danforth Ave. (between Broadview Ave. and Danforth Rd.) and Kingston Rd. (between Danforth Ave. and Eglinton Ave. E.) are slated for major corridor studies during the first three years of the plan in 2017 and 2019 respectively. A major corridor study is used in locations that would achieve an important cycling network link but where the streets are already intensely used for a wide range of existing activities. As part of the study, traffic impacts are assessed and affected stakeholders, such as residents and business owners, are consulted before new cycling infrastructure is introduced.