A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘biking

[URBAN NOTE] “Six Things We Learned from Ryerson’s Cycling Report”

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Torontoist’s Cayley James shares her summary of six key points from a recent report on cycling in Toronto. There is definitely a lot of potential for it to increase.

Ryerson University recently released a report that is the first of its kind in Canada. Cycling Behaviour and Potential in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area [PDF] is a nearly 100-page document that analyzes current cycling patterns, with an eye towards how Metrolinx and the municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) can increase cycling.

Written by Raktim Mitra, Ian Cantello, and Greggory Hanson, three researchers from Ryerson’s School of Urban and Regional Planning, as well as Nancy Smith Lea from the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT), it received funding from Metrolinx, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

There are 14 million trips made on a daily basis in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Anyone can tell you that Toronto has a travel problem. The roads are clogged with cars, there is a dearth of hard-rail transit that Metrolinx is trying to remedy slowly but surely, and those who could be cycling aren’t. For me, a commuter, a cyclist, and someone who can’t drive, a lot of the problems brought up in the report were common knowledge. What was enlightening was the breadth of these problems across the region and the surprising areas that potential is hidden.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 17, 2016 at 3:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Majority of Torontonians favour bike lanes, new survey suggests”

The Toronto Star‘s Alina Bykova reports on an encouraging new poll of Torontonian opinion.

Seven in 10 Torontonians support bike lanes generally and a majority approve of the new lanes on Bloor St. W., according to a new Forum Research poll revealed this week.

The survey showed widespread support for bike lanes from multiple demographics that were surveyed, including people who drive, take public transit, bike and walk to work or school, those in different income and age brackets, and men and women alike.

Downtown Toronto and East York, where most bike lanes are located, had the highest approval rates, at 79 per cent in each region. North York’s approval rating was the lowest of all the regions surveyed, at 61 per cent.

“These lanes have obviously been something of a success, and even the majority of drivers favour them. This bodes well for more bicycle infrastructure if as ambitious a project as this can meet with so little opposition,” said Forum president Lorne Bozinoff.

Fifty-six per cent of those polled approved of the new bike lanes on Bloor between Shaw St. and Avenue Rd., a pilot project installed in August. The approval rating was slightly higher in the case of those surveyed in downtown Toronto, who were 63 per cent in favour of the bike lanes, and in East York, where 72 per cent were supportive.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 5, 2016 at 7:59 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO notes a bike licensing proposal has been killed.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a study of the surfaces of magma exoplanets.
  • Language Hat notes untranslatable Maltese phrases.
  • Language Log is taken aback by Donald Trump’s juvenile language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money thinks that Trump’s stance on trade might be an advantage.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer does not understand what Ian Bremmer means by saying that the presidential election does not matter to business.
  • Savage Minds shares an indigenous take on anthropology and its charting of indigenous secrets and lives and cultures.
  • Towleroad notes that survivors of the Orlando massacre and others are starting to get compensation from the OneOrlando fund.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russians believed their propaganda today and argues Russian autocracy will always threaten Ukraine.

[URBAN NOTE] “Common Cents: The Impact of Income on Cycling”

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.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 8, 2016 at 6:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “The West Toronto Railpath Finally Gets Funding For Expansion”

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.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 26, 2016 at 6:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Motorists are Already Driving in the New Bloor Bike Lanes”

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.

Thigns changed.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “How Toronto Can Expand Bike Parking”

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.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 31, 2016 at 8:15 pm