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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘biking

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

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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”

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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

[URBAN NOTE] “Bike-lane violators easy to find on ride-along”

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.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 31, 2016 at 8:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto’s new Cycling Network Plan: What’s in store for Scarborough?”

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.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 27, 2016 at 6:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “New plan would add 525 km of bike routes to create a true Toronto network”

The Toronto Star‘s Ben Spurr reports. All I can say is that this is a great plan. Will it be enacted? This remains to be seen.

Bike lanes could be coming to eight of Toronto’s busiest streets if the city’s new 10-year cycling plan pans out.

The plan, released in a city report Monday, identifies 525 km of new bike lanes, cycle tracks, trails and other routes that, if built, would create the kind of connected network Toronto’s bike advocates have long pushed for.

The majority of that infrastructure, some 280 km, would be in the form of painted or physically separated bike lanes on busy streets, while 190 km of it would be cycling routes on quieter roads. The remaining 55 km would be “sidewalk-level boulevard trails” running alongside major thoroughfares. The plan would cost an estimated $153.5 million over the next decade.

“Over a 10-year period we would roughly look at doubling the amount of cycling routes in the city,” said Stephen Buckley, the city’s general manager of transportation services. He said that to date the city’s planning of its bike network has been disjointed, and his goal was to “develop a full network that we could get behind.”

The guiding principles are connecting existing cycling routes, expanding the network, and improving infrastructure already in place, Buckley said.

Perhaps the most striking feature is a proposal to study bike infrastructure on eight major corridors, including Bloor St./Dupont St. from Dundas St. to Sherbourne St.; Danforth Ave. from Broadview Ave. to Kingston Rd.; and Yonge St. all the way from Steeles to Front St., almost the full length of the city.

[URBAN NOTE] “Why are so few Black people cycling in Toronto?”

D.C. Matthew writes at length in NOW Toronto about the various reasons why black people are so underrepresented in the population of cyclists. Some of the reasons are more benign than others.

People are connected to various social networks (the web of social relationships in which we are embedded), and researchers have convincingly – if not uncontroversially – argued that the behaviour of persons in our networks can affect our own in various ways. The idea is that a behaviour can spread as people pick up unconscious social signals that it’s normal.

But if more people are cycling because their friends are cycling, why aren’t more Black people cycling? Don’t they have friends, too? Yes, but it’s a well-studied fact that social networks are often less racially and ethnically diverse than we think.

Typically, when scholars study the racial homogeneity of social networks, their aim is to learn whether and how they work to disadvantage minorities by providing whites with privileged access to valuable resources such as jobs. If, for example, what matters most in getting a job is not what you know but who you know, and whites have historically dominated the most sought-after jobs, then it’s easy to see why homogeneous networks might be troubling.

But racially homogenous networks can also serve as conduits for the racially differentiated spread of healthy behaviours, and one of these is cycling.

This point finds some support when we look at the neighbourhoods where cycling rates are highest. In Toronto, the areas with the highest number of utilitarian cyclists (including Parkdale, Little Portugal and nearby ‘hoods) tend to be in the west end.

Although these neighbourhoods aren’t among the city’s whitest, they’re not the Blackest either.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 12, 2016 at 7:26 pm

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