Cyclists represent 40% of traffic

That is, on Harbord St. During peak hours.

So the city is going to do something about it. Awesome. Way to go city!

The City of Toronto is planning to upgrade Harbord St. with a ‘bi-directional cycle track design’. Meaning it could look something like this path in Vancouver:

Image

Image courtesy of City of Toronto

But unlikely it will be that awesome.

Many big cities have bi-directional cycle paths already like New York, Chicago, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver. So we’re playing a little catch-up here but that’s just fine…

The bi-directional design will move both the east and west bound bike lanes to one side of the street. Therefore it will mean the removal of on-street parking on parts of Harbord – which I’m sure will be a pain for many.

But I’ll remain a bit selfish here and say I am thrilled about this plan. One step forward.

Last Thursday, the city organized a Public Drop-In Event to review the designs for the improved bike lane. It’s cool – they really are looking for the public’s opinion as they develop the bike lanes. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it, but, if you use Harbord, I encourage you to take a look at the current report online here.

The city hasn’t finalized the design yet. They want our input. On page 21 they show the different design considerations. What gets my fairly uninformed vote?

Montreal’s full curb separation design.

Of course I like the more expensive design which will require more construction. But this is an investment in the city’s future. And this looks the safest of all options.

Harbord already has painted separation so I can’t see how bi-directional painted separation makes it safer. To be honest, I’m usually a lot more scared of the way other cyclists ride so I don’t want one coming at me from the opposite direction without a separate from traffic. I foresee many more fights among cyclists.

The raised cycle track seems like I could easily fall off the edge… again I called this my uninformed decision so obviously look for your personal comments here.

I also came across this report on the many problems with bi-directional cycling paths. What works for Harbord is there are only a few major intersection, so turning isn’t as much of an issue. Read ibiketo.ca blog about their thoughts on uni-directional vs. bi-directional when it comes to Richmond and Adelaide.

Again my vote – Full Curb Separation. Make the investment, make it safe. Cyclists represent 40% of Harbord traffic during peak hours. And as they say in Field Of Dream, if you build it they will come. I guarantee if they put in a full curb separation bike lane – the cyclists will come!

The coolest thing is that the city wants to hear from you! So share your voice … email bikeplan@toronto.ca. And please share your opinion with me too.

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