December 04, 2021

Previewing The Queensway Reconstruction

The Infrastructure and Environment Committee approved the 2022 to 2024 cycling implementation plan and making last year’s ActiveTO bike lanes permanent on Thursday. (read my analysis here) These motions will go to City Council on December 15. One of the proposed projects is the reconstruction of The Queensway from the Humber River bridge to Burma Drive which will be subject to a virtual public meeting on December 7, 2021. I had the chance to view the materials during a stakeholder meeting earlier this week and with the slides now publicly available, here is a recap of what can be expected.

All images used in this post are found in the City of Toronto's presentation deck

The Queensway reconstruction is part of the broader Park Lawn Lake Shore Transportation Master Plan (TMP) and is planned for 2023 ahead of the Gardiner Expressway rehabilitation scheduled for 2024 to 2026. City staff did their usual overview of policies such as the Official Plan, Vision Zero, Complete Streets Guidelines, Cycling Network Plan, and TransformTO (which itself had almost 50 people speak at yesterday’s IEC meeting). The project not only plans to add raised cycle tracks, but also wider sidewalks and greenery which is scarce in the area.

The right of way varies between 26.8 and 34.4 metres along the entire corridor which allows for two narrowed traffic lanes in each direction to be maintained and the addition of a centre median. The bike lanes on Stephen Drive will also be upgraded to cycle tracks from The Queensway to Ringley, while new cycle tracks will be added on Park Lawn for the same distance.

One thing that stands out with this project is the use of protected intersections at Park Lawn and Stephen. Toronto is only getting started on this front with its first protected intersection under construction near York University, while they hosted a consultation about another one proposed in Flemingdon Park. The City needs to ensure protected intersections are include with all future cycling projects.

The Queensway and Park Lawn intersection drawings show a bi-directional path on the southwest corner. This is to eventually connect The Queensway with the future Mimico Creek Trail which is currently an unpaved trail. There is no firm timeline for making the Mimico Creek trail an official paved trail, but the City is currently working with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority on that front.

During the Q&A session, there was a question raised about improving protection across the Humber River Bridge, but the project scope stops just before the bridge. With the buffers already there, this should be a no brainer for the City to implement. Several questions were raised about connections to the Humber River Trail, the Humber streetcar loop, and the future Park Lawn GO station. For the latter, it was noted the TMP – which would incorporate this idea – could take as long as 10 to 15 years to be fully implemented. One thing which had unanimous support among the stakeholders is the need to extend the Queensway bike lanes 600 metres to the existing ones on Royal York. If the Bloor bike lane extension scope could be changed from High Park to Runnymede, there is no reason why the same cannot happen here.

Speaking of these annoying gaps, Frostbike author Tom Babin put up a great video illustrating some of the cycling network gaps Calgary has experienced and can be equally applicable in Toronto and other cities. Gaps such as the Bloor bike lane under the Railpath come to mind, though Yonge will have one such gap from Davisville to Eglinton once the proposed bike lanes get completed there.

Comments for The Queensway reconstruction project are due on December 21, 2021. The project will then be sent to the infrastructure and Environment Committee in Q1 2022 with detailed design planned later in the year before the 2023 construction start date.

Even if you never use The Queensway, the City of Toronto has another consultation scheduled for the same evening (Tuesday, December 7) to add cycle tracks on Sheppard Avenue from Bonnington Place (east of Yonge Street) to Leslie Street. The existing Willowdale bike lanes are proposed to be extended to Sheppard as part of this project, while comments are due on Thursday, December 30. The Douro and Wellington bike lanes will be upgraded to bi-directional cycle tracks and extended to Blue Jays Way next year, while the City significantly improved the design of Port Union Road to include raised cycle tracks thanks to the public feedback from a previous meeting.

Regardless of which part of Toronto you live in, it’s important to make your voices heard for the road safety projects that matter to you. The feedback can be helpful in making useful changes to these projects to ensure safer streets for all.

November 25, 2021

Diving Into Toronto’s 2022 – 2024 Bike Plan

Back in July, I wrote about the upcoming bike plan update in Spacing to explore whether it would help Toronto build back better. While the overall trend would maintain last year’s annual pace of over 30 kilometres (if built), some major arterials were listed as studies at the time. Now that the final report has been released and will be debated at next Thursday’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting, it’s time to look at what has changed since then and what needs to be done.

Celebrating the opening of the Esplanade-Mill bikeway (Phase 1)

November 04, 2021

Parkside Motion Coming to City Council

In response to last month's fatal collision on Parkside Drive, about 150 residents took part in a peaceful protest on Tuesday, October 26 while Councillor Gord Perks has introduced Motion MM37.1 regarding safety measures proposed on that street. While the motion does include some of the items requested by the Safe Parkside group, there are serious concerns with Item 1F which calls for the addition of Green P parking on the west side of Parkside.


Given this motion will be debated at next week's City Council meeting, please e-mail Toronto City Council (councilmeeting@toronto.ca), as well as copy Mayor Tory and your city councillor calling on them to remove Item 1F from the motion and instead push for expediting the redesign of Parkside Drive through the High Park Movement Strategy. Below is the e-mail I sent, though I encourage you to customize it to emphasize why a safer Parkside Drive is important to you.

UPDATE 2021/11/05 - Since my e-mail was sent to City Council, a suggestion was brought up in the Safe Parkside group to have the motion referred to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee in order to allow for the public to comment and depute on the item. A 2/3 majority is needed to waive the referral for this item at City Council, so at least nine councillors (out of 26 including the Mayor) would need to oppose waiving the referral for this to happen. (Thanks David W)

October 28, 2021

Call for Action RE Latest Bloor Gap Delay

On October 13, 2021, the City of Toronto released a construction update for the Bloor Street West bridge rehabilitation claiming the completion date has been delayed from December 2021 to June 2022. This delay effectively means the Bloor bike lane gap which currently exists there between Symington and Dundas will have been left unfilled for two years since the rest of the Bloor bike lane extension was installed from Shaw to Runnymede.

Bloor at Symington looking west towards the bike lane gap

It is time to call out Councillors Gord Perks and Ana Bailao – as well as Mayor John Tory – for the City’s poor handling of this critical gap in Toronto’s bikeway network. A tragedy back in August which saw 18-year-old Miguel Joshua Escanan prompted Toronto City Council to approve a motion to expedite work on a complete street on Avenue Road, as well as examine cyclist safety in construction zones. We cannot wait for another cyclist to get killed by that area to force action in this case or other safety hazards across the city.

This ridiculously short addition to the Bloor bike lane east of Dundas spotted in June is not enough

Please see below an e-mail I sent, though I encourage you to come up with your own submissions.

October 22, 2021

Stepping Up Action on Parkside Drive

Since the Sunnyside Community Association held their meeting in May 2021 and the Safe Parkside Facebook group was created, there was little activity aside from City Council rescinding the afternoon rush hour parking restrictions on Parkside Drive . However, last week’s deaths of Valdemar and Fatima Avila at Parkside and Spring Road – which I use every day to walk Mozzie in High Park – prompted neighbours to organize and renew calls to make Parkside Drive safer for everyone. Lots of “Slow Down” signs were put up along Parkside and 50 to 60 people attended a vigil at the crash site on Tuesday afternoon including Councillor Gord Perks, MPP Bhutila Karpoche, and MP Arif Virani. It’s time to recap some of the upcoming actions, as well as clarify some facts regarding arterial roads.

Members of the Bike Brigade helped marshall the intersection closure during Tuesday's vigil

October 16, 2021

A Second Look at Prioritizing Cycling Projects

Back in April 2017, I wrote a post about prioritizing cycling projects given projects such as the King Street Pilot and calls to have the John Street environmental assessment reopened. I had argued there was not a need for bike lanes on those streets with alternatives being readily available nearby, but noted Harbord and Bloor Streets – only 400 metres apart – were both able to maintain high cycling volumes. With a public consultation coming up on October 20 for a bikeway along Palmerston and Tecumseth, I decided to revisit this question and ask if there should be more urgent priorities to pursue or if we should pursue bikeways closer apart downtown.

A recently installed contraflow on Winona

September 24, 2021

One Month with the Cargo Bike

Last month, we got our Muli Muskel cargo bike mainly to transport Mozzie and our groceries. The cargo bike has seen a fair bit of action since then with this past weekend’s cargo bike meetup being the most recent ride. It’s time to do a recap to demonstrate how life changing cargo bikes can be.