December 08, 2015

Twelve Days of Bicycles - Four Lake Shore Spans

From my building in Liberty Village to where the Martin Goodman Trail ends at Norris Crescent, I pass or cross four cycling bridges at Jameson, Roncesvalles, Humber River, and Park Lawn. From Norris to where the trail resumes at First Street, cyclists have to use Lake Shore Boulevard; a busy arterial road not appealing to most recreational users. To remedy this issue, there are plans to install a 1.4 kilometre bi-directional cycle track on the south side of Lake Shore. A public consultation was held this evening at the New Toronto Library with city staff available to answer residents’ concerns.

For the majority of the cycle track’s length, 24 inch (60 cm) pre-cast walls will be used to separate cyclists from motor vehicle traffic with planters used at certain intersections to enhance aesthetics. For areas with frequent driveways, 6 inch (15 cm) pre-cast curbs with bollards – similar to what Ottawa uses on Laurier Street – will be used. These should be effective in keeping those Beck taxi cabs out of the cycle track; a significant problem reported by cyclists along Richmond and Adelaide streets as of late.[1] At streetcar stops, the cycle tracks will be separated with raised curbs. Along with the limited number of signalled intersections where bicycle specific lights will be used (e.g. Royal York), these changes should go a long way in improving the safety of recreational cyclists using the Waterfront Trail.
In order to accommodate the cycle track, on-street parking had to be removed from one side while still allowing two through lanes in each direction. One observation I noted was most of the cycle track’s proposed length saw parking utilization at less than 30%. Only the 300 metre section from Miles Road to Hillside Avenue saw on-street parking near or over capacity on evenings and weekends (75% to 140%). Henceforth, the loss of parking should not be as significant an issue as with other cycling projects such as the proposed Bloor pilot project.
One potential concern for this cycle track is how an extension to the existing bike lanes on Lake Shore from 22nd Street to Brown’s Line as proposed in the draft bike plan will come into play. Switching from bi-directional to uni-directional would mean westbound cyclists have to cross in order to continue cycling. Again, the intent of this specific project is to improve the safety of recreational cyclists along the Waterfront Trail who seldom go faster than 20 km/h, though faster road cyclists will likely continue using the traffic lane to go westbound.
Per the project website, this cycle track is in conjunction with the Humber Bay Shores trail improvements from Park Lawn to the Humber River, as well as sewer rehabilitation on Lake Shore currently under way. As per Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati – Manager of Cycling Infrastructure and Programs – the cycle track is expected to go to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee in February & start construction in summer 2016.

Stay connected!
Rob Z (e-mail)


[1] CityNews. “Beck Taxi called out on Twitter after line of cabs caught parking in bike lane.” December 5, 2015.

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