July 29, 2019

One Year Later – Where Are We On Protected Intersections?

Last year saw two cyclists killed in places where bike lanes intersected; those being Douglas Crosbie at Dundas and Jones in May and Dalia Chako at Bloor and St. George in June. Those fatalities helped spark new demands for Dutch style protected intersections from road safety advocates and the Toronto Star, while City Council approved ten “complete intersection” pilots. What happened on this file since then?
Cycle Toronto's protected intersection demo at Open Streets TO
During Open Streets TO in August and September, Cycle Toronto’s volunteers showcased a protected intersection demo at Bloor and St. George using pool noodles for the islands and chalk to mark the crossings. Postcards were handed out to raise awareness on how protected intersections work. In October, the City of Toronto organized a protected intersection workshop with Dutch mobility consulting firm Mobycon, which dozens of advocates attended. In addition to Bloor and St. George, participants were encouraged to design three other protected intersections including Annette and Runnymede, Adelaide and Sherbourne, and St. Dennis and Deauville.
SOURCE: City of Toronto
While the protected intersection file went silent since October’s workshop, the City of Toronto announced in late May consultations for improving two intersections on Deauville Lane in Flemingdon Park. One of these – St. Dennis and Deauville – is planned to become a true protected intersection including corner islands. The other at Deauville and Grenoble will have its slip lanes removed and increased green space. Unfortunately, St. Dennis and Deauville is not expected to start implementation until 2022 with city staff citing the need to complete the Eglinton Crosstown LRT first. At this time, city staff have not given any indication on where the other “complete intersections” will be built, though it must be stressed that Deauville and Grenoble does not qualify for this purpose.
T.O.INview 2020 Transportation Projects - Includes Bloor from Spadina to Avenue
Bloor from Spadina to Avenue is expected to be resurfaced next year per T.O.INview after this year’s resurfacing of the Bathurst to Spadina section. When I asked city staff about the status of the Bloor and St. George intersection, I was informed it is “actively being designed” but was unable to confirm whether it would be done at the same time as the road work. Given the recently approved instructions by City Council to look at closing the bike lane gap from Avenue to Sherbourne, extending the Bloor bike lanes west to High Park, and installing pilot bike lanes on Danforth, there are three other intersections along the corridor which need to be prioritized for protected intersection treatment:
  • Bloor and Sherbourne (when road work on the Sherbourne to Church stretch starts in 2022 – five years behind schedule)
  • Bloor and High Park (during the Bloor bike lane extension implementation which Councillors Layton, Bailao, and Perks want done by Summer 2020)
  • Danforth and Woodbine (when the Danforth bike lane pilot gets installed in 2020 or 2021)
The Waterfront Trail at the Marina entrance has some design elements useful for protected intersections
To help speed up the process, the City of Toronto could look at the recently opened Martin Goodman Trail connection along Unwin Avenue for some inspiration. At the marina entrance, the two intersecting trails use parking curbs and plastic bollards to add some protection from turning vehicles. The use of these materials should be copied and pasted to other intersections across Toronto in case permanent concrete islands are not planned for the foreseeable future. Tactical urbanism at its finest! 😊

Tactically yours,
Rob Z (e-mail)

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