November 21, 2020

Yesterday’s Deadly Crash on Royal York

Yesterday at 5:00 PM, the driver of a ML Ready Mix Concrete cement truck struck and killed a person riding a bike at Royal York and Judson in Etobicoke. Before this unfortunate event, I had only biked on Royal York a couple of times and recalled the bike lanes were pretty narrow. To get a better feel for the conditions on that street and how to improve it, we rode Royal York from Lake Shore to Evans on our way to do some errands.

November 11, 2020

Weston to Six Points via West Deane Trail

This past weekend was a warm one with temperatures approaching 20 degrees and may be the last weekend this year when riding with shorts and t-shirt is possible in Toronto. On Sunday, I went up to Weston to help out a stunt the Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition was working on and decided to check out the West Deane Trail and Six Points on my way back.

The former town of Weston used the tagline “Home of the Bicycle” given their connection to the old CCM (Canadian Cycle and Motor) factory, yet that neighbourhood is one of the most hostile places to bike per a recent column done by Shawn Micallef. The stunt involved a Weston resident with a penny farthing and Donna with the turtle costume and a toy tricycle to show how slow Toronto is today in making Weston safe for people who bike. The video – found below – featured the penny farthing rider doing circles around the turtle. Hilarious!

Heading home from Weston, I took the Humber River and Eglinton West Trails to get to the West Deane Trail I hadn’t tried yet.

It follows Mimico Creek from Eglinton to Kipling just north of Burnamthorpe. The trail is mostly uneventful, but I was concerned with the narrow width in some places; especially as I approached the southern trail terminus. Some trail widening and repaving would help provide a more pleasant experience. 

It is unfortunate the trail ends at Kipling with no safe on-street connection, while the Islington Golf Club prevents further extending the trail to Tom Riley Park at Islington and Dundas West. If bike lanes along the entire length of Kipling were not to be politically feasible anytime soon, at least extend the Kipling bike lanes 1.5 kilometres north to Wingrove Hill so people can safely bike south to Kipling subway station. Given the centre buffer (or turning lane) and road widths approaching 16 metres, it is totally feasible to extend the bike lanes on Kipling without impacting motor vehicle capacity.

Once I arrived at Six Points, I noticed the Bloor bike lanes from Resurrection to Beamish have finally been completed and are among the city’s best! The only thing that remains for Six Points is a short stretch on Dundas West at Aukland. I recorded a video with my phone mounted to my new Q-Mount which barely fits my Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra with a six inch screen and did a decent job holding the phone in place.

However, when approaching the end of the cycle tracks at Resurrection, I was insulted to see sharrows freshly painted under the TTC tracks. Per Cycle Toronto’s position statement on sharrows, they should never be placed on high speed arterials as what happened on this part of Bloor. People will not feel safe biking on Bloor until protected bike lanes are installed from Six Points to Runnymede.

Later in the afternoon, Helen and I did a ride towards Marie Curtis Park and found a couple of disappointing things. This was the first weekend since the Victoria Day long weekend when the eastbound lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard were not closed to motor vehicle traffic. Because of this and above seasonal temperatures, the crowding along the Martin Goodman Trail was so serious we had to wear masks. Most trail users weren’t wearing them despite more than 1300 COVID-19 cases reported on Sunday. We also noticed this on Saturday when walking around Evergreen Brickworks.

One other disappointment we saw was most of Toronto’s public washrooms were closed from November to April. From a public space perspective, this is something that urgently needs to change given people still go to parks and use the trails year round. Toronto Star columnist Shawn Micallef tweeted about the lack of public washrooms that day which has gotten a lot of reaction. Councillors Layton and Perks mentioned issues such as pipes and unheated buildings as reasons why this is the case, though a motion is expected at the November city council meeting to look into opening more washrooms and the retrofits required.

While this past weekend was a nice time to bike, the crowded trails and lack of winter public washrooms serve as reminders there remains a lot to do in order to make Toronto more livable during COVID-19. So let’s keep our spirits warm as the temperatures drop in the weeks ahead.

You can read Jun's take about the stunt and Keele-Weston here.