February 05, 2021

Fixing the Davenport Disaster

While there are people who view St. Clair as a disaster over the streetcar line there, the term “disaster” better applies to Davenport from a cycling perspective. Especially between Bay and Dupont where bike lanes placed in the door zone can lead to the bike lanes being blocked when snow gets piled by the curbs. Not to mention, Avenue and Davenport was where a ghost bike was placed for Adam Excell who was killed by a driver in June 2015. Fortunately, the City of Toronto plans to improve this part of Davenport, as well as extend the bike lanes east to Yonge Street where bike lanes could be installed from Bloor to just north of Lawrence later this year. The slides from yesterday's consultation - which I missed - can be found here.

Door zone bike lanes are prone to being blocked when snow piles by the curbs

Davenport has four traffic lanes from Dupont to Yonge with parking on both sides. Despite the existing bike lane design, more than 2500 people use it daily during the summer and over 500 during the winter. The recommended design calls for upgrading the bike lanes from Dupont to Bay with physical separation while keeping four traffic lanes and parking on one side. A net total of 16 parking spaces (out of 112) will be removed, though it should be noted the parking utilization rate is currently less than 50%.

Avenue and Davenport - note Adam Excell's ghost bike on the right - is expected to get raised bus-bike platforms instead of these mixing zones currently in place

Raised bus-bike platforms will be used at Bay, Avenue, and Dupont to further reduce conflicts as opposed to the existing practice of placing the bike lane between the right turn and thru traffic lanes. One eastbound traffic lane will be removed from Bay to Yonge in order to accommodate cycle tracks while parking will be maintained on the south (eastbound) side.

The proposed mid-block sections from Belmont to Dupont are expected to be similar to from Belmont to Bay, but with parking on the north (westbound) side (via City of Toronto)

There are two additional things that can be done to build on this Davenport upgrade proposal. The first would be to install a short bi-directional cycle track on the south side of Dupont for one block between Davenport and the existing bike lanes on St. George which is a key north-south route leading to the University of Toronto. Doing so would require removing one westbound traffic lane for 70 metres, but it is a gap worth filling.

Existing conditions on Dupont from St. George to Davenport (via Google Maps)

Proposed bi-directional cycle track on Dupont on the south (eastbound) side

The other improvement that would be needed is to extend the protection along the rest of Davenport all the way to Osler which also has the bike lanes placed in the door zone. The design may have been acceptable when the bike lanes were painted in before the 2001 Bike Plan, but certainly not today. A bi-directional cycle track is being considered west of Osler as an addendum to the St. Clair – Keele Transportation Master Plan and a de-facto northern extension of the West Toronto Railpath.

Unfortunately, no upgrades are proposed on Davenport past Dupont

Those who are interested in voicing their support for the badly needed safety upgrades on Davenport Road are encouraged to submit their feedback to alyssa.cerbu@toronto.ca by Thursday, February 18. A report will go to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee in March, while construction can be expected as early as this summer.

1 comment:

  1. Burns Wattie10/02/2021, 05:10

    I had a similar idea re st George though less ambitious as yours: for northbound a single bike lane where riders join the Davenport lane on the South side . For southbound to create a traffic light sequence that prevents west bound coming behind riders until they left turn onto st. George. Of course there's also that stretch of st. George where the lane disappears....