September 23, 2022

Tour de Mississauga 2022

Sunday was a great day for the 15th Annual Tour de Mississauga which saw over 2000 people take part. This family friendly ride has five ride options to choose ranging from 5 km to 100 km, while those doing the 50 km or 100 km had rest stops with complimentary food and drink. I chose the 50 km which – combined with biking to and from Downtown Toronto – lead to my first century ride since the Ride to Conquer Cancer in 2014. The ride offered a good sampling of Mississauga’s trails and bike lanes. Let’s take a look at some of them.

August 31, 2022

dandyARCHIVE - Your 2018 Pre-Election Bike Plan Update

NOTE: This article originally appeared on Dandyhorse's website on September 13, 2018 and is being reposted here since it is no longer available.

Story by Robert Zaichkowski and Albert Koehl

With over three months left to the end of 2018, we already know that this year will be another heart-breaking one for many Toronto families. To date, 25 pedestrians and 4 cyclists have been killed, while many more families have to deal with life-altering injuries to their loved ones. The three memorial rides in June alone sparked renewed calls for a real network of bike lanes in the city. The response from City Hall has been disappointing; exacerbated by the failure to live up even to installing the infrastructure promised in the ten-year cycling plan passed in 2016. In fact, even if this year’s planned projects (see our table) are all completed --- never a sure thing in our city --- we will only be on pace to complete the plan by 2049 instead of 2025.

Bike lane ends sign at Poplar Plains (via Albert Koehl)

August 05, 2022

High Park Policing Shenanigans

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been considerable outrage by Toronto’s cycling community over the ticketing and harassment by police officers in High Park. One cyclist got ticketed for going 26 km/h in a 20 km/h zone – something which rarely happens for drivers – while another got a $110 fine for rolling through a stop sign. There was even another case of a ticketing police officer driving into a cyclist who was reported to have earned $281,000 in 2021! If that doesn’t make your blood boil, Mayor John Tory claimed police do not deserve to be criticized for ticketing.

A Toronto Police officer ticketing a cyclist in High Park (via Dave Shellnut)

July 29, 2022

Let's Build a Cycling Loop in Scarborough

With today’s nice weather and a day off work, I went for a ride around Scarborough. It was a brutal 90 kilometre trek with 681 metres of elevation gain that took me to the northeastern part of the City and back. It helped give me a feel for what is needed to complete a recreational loop east of Victoria Park.

July 15, 2022

A Tale of Two Carfree Initiatives

The topic of carfree spaces in Toronto has come up with two upcoming public consultations for High Park and Kensington Market. One has this treatment every weekend since the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago and the other has been demanded by advocates for decades. Let’s look at what is being proposed, as well as what the City of Toronto failed to consider.

July 07, 2022

Riding Toronto with Mayor John Bauters – Part 2

On Sunday, July 3, about 70 cyclists joined Mayor John Bauters of Emeryville, California for a ride around Toronto including on Yonge Street. After the ride and some ice cream, I had the chance to interview Mayor Bauters to learn more about Emeryville and his thoughts on cycling in Toronto and other cities.

July 04, 2022

Riding Toronto with Mayor John Bauters - Part 1

Back on February 9, Mayor John Bauters of Emeryville, California put up a poll asking where bike advocates wanted him to go for a ride this summer. He then replied to @SusieH33 saying he would do Toronto if 100 people separately replied with “Toronto”. In true #BikeTO fashion, we flooded his Twitter account with replies calling on him to visit this city. On Sunday, July 3, Mr. Bauters made good on his promise to ride with local advocates, as well as helped out the Toronto Bike Brigade on Saturday.

June 30, 2022

July 2022 IEC Roundup

Next week’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting will be the last one held before the 2022 election. Upon reviewing the agenda, there are seven items which affect people who bike. Let’s do a quick recap of the projects to bring you up to speed and encourage you to send your submission over the long weekend.

Map of Yorkdale Transportation Master Plan (via City of Toronto)

IE31.10 (Yorkdale Transportation Master Plan) – The Yorkdale Transportation Master Plan covers an area from the Barrie GO line to the west, Allen Road to the east, Wilson Avenue to the north, and Lawrence Avenue to the south. The improvements will span over 20 years and is expected to cost between $356 to $458 million; the most expensive part of which involves extending Caledonia Road under Highway 401. Some cycling improvements are called for along Bridgeland Avenue, Yorkdale Road, Cartwright Avenue, and Dufferin Street. Dedicated pedestrian and cycling bridges are also called for crossing both the Barrie GO corridor and Highway 401. Here is a map of the plan for your reference.

June 22, 2022

An In Person Consultation for Broadview

Monday marked the first cycling public consultation I got to attend in person since the COVID-19 pandemic began. As much as it can be more convenient to attend the virtual ones – especially when they are far away – the experience helped me appreciate the value of in person sessions. Mainly the ability to ask more detailed questions to city staff, use sticky notes to comment on street roll out plans, and network with staff and other residents. Let’s review what the Broadview Extension environmental assessment has to offer and how the City can build on the plan.

June 16, 2022

RANT – Death of ActiveTO Lake Shore West

For those of you who don’t remember, Toronto stubbornly refused to provide space for people who walk or bike in March and April 2020 when virtually every other major Canadian city was doing so to allow for physical distancing early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite dragging their feet in creating ActiveTO two years ago which ended up being highly popular, Toronto City Council accepted staff recommendations to scrap ActiveTO on Lake Shore West – the program’s crown jewel – except for a limited number of occasions. It seems old habits really die hard here in Caronto and there is too much eagerness to return to the status quo with people returning to the offices post-pandemic.

June 14, 2022

WTF is up with Eglinton?

The long anticipated Eglinton Crosstown LRT is nearing completion with service expected to start next year. As for what that means from a cycling perspective the City of Toronto recently announced a virtual public meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 22 under the name eglintonTOday. (Yes, Toronto is addicted to branding everything TO.) Let’s review what this project has in store, how it differs from Eglinton Connects, and what else has been done on Eglinton.
Eglinton Connects rendering (Via SvN)

May 19, 2022

Parkside Design Options Coming to IEC

Seven months ago, Valdemar and Fatima Avila were killed while in their car at Parkside Drive and Spring Road; an intersection which is a short walk from my (soon to be former) home and one Helen and I pass by often to walk our dog Mozzie. Parkside Drive is a significant safety hazard with three fatalities and eleven people seriously injured since 2008 per the City of Toronto’s Vision Zero Mapping Tool. Since the Parkside Drive Safety Measures motion was passed at City Council in November 2021 despite resident objections over adding Green P parking, the speed limit has been reduced to 40 km/h and a speed camera has been implemented. Now, an interim report for the High Park Movement Strategy (Motion IE30.16) is headed to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on Wednesday, May 25 which includes several design options for Parkside Drive.
Speed Camera Installed on Parkside Drive (via Michelle Dow in Safe Parkside Facebook group)

May 16, 2022

Adapting Maslow's Hierarchy to Bikes

Over the past decade, I have seen how Toronto’s cycling advocacy has evolved. While advocating for painted bike lanes may have been fine back in 2012 – one year before Toronto’s first separated bike lanes officially opened on Sherbourne Street – it certainly is not the case today where the constant threats of parking in bike lanes prompted the need for physical protection. However, advocating for safe streets goes far beyond adding physical protection. To reflect on this exercise, I took a crack at adapting Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to cycling infrastructure.

May 04, 2022

May 2022 Cycling Consultation Catchup

As if January and February were not busy enough for cycling related public consultations, the City of Toronto has announced at least five more for May with the possibility of another two. A record for this city, perhaps? 😉 These include the Martin Grove Bikeway, Bloor Street Upgrades, Huntingwood Drive Upgrades, Mid Humber Gap, and Gerrard East Complete Street. Let’s see what the consultation materials have to offer and suggest some improvements.
Rendering of Martin Grove multi-use path (via City of Toronto)

April 27, 2022

Toronto Loop (and a Protected Intersection)

On Sunday, April 24, Albert, Mark, Arthur, and I from the Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition joined urban planner Al Rezoski for a ride covering the Toronto Loop. This recreational loop is 81 kilometres long which consists of the Martin Goodman Trail, Humber River Trail, Finch Hydro Corridor, and the Don River trail system. The loop is one of Mayor John Tory’s long term initiatives which has the potential to encourage cycle tourism in the city. Before starting by Queen’s Park, Al showed us a map of the loop and highlighted the following seven gaps which we planned to stop at for discussion. Some of these gaps will be addressed with the latest bike plan.

  • Stephen Drive (north of The Queensway)
  • Weston Road (between St. Phillips Road and Cardell Avenue)
  • Finch Hydro Corridor (between Weston Road and Norfinch Drive)
  • G Ross Lord Park (near Finch Avenue and Dufferin Street)
  • Yonge Street (at Hendon and Bishop Avenues)
  • Betty Sutherland Trail (between Duncan Mill and York Mills Roads)
  • West Don River Trail (near Eglinton Avenue and Leslie Street)

Toronto Loop highlighted in orange with the seven gaps circled

April 20, 2022

Expanding the Micromobility Discussion

Last month, I got a BlueRev X8 e-scooter which convinced me on how e-scooters can be a great last mile solution and made getting to work a lot easier. However, Toronto upheld its ban on this micromobility solution back in May 2021. I would like to take a deeper dive into this topic and make the case for why Toronto should legalize the use of personally owned e-scooters. For this post, I would like to acknowledge Jamie Stuckless – owner of Stuckless Consulting and former Share The Road Executive Director – for contributing to this discussion.

March 26, 2022

A Different Kind of Two Wheels

This past week was my first week back to the office under a hybrid model since the COVID-19 pandemic began. However, my employer moved their head office from Dufferin and Lawrence – which was bikeable for me – to Vaughan which definitely is not. The new office is a 20 minute walk from Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station and the TTC prohibits bikes on the subway during rush hour (for good reason given how packed it was on Thursday evening). To address this mobility gap, I did something on Tuesday evening which can make some fellow bike riding people cringe.

March 23, 2022

Mississauga Momentum for Bloor Bike Lanes

Earlier in March, I reported on the fight Mississauga advocates had on their hands regarding getting bike lanes installed on their part of Bloor; most notably the ridiculous complaints over charter rights. There has been a renewed sense of momentum since then with Mississauga’s third community meeting on Wednesday, March 9 and Sunday’s Ride for Bike Lanes on Bloor. Let’s recap these recent developments, as well as introduce the group Mississauga Cycling Now.

March 12, 2022

Let's Make ActiveTO on Yonge Permanent!

Yesterday, Sabrina (Brie) Young posted in the Cycling in Toronto Facebook group a flyer she received calling on residents to e-mail the Infrastructure and Environment Committee, Mayor Tory, and City Council to remove the ActiveTO complete street pilot on Yonge Street. To add insult to injury, the “Be Green. Be Rational.” tagline was used along with easily debunked arguments such as bike counts during the winter months, greenhouse gas emissions while idling, and the ability for first responders to get through. Sure, the line about the Yonge bike lanes being narrow may have some merit, but it should be noted Bloor Street from Spadina to Lansdowne Avenues is similarly narrow at less than 13 metres wide and the bike lanes worked fine. A petition was started about six months ago calling for the removal of the Yonge bike lanes which got more than 1200 signatures at the time of writing (which I won't share here for obvious reasons).

Given opponents have been organizing ahead of the March 29 IEC meeting which could see the ActiveTO complete street pilot get debated, it’s time for supporters to flip the script by urging the committee and city council to take the true green and rational action of making the Yonge pilot permanent. In addition, supporters need to call for bike lanes on Yonge to be extended north and south as soon as possible to connect with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and future projects in Downtown and North York Centre.

Below is a sample e-mail you can use for your action, though I would encourage you to personalize it to share your story on why a complete street on Yonge is important to you. Cycle Toronto sent this action alert via e-mail this morning about Yonge, along with a link to their Yonge petition which has more than 3000 signatures.

March 11, 2022

Reviewing Toronto's Annual Cycling Report

For the past few years, Albert Koehl and I had been tracking Toronto’s bike lane installations to hold the City accountable to their 2016 Cycling Network Plan. While I didn’t prepare such a report for 2021 – instead focusing on the 2022-24 Near Term Plan – the City of Toronto recently released their 2021 Cycling Year in Review. This is a welcome development which will help improve accountability on the cycling file. I reviewed the report to see what it has in store and how it can be improved.

Toronto's 2021 Cycling Year in Review cover illustration shows a cargo bike

March 07, 2022

Mississauga’s Bloor Bike Lane Fight

While the City of Toronto’s latest bike plan called for extending the Bloor bike lanes west from Runnymede to Six Points (at Kipling) by 2024, Mississauga has their own Bloor bike lane fight through the Bloor Street Integrated Project. During the January 19, 2022 city council meeting, the City of Mississauga opted to hold a third community meeting on March 9, 2022 given opposition to the project; most notably from the Applewood Hills & Heights Residents’ Association and their petition which got 130 signatures. I heard of many arguments against bike lanes over the years of fighting for bike lanes on Bloor in Toronto, but none were as ridiculous as that about bike lanes violating charter rights brought up by Athinda Tagidou of the AHHRA during the city council meeting. An argument which made the top twelve weird things on Cracked.

Ridicule to the charter right argument was picked up by Cracked

February 28, 2022

Reimagining Overlea with Hafeez

On March 2 (6:30 - 8:30 PM) and March 3 (12:30 - 2:30 PM), residents of Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park will have an opportunity to participate in public consultations regarding the renewal of Overlea Boulevard including the reconstruction of the bridge crossing the Don Valley. This proposal will improve safety for those who walk, bike, and take transit to access these neighbourhoods. To get a local perspective on why such residents should support the project, I spoke with Hafeez Alavi; a Grade 12 student at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute located at Don Mills and Overlea.

Rendering of Overlea bridge (via City of Toronto)

February 04, 2022

February Consultations and Protecting Vulnerable Road Users

The month of February is shaping up to be a busy one for Toronto’s cycling community with three public consultations planned for next week. These include proposed bikeways on Bartlett-Havelock-Gladstone in downtown, Scarborough Golf Club, and Sentinel in North York. As Queen’s Park resumes later this month, the Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act (Bill 54) will be a main focal point. Let’s take a look at these projects and how you can do your part to make them happen.

Havelock and Bloor intersection rendering (via City of Toronto)

January 23, 2022

RANT – Toronto’s Winter Biking Gong Show

Last Monday saw 36 centimetres of snow fall in Toronto. While it may not be as much as the 48 centimetres fallen in December 1944 or the over one metre over two weeks in January 1999 which prompted then Mayor Mel Lastman to call the army leading to national ridicule, the aftermath still merits a rant. Especially from a cycling perspective after what I found while biking to do some errands yesterday.

January 15, 2022

Your 2022 Toronto Budget Check Up

Get out your calculators, folks! It’s budget time again at Toronto city hall after having released their 2022 tax supported budgets on Thursday, January 13. One budget item which captured considerable media attention is the $25 million increase in the Toronto Police budget to $1.1 billion despite numerous groups and advocates calling to #DefundThePolice during the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement. While I’m sure Torontonians have lots of competing interest for this budget such as housing, transit, childcare, or long-term care, I will focus on the cycling perspective and refer to the Transportation Services budget notes.

January 12, 2022

Missed Opportunity for Bloor?

Last month, Toronto City Council approved extending the Bloor bike lanes from Runnymede to Six Points by 2024 as part of the 2022-24 Cycling Implementation Plan. Upon rereading the plan earlier this week, I came across a section called “Secondary Priority for Consideration” which listed several projects that didn’t make the cut; but could be considered should other projects get deferred or staff capacity is increased. One of these projects is Bloor Street from Etobicoke Creek to the bridge crossing Highway 427 with a note saying it has near-term road work planned which couldn’t be deferred.

January 05, 2022

January 2022 Consultation Round Up

Happy New Year!

After some much needed rest over the Christmas holidays, it’s back to the advocacy grind. Especially considering there are several public engagement opportunities relevant to Toronto’s cycling community. Two projects – Sheppard Avenue East and Douro-Wellington – have comments due soon, while two BRT projects will have next steps planned and the City of Toronto’s 2022 budget launches on January 13.

All images used (except for the BRT illustration) are from the City of Toronto