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)

The interim report shows nine design options (including the status quo), while five of the options include some form of cycling facility whether it’s uni-directional or bi-directional. Diagrams showing all nine options are shown below.
The diagrams can be found in Pages 14 and 15 of this City of Toronto Report
Given residents along Parkside Drive had pushed for permanent parking on the east side of the street, only Options #6 and #9 would allow that parking to be maintained while also accommodating protected bike lanes. While both should be carried forward to a short list, the question of whether to go with uni-directional (#6) or bi-directional (#9) cycle tracks is not as straight forward.

From an aesthetic perspective, the bi-directional option (#9) appears superior with the sidewalks being slightly wider and the possibility of planting trees. However, bi-directional cycle tracks on the west side would make it difficult for people who bike to get to and from residential streets on the east side that don’t have signalized crossings or pedestrian crossovers. Option #6 with uni-directional cycle tracks would make it easier for northbound cyclists to access residential streets and appear more intuitive for people who bike. Option #6 would also avoid the controversies surrounding bi-directional cycle tracks which have been dismissed for on-street use by Copenhagenize. Even so, the same accessibility issues would remain for those biking southbound.

If either Options #6 or #9 end up being the preferred option when the final report comes out in early 2023, additional pedestrian crossovers would be needed to improve accessibility to and from the cycle tracks. A traffic signal is expected to be installed at Parkside and Geoffrey Avenue by the end of this year, while the Toronto and East York Community Council will debate adding one just north of The Queensway at their June 29, 2022 meeting. However, it could be worth adding two more pedestrian crossovers at Algonquin Avenue and Ridout Street to maximize accessibility.

For those of you who support making Parkside Drive safer, I encourage you to e-mail – as well as copy and – letting them know you support bringing Options #6 and #9 forward. Be sure to reference Motion IE30.16 in your e-mail. Public consultation is expected to happen in June with a final report planned for early 2023. You can sign up for updates on the High Park Movement Strategy at the City of Toronto's website.

Ben Spurr has a good article in the Toronto Star illustrating some of the other concerns associated with the High Park Movement Strategy including the weekend car ban currently in place.

1 comment:

  1. Jeffery Hanning19/05/2022, 19:31

    Options 6 and 9 are the best options overall. Option 6 is the best option at the moment as it integrates best with the existing cycling infrastructure to the nort (Bloor) and south (Lakeshore intersaection at Parkside and the Waterfront trail. The sections however to not illustrate the complications in plan at the two bridges at the south side of Parkside and the irregular intersection at Parkside and the Lakeshore. Option 9 would have two bike lanes ending at the west side of Parkside at the dedicated left northbound lanse from Lakeshore East. This is not even safe for pedestrians at the moment! Option 6 is a bit better as at least there is some continuity of the bike lanes. The area at the underside of the bridges needs significant improvements as part of any changes on Parkside. This whole intersection including Lakeshore Road was to be replanned as part of the Western Beaches Waterfront Plan.