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.

Why the Broadview Extension?

As part of Ontario’s GO Expansion program, the new East Harbour station will be built at the Unilever site on the east side of the Don River along with the development of a new transit oriented community. The transit station will serve GO Transit, TTC streetcars, and the future Ontario Line. To improve access to the area, Broadview Avenue will be extended from Eastern Avenue to Lake Shore Boulevard.
One thing virtual consultations don't allow is adding sticky notes to roll out plans
This project will also include a new east-west street from Don Roadway to Booth Avenue, the reconfiguration of the Don Valley Parkway on-ramp, and improvements to an existing part of Broadview from Eastern to Queen Street.

Complete Streets in the Port Lands

Both Broadview from Eastern to Lake Shore and the new east-west street will feature raised cycle tracks, wider sidewalks, and improved green space. A 37.5 metre right of way is recommended for Broadview to accommodate one traffic lane per direction, dedicated streetcar lanes, and vehicle laybys on both sides. The laybys will alternate with bioswales to improve aesthetics and reduce flooding risk.
Broadview Extension Options (via City of Toronto)
A planner with the City of Toronto asked Ali with Cycle Toronto and I about where trees should be placed. The recommended design had them in between the cycle track and sidewalk to allow for added benches (which we need more of). However, Ali mentioned the trees should be placed between the road and the cycle track to better protect those who bike and walk from those who drive. Something which I feel needs to be made standard going forward.

As for the intersections, I was pleased to see the protected intersection treatment proposed for Lake Shore and Broadview. The intersection at Broadview and the new street used left turn boxes instead due to the constrained size, while I suggested creating a bike layby on Booth Avenue for those turning left onto the new street. Similar to what was done at Queen and Sorauren.
The new street will use a right of way varying from 24 to 27 metres with vehicle laybys on one side. Having the laybys meant trees could only be placed on one side of the street as opposed to both sides with the other alternatives. One suggestion Ali made was to add street art to the corner aprons which was done along Danforth. Such visual cues can be very effective in convincing motorists to slow down.
Options for New East-West Street (via City of Toronto)

Concerns with Eastern Avenue

When I first got to work by bike and GO Transit in 2015, I used the Eastern Avenue bridge to go east which is a scary experience with motorists merging to get onto the Don Valley Parkway. The recommended improvement is to replace the ramp with a T intersection to force motorists to slow down before taking the ramp. A couple of other options were considered including adding a northbound slip lane (which there is not enough space to do) and integrating Sunlight Park Road for DVP access.
Eastern-DVP Ramp Options (via City of Toronto)
I asked city staff about the possibility of extending the existing Eastern bike lanes from Logan to Broadview, as well as adding them onto the Eastern-DVP bridge to connect with the Richmond-Adelaide cycle tracks. They informed me the Broadview to Logan piece would require a separate environmental assessment, while the DVP bridge was on the radar for a while. Unfortunately, nothing is planned to be done across the DVP until the Gardiner Expressway work is completed in a few years.

A Litmus Test for Broadview

The improvements proposed on Broadview from Eastern to Queen have a couple of problems. Motor vehicle traffic and streetcars would get one shared lane per direction while the existing curb lanes would be replaced with vehicle laybys to accommodate cycle tracks. However, there are not any cycle tracks on Queen, while I worry about the risk of single occupancy vehicles holding up crowded streetcars.
On the flip side, this intervention can be useful for determining how to further extend the Broadview bike lanes north to bike lanes on Dundas, Gerrard, Danforth, and maybe even Cosburn. One thing for sure is left turns need to be banned during rush hour to improve streetcar operations.

Next Steps

For those who missed Monday’s drop in or yesterday’s virtual meeting, the deadline to provide feedback is Friday, June 24. The item will go to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee and City Council – the last scheduled meetings before October’s election – followed by a 30 day environmental assessment review period. Overall, it’s a good initiative to make a new neighbourhood close to the Waterfront transit, bike, and walk friendly.

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