September 30, 2023

Oshawa to Downtown Toronto

After marking ten years earlier this year, this post marks the 300th on my Two Wheeled Politics blog! 😊 To mark this milestone, I will write about an almost 80 kilometre trip I did on Thursday, September 28 from Oshawa to Downtown Toronto for a day off work.

September 28, 2023

Chesswood Site Check (+ More Sanscon News)

Since the initial post on contractor accountability was put up, some more developments from Sanscon have come up which warrant a follow up. Another cycling related project they were awarded a contract for was on Chesswood Drive, while updates were issued for the College Street Upgrades and KQQR intersection. I did a site check on Chesswood on Tuesday and will discuss those findings.

September 25, 2023

The Need for Contractor Accountability

All of us feel inconvenienced by construction regardless of how we get around; especially when projects keep getting delayed as what happened with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. Per Luis Ledesma from the Cycling in Toronto Facebook group, Sanscon Construction was responsible for having several projects delivered behind schedule such as the College Street Upgrades and the King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles (KQQR) Intersection. Another of their projects – Military Trail Road Reconstruction – was discussed at last week’s Infrastructure & Environment Committee (IEC) meeting. I will review these Sanscon projects and stress the need to hold contractors accountable when delivering projects that support climate action such as public transit and cycling.

September 21, 2023

Etobicoke Site Check on Bloor

With the arrival of fall this weekend brings some good news. Today saw the Ford government finally reverse his decision to remove land from the Greenbelt which came after two cabinet ministers resigned. At the local level, the Bloor bike lanes have been painted in from Runnymede Road to Aberfoyle Crescent. I was able to scoot along this new extension after work today and have some first impressions to share.

September 16, 2023

Safety Ride & Other Provincial Cycling Measures

From September 21 to 24, Ottawa Centre MPP Joel Harden will be doing the “Safety Ride” from Ottawa to Toronto and holding public consultations in Ottawa, Kingston, Brighton, Oshawa, Scarborough, and Toronto. This ride comes ahead of the return to Queen’s Park on Monday, September 25 where he will be promoting Bill 40 (Moving Ontarian Safely Act). It represents the latest attempt by the Ontario NDP caucus to pass a vulnerable road user law. The previous attempt – Bill 54 – passed second reading in November 2021, but the 2022 election was called before the Standing Committee on Justice Policy could debate it. Let’s recap what this bill does and what other measures the Ontario government should do for cyclists.

September 14, 2023

Community Bicycle Network with Adrian Currie

When it comes to cycling advocacy in Toronto, groups such as Cycle Toronto and Community Bikeways come to mind today. However, Toronto’s cycling advocacy story goes back further with Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists starting in 1996 (see my interviews with Geoff and Nancy), while Community Bicycle Networks (CBN) dates further back to 1993. CBN ran a community bike shop, a predecessor to today’s Bike Share Toronto, and hosted events like the Toronto Vintage Bicycle Show before shutting down in 2017. I spoke with Adrian Currie – who was on CBN’s board from 2002 to 2017 – to learn more.

September 03, 2023

Lake to Lake Route in York Region

The Lake to Lake Cycling Route is a 121 kilometre bike route from Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe and was part of York Region’s pedestrian and cycling master plan approved in 2008. Having done the Toronto stretch already, I was curious to check out the route in York Region. On Friday, I brought my bike to Bradford GO station and ride south to Toronto.

Map of Lake to Lake Cycling Route (Via York Region)

August 29, 2023

Researching Active Transportation with Nancy Smith Lea

For almost 30 years, Nancy Smith Lea has been a pioneering road safety advocate focused on academic research and has covered topics such as economic impact studies, complete streets, and suburban bike hubs. Before becoming Director of The Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) in 2008, she helped found Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists (ARC) and worked on one of Toronto’s now-defunct City Cycling Committee’s sub-committees. I spoke with Nancy about this experience on August 22, 2023.

August 20, 2023

August 2023 Infrastructure Roundup

Over the past few months, I have managed to do a fair number of site checks including along the Eglinton Crosstown and Finch West LRT lines, College, Wellington, and Adelaide. Given the recently completion of the Cabbagetown bikeways and more progress along the Wellington and College routes, I went by these sites this weekend and have a few more updates to pass along.

August 08, 2023

Suburban Organizing with Jennifer Alexander

For those who don’t know Toronto politics, Councillor Stephen Holyday – who represented Ward 2 (Etobicoke Centre) since 2014 – has consistently been Council’s harshest opponent to safe streets for walking and cycling. However, not all Etobicoke residents share this backwards view. One resident in that ward – Jennifer Alexander – has been organizing there for the past six years and writes The Etobicoke Voice. I spoke with her on July 26, 2023 to understand her efforts and suburban organizing in general.

July 26, 2023

Kitchener to Hamilton - Part 3 (Hamilton)

Over the past few days, I have been writing about last Friday’s 115 kilometre ride from Kitchener to Hamilton. Part 1 focused on Waterloo Region while Part 2 covered the Cambridge to Paris and Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trails. Part 3 is the final installment which will focus on Hamilton.

July 25, 2023

Kitchener to Hamilton - Part 2 (Rail Trails)

While I was writing about Friday’s 115 kilometre ride from Kitchener to Hamilton, I realized going over the ride details would mean splitting it over three posts. Part 1 discussed the logistics of getting to Kitchener GO station and riding towards Downtown Cambridge. Part 2 will start from when I crossed the Grand River in Downtown Cambridge to get to Highway 24 and the Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail.

July 23, 2023

Kitchener to Hamilton – Part 1 (Waterloo Region)

This summer, I had been meaning to use one my summer Fridays off at work to bike from Kitchener to Hamilton using the Cambridge to Paris and Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trails. Unfortunately, the past two attempts in June had to be called off either due to rain or poor air quality. Last Friday, I finally got to bring my bike on the 9:34 GO Train to Kitchener and bike 115 kilometres – including a 5 km stretch in Brantford which Strava missed – to Hamilton’s West Harbour station. Making it the longest one-day ride I have done yet!

July 04, 2023

Bike Brigade + Adelaide Site Check

Happy Fourth of July to our friends south of the border!

After work this evening, I got to deliver a FoodShare box with the Bike Brigade for the first time in almost two years. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic largely behind us, the organization still draws in lots of volunteers ranging from FoodShare delivery boxes to community fridges to ride marshalling. Something which I encourage you to sign up.

Photo courtesy of Dave Shellnutt

June 29, 2023

One Final Push For Bloor

This month has brought lots of good news for Toronto’s cycling community! First, Toronto city council approved the Bloor bike lane extension from Runnymede Road to Six Points with only one councillor opposed. This past Monday saw Torontonians elect bike-riding Olivia Chow in the mayoral by-election! And yesterday, Mississauga City Council finally approved the Bloor Street Integrated Project using Alternative #6 consisting of two traffic lanes, one centre turning lane, and protected bike lanes! Let’s find out what this means for the soon-to-become intercity bikeway.

June 22, 2023

Checking Out The Finch West LRT

Last week, I did a site check along the Eglinton Crosstown LRT route between Cedarvale and Eglinton stations. That project may be subject to endless delays & lots of negative criticism, but the Finch West LRT quietly chugs along. Yesterday, I got off Finch West station on my way home and checked out a short stretch between Finch West and Jane and Finch stations. Let’s see how that project is shaping up.

June 20, 2023

Connecting Southern Ontario's Rail Trails

Over the past few years, I have had the chance to ride several regional trails in southern Ontario; starting with the Greater Niagara Circle Route in 2016. I have since done the Oro Medonte Trail from Barrie to Orillia, the Georgian Trail from Collingwood to Meaford, the Brantford to Port Dover trail, the Elora Cataract, and part of the Omemee Rail Trail near Peterborough. However, a look at Google Maps show there are a lot more regional bike trails, along with some significant gaps. Let’s look at some of these regional trail gaps and how they can be filled.

Map of current bikeways per Google Maps

June 17, 2023

One Step Backwards With Kensington Market

This week saw some good news with the approval of the Bloor West Complete Street Extension to Six Points. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for Kensington Market. The City of Toronto announced that the Toronto & East York Community Council would be debating the Kensington Safe Streets project at their June 22, 2023 meeting. Upon reviewing the final report, it amounts to nothing short of a betrayal to those Torontonians who had been calling for a car-free market for years (if not decades). Let’s recap what was previously proposed and what has been recommended in the final report.

All graphics used in this post are from the City of Toronto

June 16, 2023

Progress Along Eglinton Avenue

Construction on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT seems to have no end in sight with Metrolinx and the Ontario government not offering any clear timelines on when the new transit line would open. However, most of the road work appears to be completed with the exception of between Avenue Road and Holly Street. Before heading to Canadian Blood Services to donate blood yesterday – it happens to be National Blood Donor Week – I decided to check out the progress between Cedarvale (at Allen Expressway) and Eglinton (at Yonge Street) stations.

June 07, 2023

2023 Bloor Recap (+ A Site Check)

This week saw two debates related to Bloor Street; those being Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee (IEC) on Monday and today’s General Committee in Mississauga. Toronto’s IEC approved their motion – which will now go to City Council on Wednesday, June 14 – while Mississauga’s General Committee offered a silver lining despite the motion being deferred. Let’s review what happened at both meetings, as well as a site visit I did on my way home from the IEC meeting on Monday.

Albert Koehl getting ready to speak at Monday's Infrastructure & Environment Committee meeting

May 22, 2023

Revisiting the Eglinton East LRT

Happy Victoria Day!

Back in November 2017, I wrote about the City’s plans to implement an eastern extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT from Kennedy Station to UTSC and eventually to Malvern Town Centre. At the time, I argued it could become a game changer for cycling in Scarborough given the light rail line would also see bike lanes brought deep into Scarborough. Thanks to Hafeez Alavi, I was informed the City will be restarting consultations for the project on May 30, June 1, and June 7. Let’s find out what has changed since then.

Map of Eglinton East LRT and focus areas (all images are via the City of Toronto unless otherwise mentioned)

May 18, 2023

2023 Toronto Ride of Silence

Yesterday marked the 21st Annual Ride of Silence in which cyclists around the world paid their respects to those who have been killed by road violence. 19 people took part in the Toronto ride which started 7:00 PM at Bloor and Spadina and ended at the Peace Garden next to Toronto City Hall with stops at two ghost bikes along the way.

May 03, 2023

RANT – Consequences of Neglecting Safe Streets

In August 2021, Miguel Joshua Escanan was killed while riding northbound at Avenue and Bloor. A death which could have been prevented had the City followed through with implementing ActiveTO bike lanes on that stretch. Unfortunately, the same thing almost happened again two years later.

The removed Brimley bike lanes near this week's fatal collision

April 28, 2023

An East End Missed Opportunity

Earlier this week, I was informed by a fellow concerned Torontonian – Kaila Hunte – that Broadview Avenue from Danforth Avenue to Gerrard Street would see streetcar track replacement and road resurfacing later this year with a virtual information session happening on Thursday, May 4 at 6:30 PM. Unfortunately, nothing for people biking was proposed as part of this project which represents the latest missed opportunity to make streets safer during construction. Another similar problem was raised by Cycle Toronto in Summer 2021 with the reconstruction of O’Connor Drive from St. Clair Avenue East to Bermondsey Road despite a requirement to take a complete streets approach by default as part of the 2019 Vision Zero update.

Map of Broadview Avenue construction (via City of Toronto)

April 22, 2023

Dissecting Toronto's By-Election Bikelash

One unfortunate recent development of Toronto’s mayoral by-election has been candidates and campaigns opposing bike lanes on arterial roads. As of this morning, I could identify at least six candidates and two campaigns that are opposed to them. As a public service, I will identify who these candidates are – so road safety advocates know not to support them – as well as put everything into perspective.

Opponents to the Midtown Yonge complete street on January 30, 2023 (via Jun Nogami)

April 20, 2023

Holy Public Space Overload!

To call this week a public space overload would be a serious understatement. Not only has Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s plans for Ontario Place and the Ontario Science Centre been dominating the headlines, but next Wednesday’s Infrastructure & Environment Committee meeting will see the High Park Movement Strategy debated. If that wasn’t enough, the City of Toronto revealed their latest plans for Kensington Market yesterday which is a huge improvement over the previous proposal. Let’s take a look at where things stand with these three projects.

Ontario Place's West Island - Which Therme wants to use for their luxury spa

April 16, 2023

Reflection on Bloor West Consultations

Last week, the City of Toronto hosted two open houses for the Bloor West Complete Street Extension which would extend the Bloor bike lanes in two phases from Runnymede Road to Six Points. Jun N attended Wednesday’s meeting at Swansea Public School and has a great write-up about it, while I attended Thursday’s meeting at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute. Since I already covered the technical details in an earlier post, this post will focus on general observations and community feedback.

Existing conditions at Bloor and Royal York

April 08, 2023

Site Check Along College

Happy Easter, everybody!

On the week of March 6, the City of Toronto started construction on College Street to upgrade the existing bike lanes. Raised cycle tracks are called for from Manning to Spadina Avenues, while at grade cycle tracks using parking curbs will be used from Spadina Avenue to Avenue Road. Since I had errands to do in the area yesterday, I decided to check on the progress done so far.

Rendering of College Street upgrades (via City of Toronto)

March 31, 2023

Bring on the Bloor West Complete Street Extension!

At long last, the City of Toronto has announced two public consultations for the Bloor West complete street extension. The first one will be held on Wednesday, April 12 (6:00 to 8:00 PM) at Swansea Public School (207 Windermere Avenue) and the second on Thursday, April 13 (6:00 to 8:00 PM) at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute (86 Montgomery Road). While I encourage those who support extending the Bloor bike lanes west to Six Points to attend, those who are unable to can submit their feedback online by Thursday, April 27. Let’s review what’s included in the plan.

Rendering of Humber River Bridge - All photos are from the City of Toronto's project website

March 28, 2023

Critiquing Bartlett-Havelock-Gladstone Phase 2

Since the Phase 2 consultation for the Bartlett-Havelock-Gladstone (BHG) project conflicts with the one for the High Park Movement Strategy – both happening on Monday, April 3 – I opted reviewed the materials early and submitted feedback based on the available information. Phase 1 from Davenport Road to College Street was done last year.

Bartlett contraflow just north of Bloor Street

March 24, 2023

Let’s Make High Park Car Free

On Monday, April 3, the City of Toronto will host a public consultation at Lithuanian House (1573 Bloor Street West) from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM to determine the preferred solution for the High Park Movement Strategy. For those who are not aware of this strategy, four options were proposed last summer which were the following:

  1. Make High Park car-free.
  2. Continue with the car-free weekends or other time-based vehicle restrictions
  3. Permanently close off some roads of High Park to motor vehicles.
  4. Revert to the pre-COVID unrestricted motor vehicle access.
Can't wait for the cherry blossoms to return! 😊

March 15, 2023

Making Danforth and Kingston Safe for Everyone

Last summer, Bells on Kingston was formed to help build support for extending the Danforth bike lanes into Scarborough and along Kingston Road. They hosted a few group rides including feeder rides to Community Bikeways’ “Light Up Toronto” road safety rally on October 2 and “Cycling Good Cheer” ride on December 18. With stakeholder consultations under way and public consultations anticipated for this spring – along with those for Bloor West – it’s time to take the next step in establishing a 30-kilometre bikeway from Kipling Avenue to Scarborough Golf Club Road. The Danforth-Kingston Complete Street is expected to be done in two phases; first to St. Clair Avenue East and then to Scarborough Golf Club Road.

Phasing of Danforth-Kingston Complete Street Project (via City of Toronto)

March 06, 2023

Let's Talk Bike Share Toronto Pricing

There has been a lot of discussion within Toronto’s cycling community regarding the proposed 2023 Bike Share Toronto pricing which was approved at Friday’s Toronto Parking Authority meeting. Especially regarding the new 24 hour and single ride rates, as well as e-bike surcharges to discourage food couriers from hogging e-bikes. Cycle Toronto called for revisiting the e-bike surcharges and delaying the new pricing to allow for further study, while some users have considered switching to driving in protest of the per minute rates. Let’s take a look at the new rates, how they compare to those for BIXI Montréal, and suggest some improvements ahead of the March 20 Infrastructure & Environment Committee meeting.

March 02, 2023

What a Difference Ten Years Makes

With my Two Wheeled Politics blog marking ten years next month, a reflection is warranted. Many of us Toronto road safety advocates like to claim our city is not doing enough for cycling – which underscores the need for us to vote in the June 26 mayoral by-election – but we have come a long way over the past decade. Let’s take a walk down memory lane to understand what has changed.

Front view of 2012 Toronto Cycling Map

February 22, 2023

More Consultations for eglintonTOday

The City of Toronto held their initial consultation for eglintonTOday in June 2022 in order to pursue a quick build complete street on Eglinton Avenue along the underground stretch of the Crosstown LRT. A second consultation was held last night at Marshall McLuhan School near Avenue and Eglinton which saw dozens of people take part. Let’s look at what has happened since last June, as well as some of the points participants raised.

February 10, 2023

RANT – Tory’s Weak Vision Zero Leadership

While Wednesday saw great news for Yonge4All and other road safety advocates in Toronto with the Midtown Yonge Complete Street Pilot being made permanent by a 22 to 4 vote, there is another disappointment which dampened the celebratory mood and deserves a rant. Despite the overwhelming positive staff report, an unanimous vote at IEC, and over 8500 signatures for the Yonge4All petition, Mayor John Tory threw all of that under the bus by supporting Councillor Jon Burnside’s motion to extend the pilot. A move which proves he is a coward when it comes to road safety, as well as contradicts his own earlier push to shorten the staff recommended extension from July 2023 to January 2023.

Mayor John Tory showing a printout of the so-called "landlocked streets" (via YouTube)

January 30, 2023

What's Next After Midtown Yonge?

Today, the Midtown Yonge Complete Street Pilot was unanimously approved by the Infrastructure and Environment Committee, and will be off to City Council on Tuesday, February 7. Prior to the meeting, Yonge4All held a media event to deliver the petition to Mayor John Tory which gathered over 8,500 signatures which was attended by Councillors Bradford, Moise, Morley, and Saxe. With this project just about behind us, there are several other projects Toronto residents can look forward to.

Yonge4All Media Event at City Hall (Via Jun Nogami)

January 23, 2023

Here We Go Again (on Yonge Street)

On April 6, 2022, Toronto City Council voted to extend the Midtown Yonge Complete Street Pilot until January 2023. Nine months and a municipal election later which saw nine new councillors elected, the pilot has been confirmed for debate at the January 30, 2023 Infrastructure & Environment Committee meeting (and at City Council on February 7, 2023). A petition from Yonge4All got almost 7,000 signatures at the time of writing in support of making the pilot permanent, while a counter-petition calling for the pilot’s removal has over 5,000 signatures.

Even by foot, the Midtown Yonge pilot is safer for Mozzie to walk! 😊

January 12, 2023

A Budget Worth Raising Hell About

While this year’s budget doesn’t have much new to offer from a cycling perspective, it is overall the biggest disappointment since Mayor John Tory took office in 2015 and one every Torontonian needs to raise hell about. Especially when we look at the budget’s impact on marginalized communities. Let's look at Toronto’s budget shortfalls, the police budget increase, TTC service cuts, and how you can get involved.

January 05, 2023

Improving Rosedale Valley Road

Earlier this week, Twitter user @TransitJakeTO floated the idea of turning Rosedale Valley Road and Bayview Avenue south of River Street into car-free zones. There is certainly a good case to do this for Bayview given the lack of destinations between River Street and Corktown Common, as well as the fact it was turned into a one-way southbound street last year to accommodate a new multi-use path.

ActiveTO on Bayview before the road was reduced to two lanes

To take some inspiration from Matt Elliott’s intersection inspections from his City Hall Watcher e-newsletter, I reviewed traffic counts on that part of Bayview which fell by 73% from 5,568 on March 29, 2018 to 1,508 on March 24, 2022. However, I would like to explore Rosedale Valley Road a little deeper.

Rosedale Valley Road is seen by drivers as an alternate route from Yonge and Bloor to the Don Valley Parkway which bypasses a fair number of intersections and traffic signals. Excluding June 2020, between 10,000 and 13,000 cars used Rosedale Valley Road daily. Given this reality, banning cars on that street would be considerably more difficult than on the southern part of Bayview.

However, it doesn’t mean that Rosedale Valley Road couldn’t benefit from some improvements. The multi-use path from Park Road to Bayview Avenue is very narrow and bumpy, which is expected to be upgraded sometime this year in conjunction with the Glen Road pedestrian bridge replacement.

Proposed Rosedale Valley Road trail (via City of Toronto)

One glaring omission from this project is the trail ends abruptly at Park Road with no connection to other bikeways such as those on Bloor and Yonge Streets.

The most logical solution would be to extend the Rosedale Valley trail west along Aylmer Avenue to Yonge Street. However, Aylmer Avenue is only seven metres wide and has a bridge crossing the Line 1 subway; making widening prohibitively expensive. Extending the trail would require making Aylmer one-way from Yonge Street to 100 metres west of Park Road where Rosedale Valley branches off to serve some apartment buildings and Severn Creek Park. There would be enough green space to build a trail on the remaining 100 metres.

As for which way the one-way treatment would be most appropriate, eastbound traffic shows slightly higher volumes and would make one way eastbound the most appropriate. Not to mention, heading towards the Don Valley Parkway would be a more direct shot. One disadvantage is the trail would need to be placed on the northbound side; thus requiring two traffic signal crossings instead of one.

Here is a very rough mock of how the proposed configuration could work.

By making Aylmer one way eastbound and extending the Rosedale Valley trail to Yonge Street, a key gap in Toronto’s trail network can be filled in which can provide people biking a shortcut from Yonge Street to the Lower Don trail system. It would be a relatively inexpensive fix and one that can help reduce traffic on Rosedale Valley over the long term.