darren's blog

Yonge and Lawrence adds some flair

This past weekend the Yonge Lawrence Village BIA unveiled a set of bike art racks along the Yonge Street sidewalks.

Community residents, especially bike enthusiasts, will be delighted with the latest project of the Yonge Lawrence Village Business Improvement Association (BIA).

In early May 2008, 16 innovative bike stands will be installed on Yonge Street from Lawrence Ave to Yonge Blvd. The first eight “art” racks are now in production and have been designed by an entrepreneurial group from Bike Stand Art, led by Phil Sarazen and Jack Gibney.

Flower Bike Rack

My favourite one so far is this flower rack which sits almost in front of a flower shop. (Unfortunately I arrived after it closed last night.) Many of the racks have small pieces of stone embedded in the rack to give an accent.

People Bike Rack

From the Forum: The Sun talks bikes

The Sun has a couple of articles on bikes. The first one is worth reading.
As for Sue-Ann Levy, I think she'll soon announce her opposition to summer and chocolate cake when Miller says something good about them.

Luke Siragusa writes:


The May 8th edition of the Toronto Sun reports and comments on matters velo. Pending approval by Council, there will be bike lanes on Wellesley St. and Vaughan Ave; the efforts of Hamish et al do not go unnoticed by Sun reporter Sarah Green:


Columnist Sue Ann Levy disparages these same efforts in a column critical of Mayor David Miller. To be stained by bile directed at His Blondeness -- the horror!


Read. Discuss.

Sharing the road - Dump Truck Edition


Today's protest from dump truck drivers may have little impact on Toronto cyclists, since it is being limited to the expressways. Of course, there will be spill-over in the congestion, just like north end cyclists saw last night when part of the 401 was closed. All nearby arterial streets became parking lots, overflowing into the neighbourhood streets.

Drivers are complaining about overloaded trucks, long hours and high diesel prices.

Dump Truck

The part of the story that concerned me was this:

``The brake system is designed for a load of 21 tonnes. When the truck is eight or nine tonnes overloaded, the momentum doesn't let you stop unless you really stand on the brakes."

That'll definitely be on my mind next time I take the lane in front of a dump truck.

Through various media outlets, the drivers are asking for public support, which makes one ask where the responsibility lies. The drivers may not know the exact weight of their load, but surely they can eye the difference between 21 tonnes of gravel and 29 tonnes. Once leaving the work site, it's the driver who gets charged, but the drivers are blaming the contractors they work with.

From the Forum: Cycling, children, our streets

The EnigManiac writes:

Bike To School Week / Rescind Ball and Hockey Playing prohibitions.

Has anyone noticed that schools with a student body of 400, 500, 600 and more have shockingly low numbers of cyclists, often less than 1%, in spite of the fact that the vast majority of students live within blocks of the school?

Over the past number of years, I have studied the various schools my son has attended and ...

Read on. Discuss.

Peddling Cabs Arrive in Toronto

Ecocab seen in Dublin

Toronto will soon have pedicabs providing rides around the downtown core. The cost? Other than an urge to drink lots of Lipton Green Tea, it's free!

The service will be provided by a company called Go Mobile Media, which, in case you hadn't figured it out, is an advertising company. The Ecocabs are already being used in New York and Dublin, among other cities.

The vehicles have an electric assist motor, which is limited at 12 km/h.

So, Toronto cyclists, what do you think about sharing the road with these vehicles?

Should these be classified as e-bikes? (We had a discussion about e-bikes last year). If they're e-bikes, does that mean the operator has to wear a helmet?

Is 12 km/h just too ridiculously slow?

Are you willing to live with the advertising for the benefit of more human powered transportation? After all, this isn't the first rolling billboard on our streets.

Photo credit Ashroc

Lakeshore Bike Path Becomes Ace in the Hole

Toronto is considering converting a popular bike path that runs along the North side of Lakeshore Boulevard East into parkland. This point isn't to change the bike path, but to change the city's influence in the area. It's all part of a strategy to oppose the Walmart being planned for this part of the city.

Push to convert cycle path to parkland draws protest

That would force SmartCentres Inc. - whose project has been opposed by local city councillors as a "big-box" shopping centre - to seek council permission to run driveways through the cycle path and onto Lake Shore, between Leslie Street and Carlaw Avenue.

How would this impact the bike path? The city officially ignores parkland paths when it comes to snow removal. On the other hand, this could protect the path from being crossed by a Walmart driveway, something that's good for no one. Well, almost no one.

Darkness outside the heart of the city

The National Post's Peter Kuitenbrouwer hits many nails on their heads with today's story on Vaughan, suburban developments, faux cities, and his search for a bicycle basket in Vaughan.

The Darkness at the Edge of Town:

... Above the covered sidewalks that connect the stores are arches bearing paintings of Italian scenes: St. Peter's Basilica, the Colosseum in Rome and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Rather than lend distinction to the place, the Italian scenes remind me that I am thousands of kilometres away from architecture that the builders of this place consider beautiful.

So many of the problems faced by cyclists and pedestrians come down to the original planning for a city, or lack of planning. Where I work, in Richmond Hill, it may be pedestrian friendly compared to Vaughan, with parking lots small enough that lunch crowds complain about finding parking, and roads that max out at a measly 8 lanes. Still, try to walk from a parking lot to a sidewalk (you're not meant to do that, by the way) and you can find yourself fearfully peaking around bushes hoping not to get hit by cars decelerating as they sweep into the lots.

I'm in no hurry ...

I'm in no hurry to get to the red light

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