With new mega-condo projects cycling is still just an afterthought

Antony Hilliard, on behalf of the Ward 19 Cycle Toronto group, attended the public consultation meeting for the large condo project happening at Strachan and Ordance, Garrison Point; just across the street from the other mini-city we like to call Liberty "Village". Again the City is willing to cram people into a small space and have failed to provide any coherent plan for how people will move around, except by car. There is so much opportunity here, noted Hilliard, for excellent cycling connections to the Waterfront, West Toronto Railpath, Richmond/Adelaide protected bike lanes. But it can all be easily squandered.

And it looks like the traffic planners are doing just that by not insisting that the developers treat cycling as a real transportation mode and not just a recreation activity. In the image above we see the Fort York bridge which will provide cycling and pedestrian access across the railway tracks. But the only access to the condos seems to be a sidewalk. So are the developers and traffic engineers expecting cyclists to just ride on the sidewalk?

No, actually they don't expect cyclists at all.

Since I attended the last public consultation for this development I know that the developers and the City are aware of this issue (having raised it with them), but it looks like the City isn't making any further demands and the developers decided to ignore the issue.

The developer will still be installing 1300 car parking spaces for the 1700 new units, "following Liberty Village minimums". And the crappy painted bike lanes on Strachan will continue to be unimproved in every way.

The Ward 19 group had made a number of recommendations to the City planners a few years ago on how to improve the Strachan bike lanes. So far the only thing the City is slowly moving on is putting in a bike light at the base of Strachan at Lakeshore. There's been no recognition from staff that on a street like Strachan most people think it's crazy to bike with just a painted line separating them from a speeding dump truck.

A painted bike lane is no longer good enough. Most cities have moved on.

This is really maddening given that this area that is already holding thousands of people will be holding yet thousands more; all with next-to-nothing for safe, protected cycling infrastructure (let alone good access to transit).

If we can't get the new projects right, how do you think we'll make progress on retrofitting our old streets?

Comments

Unfortunately, a new administration at city hall by the end of this year maybe too little or too late to have any influence in making changes. Better to keep the pressure on now.

It should be just standard normal policy that any new street, or construction near a street should be that the street is made "complete". Also any new building should have cycling infrastructure expected and demanded by the building code.
It's something to strive for so that regardless of what happens with politics, things can still move forward.

I went to the TD bank at Fleet and Grand Magazine. That is in Ward 19 and is among the new mega condo projects like you are describing.

Not only does the building not have bike parking, they have a large sign forbidding bikes motorcycles and strollers from parking. It turns out the building has a policy specifically banning bike parking. It is not the only one in the area with this policy. Some even ban residents from bring bikes into their condos.

The result is noticeable. Every Ring and Post is always full, even in January.

I have mentionned this before. There should be a requirement in the building that they have to put in bike parking at minimum for their condo people. Extend it to providing adequate parking for their retail too. These buildings proudly advertise they are for pople who want to live without dependence on the car. Many will walk. The TTC is overcapacity on King St. Since they won't voluntarily provide the alternative parking, force them.

Since the city will not willingly build the cycling infrastructure it's a pity the city doesn't make the builders supply at lease some of it, because you know they would actually build it.

I for one am the minority who would be happy to have painted lanes rather than a lot of talk.