Public Meeting on Wellesley/Hoskin separated bike lanes: June 27 6pm

The first of two Public Meetings on bike lane upgrades to the Wellesley-Hoskin corridor is taking place on June 27th at 6pm at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School (444 Sherbourne St). If you are unable to attend you can send an email with your comments as well. The first phase of separated bicycle lanes on Wellesley/Hoskin/Harbord are to be built between Parliament and St. George Street.

Transportation Staff are now studying the Wellesley Street, and Hoskin Corridor to develop some possible designs for how these bicycle lanes can be improved. Staff have already done extensive research in the development of recommendations for improvements existing bicycle lanes for Sherbourne Street, and so some of the lessons learned from Sherbourne may be considered for the Wellesley-Hoskin Corridor.

Physically separated bike lanes connected in an overall network have been demonstrated to dramatically increase the number of cyclists using the facilities. Separated bike lanes on Wellesley, however, may be contentious to some people due to the likely removal of on-street parking for part of the corridor and removal of left-turn lanes. Thus all the more reason to show up even briefly to show your support for this key section of a separated bike lane network in Toronto. From the City's site:

Introducing a cycle-track type design to Wellesley St. - Hoskin Ave. will require more width than the existing painted bike lanes. In order to maintain the traffic flow and efficient TTC bus service along Sherbourne Street, the new design will result in the following changes:

  • Removal of all on-street parking on Wellesley Street between Bay St. and Parliament St.
  • Removal of existing left-turn lanes

As part of this process, city staff are conducting parking surveys to see if new parking spots can be added to streets near Wellesley St. and Hoskin Ave. to partially offset the loss of parking on these streets. The design will maintain vehicle access to all connecting driveways and laneways along Wellesley Street and Hoskin Ave.

In a city where there is such high demand for many of our narrow downtown roads, it's important to push to move on-street parking to side streets or parking garages. There are many alternatives to where someone can park their car, but no alternative for a safe cycling route through this part of town.

Comments

I live in a condo building at Yonge and Wellesley, and I have significant concerns about plans for bike lanes on Wellesley Street.

Quick background first: The building in which I live was originally an office building, converted to residential use about a decade ago. Our only entrance is at the front of the building, on Wellesley. Moves in and out, furniture deliveries, etc can only take place with vehicles stopping and unloading on Wellesley itself.

The implementation of bike lanes along Wellesley would literally mean losing the only on/offloading space for building residents. Our options, if the city proceeds with these lanes, would be limited to having delivery trucks/movers parking illegally behind the building in a private lot, and carrying deliveries, furniture, etc down an alleyway, turning around the front of the building and finally arriving at the front door. Hardly fair or practical for anyone.

In addition, losing left turn lanes at Yonge and Bay intersections would make an already heavily congested Wellesley Street diabolical in terms of traffic. Anyone stood at Bay/Yonge/Church/Jarvis and Wellesley intersections in the afternoon and evening recently?

Furthermore, the businesses along Wellesley (such as the retailers between Yonge and Bay, would be hurt by the loss of parking spaces in front of their locations. Herb casually refers to "many alternatives to where someone can park their car" only this is just not true. In a neighbourhood where many parking lots have become condo towers (a good thing, btw), and traffic is high at most times of day, those "options" just aren't there. Please correct me with specifics if I'm wrong.

I empathize with cyclists and the need for safe cycling routes, but the offset in this case means many more problems created for area residents -- whose views should be considered first and foremost when such initiatives are planned for our street/neighbourhood.

In conclusion, I don't believe new bike lanes on Wellesley justify the considerable inconvenience to those who live, commute and work in this Wellesley Street corridor.

Thank you,

Rob

This has to be a repeat of what happened a hundred years ago. I am sure that there were a quite a few people upset when the last horse stables were removed... ;-)

Valid concerns Rob, but I'm not sure that any of them trump the safety of road users. I believe that the public consultation process can deal with these concerns in the best way possible. In the end you'll have to realize that there are trade-offs: a safer road in exchange for less convenience for some people.

I do not believe that your one comment can be the final word on the effect to business, congestion and deliveries. That's why city staff study these things and come up with changes that make things smoother. For instance, they could restrict left turns so that traffic won't be backed up waiting for someone to turn left. This also makes conditions safer for pedestrians and cyclists and motorists - fewer conflict points. Staff have also investigated the parking needs and have identified the alternatives in the neighbourhood. I find it amazing that people are so willing to believe that on-street parking is a right and not a privilege.

Given all the requirements for a downtown street like Wellesley I believe we should place the safety of a grandmother or a child on a bike over the convenience of a delivery van.

It's not the stables, nor the liveries, that I currently miss; it's the old hitching posts! People too often tie their dogs by the leash to post and rings and then seriously get upset when someone locks their bike to it afterwards.

We need more post and rings, but it seems that we also need new hitching posts for people to tie their dogs to so that it doesn't interfere with the already limited bike parking we have.

Rob,

I live in your area and share your concern about parking and congestion. But I've arrived at a different conclusion than you.

Delivery vehicles parking in front of your building are doing so illegally now. So those who advocate for the status quo are advocating for something that is already unworkable.

It's time we shift the onus where it belongs: On delivery vehicle operators and the companies who employ them to work in compliance with the law.

I'm not sure if you use a bicycle downtown (I hope you do!) but perhaps you've experienced the uncertainty of merging with vehicle traffic to get around an illegally parked truck? It surprises me that this is considered normal and I am convinced this obstacle alone keeps many Torontonians in cars who would probably be otherwise very happy on bicycles, not to mention the obvious benefits from more people cycling to get around.

As for parking, there are two green P lots within a 5 minute walk of your intersection which from my experience just about always have vacant capacity.

What are we saying about the safety of road users when we want to preserve parking capacity for the convenience of motorists, but at the expense of the safety of bicycle users?

Also, it's not only about cyclist safety. I am convinced in most cases collisions between motorists and cyclists are unintended. Motorists who hit cyclists and injure or kill them very likely deal with the trauma of hurting another person. This is an important health and safety concern to me.

I appreciate that you support bicycle infrastructure in general and I'd love to learn more about how we can think creatively to address your concerns. As they say: Where there's a will, there's a way!

Rob - just tell the driver to block the bloody bike lane - just like they do now. Streets weren't designed to accommodate everyone. For the 100 daily cyclists that use it for 6 months a year (and I'm being generous here), it's not a big inconvenience to a lot of people. There's more people in your building than use that lane!

@ Random

The city recently did bicycle traffic counts in the early spring on Wellesley this year and the daily total in one direction (not both) averaged at about 1000 cyclists per day, including a few counts +/- 1300.

Cyclists use bike lanes all year long, and even if you factor in the snow months that leaves 9 months of seasonal riding.

Get your info right - the only thing you are being generous about are your own inaccuracies.

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