bike lanes

Copenhagen through North American eyes

Streetfilms interviewed North American attendees at the Velo-City 2010 conference in Copenhagen to capture their view of Copenhagen and the differences with North American cities. Yvonne Bambrick of the Toronto Cyclists Union was also interviewed.

Jarvis bike lanes to be in by end of July

The contentious Jarvis bike lanes should be operational by the end of July. Transportation Services will be removing the reversible centre lane and hardware starting Friday July 16. Depending on who you are this will either be the end of the world as we know it, or a small addition to a street network that is safer for cyclists.

Read more about the Jarvis Streetscape improvements, and read the press release:

News Release
July 14, 2010

Installation of bike lanes on Jarvis Street begins this Friday

The City of Toronto's Transportation Services Division will begin the installation of bike lanes on Jarvis Street (from Queen Street East to Charles Street) on Friday, July 16, continuing until late July.

As a result of this work, Jarvis Street will be transformed from five lanes of traffic to four, with two bicycle lanes. In order to undertake this work safely, a series of partial road closures and lane reductions will be required.

The following is a summary of the work:

Friday, July 16 - The removal of pay-and-display parking machines and the installation of no-stopping regulations on the roadway will occur.

Friday, July 16 (evening) - The centre reversible lane will be taken out of operation in both directions.

Saturday, July 17 or Sunday, July 18 (weather permitting) - Temporary pavement markings will be installed to mark the closure of the centre lane. This work will take place during the evening.

Parking Exemptions vs Bike Lanes

After Councillor Howard Moscoe's prodding, City Council has released the previously confidential manual which explains who can get their parking tickets cancelled. I am glad that they did this, and it helps make things much more clear to everyone in this city. Many thanks to Councillor Moscoe, and the other councillors, who made this happen.

Before this manual was released, I had though that more enforcement would help to diminish the number of vehicles found parked in bike lanes. I had also thought that on-street separated bike lanes should be used sparingly and strategically.

I now realize how naive I was.

While I expect that some of the excuses to get one's parking ticket cancelled to be removed from the current manual, I have to expect that many, if not most, of them will remain. Because of this, I now find it necessary to add my voice to the many who are already calling for the conversion of existing bike lanes into on-street separated bike lanes.

The passive enforcement of barriers which would deter people from placing their vehicles in bike lanes seems to be the only remedy we have to keep those of us in this city who ride bikes safe from moving cars and trucks, and to keep bike lanes safe from becoming free parking or ad-hoc taxi stands.

And safer infrastructure will only encourage more people to ride.

Car doors shouldn't have a "zone"

Last week, riding home on College Street, I encountered a territorial idiot in the bike lane. This individual decided to open his car door into the bike lane, then stand beside it chatting on his cell phone. On seeing me, he closed his car door enough to leave me six inches to pass. I told him, politely but stiffly, that I needed more room than that, and he closed it almost completely. I rolled by him. From his comments about me not leaving the bike lane, he clearly thought he had the right to use it as a substitute living room.

Today, I ready the comments of Kerri from the CommuteOrlando Blog about "door zone" bike lanes, and I thought on one hand she has a point, but on the other hand, the term "door zone" seems to concede public space to the motorists who open their car doors carelessly, and leave them open.

Toronto does not have the road space available to give motorists who chooses to park on the street permanent control of the space a metre to the right of their cars. If we tried to exclude vehicles (all vehicles, including bicycles) from the zone three feet from any (legally or illegally) parked car, our traffic problems would go from bad to terminal. For that reason, the HTA quite properly places the onus on the person opening a car door or proposing to use a travel lane for chatting on a cell phone or looking for their keys, not the traffic trying to move.

Accidents in which cyclists get hit by car doors cause plenty of injuries and deaths. Good infrastructure design definitely plays a role in keeping cyclists safe. But in calling for better infrastructure design, it matters that we not use language that has the effect of conceding to motorists public space that the law does not grant them and which we cannot afford.

Bells on Bloor, I like the sound

Saturday brought good weather and a couple thousand cyclists to Bloor Street for another year of asking politicians to put in bike lanes. The Cyclops troupe of Clay and Paper Theatre led the multiple musical groups in chants and singing along the way.

A nice job by everyone, now the politicians just need to get their act together.

Pancakes on Bloor

I was lucky enough to get in on some delicious pancakes on Sunday morning. Albert Koehl, Angela Bischoff and the rest of the Bike Lanes on Bloor gang held a little fundraiser. For twenty dollars you could have as many pancakes as you could stuff in your face, fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee and the company of some really great people.

I arrived around 9:30 and the back yard of Mr. Koehl's house was already bustling with activity. I hunkered down and was fortunate enough to share a table with Martino, Wendy and Davide Anderson of Clay and Paper Theatre Company.

The food was delicious, the coffee hot and the company enticing. I am sure money and spirits were raised because of the event. For those not in the know, Bells on Bloor (video) is a yearly reminder to the city that we really do need bike lanes on Bloor Street.

This year the event is on a Saturday and it will be on May 29th. It starts at Noon at the entrance to High Park. Just look for thousands of cyclists itching to remind drivers that yes, we deserve a part of the road as well.

Bike lane

I took this footage riding along the bike lanes taxi loading and unloading zones on College Street between Spadina and Bathurst.

Take all Traffic off of University

Four Bike Police Scuttle up the bike lane in the wrong direction

It has been well over two days since Toronto cyclists woke up to a shattered dream: the dream of a pilot bike lane project on University Avenue. No, it wasn't the right-wing bike hating extreme that put it down, but a bike lane loving councilor that blamed it on technology, or lack of sleep, or perhaps it was memories of communist day camps in the wilds of Manitoba, but regardless, Paula "fat fingers" Fletcher was the one to blame.

But if you looked on the Toronto Star website and read the story, or maybe the comments, you would think that Yahweh himself had come down and grabbed her hand and put it on the big red no button.

It was divine intervention, chimed in more than one of the many people who read the Star, comment on how crappy life is in Toronto, but don't really live here (those people who see fit to tell people who actually live here what they are supposed to think and how much Toronto sucks and everything else).

It seemed that every other member of the peanut gallery was going on how ambulances used University to get to the hospitals and how cyclists would slow them down and how putting a bike lane on University would cause the death of millions.

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