bike lanes

Sam James Update

What should be on every bike lane

Here is a fast update about what is happening in the world of Sam James and the bike lane that runs in front of his shop. For those not in the know, Emma, barista extrdinare had a wee bit of a run in with a car driver that really needed a coffee and had to park in the bike lane to get it.

Emma had informed the lady that if she continued to park in the bike lane she might get a fine. The woman returned to the coffee shop and talked with Sam, the owner, and told him that Emma was rude and should be dismissed. Sam in turn dismissed the customer.

After the incident Sam told me that he was going to get a no parking sign to inform customers who insisted in parking in the bike lane that it was a big no-no. He told me that he was having a sign made.

Well true to his word a no parking sign appeared on the sidewalk. Sam also added that if drivers insisted on parking in the bike lane then he would have to stop serving them. Kudo's to you Sam, Emma and the rest of the staff at Sam James Coffee Shop.

Support for University bike lanes in unusual places

There is support for the University bike lane in unusual places. Royson James makes a great case that the bike lanes will change the flavour of the whole boulevard, turning it much more into a livable street where people will be happier to use the "gardens down the centre". I didn't expect this of James, who's been critical of Miller and his projects.

And Councillor Karen Stinz, known for her right-wing views, makes a surprisingly supportive case for the lanes in her National Post editorial "Give bike lanes a chance". She commends Toronto for borrowing the good bike lane techniques from NYC, Chicago and elsewhere. See below for quotes.

Royson James:

There is much to gain from bike lanes on University Avenue, and so little to lose, that the prospects excite.

Along this, our city’s most European-flavoured boulevard, an attractive street aching for a few transformative tweaks to make it great, there must be room for the wonder of mobility, the two-wheeler.

A pedestrian-friendly city, a green city, a city with a burgeoning downtown population that is the envy of North American cities, and a city that cares about the quality of life for its citizens is a city brave enough to encourage safe cycling on one of its most prized drags.

How did Rossi bike to the Green Living Show?

This image has been altered to fit my worldview: Click on image for originalThis image has been altered to fit my worldview: Click on image for original

We all know by now, mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi's promise to Torontonians to remove all bike lanes on "major" roads (which he's left sufficiently vague to save face if things don't go his way). Rossi figures that biking on major streets is "insanity" and he promises to install bike lanes on side roads (which in a previous post we've shown would be quite an impossible undertaking, but let's not let facts get into the way just yet).

We've been lucky enough to get a photo of Rossi happily using the Toronto Cyclists Union's free Valet Parking at the Green Living Show this last weekend. It was probably not lost on Rossi that his own views on bike lanes are diametrically opposed to the bike union's.

I wondered just how Rossi got to the Green Living show: was he forced to arrive by the insanity of major roads, or did he manage to avoid them in his ride from his house?

Happy Earth Day


College and Manning 8:30 a.m. April 23, 2010. 'Mr. Green' sends his message.

If a motorist hits a cyclist...

If a motorist hits a cyclist, they often try to excuse themselves by claiming they "didn't see" the cyclist.

Why, therefore, do any motorists expect us to take them seriously when they oppose bike lanes because they claim they "don't see" many cyclists using them? Personally, I think the best answer to a motorist who claims not to see cyclists in the bike lanes goes like this: since you need to look where you point your car, and you shouldn't point your car into the bike lane, your not seeing cyclist in the bike lanes just proves you drive carefully. It does not, however, prove anything about the number of cyclists using those lanes.

You can't take a census and drive at the same time. Even Statistics Canada doesn't drive and take the census at the same time; they get out of their cars to take the census. Why some motorists think we should believe they can take a census of bike lane users as they drive I don't know.

Some scenes from a ride downtown

The following video shows a ride downtown from the point of view of my helmet camera. A useful tool for rides, the helmet camera both lets me take videos of what a ride feels like, and has a wonderfully civilizing effect on drivers en route.

Bike Lanes on Lawrence Avenue - why all cyclists should care

The essay below is from Veronica, a cyclist active in Bike 25, a group working towards implementing the bike plan in Ward 25.

On Wednesday March 10, 2010 the City of Toronto will be holding a Public Open House to discuss planned bike lanes for Lawrence Avenue East, from Yonge Street to Bayview Avenue.

At first glance, it would appear that this is another 'bike lane to nowhere'. But viewed in the larger context of the Bikeway Network, this is the first piece of a planned bike lane on Lawrence Avenue stretching from Avenue Road to past Port Union Road. While it's unfortunate that this bike lane is being assembled in pieces, I think that its important that cyclists keep their eye on the prize.

Even in its truncated version, this piece of bike lane links Lawrence subway station with the Toronto French School, York University's Glendon Campus and intersects Bayview Avenue quite close to Sunnybrook Hospital, the destination for a large commuter cycling contingency. If one continues further east along Post Road, it links to the existing Don Valley trails.

As for the argument that money should not be wasted on bike lanes in the suburbs because nobody cycles there, consider the following:

  • residents do cycle in the inner suburbs, often under much more hostile conditions. Getting buzzed by a vehicle is not pleasant. Getting buzzed by a vehicle traveling at 70 kph, is even more unpleasant. Cycling infrastructure is even critical in these neighbourhoods;

Bike lanes as imagined by Rocco Rossi

Mayoral candidate, Rocco Rossi promised to 'review' and 'remove' bike lanes on major arterials: "common sense and safety tell me that bike lanes and arterial roads do not mix."

What if Rocco Rossi became mayor, overrode the advice of Transportation Services and put in his own version of bike lanes? This is what I imagine would result.

Rip out bike lanes on Dundas Street East, despite local objections and replace with "safe" alternative
Dundas East Bike Lane: Rossi's alternative 3x as long, but "safer" for drivers and cyclistsDundas East Bike Lane: Rossi's alternative 3x as long, but "safer" for drivers and cyclists

Cyclists aren't safe on Harbord. Take out the bike lane and replace with this plan
Rossi's "Harbord bike lane": You don't mind having to weave up and down, coming to work 30 minutes later, do you?Rossi's "Harbord bike lane": You don't mind having to weave up and down, coming to work 30 minutes later, do you?

People would have to be crazy to cross the bridge in a bike lane! Send them through Riverdale Park
Rossi's "Bloor Viaduct bike lane": Who needs the Bloor Viaduct bike lane when you can go up and down the steep hills in Riverdale park? It'll only take you 4x as long.Rossi's "Bloor Viaduct bike lane": Who needs the Bloor Viaduct bike lane when you can go up and down the steep hills in Riverdale park? It'll only take you 4x as long.

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