Previously on this blog I had panned a redesign of Yonge Street by young landscape architect Richard Valenzona, but which was given the prestigious NXT City Prize by a panel of judges which includes our Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmat.
As Schrödinger's Cat had pointed out, Valenzona's design was suspiciously similar to the Exhibition Place, London design which looks now like this:
Not exactly pedestrian and cyclist friendly. Pedestrians are still afraid of crossing the roadway and cyclists have no space of their own.
But to stray from just being negative I'd like to describe an alternative vision, which would balance the needs of cyclists with those of pedestrians and drivers. I believe there is enough space to protect cyclists while also providing more space to pedestrians.
My design is approximate since the roadway width varies along Yonge's extent. But if we follow Valenzona's cue that we can reduce car lanes by half that would mean we could dedicate about one car lane to a bidirectional protected bike lane and the other to expanding the sidewalks.
Since we're putting in a bidirectional bike lane we should probably also make the other lanes one way for cars, which makes intersections safer for everyone. Urbanists, don't get your underwear in a knot about one-way roads. Netherlands, one of the world's safest country for transportation is full of them; so is NYC. If done in combination of reducing speeds and lane widths and providing bike lanes and wider sidewalks it is a safe and friendly solution.
Maybe I'll enter my design into next year's NXT City Prize. But first I have to choose some nice looking brick if I want a chance of winning.
Kevin (not verified)
Here's my proposal: AMon, 10/20/2014 - 22:06
Here's my proposal: A car-free Yonge Street, just like we had in the 1970's, with bike lanes in the centre of the street. For those too yonge to remember (couldn't resist the pun!) here is what it looked like:
Papi (not verified)
How will you deal withFri, 11/07/2014 - 17:52
How will you deal with right-turning vehicles (and left-turning cyclists) ? Extra signals for cyclists at each intersection? Seems complicated.
Off the top of myMon, 11/10/2014 - 10:02
Off the top of my head:
It may also be possible to install something like has been done on Simcoe where car traffic is one-way but cyclists have a cycle track on both sides of the street, where one is contraflow. I think we do whatever works best but my main point stands that we should be considering protected bike lanes on busy major streets like Yonge and not ignore cyclists or pretend like the average person is going to take up cycling in the chaos of Yonge traffic just because we've made it look prettier, as is what I've gathered from the current approach by the Chief Planner.
Don Booth (not verified)
We can look to other citiesMon, 11/24/2014 - 11:11
We can look to other cities for guidance.
Vancouver does not run bike lanes on many arterial roads. Instead they have developed parallel bike routes which are much safer, faster and allow the traffic to move faster.
I live near Danforth. There are small streets that run parallel to Danforth for long stretches. These are the streets to convert. In Vancouver, when a bike street crosses a major street there is a traffic signal, much like our walk signals. A button nest to the bike lane activates the signal. Traffic on the major street stops and bikes cross.
The Vancouver system works very well and it is heavily used.
Having said all of this, I think the above suggestion would work very well south of Bloor. Once Duplex avenue starts I think we might want to shift bike traffic to Duplex, letting duplex become a sort of bike highway and leaving Yonge to pedestrians, motorists, and local bike traffic.
It's a heck of a lot easierMon, 11/24/2014 - 17:12
It's a heck of a lot easier to suggest than actually do this, Don. This quickly breaks down when we try to draw lines on a map.
For instance, cycling advocates have been pushing for direct routes all over the west end to connect Parkdale/High Park to the downtown. But! There are ZERO continuous side streets going east-west. Absolutely none. Plenty of cyclists already choose side streets where possible but a few blocks later they're thrown onto major streets. And there's no way around this short of blowing up some houses.
Vancouver is quite different from Toronto in this respect. That city developed a much more square grid whereas Toronto's is lots of breaks and odd rectangular pieces that force everyone onto major streets every so often.
Papi (not verified)
how about southbound cycleMon, 11/24/2014 - 19:04
how about southbound cycle track on Yonge and a northbound one on Church St?
Even better: make YongeThu, 11/27/2014 - 22:16
Even better: make Yonge one-way and do this: http://nacto.org/usdg/streets/downtown-streets/downtown-1-way-street/ Thus bi-directional bike lanes so cyclists don't need to go way out of their way and make motorists take a different street if they want to go the other way. It's already a well-established pattern as evidenced by NACTO image
David Juliusson (not verified)
Side streets are a wonderfulFri, 11/28/2014 - 10:23
Side streets are a wonderful idea, but not always practical. I live in Ward 6. There is only one east west street that leaves the ward and that is the Lakeshore.
Speaking of frustration in getting bike lanes, try the Lakeshore. In September 1998, John Vandenberg was killed at Lakeshore and Royal York. Because of that the Lakeshore was included in the 2001 bike plan. In September 2013, Sue Trainor died at Lakeshore and Dwight. The City sprung into action and requested a staff report. Hopefully we'll get a bike lane in 2015.