West end cyclists may want to attend tomorrow evening's public meeting about the Annette St. bike lane. 6:30pm at the Annette Recreation Centre. Details about the meeting are posted here.
I frequently ride along Annette St., especially the section between Dundas and Jane streets. It's actually a pretty decent east-west route through that part of the city, except for the fact that the pavement is in absolutely terrible condition. It's primarily a residential area, with some small shops, schools, and several churches along the way.
As part of this year's re-paving, it appears they will finally be putting in the bike lanes that have been promised in the Bike Plan for ages. Personally, I'd be happy enough if they just fixed the pavement and didn't put in any bad cycling facilities. But if they can put in something good (at the expense of parking) I'm all for it.
This lane would connect to the Runnymede bike lane (north-south), a southbound route to the waterfront via High Park Ave., the Humber River trail system via the Baby Point area, the West Toronto Rail Path, and also continue eastward along an eventual Dupont St. bike lane.
I'm not sure if there has been any community opposition to this bike lane, but it might be a good idea for cyclists to attend this meeting so that we can 1) find out more about the project, and 2) provide input so that it gets done in a bike-friendly way.
A few points that I think are worth bringing up at the meeting:
- It is essential that bike lanes are NOT built in the door-zones of parked cars. Parts of the Runnymede bike lane are completely unusable because of this.
- Make sure the bike lane at intersections does not create a right-hook situation for cyclists. The bike lane should remain wide, and the line dashed, to encourage motorists to merge properly before trying to turn.
- The excellent design and implementation of the eastern terminus at the Annette / Dundas / Dupont / Old Weston Rd. junction is critical. This collision of several busy roads can be tricky, even for experienced cyclists. Some specific points that should be done here are:
- Improve the lane markings and lane direction symbols on the roads. They have been almost completely worn off for some time now. It is not always obvious where cyclists and motorists should be positioned when traversing this intersection, especially when traveling between Annette and Dupont.
- Consider sharrows placed in the middle of the lane going under the Dupont St. railway underpasses. When it comes time to upgrade Dupont St., the actual lane configuration can be re-worked. (Yes, this is just outside of the current bike lane's implementation, but the connection is critical)
- Maybe this would be a good place to install a "bike box" and advanced green for cyclists so that we can easily take the lane?
- There can be a significant amount of right-turning traffic from Annette St. onto Dundas St. Make sure the bike lane doesn't dump cyclists into a right-hook zone.
- What about enforcement? The Runnymede bike lane almost always has cars parked in front of certain stores, and at Runnymede Station. What will be done to prevent the Annette St. bike lane from becoming a parking lot for the schools and businesses?
What do you think? Post your own ideas and suggestions here, and better yet, bring them to the meeting. If you can't come, please send your thoughts to email@example.com and Ward 13 councillor Bill Saundercook firstname.lastname@example.org
hamish (not verified)
thanks for this; and detailsWed, 04/16/2008 - 22:29
Thanks for cuing this east-ender to this meeting as yes I've found Annette to be a really good east-west route that cut out a couple of hills on Bloor for where I was going.
I've tried to cue some folks in that area about this meeting/cause - so hopefully it'll help.
The City would likely prefer to have something done east-west that isn't Bloor, though the what next at the Dundas/Dupont etc. junction and those complications are awkward.
Now, is there a safe, easy and cheaper way to link the Davenport lane to Annette and forget about the less-useful ending of Davenport?
.A few years ago some of us pushed for easier bike traversing the Wallace St. bridge.
Annette/Davenport/WallaceThu, 04/17/2008 - 11:30
Yeah, we rode along the whole length of Annette last night. It's a heck of a climb out of the Humber valley, but then it's nice and flat all the way to Dupont.
I guess the best connection from Davenport to Dupont/Annette is via Osler St. Looks like that's sort of already on the Bike Plan, but it veers off to the Rail Path. Still leaves the issue of the railway underpass though. Too bad they couldn't keep the Old Weston Rd. bridge open as a pedestrian/cyclist route!
What sort of ideas were passed around regarding the Wallace bridge? Some kind of bike and wheelchair-accessible ramps?
annette meetingThu, 04/17/2008 - 21:32
I caught the last hour of this meeting. Bill Saundercook was running the meeting. Basically, there was significant opposition from business owners who object to the loss of parking (roughly half of 300 spots gone). City numbers show that the parking that remains should be enough, but people didn't seem to put much faith in the numbers. There were about ten cyclists there; about one third of the crowd.
What I found most interesting about the meeting was that it wasn't PC to oppose bike lanes outright. Every single objection started something like: "I'm not opposed to bike lanes, but......"
It was pointed out that all but about half a dozen businesses are actually between Runnymede and Jane, and so it might be a good bet that at least Runnymede to Dundas will go through. I did look at the Dundas, Annette junction, and the bike lane there is put between a right turn lane and the other lanes. No such provision at any of the other intersections, although there are a few sections of tapered cross hatching as buffer zones.
Several people on both sides seemed to assume that this is all a fait accompli, and that the project will go forward regardless of public consultation.
AnnetteFri, 04/18/2008 - 10:49
Thanks for the summary, Jun.
I wasn't able to go to the meeting, so I will send some thoughts by email today. I will also request a copy of any of the design docs / presentation materials.
John Spragge (not verified)
Annette StreetFri, 04/18/2008 - 12:35
I second the thanks. I posted a summary with a map of the proposal here.
chephy (not verified)
Very good points, Vic.Fri, 04/18/2008 - 20:57
Very good points, Vic. Especially about door zone bike lanes. There are many throughout the city, and they are far far worse than having no bike lane at all. If these bike lanes are substandard, why were they even built, and if they are not, then we badly need to revise our standards.
Annette articleTue, 04/22/2008 - 15:31
Here's an article in The Villager about this lane. Quotes from Tammy Thorne and Gord Perks
tt (not verified)
Annette bike lane partyTue, 04/22/2008 - 15:43
Let's be sure to thank Councillor Saundercook when this lanes goes in and have a ribbon cutting ceremony - with cake? (can anyone bake?) - even if the city doesn't want to sponsor it!
I don't have the stats but I bet the parking is only at 50% capacity during weekdays... and there simply has to come a day when we GIVE UP PARKING and make room for bikes on our roads. this is one place where we can do it.
thanks for the post Vic and special thanks to Jun for the update from the meeting too.
Bike lanes on Annette in jeopardyThu, 05/08/2008 - 00:42
There may likely not be bike lanes on Annette between Runnymede and Jane St. The rest of the bike lanes on Annette are very likely to go in. More specific information is likely to be available soon.
While I am very disappointed at this outcome, all is not lost. Bike lanes are not the only measure that can be taken to make cycling on a road safer, even if it is the often preferred answer.
I'd like to propose that if cyclists cannot have bike lanes on that section then we demand the following:
I'm sure you also have your ideas to help make cycling safer on Annette. Be sure to bring these and your ideas to Councillor Saundercook just as soon you can. And you can also post your ideas for better cycling on Annette here as well; we'd love to hear them!
new pileThu, 05/08/2008 - 08:01
Bikelines in jeopardy on Annette? Same ****, different pile.
Tone (not verified)
The disconnectThu, 05/08/2008 - 09:56
I ride Annette occasionally and, aside from the horrible pavement (potholes everywhere!), it already strikes me as very cycling friendly route.
Perhaps there is a bit of a disconnect between slower utility riders and folks like me (I'm a fair-weather commuter) who ride a bit quicker.
The last think I want is lots of pedestians crossing the street and slower moving cars -- which implies (to me, anyway) having to ride along side cars for longer periods of time.
The current street allow me to flow along quite nicely at around 25 km/h with very little problems with traffic or parked cars. Other than fixing the pavement, I'm not sure that there is very much I'd like to see changed.
Derek (not verified)
Alternative Approaches to Bike LanesThu, 05/08/2008 - 10:15
The ideas of having the yellow line removed and the speed limit reduced are interesting ideas. There seems to be a lot of resistance to putting in bike lines in the city but if at the end of the day our goal is to make the city streets less intimidating to cyclists it may make more sense to focus on initiatives like these that will ultimately make cycling safer but with less resistance and with the support of other non-cycling specific groups (i.e. pedestrians, parents worried about the safety of their children, motorists that don't want through traffic in their "backyard" etc.). In the future if there are more cyclists on the road it will be much easier to get approval for bike lanes because it will be obvious that there is a demand for them. Right now it's a risk for politicians to put too much emphasis on cycling when we make up only ~1% of the volume of transportation.
If drivers act within the lawThu, 05/08/2008 - 12:10
Bikelanes aren't the answer, behaviour modification is. In places like Japan, Holland and Denmark, drivers are also cyclists. This is not going to happen here.
If drivers act within the law, it'd be far safer to cycle. Three things need to happen: far more education, far more fines on DRIVERS (because bikes rarely kill), and far less curb parking on main roads (because I want to watch for traffic, not door prizes).
Our stupid city can't paint more useless bikelanes of the type we have, much less design ones that aren't a hazard. Educate, fine and reduce arterial parking: makes it safer, and fines make money.
Tone (not verified)
.. and it makes traffic flow better for everyoneThu, 05/08/2008 - 12:29
Aidan's suggestion has the added advantage of making traffic flow better for everyone. If drivers and cyclists (and pedestrians) interacted in a more disciplined way, it's better for all .. and traffic flows in a more orderly way.
Get rid of on-street parking and it flows even better. When I lived in the west end, I was amazed what a great route the Danforth is during rush hour when on street parking is prohibited. I flew along easily ... at least until I crossed the viaduct and hit the traffic on the other side!
Don't give up, keep pressing.Thu, 05/08/2008 - 15:22
Bike lanes are still the answer, they'll bring more cyclists which in turn will bring behaviour modification to drivers. Once we get the critical mass as in Copenhagen, each additional bike lane will become much easier to install.
They had to start from scratch, just like we did - there's nothing so different about Danes regarding cycling culture.
if drivers act within the law; indeed...Thu, 05/08/2008 - 22:49
I don't know where you live, but here in Toronto most motorists treat stop signs like yield signs. I've even caught myself doing this once in a while whilst I was behind the wheel of our family car. And while I'm a motorist, when I "keep up with the flow of traffic" it means that I am most often traveling at about 10km/h over the posted speed limit, like everybody else.
Yes, it means that I'm just as guilty as any other motorist for not always doing "the right thing."
And it means that the motorist’s complaint about those pesky cyclists that are always "blowing through stop signs" holds little weight because motorists are just as guilty as cyclists on this front.
But most importantly it shows that there is a huge gap between the level of behaviour that we expect vs. the level of behaviour we can realistically enforce, or even what we are willing to tolerate. More "education" won't remedy all of these bad behaviours. And just as importantly, education cannot be applied quickly, nor can attitudes be changed as quickly.
Yes, better behaviour from motorists and from cyclists would be the ideal. However, I cannot afford to wait for the messiah to appear (or, perhaps, re-appear) until this happens. I need my kids to be able to ride their bike to get to our destinations NOW, and not get killed on the way by an "uneducated" motorist.
As I need an immediate solution, and bike lanes fit this goal, I'll take the bike lanes.
Bike lanes also have many happy side effects that I'll also be happy to have, like encouraging more cyclists (initially they are mostly novice) to take to the roads on their bikes. This is a good thing to me because the more cyclists there are, the less risk there is to any cyclist. Also, by granting dedicated space to cyclists on our roads, the attitude of many motorists change and they tolerate cyclists on the roads better. In the eyes of many motorists, bike lanes equate cycling as a legitimate transportation option.
That's not to say that there are not cons. But I'll happily work hard to manage and minimize the impacts of those negative side effects that bike lanes bring with them.
Me, I'm not waiting for "the salvation of education" to bring about a happy cycling environment. I've got kids NOW that I need to ride with, so I need solutions NOW. I'll take the bike lanes with their warts and all for now and then I'll go after the salvation of education solution.
Smoking is another good example of how slow attitudes changes take to occur. There are still parts of Canada where one can smoke in bars and restaurants. And our improved anti-smoking education has not entirely stopped young people from picking up this bad habit to begin with. And, in the short term “non-smoking areas” were used to get the message across that smoking was not a good thing. Non-smoking areas were also not perfect, but they were a reasonable compromise at the time. Then the smoking areas became smaller while the non-smoking areas grew larger. Now in Toronto all of our enclosed “public” spaces are entirely non-smoking. We’ll get there with bikes as well! And we won’t have to artificially raise the costs like was done with cigarettes…Gas is selling at what today?
Education? Prosecution!Fri, 05/09/2008 - 08:24
Well, I actually only said something about education to try to be positive. I really believe the best education is to fine and prosecute the **** out of the drivers in this city - which is what brought down drinking and driving. Can you believe the police are going to have an enforcement blitz during bike month, against cyclists!? That is a big f- you from the cops. Just how many people have been killed by a bike this year? How many by a car?
About bike lanes: the only good thing about them is that they encourage novice cyclists to feel safer, and join us. Statistically they are NOT safer, esp. since most accidents happen at intersections, where there isn't really a bike lane. Also, until the city prohibits the common bike lanes that abut on-street parking, I'd say that the false security makes them more dangerous.
Bike Blitz during Bike MonthFri, 05/09/2008 - 08:41
I spoke out against the timing of the police's Bike Blitz at the PWIC meeting earlier this week. I was the only one. Where were you?
And, you may be happy to find out that I strongly recommended that the Blitz be preceded by an Education campaign.
Yes, the attention and fines are unfair for cyclists when compared to the amount of risk cyclists impose upon others against motor vehicles. But for most violations it about any vehicle, only a few violations are specific for Motor vehicles, noteably drinking and speeding.
"Where were you?"Fri, 05/09/2008 - 10:04
"Where were you?"
That's not really fair, Anthony. I might have been at a funeral, or at work, for all you know.
Of course, I wasn't, but I have been too disappointed too often by the public and the public-sector in this city to put in the effort to have my good suggestions obstructed at a meeting (PWIC is Public Works and Infrastructure Committee - I looked it up).
This is a middle N.American driver's city, and that isn't going to change much or soon. You have my great respect that you have the heart to make the effort, but I don't.
Copenhagen used to be aFri, 05/09/2008 - 10:34
Copenhagen used to be a congested driver's city, they didn't have lanes dedicated to bike commuters. They fully ripped out their trolley system like most major cities did.
Toronto is making steps to improve life for cyclists, I remember riding before there were any bike lanes and the Martin Goodman Trail wasn't even an idea. We actually took down the eastern portion of the Gardiner!
Every day I ride Dundas St. I remember how horrible it used to be - every arterial road could have the same type of great bike lane if we press on.
A bit harsh, but a bit of a teaseFri, 05/09/2008 - 17:21
I can come off a bit harsh at times, but I don't fully mean it, Aiden.
The tide is in our side, or at least there's much less resitance at City Hall. NOW is a good time to push for things that make sense. And there are alot more cyclists actually involved in pushing for bike realted stuff at City Hall. At the last PWIC meeting I attended there was only two of us cyclists. This time there were five of us. If we can get our numbers up and sustain the effort, it will make all the difference for Toronto.
TCAC's next meeting is at 7:00pm, Committee room 2, Toronto City Hall (100 Queen W). If there's an item you want to speak to show up early and talk with Frank Baldassini, or email him with your intention to speak and/or with your concerns about a topic on the agenda if you cannot make it, and he will make sure that the committee gets a copy for discussion. Margaret and Tammy are both on the Committee and also on this Blog; you can use this blog to contact them directly if you'd like.
My point is there are more constructive ways of channeling your funtration into action than venting here. Tere's a learning curve, sure, and you don't get everything you want, and these things often take too much time. But if you don't get involved then you won't get heard when it counts.
Aiden, this info is not specifically for you, but for all readers and contributors to this blog who like to get more involved.
more information on annette bike lanesThu, 05/22/2008 - 22:55
From the world19.com website:
" Plans for Annette were presented at a poorly-publicized Open House meeting held on April 17. According to reports, the majority of attendees were local businesses, some of whom objected strongly to the proposal, fearing their impact on parking and deliveries. (City staff had created a proposal to reduce parking by 50%, staggered on opposite sides of the street).
Although there has been little opportunity for public information and involvement, it surprised us to learn recently that Ward 13 Councillor Saundercook has proposed that the bike lanes instead be moved north to St. Johns Rd. between Runnymede and Jane.
Clearly this decision was made only because of those businesses who knew about and attended the meeting. What about the rest of the area residents' thoughts? What alternatives can be done to accommodate cyclists and businesses?"
"This proposal will be considered at the June 4 meeting of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. We will be providing contact information, and more background on this issue in the next several days."
I'll be contacting Bill Saundercook's office about this to seek clarification.
It is ironic that his website
is now featuring "Bike Month" as the lead off item.
Steve C (not verified)
Annette bicycle lanes.Fri, 05/30/2008 - 16:55
I have lived and worked in a storefront building just east of Runnymede on Annette Street for the past 10 years. The situation here is more complex than made out in this blog. We are lucky we have some parking at the rear of our building and are generally unaffected by parking issues as we would be if the proposed bike lanes eliminated parking out front. Here are a couple of more points to add to the list:
The complexity of this situation revolves around existing parking. Currently we have alternate side parking on Beresford north of Annette. This is quite good as there is an added safety margin for children playing on sidewalks or front yards. There is an eyes on the street comfort also which would not be there if we had two sides of the streets parked on. Alternate side of the street parking also allows the snow to be removed more readily. On streets with double loaded parking, severe snowfalls bring misery to all. This would be lost if Annette Street parking was halved. In addition, the recent OMB decision to allow a 26 unit condo on Annette just west of Beresford to go ahead with only 13 parking spots will be very problematic for our community; where will the first and second cars of the residents be parked? The lack of vision on the City's part is that the land on which this condo sits was surplus TTC land and could have been used for parking for the businesses of our neighborhood.
Annette Street at rush hour has a large volume of traffic that moves very fast. In addition, you have edgy parents driving their kids to school, TTC buses, and huge school buses everywhere. And the potholes; they are getting bigger all the time. It is definitely not friendly to cyclists. Speeds need to be reduced and bike lanes might contribute to this. Another thought is to vary the surfacing of the road at intersections and crosswalks to discourage speeding.
At Jane the street jogs. It is a nasty intersection with little existing parking but quite a few retail stores that depend on parking. Again, the City could have purchased the old Bi-way and put metered parking in there to integrate with the bike plan. Instead the land was purchased and developed into rowhouses. At Runnymede and Dundas NE corner you can see what a dedicated parking area looks like.
Right now, looking at the Bike Trail, the Annette route looks like it really goes nowhere. Rerouting it up to St. John's creates more problems than it solves. You can argue with me on this but I think the real battle is for Bloor Street. Last year we did Bells on Bloor ride and were nearly killed, twice. Bloor is where the lanes need to be; that's where the volume of riders end up. Runnymede, Jane and Dundas are ideal feeders for a route on Bloor. If this could be achieve, all other routes would fall like dominos.
It is clear that we need to have less cars on the road and at the side of the road. This means encouraging bicycles, scooters, smaller low speed vehicles. With the repaving, things will get better for cyclists on Annette and eventually I think we will see the lanes on Annette. I only hope they put them against the curb on the North side 'cause I would prefer to look at bikes rather than parked cars any day. ; )