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LETTERS (April 2016): Annex cyclists already well served

April 7th, 2016 · No Comments

Re “Bike lane plan up for debate” (January 2016): As someone who has actively chased better Bloor Street biking for over a decade, I should be very happy that bike safety changes may finally occur, but I’m not fully pleased.

By only doing a part of Bloor Street in the already well-served Annex area (where Harbord Street, Barton Avenue, etc., can offer options), this implies that cyclists outside of wards 20 and 19 don’t matter.

But we have very significant shortfalls in the bike safety at the end of Harbord Street at Ossington Avenue, so the high needs for bike safety are west of Ossington Avenue to Dundas Street West.

Safe biking parallel to the subway is important for subway relief, as we won’t shed load to expand the subway capacity until it does become safer, and subway users far outnumber cyclists, pedestrians, or motorists, and transit needs should be paramount.

So we don’t need the concentration of bike facilities in the entitled Annex so much as continuity, as we still lack even one safe, continuous, long east-west cross-Toronto route, Bloor Street/Danforth Avenue being the obvious choice from 1992.

While the politics of the possible play out better in the Annex, it smells badly that we continue with the politicized and patchwork planning that provides safety for some and not others. Usually safety standards aren’t done on a ward-by-ward basis; neither are tax hikes.

Also, the City of Toronto‘s efforts almost preclude them doing anything else in Ward 20, and that’s a shame, as many tweaks are needed, and not just here. We could use some green paint on existing and substandard bike lanes. Road repairs are also necessary.

By elevating Bloor Street in the Annex to a high-status bike lane, we miss thinking of having pedestrian zones in a couple of blocks of the narrow Annex Bloor Street, e.g., Dalton Road to Lippincott Street.

If it’s logical to squeeze cars parallel to the subway, that should include pedestrians too, and we also lag in pedestrian zones, though walking safety is pretty good compared to cycling.

I’d have been far happier if we did Bloor Street bike lanes in Ward 18, and in this narrow Bloor Annex area had a wider curb lane with the feebler sharrows, which would still remove car parking from one side of Bloor Street West. A small central median would constrain lanes and assist informal crossings, and would recognize the upgrade of Harbord Street.

—Hamish Wilson

READ MORE:

Letters: Keep pushing bike safety (September 2015) by Hamish Wilson

Forum: Aims for bike safety (November 2012) by Hamish Wilson

Tags: Annex · Letters · Opinion