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Cycling infrastructure (Separated bike lanes)

The sheer vitriol of those entitled Etobians really makes me miss my regrettably stolen e-bike. I would relish the daily opportunity to effortlessly zip past all the fuming drivers stuck in gridlock along Bloor, forced to watch my booty short clad ass up in the air as a further spiteful, visual f*** you 🤣
 
Worries about increased congestion and emergency response times have no basis in reality. Bike lanes and road diets generally don't make traffic worse. People tend to think of traffic as a fixed number of cars that need to get through a space. But it doesn't work that way. The way we design our infrastructure has a huge impact on how people use it. If we make it easier and safer to walk and bike, then more people will walk and bike for more trips. That means fewer cars and less need to accommodate them. Plus congestion is somewhat self-correcting - a highly congested street will disincentivize car trips. So if you remove car lanes the result will typically be be fewer cars and the same amount of congestion that existed before.
 
I know this isn't meant to be an advocacy forum, per se, but I am all ears to hearing how those in this space feel this kind of misinformation and anger can be countered, redirected or neutralized (the anger, not the people).

I said I would come back to this...........

***

So, I think we need to put a few things out there.

1) We're never going to get rid of all the angry people. They are with us no matter the subject, often yelling about change of some type or another; but sometimes about the status quo.

2) What we may be able to do is achieve a bit less anger at the margins, and more balance in rooms. In the context of cycling, making a room more 50/50, or even with a clear majority in favour of cycling.

3) We may also be able to take some air out of the balloon in some cases, or just avoid certain meetings. (ie. address whatever issue w/online materials, rather than an in-person get together).

****

So how do we get greater balance? The obvious answer is to prioritize cycling in areas with more of it; and to invest in the least controversial cycling infra in areas that may be more adverse to it.

That obviously slows down the cycling program a bit; though not necessarily a lot, if those resources can be redirected to areas of high cycling uptake.

It may mean that in a more suburban context, the focus is mainly on valley/hydro corridor trails, and on secondary streets where 'the sell' is actually traffic calming and streets safe for kids to cross unsupervised etc. as opposed to focusing on commuter cycling on major roads. Major roads with ultra-wide lanes, and/or ultra-wide boulevards that could gain infra w/o cutting traffic lanes would continue to be invested in on a priority basis. While more bike parking, and Bikeshare expansion would be used to goose the size of the cycling community in such areas.

****

There is a certain sense to the above, where you cluster cycling infra where the demand is or can more easily be fostered, such as college campuses. On the other hand, it may mean missing ideal opportunities during road reconstructions that may not come up again for decades, and would certainly mean we wouldn't serve all parts of the City equally well.

****

Letting air out of the balloon, by comparison, is a strategy where you admit up front before any meeting that there is no consultation on whether to deliver cycling infrastructure, only on the details. Statements to that effect now appear on many/all of the electronic surveys when the City does consultation.

But that info isn't always communicated up front, ahead of a public meeting. If you can tell some of the ranters up front, that no, we're not nixing the bike lanes, no matter what you say, some may stay away/not be bothered. I'm a believer in meaningful consultation, but I also believe in admitting when public opinion will carry very little sway on the 'big choice' (applies as much to building a new subway). Tell people what we're really here to discuss......would you like parking on the north side or the south side, would you prefer a bit more parking or a bit more streetscaping; where is the most sensible spot to put a commercial loading zone etc.

****

Avoidance........there is merit to moving some meetings online, and/or not automatically holding in-person meetings. Online allows for moderation, people can be muted or booted entirely from the chat.

While not having a meeting can be fair too, when we're honest about what there really is to discuss in a given case. Sometimes there is really is precious little input that would be productive even if everyone were well intended; and a online survey/design panels is more than reasonable.

****

In the end, I favour a mix of the above. It makes sense to me to build demand for cycle tracks before they go in, to the extent practical. You do this by spreading cycling infra from areas of strong cycling uptake, outwards. Clearly, Bloor West Village actually follows that logic to a great degree but has been more controversial anyway; so lets admit, clustering infra in cycling-friendly areas is not a panacea; but it may allow for more expansion, more quickly with less fuss, on average.

Equally, I think being forthright about what's not up for discussion; and what is; as well as moving more things online, makes all the sense in the world.

Perhaps the last thing I'll throw out, is that idea that public meetings might be better delivered, in some cases, with no presentation as such, but rather staff available to answer questions, at individual stations/displays.
This style of meeting has the benefit of generally nixing booing or heckling; though the odd rude person may be more in-your-face.

I'm not set on any single strategy; just in favour of whatever makes it easier to deliver a safer city with a more balanced transportation system sooner.
 
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The sheer vitriol of those entitled Etobians really makes me miss my regrettably stolen e-bike. I would relish the daily opportunity to effortlessly zip past all the fuming drivers stuck in gridlock along Bloor, forced to watch my booty short clad ass up in the air as a further spiteful, visual f*** you 🤣

Odd to me that you take the 'Coke' out of Etobicoke.

Sounds to me like that meeting had its share of coked-up people.
 
Today's Toronto Star


From the article:

Coun. Paul Ainslie (Ward 43, Scarborough-Guildwood) said he was "shocked" when he heard about Monday's fatality, especially that it involved two cars.
"We really need to move toward a comprehensive, protected bike network that's connected in Scarborough," he said.

Parthi Kandavel, councillor for Scarborough Southwest, the ward where Monday's collision happened, was unavailable for comment.

According to Ainslie, residents tend to fall into two camps: those who don’t want bike lanes because "they won’t be used in the winter" and those "chomping at the bit for it."

But when they're installed and maintained, "you'll be quite surprised at how well they get used," he said.
 
Today's Toronto Star


From the article:

Coun. Paul Ainslie (Ward 43, Scarborough-Guildwood) said he was "shocked" when he heard about Monday's fatality, especially that it involved two cars.
"We really need to move toward a comprehensive, protected bike network that's connected in Scarborough," he said.

Parthi Kandavel, councillor for Scarborough Southwest, the ward where Monday's collision happened, was unavailable for comment.

According to Ainslie, residents tend to fall into two camps: those who don’t want bike lanes because "they won’t be used in the winter" and those "chomping at the bit for it."

But when they're installed and maintained, "you'll be quite surprised at how well they get used," he said.

Ainslie and McKelvie in Scarborough are both inclined to support cycling and pedestrian infra, the former more than the latter.

The other Scarborough Councillors...........may be less enthusiastic.
 
I said I would come back to this...........

***

So, I think we need to put a few things out there.

1) We're never going to get rid of all the angry people. They are with us no matter the subject, often yelling about change of some type or another; but sometimes about the status quo.

2) What we may be able to do is achieve a bit less anger at the margins, and more balance in rooms. In the context of cycling, making a room more 50/50, or even with a clear majority in favour of cycling.

3) We may also be able to take some air out of the balloon in some cases, or just avoid certain meetings. (ie. address whatever issue w/online materials, rather than an in-person get together).

****

So how do we get greater balance? The obvious answer is to prioritize cycling in areas with more of it; and to invest in the least controversial cycling infra in areas that may be more adverse to it.

That obviously slows down the cycling program a bit; though not necessarily a lot, if those resources can be redirected to areas of high cycling uptake.

It may mean that in a more suburban context, the focus is mainly on valley/hydro corridor trails, and on secondary streets where 'the sell' is actually traffic calming and streets safe for kids to cross unsupervised etc. as opposed to focusing on commuter cycling on major roads. Major roads with ultra-wide lanes, and/or ultra-wide boulevards that could gain infra w/o cutting traffic lanes would continue to be invested in on a priority basis. While more bike parking, and Bikeshare expansion would be used to goose the size of the cycling community in such areas.

****

There is a certain sense to the above, where you cluster cycling infra where the demand is or can more easily be fostered, such as college campuses. On the other hand, it may mean missing ideal opportunities during road reconstructions that may not come up again for decades, and would certainly mean we wouldn't serve all parts of the City equally well.

****

Letting air out of the balloon, by comparison, is a strategy where you admit up front before any meeting that there is no consultation on whether to deliver cycling infrastructure, only on the details. Statements to that effect now appear on many/all of the electronic surveys when the City does consultation.

But that info isn't always communicated up front, ahead of a public meeting. If you can tell some of the ranters up front, that no, we're not nixing the bike lanes, no matter what you say, some may stay away/not be bothered. I'm a believer in meaningful consultation, but I also believe in admitting when public opinion will carry very little sway on the 'big choice' (applies as much to building a new subway). Tell people what we're really here to discuss......would you like parking on the north side or the south side, would you prefer a bit more parking or a bit more streetscaping; where is the most sensible spot to put a commercial loading zone etc.

****

Avoidance........there is merit to moving some meetings online, and/or not automatically holding in-person meetings. Online allows for moderation, people can be muted or booted entirely from the chat.

While not having a meeting can be fair too, when we're honest about what there really is to discuss in a given case. Sometimes there is really is precious little input that would be productive even if everyone were well intended; and a online survey/design panels is more than reasonable.

****

In the end, I favour a mix of the above. It makes sense to me to build demand for cycle tracks before they go in, to the extent practical. You do this by spreading cycling infra from areas of strong cycling uptake, outwards. Clearly, Bloor West Village actually follows that logic to a great degree but has been more controversial anyway; so lets admit, clustering infra in cycling-friendly areas is not a panacea; but it may allow for more expansion, more quickly with less fuss, on average.

Equally, I think being forthright about what's not up for discussion; and what is; as well as moving more things online, makes all the sense in the world.

Perhaps the last thing I'll throw out, is that idea that public meetings might be better delivered, in some cases, with no presentation as such, but rather staff available to answer questions, at individual stations/displays.
This style of meeting has the benefit of generally nixing booing or heckling; though the odd rude person may be more in-your-face.

I'm not set on any single strategy; just in favour of whatever makes it easier to deliver a safer city with a more balanced transportation system sooner.
Excellent idea, "take some air out of the balloon" by moving some of these meetings to an online format and still allow people to be heard but with more civilized moderation.

Forgive my ignorance, but I'm not familiar with how the process works at City Council. Can the councillor representing a ward where there is proposed new cycle infrastructure effectively block it or can they be outvoted by those who support?
 
Forgive my ignorance, but I'm not familiar with how the process works at City Council. Can the councillor representing a ward where there is proposed new cycle infrastructure effectively block it or can they be outvoted by those who support?

Nothing to forgive, we all learn by asking.

***

So, technically, any cycle track decision is a decision of Council as a whole, and the local councillor does not have a veto.

Any report recommending a cycle track will first flow through committee which can alter what's recommended before passing it on to Council; though Council can change it back if they like.

In practice, Councillors are typically highly deferential to other councillors in 'Ward Matters'.

That's because they would like the same courtesy in return.

However, cycle tracks have been approved before over the objection of an area Councillor; though, it doesn't happen all that often.

Put another way, a local councillor's support is extremely helpful; and their opposition is a royal pain; but if staff deem it a priority, and have the backing of the Mayor, it can be pushed through.
 
...Perhaps the last thing I'll throw out, is that idea that public meetings might be better delivered, in some cases, with no presentation as such, but rather staff available to answer questions, at individual stations/displays.This style of meeting has the benefit of generally nixing booing or heckling; though the odd rude person may be more in-your-face...
It's much harder to yell at someone who is sitting across the table. I've rarely seen hecklers at public meeting events that are divided into breakout groups or station-like information boards with involved parties able to answer questions 1on1.

It completely avoids this nonsense performative outrage that adds little to no value.

To add another style that I have enjoyed: stations where people leave comments (whether virtually or in person) so others can see the public commentary. Nobody (I hope) is going to write a comment all in caps and stick it to the project map or online forum. There is value in hearing what others have to say.
 
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This one will be, all going well, delivered in 2 phases, one next year (2025) and one more in 2026.

Its a mix of cycle tracks and MUP on the boulevards.
 
I live in the area and have been waiting for this one.

Sent the project coordinator and Councillor some feedback on what I'd like to see here:

-narrower car lanes
-curb extensions
-raised and illuminated pedestrian crossings
-fewer bus stops and traffic lights where they're excessive
-more bus queue jump lanes
-concrete bus pads
-smarter traffic lights to improve road capacity
-buried utility wires (stretch goal, I know)
 
Ainslie and McKelvie in Scarborough are both inclined to support cycling and pedestrian infra, the former more than the latter.

The other Scarborough Councillors...........may be less enthusiastic.

Follow up:


A touching article worth reading.

I found this noteworthy:

The memorial ride was organized by Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists and it began at Warden Hilltop Community Centre, where the group was initially joined by Coun. Parthi Kandavel who said he was shocked when he first learned the collision involved two cars.

The debate around how to make streets safer for cyclists without worsening congestion for drivers is "definitely a touch point and perhaps a contentious conversation within the ward," he said. "Our office is looking at strategies that are not binary: speed humps, reduced speed limits, photo radars."

Kandavel, who was elected councillor for Scarborough Southwest in December, is a cyclist, but has campaigned on opposing protected bike lanes on St. Clair Avenue and initiatives such as the Danforth-Kingston complete streets project that would see car lanes and infrastructure removed in favour of bike lanes.

On Sunday, Kandavel also said there are wide sidewalks, boulevards and green spaces that can be repurposed for cyclists, acknowledging that "Scarborough was sadly built for the car" and there is an "absence of good transit."


Even though he campaigned against protected bike lanes, it's nice to see that Parthi showed his respect by attending the memorial.
 

From the article:

The motion underscores that Scarborough residents have the longest TTC commutes, the least amount of biking infrastructure and the highest rates of pedestrian deaths in the city. By creating a linear park, residents would have better access to jobs, culture and entertainment, shopping, green space, and housing options built along the corridor, the councillors argue.
 

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