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Cycling infrastructure (Separated bike lanes)

The harbord lanes are not empty, that is for sure. Not sure if it is as busy as before - but if many people have switched over - there is still merit that Bloor is clearly the preferred route for many bikes - which increases potential ridership draw.
 
We'll see the results from the study. Part of the study asks if these cyclists are new or were they already on Dupont or Harbord. Any antidotal evidence on the Harbord bike lanes?

It will also be important to see what happens in cold weather and in rain as part of this study. If it is not used in either it means we have to have two modes of transportation available...which is not very economical. (if they use the subway in the winter than we have to have capacity on the subway (buying new Rocket trains AND have bike lanes vs just having the subway cars consistently throughout the year)

That winter mode choice point is such a red herring.

1) Data from cities with winters similar or worse to ours shows that people continue to bike in the winter. There was literally a handful of days last winter where there was sufficient snowcover to make it too difficult for most to bike in Toronto.
2) There's no solid set of reasons to rip out bike safety infrastructure just because there's also a subway there. What would they possibly be? What is being sacrificed along Bloor by having the bike lanes? The reduction in parking is a non-issue because there is a slew of perpetually high-vacancy Green P lots along this stretch of Bloor. We'll see what the data says, but it's unlikely the bike lanes will have significantly, negatively affected motorist travel times because no active lanes were sacrificed with this design (it was a lane of parking that was replaced). So why on earth would we rip them out even if we have a historically bad winter? What objectively good reason is there to do so?
 
That winter mode choice point is such a red herring.

1) Data from cities with winters similar or worse to ours shows that people continue to bike in the winter. There was literally a handful of days last winter where there was sufficient snowcover to make it too difficult for most to bike in Toronto.
2) There's no solid set of reasons to rip out bike safety infrastructure just because there's also a subway there. What would they possibly be? What is being sacrificed along Bloor by having the bike lanes? The reduction in parking is a non-issue because there is a slew of perpetually high-vacancy Green P lots along this stretch of Bloor. We'll see what the data says, but it's unlikely the bike lanes will have significantly, negatively affected motorist travel times because no active lanes were sacrificed with this design (it was a lane of parking that was replaced). So why on earth would we rip them out even if we have a historically bad winter? What objectively good reason is there to do so?

During rush hour (i.e. peak time) there were 4 lanes of traffic. One used exclusively by motorists and one shared with cyclists. Now there are 4 lanes of traffic...one for motorists and one for cyclists. The key analysis is rush hour...not offpeak.

So they are impacting traffic flows when it mattered. We only have a limited amount of road allowance space in the city. The study the city is doing is to make sure that it is used the most efficient. If I look at Harbord to Dupont how do I maximize the amount of usage (whether it is transit, cycle, walk or cars)?

At the inception the cycle groups said don't use one month nor one day as they expected an increase in usage over time. That's what the report will include...the usage on all streets for a long period of time.

But if the cycle lanes are only used by fair weather bikers what does that mean? They will drive or use transit in crappy weather. So then we don't have an efficient use of space on roads...or we have to double up on the cost by having 2 modes ready for these fair weather cyclists.

And this is what the study for. Hard numbers including trending over time to see how to maximize the use of public assets.
 
The harbord lanes are not empty, that is for sure. Not sure if it is as busy as before - but if many people have switched over - there is still merit that Bloor is clearly the preferred route for many bikes - which increases potential ridership draw.
From my observations (I bike on Palmerston>Harbord>Shaw daily, and reverse on the way back), the majority of bike traffic coming into the Bloor bike lanes from the west are already on Bloor by the time the hit Shaw (this number has increased significantly) and southbound via Shaw traffic has definitely increased, but not too huge of an increase of Shaw>Bloor lanes. I believe most of the people taking Shaw are going down to Dundas or beyond.
 
During rush hour (i.e. peak time) there were 4 lanes of traffic. One used exclusively by motorists and one shared with cyclists. Now there are 4 lanes of traffic...one for motorists and one for cyclists. The key analysis is rush hour...not offpeak.

So they are impacting traffic flows when it mattered. We only have a limited amount of road allowance space in the city. The study the city is doing is to make sure that it is used the most efficient. If I look at Harbord to Dupont how do I maximize the amount of usage (whether it is transit, cycle, walk or cars)?

At the inception the cycle groups said don't use one month nor one day as they expected an increase in usage over time. That's what the report will include...the usage on all streets for a long period of time.

But if the cycle lanes are only used by fair weather bikers what does that mean? They will drive or use transit in crappy weather. So then we don't have an efficient use of space on roads...or we have to double up on the cost by having 2 modes ready for these fair weather cyclists.

And this is what the study for. Hard numbers including trending over time to see how to maximize the use of public assets.

Dedicating the valuable road space you mentioned to single occupant automobiles is absolutely the least efficient usage. And, if these numbers hold, we're talking about cyclists representing nearly 40% of total users.

And to the rush hour point, this stretch of Bloor was full of illegally parked cars every rush hour before the pilot; it's not as if this was a beautiful, unencumbered four lanes of vehicular travel. What's more, if we were having a proper discussion about how to reduce vehicular travel time across this stretch, we'd be looking at both left and right turn restrictions - those have way more impact on vehicular travel times than bike lanes do. And that's also to say nothing of the fact that adding bike lanes has, in many places, sped up vehicular traffic - that's unsurprising, given that cyclists are fully within their right to take the entire lane.

What's troubling, though of course predictable given our current crop of councillors, is that cyclist safety isn't a metric that's being considered among the "hard data." It's simply beyond refutation to suggest that well designed, protected bike lanes dramatically increase safety for cyclists. And there's a huge problem in Toronto with regard to cyclist safety, which can be expected only to worsen given that cycling continues to increase in popularity, the population of downtown continues to grow, and cycle infrastructure in the city continues to exist in its sorry state.

Quite simply, what's a life, or a life changed worth? And how do you balance that against some of the other data we'll see come out of the pilot? Council is set to completely ignore that question, and that's horrific. Though not safety-related, we saw a similar dynamic of poorly weighted priorities play itself out with the Gardiner East decision, where the option pursued - which was hundreds of millions of dollars more expensive than the next alternative - was done so because it saved a few thousand people a few minutes off of their daily commutes.
 
The harbord lanes are not empty, that is for sure. Not sure if it is as busy as before - but if many people have switched over - there is still merit that Bloor is clearly the preferred route for many bikes - which increases potential ridership draw.
It's a little tricky to look at Harbord numbers right now as College is under construction and probably lots of riders from that have shifted to Harbord or Dundas.

From my observations (I bike on Palmerston>Harbord>Shaw daily, and reverse on the way back), the majority of bike traffic coming into the Bloor bike lanes from the west are already on Bloor by the time the hit Shaw (this number has increased significantly) and southbound via Shaw traffic has definitely increased, but not too huge of an increase of Shaw>Bloor lanes. I believe most of the people taking Shaw are going down to Dundas or beyond.
Yeah, the couple times I've taken Bloor, I've actually just carried on past the end of the lane to get to my destination. One thought on Shaw though...they really need to add additional barriers to automobile through traffic. Those drivers should be on Ossington or some other road. Additional forced turns, particularly at College and Dundas would reduce the numbers of cars using it to drive from Bloor to Queen.

Dedicating the valuable road space you mentioned to single occupant automobiles is absolutely the least efficient usage. And, if these numbers hold, we're talking about cyclists representing nearly 40% of total users.
I would argue parked cars are even less efficient with zero occupants :D
 
The NYC buffered parking model is better design, mostly because of the width of the buffer; in most stretches using the design as in the picture above (Columbus Ave. was one of the first and most controversial and has a similar setup), the buffer zone is sufficiently wide such that even the biggest cars don't present a dooring threat - that's a key differentiator between these and the Bloor pilot.

On Bloor, in most stretches, there's not room to create a similarly-sized buffer zone, so full, physical protection is needed. There are loads of different designs that can facilitate that, none of which have ever been used in Toronto. Quite simply, our bollards suck big-time, and the Sherbourne and Roncesvalles curbs aren't significant enough to prevent cars (and especially trucks) from mounting them (to say nothing of the awful bus stop design standards).

Toronto has precisely zero non-recreational bike lanes that pass good design standards for cyclist safety.
I look at that NYC pic with envy. It may not be perfect, but someone's been doing so analytical thinking and applying it to make the best of the design's inherent limits.
No barriers in that pic. What they do that's smart though is putting the bike lanes on the left side of the one-way road so the bikes are more visible to drivers when they're opening doors or turning left.
Yeah, I was just studying that pic to try and figure out why it offers such a better sense of security (psychology is a *huge* part of safety), and MD is right about the extensive use of green marking, but there's something else that jumps off the page, and it addresses ADRM's and some of we others' point on the useless bollards. They don't appear to have them along the length, just at the ends of the parking allocations...and yet the cars parked are all in the intended space! Not to mention the massive buffer space...

I get the distinct impression that Toronto Roads (and Council et al) have tried to do the US best practice (by their Dep't of Transport equiv) without adequate space to do it in. Riding the Bloor lanes is like riding a tightrope, without a safety net, and having things thrown at you while doing it.

I'm going to try and find more pictures of that stretch for discussion.
 
And to the rush hour point, this stretch of Bloor was full of illegally parked cars every rush hour before the pilot; it's not as if this was a beautiful, unencumbered four lanes of vehicular travel.
Even when legally parked, it meant that "Bloor is a four lane road" was a constant lie. It was only ever a two lane *thoroughfare* with parking cars impeding that flow, both in and out, and dangerously so in many cases.
What's troubling, though of course predictable given our current crop of councillors, is that cyclist safety isn't a metric that's being considered among the "hard data."
Yeah, I've read Tory's comments (and the official stance of Council) a few times, and oddly (or not) there's absolutely no mention of cyclists' safety. Do none of these people have kids? It's bizarre to the point of making its own point. It's all about *anything but cyclists*.
I would argue parked cars are even less efficient with zero occupants
Yup, I'm now convinced (and I opposed this initially) that all parking on Bloor must go! *Even if there are no bike lanes!* The elimination of parking would render Bloor as safe and flowing as the section a major block each side of Yonge. I stood at Bay and Bloor last week for half an hour, just to watch the flow. There's no parking there, wider sidewalks, turning bays cut into those wider sidewalks, and turning restrictions posted next to the traffic lights. Minimal restrictions, but ones that guarantee unimpeded flow. And as odd as it sounds, that's when it's safest (in a relative sense) for cyclists sharing the lanes, with an attendant speed reduction. For what it's worth, they do mark sharrows through that stretch. The sense of "cycling a tightrope" disappears, but it takes an intelligent *aware* cyclist to mingle with traffic safely. You must watch mirrors, head movements, get *eye contact* wherever possible. You've got to be able to do the dance, something few cyclists seem capable of. When you dance, you anticipate others' next moves. The irony of that is that in many cycle lanes, you have to deal with unobservant cyclists instead of unobservant motorists.

I don't write that to bitch, I write that to point out that cycle lanes, to be effective, must be idiot-proof to be safe and effective. The Dutch and Danes figured that out generations ago. Rather than try and 'tame' cyclists, they cater for their peccadilloes, and keep them separated from vehicles whenever possible.
 
The city is finally fixing the Adelaide connection on the west side of Bathurst (currently only navigable by riding illegally on the sidewalk or against traffic in the bike lane):
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Staff report (attachment 4 has the PDF of the design)
 

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The city is finally fixing the Adelaide connection on the west side of Bathurst (currently only navigable by riding illegally on the sidewalk or against traffic in the bike lane):
Had to delete a post, I thought on first glance it was the incredibly problematic Richmond and Bathurst intersection, where hopefully improvements will happen next:
upload_2016-9-20_11-47-8.png

The only solution for rush-hour mayhem at this corner, at least without physically separated lanes, is traffic lights to gate cyclists and motorists crossing the marked sharrow lane crossover. The design, as is, is a perfect recipe for a cyclist (who also have responsibilities not being met by many) getting hit as they are not visible to vehicles by the classic design fault addressed by the Dutch and Danes of being in a motorists' blind spot, and that's due to the angle of incidence being so low. There's various other options, but they also apply to a number of other very dangerous intersections in Toronto, including the Bloor lanes.
 

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The city is finally fixing the Adelaide connection on the west side of Bathurst (currently only navigable by riding illegally on the sidewalk or against traffic in the bike lane):
Excellent! I remember having a conversation with some bike police during a Cycle Toronto event, and I asked how one was supposed to approach this intersection and he had no idea either. Great to see the initiative to improve the choke points.
 
I bike both Harbord and Bloor. Harbord is a very busy bike corridor, especially during rush hour. I think the Bloor lanes are also being used a lot. Seems like they are both justified, and probably should be expanded. Biking in downtown Toronto is really experiencing a renaissance.

The only problem I've had with the Bloor bike lanes so far are pedestrians stepping off the sidewalk not seeing me coming. Many people just don't see cyclists, and often pedestrians are least aware as they step off the curb to cross the street.

BTW, I noticed that strips have been installed along the Bloor bike lanes (between Bathurst and Spadina) to count bike traffic.
 
Excellent! I remember having a conversation with some bike police during a Cycle Toronto event, and I asked how one was supposed to approach this intersection and he had no idea either. Great to see the initiative to improve the choke points.
doing the cut from Adelaide to Adelaide was technically illegal as Adelaide exiting onto Bathurst is southbound only. The only way you could legally do it is become a pedestrian by getting off your bike, walking the bike over to the ped crossing in front of the church, walk across Bathurst on a green, and remount your bike.
 
Only in Toronto would we spend money on bike infrastructure for a specific intersection while completely ignoring any semblance of network surrounding it.
 

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