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General cycling issues (Is Toronto bike friendly?)

salsa

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In general, this project feels like a missed opportunity. With the exception of a potential parking-protected section on Douro between Shaw and Strachan, there's no physical protection proposed. The connectivity to existing infrastructure and the future railpath extension is not good and the changes to the Douro/Wellington/Strachan intersection don't have any improvements for northbound left turns from Strachan. That said, I'm glad they're proposing to ban right turns on red from Douro onto Strachan.
I'm hoping that when the Railpath extension finally arrives (which is still years away), maybe that's when Douro/Wellington will get the attention it deserves. It's hard to imagine that this link between the railpath and Garrison Crossing would still be neglected by then, but of course that might still happen anyway.
 

WislaHD

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If you didn't already, be sure and copy/paste this post to your the City Councillor. There may be some unallocated section 37 or 42 funds available to augment this project and do it properly.
There is so much 37 and 42 money just sitting around in that ward that it is silly that we half-ass any public realm project.
 

W. K. Lis

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From STREETSBLOG USA at this link:

Bike Group to Feds: Helmet Laws are Bad

Late last year, Streetsblog covered the stunning news that the National Transportation Safety Board had recommended state-by-state mandatory helmet laws — a practice that has been shown to reduce cycling and make cyclists less safe overall. The decision by the panel of political appointees over-ruled the NTSB staff’s own recommendation against helmet laws. Outrage has followed that political move, with the latest opposition offered by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals in a letter this week to the NTSB. We publish it in full:​

We thank NTSB for taking on bicycling safety at a time when fatalities are on the rise and support your recommendations on building better infrastructure and improving vehicle design to enhance conspicuity. However, we are writing today to express our grave concern with your recommendation on mandatory helmet laws and would like to request the opportunity to discuss the issue in person.​
The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals is a community of practitioners working to create more walkable, bikeable places. We foster peer knowledge sharing, advance technical expertise, and support the professional development of our members. As professionals in the field, we agree that improving the safety of people walking and biking is paramount. However, we believe mandatory helmet laws have the potential to not only reduce the number of people biking, but to actually make bicycling less safe rather than more safe.​
In the hearing on Nov. 5, NTSB staff stated that advocates didn’t agree with helmet laws because they could decrease the number of people bicycling. That is only half the story. Multiple studies across North America, Europe and Australia have shown that bicycling safety differs from other modes in one specific way. There is a safety in numbers effect to bicycling that not only reduces the rate of crashes and fatalities for people biking, but actually reduces the number of crashes, even as the number of bicycling trips increase.​
More people bicycling reduces the rate of bicycling fatalities
Conventional wisdom tells us that traffic fatalities increase with the number of miles traveled. While that proves to be true for motor vehicles, that is not true for bicycling and walking. A 2003 report, studying five different data sets across European countries and American cities found, “The likelihood that a given person walking or bicycling will be struck by a motorist varies inversely with the amount of walking or bicycling. This pattern is consistent across communities of varying size, from specific intersections to cities and countries, and across time periods.”​
The more people bike in a country generally the safer it is for cycling. This phenomenon is called “safety in numbers.” Graph: International Transport Forum via Amsterdamize (FOOTNOTE 2)​
Reduction of crashes and fatalities as bicycling increases
In U.S. cities, the increase in bicycling trips has not only led to a reduction in crash and fatality rates, but even as the number of miles bicycled increased, actual numbers of crashes and fatalities have decreased. A 2008 study in New York City found that in 1998, the city had an average daily ridership of 80,000 people and over 9,000 bicycle crashes and fatalities combined. In 2008, the city had an average daily ridership of 180,000 bicyclists, but had less than 3,000 bicycle crashes and fatalities.​
The same trend has been found in Minneapolis, Boulder, California cities, and in cities that have introduced bikeshare.​
Bikeshare, increased bicycling and the effect on head injuries
In this study of bicycle injuries and head injuries, the authors went into the study with the assumption that bikeshare would reduce helmet use, and therefore increase head injuries.​
The actual results compared bicycle crash injuries and head injuries in bike share cities versuscontrol cities and found that in cities that adopted bikeshare systems:​
  • Bicycle trips increased at a faster rate
    • Crashes decreased at a faster rate
    • Crashes with head injuries decreased at a faster rate
    • Crashes with severe head injuries decreased at a faster rate
There were no fatalities in the bikeshare cities during these three years. In fact, there were no bikeshare fatalities in the U.S. for the first seven years of it being introduced in the country.​
The effect of mandatory helmet laws on head injury rates among bicyclists, and on bicycling rates
While an individual choosing to wear a bicycle helmet can increase safety for that individual, the societal effect of mandatory helmet laws can be expected to reduce safety overall. A 2006 study of head injuries of bicyclists in jurisdictions after enforcement of helmet laws showed no noticeable drop in head injuries, but did show drops in bicycling of between 20 and 44 percent.​
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, studied cities in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.​
The effect of bicycle helmet laws reducing bicycling rates not only makes bicycling less safe; it has long-term impact on the health of those communities. Bikeshare has been a boon to bicycling in cities across this country and the world. However, in cities with mandatory bicycle helmet laws such as Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia and Seattle, Washington, bikeshare systems struggle to gain traction.​
A 2012 paper in the journal Risk Analysis weighed the reduction of head injuries due to mandatory helmet laws against the increased morbidity due to foregone exercise from reduced cycling. The study concluded that mandatory helmet laws “have a net negative health impact.”​
Discriminatory enforcement of mandatory bike helmet laws
Mandatory helmet laws for minors are relatively common across the U.S., which demonstrates a serious concern for inequitable enforcement. While not intentional, the consequences of mandatory bike helmet laws are likely to cause serious concern for minority and low-income populations. Here are just a few examples: After bike helmets were made mandatory in Austin, Texas, 92 percent of tickets were issued to African-American and Latino children. Tampa, Fla. was in the news where police were potentially violating civil rights laws while enforcing bicycling laws, including helmet laws.​
Discriminatory practices that target low income and people of color communities further discourage bicycling, including in low income communities where bicycling can often be a low-cost transportation option in areas where transit isn’t readily available or easily accessible.​
Conclusion
As an association of practitioners in a field that promotes and encourages safe bicycling, APBP wants to stress the importance of increasing the number of people of bicycling to ensuring bicycling is safe. Bike helmet laws are not the same as mandatory seat belt or motorcycle helmet laws. In contrast to these laws, there is clear evidence that the more people bicycling in a community, the safer bicycling becomes for everyone, and there is evidence that mandatory helmet laws can reduce bicycling rates, effecting the “safety in numbers’ argument.​
Mandatory helmet laws also make it harder for bikeshare, a service that increases bicycling rates and thus bicycling safety, to be successful.​
 

W. K. Lis

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New Study Says Bicycles Are the Future of Urban Transportation

Deloitte says that technological innovations—like e-bikes—will spur bicycling’s growth around the world.

From link.

A recent study by Deloitte, one of the largest consulting firms in the world, has highlighted the important role that bicycles will play in the coming years in easing traffic congestion and improving urban air quality and public health, especially in cities as they become more heavily populated.

Overall, Deloitte is predicting that the number of people who bike to work will double in many major cities around the world by 2022.
The effects of so many more bicycles on the road, and consequently less vehicles, could be substantial and bring about societal changes like less vehicular traffic, which would greatly improve congestion and air quality. More people biking and less pollution is also good news for public health, too.
This becomes even more crucial when you consider future population growth, especially in cities whose transportation systems are already being pushed to their limits. The study says that an additional 2.5 billion people will live in cities by 2050. To put that into perspective, the UN reported that 1.7 billion people were living in cities in 2018.

Deloitte also believes that this dramatic growth in biking to work is being largely spurred by technological innovations across the industry, which increasingly make bicycling to work easier and more attractive to many.

“Underlying this growth in bike-riding is an array of diverse technological innovations, including predictive analytics, product and application design, wireless connectivity, digital urban planning tools, 3D-printed parts, and electrification,” the study states.
It’s impossible to ignore the role that e-bikes play here. Despite the controversy they’ve generated—like the authenticity of e-bikes as real bikes and safety concerns over higher speeds—e-bikes are here to stay. And, as the study points out, they aren’t exactly a new concept, either; the first patent for an electric bicycle was created in 1895.
Simply put, e-bikes make bike commuting easier and enable more people to do so. Other reports confirm that e-bikes are increasingly becoming better alternatives to vehicles, especially for urban transportation in the United States. According to Deloitte, the number of e-bikes in the world is expected to increase between 2019 and 2023 from 200 million to 300 million. (This figure includes e-bikes owned by companies and bike shares.)
Other technological improvements are facilitating more people to get on bikes, too: a wider variety of smartphone apps now help cyclists plan and determine safer riding routes, 3D printing is making better helmets, bike shares are becoming commonplace across cities, and urban planners have more data now than ever for developing safer, bicycle-friendly streets.

According to the report, the rise of cycling was the second biggest innovation. Other items on the list included the continued growth of 5G, the podcasting boom, more advanced robotics.
 

Northern Light

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*crosspost from the Toronto Tree Thread, as its obviously pertinent here as well*

They Mayor today talking up 'The Loop Trail' via Twitter, as part of the Ravine Strategy push at Executive later this week.

Of note, unlike in the report, we get an image.

1579560472720.png


So, essentially, this is fixing the gaps in the Humber Trail, linking that to the Finch Hydro Corridor which gets 'Meadoway' treatment; then having the corridor run uninterrupted to the East Don Trail, then south
where the missing links are filled in to connect it to the Lower Don Trail with both sides tied together by the Martin Goodman Trail.

The BlogTO article suggests 15km of missing trail to be built to arrive at 81km.

That doesn't sound far wrong.

But of interest to me, if one consults the TRCA's trail strategy, is the link from Lawrence to just north of York Mills would come via the private Donalda Golf Course.......

I'd be interested to know if that conversation has been had yet....

Alternatively, its possible to create that link by following the Bala Sub, however, given an active railway corridor space would be very tight in spots.

Also not clear is how to address the lower Humber gap (south of Bloor), which unless one is cheating with an on-street route will mean an extensive network of boardwalks. (trail over water) and/or expropriating some backyards and building on steep slopes.

BlogTo article here:

 

W. K. Lis

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One problem we have with design of the trails seems to be that they are designed by non-cyclists. As a cyclist, I would like to avoid hills, especially the uphills. The designers don't consider that hills become a barrier for the elderly, kids or novice, or physical challenged (AKA out-of-shape).
 

Johnny Au

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One problem we have with design of the trails seems to be that they are designed by non-cyclists. As a cyclist, I would like to avoid hills, especially the uphills. The designers don't consider that hills become a barrier for the elderly, kids or novice, or physical challenged (AKA out-of-shape).
I too cycle on a recreational basis. It would be better if the trails were as level as possible and slopes should be gentle.
 

Northern Light

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One problem we have with design of the trails seems to be that they are designed by non-cyclists. As a cyclist, I would like to avoid hills, especially the uphills. The designers don't consider that hills become a barrier for the elderly, kids or novice, or physical challenged (AKA out-of-shape).
Be assured this is in fact taken into account; much more so than some in the environmental community would like.

There is a guideline, based on the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) to limit hills wherever possible to a 5% gradient or less, as well as ensuring non-stair access points wherever practical.

This, however, has to be balanced in the valley areas to avoid trampling endangered species, or clear-cutting forest.

When trails are laid out conceptually, they are then ground-truthed including gradients and examining ecological issues, cultural issues (first nations archeological site), and practicality/expense.

Some sensitive areas have been degraded in the recent past to make way for new trails.

This is then typically off-set by 'compensation' but is rarely equal to what is damaged.

Completely flat trails through natural valleys is not realistic.

That said, many of these trails are remarkable flat, the uphills as it were are largely limited to access points, which are determined by the valley walls.
 

robmausser

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One problem we have with design of the trails seems to be that they are designed by non-cyclists. As a cyclist, I would like to avoid hills, especially the uphills. The designers don't consider that hills become a barrier for the elderly, kids or novice, or physical challenged (AKA out-of-shape).
They need to stop the ban of e-bikes on the trails. Then they become more accessible.

Toronto is a hilly city. Gonna have a hard time avoiding hills.
 

robmausser

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*crosspost from the Toronto Tree Thread, as its obviously pertinent here as well*

They Mayor today talking up 'The Loop Trail' via Twitter, as part of the Ravine Strategy push at Executive later this week.

Of note, unlike in the report, we get an image.

1579560472720.png


So, essentially, this is fixing the gaps in the Humber Trail, linking that to the Finch Hydro Corridor which gets 'Meadoway' treatment; then having the corridor run uninterrupted to the East Don Trail, then south
where the missing links are filled in to connect it to the Lower Don Trail with both sides tied together by the Martin Goodman Trail.

The BlogTO article suggests 15km of missing trail to be built to arrive at 81km.

That doesn't sound far wrong.

But of interest to me, if one consults the TRCA's trail strategy, is the link from Lawrence to just north of York Mills would come via the private Donalda Golf Course.......

I'd be interested to know if that conversation has been had yet....

Alternatively, its possible to create that link by following the Bala Sub, however, given an active railway corridor space would be very tight in spots.

Also not clear is how to address the lower Humber gap (south of Bloor), which unless one is cheating with an on-street route will mean an extensive network of boardwalks. (trail over water) and/or expropriating some backyards and building on steep slopes.

BlogTo article here:

Yes, although they say

The best part? More than 80 per cent of the trail already exists, so filling in the gaps and adding an extra 15 km wouldn't be an untenable task to tackle.
Theres a reason that 15km isnt done. Things like Highway 400, the Richmond Hill GO Line, Golf courses, rivers etc exist as barriers in thost 15km.

Those 15km will cost as much or more than the existing 75km of trails to complete. Thats why they arent done.
 

Northern Light

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Yes, although they say



Theres a reason that 15km isnt done. Things like Highway 400, the Richmond Hill GO Line, Golf courses, rivers etc exist as barriers in thost 15km.

Those 15km will cost as much or more than the existing 75km of trails to complete. Thats why they arent done.

I did mention that in my post.
 

robmausser

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Another thing to note is that ontop of 75% of the trail already existing, the majority of the "connections" are already under construction or being planned.

As per the 2012 and 2016 Toronto Trails expansion approval.

So id say more like 5% needs to be actually planned from scratch.

However the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and the more attention a government project gets the better.

2012 bikeway.png

2016 bikeways plan.png
 

CityStay

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Impressive progress!

"No amount of sugar coating can hide the fact 2019 was a dismal year for bike lane installations. That year saw only three kilometres of on-street cycling infrastructure installed; a number considered dismal even by the standards of the three prior years. This brings the four year total to 30.5 kilometres or still less than 10% of the 335 kilometres called for in the 2016 Cycling Network Plan."

 

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