News   May 29, 2020
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General cycling issues (Is Toronto bike friendly?)

W. K. Lis

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Chicago Has a New Way to Stop Drivers Who Misuse Bus and Bike Lanes
The next time a Windy City parking aide sees a driver idling in the BRT lane, they'll have a new tool to make the scofflaw pay.

From link.

It’s great that the city of Chicago has been building more bike and bus lanes in recent years, but the fact that motorists often drive, stand, and park in them with impunity makes them a lot less useful. And with the rise of ride-hail and the on-demand economy, it’s becoming increasingly common for Uber, Lyft, and delivery drivers to illegally use the lanes for picking up and dropping off passengers and packages. So the city’s January announcement that traffic aides would ticket motorists in the new bus lanes on Western and Chicago avenues during rush hours was an encouraging development.

Today there was more good news, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced an ordinance that would allow parking enforcement aides to photograph vehicles parked or standing in bus and bike lanes and mail a ticket to the owner, even if the scofflaw drives off before there’s a chance to give them the ticket in person. As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman, Lightfoot is pitching the legislation as a strategy to help relieve downtown congestion, speed buses, and stop transit ridership bleeding. That’s exactly what this initiative would do, although surely city officials won’t mind getting the additional ticket revenue. (While parking meter income generally goes to Chicago’s hated parking concessionaire, the city keeps parking violation fines.)

This new initiative might raise concerns that it could contribute to the problem of Chicago traffic tickets disproportionately impacting lower-income residents. According to WBEZ/ProPublica investigations, in the past, citations, late fees, and driver’s license suspensions have trapped many poor and working-class Chicagoans of color in a debt spiral that has led to job loss and bankruptcy.

However, last month Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker, with Lightfoot’s support, signed a law banning license suspensions for non-moving violations and reinstating 55,000 licenses suspended for parking violations. Chicago City Council has also passed legislation to reduce driver fines and expand payment plans for parking infractions. Those changes will help mitigate any negative equity impacts of the additional bus and bike lane enforcement. Income-based fines and diversion programs, such as the option of attending traffic school in lieu of paying a fee, would further improve equity.

An illegally parked SUV blocks the Kinzie Street protected bike lane. Photo: Steven Vance

According to the Sun-Times, as it stands a driver can avoid the $60-to-$150 fine for parking in a bus or bike lane by driving off while the ticket is being written. The new ordinance would allow aides to photograph the violation and mail the citation and photo evidence to the license holder within 30 days and no later than 90 days after the secretary of state’s office provides the identity of the vehicle owner to the city. That window expands to 210 days for leased vehicles.

“There’s so much of this [bus and bike lane blockage] in the central business district area,” city comptroller Reshma Soni told Spielman. “We’re trying to do whatever we can to curb congestion. And it’s a safety issue as well. People are opening doors in bike lanes. Also in bus lanes. Accidents are happening. We’re trying to rectify that.” She added that keeping bus lanes clear will help buses stay on schedule and encourage more transit use.

“We have a safety issue,” Soni told the Sun-Times. “We have a congestion issue. We can’t make it easy for people to just run away from this and commit the same offense over and over again. People are not inclined to come downtown if you have all of these congestion issues. We’re hoping this will curb some of that.”

Kudos to the mayor for taking this step to help keep people on bike safer, and make bus travel more efficient and appealing. Assuming the ordinance passes the full City Council, the next step is for Lightfoot to follow through on her campaign promise to “work with state legislators to permit fair camera enforcement of bus lanes,” as cities like New York have been doing for years.
 

Admiral Beez

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Chicago Has a New Way to Stop Drivers Who Misuse Bus and Bike Lanes
The next time a Windy City parking aide sees a driver idling in the BRT lane, they'll have a new tool to make the scofflaw pay.

From link.




An illegally parked SUV blocks the Kinzie Street protected bike lane. Photo: Steven Vance
It's a good start, but this model of enforcement still requires the illegal car to be found by Toronto parking enforcement officers, as regular TPS officers don't care about parking violations (or much else it seems).

What we need to address illegal parking in this city is a deputized citizenry - where anyone can take a pic of the illegal car (with date and GPS location stamp), and it then goes to the city for review, and if deemed legit, a ticket is mailed. This sounds like an expensive process, so make the tickets cover the cost. It's ridiculous that in a city where a TTC fare evader pays a $400 fine, an illegal parker who may be blocking cyclists, TTC or rush hour traffic gets a $30 ticket.
 

vic

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Admiral Beez

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TPS already mail tickets for drivers that leave before they can be served directly. But yeah, as @Admiral Beez says, they still need to be found by parking enforcement officers....

Here are a few examples of them mailing tickets:



Nice. I follow PEO Urquhart on Twitter and love watching her catch the scofflaws.

What we need is a system that deputizes the citizenry, like this https://www.petrolprices.com/news/new-app-to-help-clear-up-illegally-parked-cars/

eFine rolls out in the UK by end of Feb http://alesaservices.com/
 
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Northern Light

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Good news! Some solid progress towards complete streets and bike lanes along Eglinton; also the Yonge/St Clair BIA is supportive of bike lanes on Yonge and is integrating them into their streetscape plans.


1582917432896.png


Rendering above is Eglinton

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Rendering of Yonge NB at St. Clair
 

WislaHD

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Good news! Some solid progress towards complete streets and bike lanes along Eglinton; also the Yonge/St Clair BIA is supportive of bike lanes on Yonge and is integrating them into their streetscape plans.
Aside from the re-confirmation of support from various stakeholder groups, is there any update to the plans? Or are they still all sitting unfunded? :(
 

Northern Light

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Aside from the re-confirmation of support from various stakeholder groups, is there any update to the plans? Or are they still all sitting unfunded? :(
My impression is that:

a)Sections of Eglinton receiving total reconstruction/resurfacing, including all of Laird to Kennedy are fully funded for cycling infrastructure, as are any sections right next to new Stations, where the road has been cut and covered.

b)I believe on the balance (Eglinton west of Laird, between stations) that design work is now funded, but construction, I don't think so, will need to reconfirm. But I think there is increasing confidence said funds will be forthcoming.

c) Yonge-St Clair work may be done via BIA, Resurfacing or other works, funding there is not tied to the Eglinton project at all.
 

ADRM

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My impression is that:

a)Sections of Eglinton receiving total reconstruction/resurfacing, including all of Laird to Kennedy are fully funded for cycling infrastructure, as are any sections right next to new Stations, where the road has been cut and covered.

b)I believe on the balance (Eglinton west of Laird, between stations) that design work is now funded, but construction, I don't think so, will need to reconfirm. But I think there is increasing confidence said funds will be forthcoming.

c) Yonge-St Clair work may be done via BIA, Resurfacing or other works, funding there is not tied to the Eglinton project at all.
I'm not sure if previous Council motions would allow for the implementation of complete streets on Eglinton, but Yonge would certainly have to go to (and survive through) both committee and full Council votes.
 

mickael

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I realised something about Davenport, and the bike lanes along it. A very sizeable chunk of the parking spaces are unusable because they block driveways, meaning there's a huge chunk of road space dedicated to even less than a parked car. I wonder who'd design the road to include so much dead space, but Davenport could be a great bike route downtown, since it's one of the few angled-ish roads.
Screen Shot 2020-05-19 at 7.25.38 PM.png
 

W. K. Lis

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Keep this for reference purposes...

Uber-owned SoBi to stop running popular bicycle ride-sharing service in Hamilton

From link.

Uber-owned SoBi Hamilton will stop running the popular bike-share service in June because of COVID-19.

The surprise announcement comes after council recently renewed the operating contract and could leave 26,000 local SoBi bicycle users without a rental ride just weeks from now.

The city learned of the ride-hailing giant’s unilateral plan to “shut down” SoBi Hamilton operations Friday. Planning general manager Jason Thorne told councillors in a weekend memo the city plans to contact SoBi and Uber “seeking clarification on their position and reminding them of their contractual obligations to the city.”

In a letter from Social Bicycles, general manager Bill Knapp told the city Uber has off-loaded many of its foot-powered services to another company, Lime. And thanks to COVID-19, “we have made the very difficult decision to shut down all remaining bike and scooter operations,” he said, including in Hamilton.
A spokesperson for Uber, which recently announced 3,700 layoffs worldwide due to pandemic business losses, said via email the company is “disappointed to be sharing this news and are engaging with (Hamilton) officials to discuss transition.”

The decision was a “surprise” to the city because council recently approved a contract extension through February 2021, said transportation planning director Brian Hollingworth. He noted even during the first months of the pandemic, another 300 riders signed up for SoBi memberships.

“It’s just the worst timing,” said downtown Coun. Jason Farr, who noted the city is working on a pandemic “mobility plan” to help residents get around safely as the city emerges from COVID-19 lockdown.

“I would expect demand is going to increase for what is already a popular, well-used (bike-share) service,” he said.

An update going to council Wednesday suggests it could cost $700,000 a year to run the service or pay a different operator. Council is already struggling with a pandemic deficit that could balloon to $60 million by the end of July.
The bike share program started in 2015 using a Metrolinx grant to allow the city to buy the distinctive blue bikes and rental hubs set up through the lower city.

The city owns the bike infrastructure, but a Social Bicycles subcontractor runs the system — collecting rental and membership fees but also paying staff to move and repair the 900 bikes, respond to customers and update software. The report to council acknowledges the system “does not generate net profits.”

The bike-share company rebranded as Jump in 2018, just months before being purchased by Uber. SoBi also parted ways last year with the local nonprofit originally subcontracted to run the system.
ome founders of the original group, Hamilton Bike Share, are still involved with efforts to provide affordable SoBi passes to low-income residents via the cycling equity initiative everyonerides.org.
Until the latest crisis, the city had been studying expanding bike share to the east end and onto the Mountain.

News that the popular program is in jeopardy spurred outrage and calls for a city takeover.

In response to questions at a COVID-19 news conference, Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he believes “we’re going to find a way” to keep bike share alive. Online, Coun. Nrinder Nann called on Uber to “honour your contract,” while Environment Hamilton suggested the bike-share program should be publicly run.
 

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