News   Feb 20, 2024
 52     0 
News   Feb 20, 2024
 1.6K     2 
News   Feb 20, 2024
 582     0 

General cycling issues (Is Toronto bike friendly?)

🤣 Loved that descriptor..........

If I didn't know what you were talking about; I'd be thinking Stone Henge, or the Pyramids .......

Lol Well, the north side was the old Kingsway Park business district, which was originally done to a planned design by Home Smith. In its day it was considered "leading edge" as a shopping district, copying new "shopping center" concepts emerging in the US.

I am actually worried about how it will be gentrified as development arrives on Bloor - several new developments in progress. The concern is that the small businesses will be driven out by higher rents and new buildings that lack ground floor retail altogether. Bloor may lose what vitality it has.

- Paul
 
That area around Islington actually has some really good new(ish) Japanese, Korean, Thai, etc. eateries. They've all arrived in the last 10 years. Prior to that it was all crappy pubs and one good fish and chips place - not exactly much vitality.
 
So I've been told that I'm a selfish asshole for insisting on commuting as a cyclist and thus along with all other cyclists providing the city with the impetus to "destroy" our road infrastructure by adding bike lanes at the expense of car lanes "everywhere" and "wasting taxpayer's money" because "nobody will use them" while drivers have to sit and fume in gridlock for nothing (he's especially bitter about the new bike lanes on Bloor into Etobicoke).

I know I'm just preaching to the choir here on an urban oriented forum, but unfortunately this is the kind of hostile attitude that us cyclists have to face in Toronto as part of our daily reality, and I'm convinced that it's the reason why our city is a comparative laggard when it comes to building out cycling infrastructure.

All it does is harden my resolve and needlessly encourage extremist views on my part as a cyclist. I honestly DON'T CARE if I zip past 200 cars sitting in traffic with ease even if I'm the only cyclist in sight. Am I supposed to feel guilty and selfish over that?? I'm certainly not going to be made to feel that way when people are too afraid to make lifestyle changes even when new options are presented to them.

I'm not sorry - we have every right to be on the road and creating new infrastructure that protects the safety of myself and all other cyclists will ALWAYS take priority over driver's convenience. If anything, I'm frustrated by the city's slow pace to add more.
A certain segment of the population sees bike infrastructure as wasting taxpayer money and creating gridlock. But in reality it's the opposite. Cars and the infrastructure to support them take up a lot more space than any other form of transportation. The more people drive, the bigger parking lots need to be, which pushes productive land uses farther apart and makes streets bigger and longer. So we need more infrastructure and more services for fewer people, driving up our property taxes to pay for it all. Conversely, the more people ride bikes, take transit, and walk, the more efficiently we use our land and infrastructure, and the lower our taxes can be. And a good network of proper bike infra makes a significant difference in how people get around.

Car dependent areas typically don't generate enough taxes to pay for themselves, while walkable areas typically do. This is part of the reason that suburbs are building their own downtowns - because the sprawl needs to be subsidized.

When people question bike infrastructure to me this is how I usually talk about it. Turn it around on them and appeal to their wallets. It doesn't usually convince them but it at least gives them a different way of thinking about it.
 
As you may know, my team at the City of Toronto is currently reviewing the bicycle parking standards in the city-wide Zoning By-law (569-2013). More information (including a feedback survey) is available on the project website: www.toronto.ca/parkingreview.

We are looking for examples of different types of bike parking in developments and commentary on how well they function. The more detail the better, particularly the address of the development. Pictures are helpful.

Thank you for your help UTers!
 
I saw this tweet recently.

My favourite city staff response to a question this year was that *bike lanes are good for Toronto’s film industry* because so many cities have installed bike lanes, we would no longer be able to pretend we’re other places on screen if there were no bike lanes in our streets.

 
What do you all think of these new wayfinding signs? Personally, I REALLY love these! They’re like highway signs for cyclists! Although, based on other ones scattered throughout the city, you can tell that for a quite a while, the standards for these were still “work in progress“. Earlier this year, they installed ones at Dawes/Secord north of Danforth, and if something was exactly 2 km, then it would say “2 km”. Now, these signs on Danforth which must have been put up within the last month will show something more precise like “2.0 km”.

Font/symbol types:

🚲 (bike symbol) ROAD NAME = Bike route on road

Point of Interest or Destination = in that type of format

🟧🏃🚲 (orange symbol with hiker and bike) Trail Name = Recreational trail



IMG_4D0F39A2DABD-1.jpeg

Taken back in April. Dawes about 1 km north of Danforth, @ Secord Avenue.

IMG_2935.jpeg

Danforth just west of Victoria Park

IMG_2923.jpeg

Danforth, just east of Greenwood

FullSizeRender.jpeg

Danforth, just west of Greenwood. Not quite sure how I feel about how they determine the distance to destinations. Here, when mentioning “Downtown” they’re clearly talking about downtowns eastern boundary along Don River (look at the distance from “Bloor Viaduct” to “Downtown”). Downtown is big, so, I feel like another point of interest along Bloor would have been better.


FullSizeRender.jpeg

Danforth just east of Monarch Park.

IMG_2928.jpeg

Danforth just east of Monarch Park.
 

Attachments

  • FullSizeRender.jpeg
    FullSizeRender.jpeg
    259.8 KB · Views: 12
I came back from Montreal on the evening of the 31st - thank you VIA, Union Station, and GO on a busy day. I had been thinking of the differences between Montreal and Toronto re pedestrians and cyclists once again, but i have posted on this topic before and had really nothing new to say. Then this morning I ran across this article by Andre Picard of the Globe and Mail. The article is about Paris, and cycling, and pedestrians, and taking back streets from car oriented transit, and to me, speaks to so much we discuss on these forums ( but which our faint of heart politicians are so reluctant to embrace). There was a similar article posted earlier on the University Ave thread discussing the planning process Paris is going through as it seeks to humanize the Champs Elysees. Reading this please also remember that the population of the city of Paris is 2.1 million , and the greater Paris region, a little over 12 million.

Andre’s article is paywalled currently, so with kudos to Andre Picard and the Globe….:

“In 2020, Rue de Rivoli, in the heart of Paris, was a six-lane street jammed with soul-sucking, horn-blasting traffic. Today, it has a single bus/taxi lane and expansive bike lanes crammed with riders, even on a cool winter’s day.
The street’s remake is symbolic of the transformation of Paris from a car city to a cycling city, a remarkable feat of political will as much as engineering.
In the early 1990s, the French capital had a laughable five kilometres of bike paths. Today, there are 4,017 kilometres of paths in the greater Paris area, with 2,158 more kilometres planned – all of it with concrete dividers and steel bollards, not just a splash of paint.


Most of that change has occurred in the past decade, though the embrace of bikes and e-bikes rose dramatically during a lengthy transit strike in 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020.
More than one million of the greater Paris Region’s 12 million residents now cycle daily, and that’s only expected to increase as infrastructure improves.
Since the turn of the century, car trips have declined 60 per cent, public transit ridership is up 40 per cent, and car crashes down 30 per cent – all this according to the Atelier Parisien d’Urbanisme.
Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris since 2014, has been the catalyst for much of the change, elected on a promise to create “a Paris that breathes.” Promoting cycling is the cornerstone of a larger plan to fight climate change, reduce air pollution, and expand green space.
There have been countless initiatives to make the city more livable.
Paris has closed streets to traffic near elementary schools and daycares. So far, 168 streets have been transformed into play areas.
To discourage trips to the historical centre of the city, parking rates have been jacked up to €6 an hour. The speed limit has dropped to 30 kilometres an hour.


The bike-share program Vélib has 20,000 bicycles available at 1,400 stations. A quick, cheap rental is a great way for business people to make short trips to meetings, and a delightful way to be a tourist.
Paris has also created “low-emission zones,” where older, more polluting cars are banned. By 2030, there will be a total ban on gas-powered vehicles.
In most major cities, including Paris, cars – including roads and parking – occupy more than half of all public space. That’s an obscenity – a costly, inefficient one.
The pandemic reminded us that people need space to walk, to breathe, and to play. The redistribution of public space is long overdue.
While Ms. Hidalgo is often denounced as “anti-car,” she is actually pro-pedestrian, and pro-cyclist. Deadly heatwaves and a growing number of smog days fuelled the need for urgent change.
Paris is a city where millions of people live in cramped apartments, where the street is an extension of the home – it’s where children play, where merchants hawk their wares, where people eat and socialize.


But over the decades, streets have been commandeered by cars.
Is there anything more Parisian than strolling a grand boulevard? Well, now there is: Cycling that same boulevard.
Let’s not forget that Paris is a city with already tremendous public transit. The Métro, with daily ridership of more than four million people, features 16 lines and 308 stations, without counting the RER regional train service.
And it’s about to get better. The system is in the midst of a massive expansion, with four new lines and 68 new stations, most set to open before the 2024 Olympics. The Grand Paris Express will mostly facilitate travel from the suburbs to the city, but also connect suburbs to each other, which is almost unheard of in large metropolitan areas.
The suburbs, too, are greatly expanding their bike lanes and green spaces around these new transit hubs. Nationally, France has committed €2-billion to doubling its cycling infrastructure by 2030.
In Canadian cities, the cycling and public transit infrastructure is lamentable, with few exceptions.
We spend our time making excuses – the weather, the weather! But Toronto’s weather is not much different from that of Paris.
What’s lacking in Canada is political will – we need politicians and policy-makers to say we no longer accept the tyranny of the car. We need the recognition that, if we want to tackle climate change and make cities livable, the focus should be on improving the lots of cyclists and pedestrians.


To change people’s lives, we have to change the way they move.”
 
I came back from Montreal on the evening of the 31st - thank you VIA, Union Station, and GO on a busy day. I had been thinking of the differences between Montreal and Toronto re pedestrians and cyclists once again, but i have posted on this topic before and had really nothing new to say. Then this morning I ran across this article by Andre Picard of the Globe and Mail. The article is about Paris, and cycling, and pedestrians, and taking back streets from car oriented transit, and to me, speaks to so much we discuss on these forums ( but which our faint of heart politicians are so reluctant to embrace). There was a similar article posted earlier on the University Ave thread discussing the planning process Paris is going through as it seeks to humanize the Champs Elysees. Reading this please also remember that the population of the city of Paris is 2.1 million , and the greater Paris region, a little over 12 million.

Andre’s article is paywalled currently, so with kudos to Andre Picard and the Globe….:

“In 2020, Rue de Rivoli, in the heart of Paris, was a six-lane street jammed with soul-sucking, horn-blasting traffic. Today, it has a single bus/taxi lane and expansive bike lanes crammed with riders, even on a cool winter’s day.
The street’s remake is symbolic of the transformation of Paris from a car city to a cycling city, a remarkable feat of political will as much as engineering.
In the early 1990s, the French capital had a laughable five kilometres of bike paths. Today, there are 4,017 kilometres of paths in the greater Paris area, with 2,158 more kilometres planned – all of it with concrete dividers and steel bollards, not just a splash of paint.


Most of that change has occurred in the past decade, though the embrace of bikes and e-bikes rose dramatically during a lengthy transit strike in 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020.
More than one million of the greater Paris Region’s 12 million residents now cycle daily, and that’s only expected to increase as infrastructure improves.
Since the turn of the century, car trips have declined 60 per cent, public transit ridership is up 40 per cent, and car crashes down 30 per cent – all this according to the Atelier Parisien d’Urbanisme.
Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris since 2014, has been the catalyst for much of the change, elected on a promise to create “a Paris that breathes.” Promoting cycling is the cornerstone of a larger plan to fight climate change, reduce air pollution, and expand green space.
There have been countless initiatives to make the city more livable.
Paris has closed streets to traffic near elementary schools and daycares. So far, 168 streets have been transformed into play areas.
To discourage trips to the historical centre of the city, parking rates have been jacked up to €6 an hour. The speed limit has dropped to 30 kilometres an hour.


The bike-share program Vélib has 20,000 bicycles available at 1,400 stations. A quick, cheap rental is a great way for business people to make short trips to meetings, and a delightful way to be a tourist.
Paris has also created “low-emission zones,” where older, more polluting cars are banned. By 2030, there will be a total ban on gas-powered vehicles.
In most major cities, including Paris, cars – including roads and parking – occupy more than half of all public space. That’s an obscenity – a costly, inefficient one.
The pandemic reminded us that people need space to walk, to breathe, and to play. The redistribution of public space is long overdue.
While Ms. Hidalgo is often denounced as “anti-car,” she is actually pro-pedestrian, and pro-cyclist. Deadly heatwaves and a growing number of smog days fuelled the need for urgent change.
Paris is a city where millions of people live in cramped apartments, where the street is an extension of the home – it’s where children play, where merchants hawk their wares, where people eat and socialize.


But over the decades, streets have been commandeered by cars.
Is there anything more Parisian than strolling a grand boulevard? Well, now there is: Cycling that same boulevard.
Let’s not forget that Paris is a city with already tremendous public transit. The Métro, with daily ridership of more than four million people, features 16 lines and 308 stations, without counting the RER regional train service.
And it’s about to get better. The system is in the midst of a massive expansion, with four new lines and 68 new stations, most set to open before the 2024 Olympics. The Grand Paris Express will mostly facilitate travel from the suburbs to the city, but also connect suburbs to each other, which is almost unheard of in large metropolitan areas.
The suburbs, too, are greatly expanding their bike lanes and green spaces around these new transit hubs. Nationally, France has committed €2-billion to doubling its cycling infrastructure by 2030.
In Canadian cities, the cycling and public transit infrastructure is lamentable, with few exceptions.
We spend our time making excuses – the weather, the weather! But Toronto’s weather is not much different from that of Paris.
What’s lacking in Canada is political will – we need politicians and policy-makers to say we no longer accept the tyranny of the car. We need the recognition that, if we want to tackle climate change and make cities livable, the focus should be on improving the lots of cyclists and pedestrians.


To change people’s lives, we have to change the way they move.”

I certainly applaud Paris efforts and am happy to critique where Toronto could be more ambitious.

But I do feel the need to remind people that the grass is rarely as green elsewhere as one imagines.

42% - modal share for cars in Paris.

57% - modal share for cars in Toronto

Certainly our numbers are not as good as those of Paris, but I suspect that difference is much less than people might imagine.

Likewise, if one drills down to cycling.

Paris is still only about 4% cycling by modal share

While Toronto is in the 2-3% range.

****

None of that is take away from what Paris has achieved or has planned; nor to diminish the need for further change here. Just to add a bit of context.
 
I certainly applaud Paris efforts and am happy to critique where Toronto could be more ambitious.

But I do feel the need to remind people that the grass is rarely as green elsewhere as one imagines.

42% - modal share for cars in Paris.

57% - modal share for cars in Toronto

Certainly our numbers are not as good as those of Paris, but I suspect that difference is much less than people might imagine.

Likewise, if one drills down to cycling.

Paris is still only about 4% cycling by modal share

While Toronto is in the 2-3% range.

****

None of that is take away from what Paris has achieved or has planned; nor to diminish the need for further change here. Just to add a bit of context.
Context is always good!!
 
I’m in Montreal again, arrived in Tuesdays snow storm and would like to applaud a) the number of people making their way home with cross country skis and poles in hand ( would we be so lucky), b) the number of people on bikes making their way around the city on a snowy evening, and c) the cities efforts, by morning time, while not perfect, to clear the designated bike lanes ( and sidewalks) for cyclists and pedestrian, There is much to be learned here, and again, while not perfect, is a show of considerable municipal effort.
 
I’m in Montreal again, arrived in Tuesdays snow storm and would like to applaud a) the number of people making their way home with cross country skis and poles in hand ( would we be so lucky), b) the number of people on bikes making their way around the city on a snowy evening, and c) the cities efforts, by morning time, while not perfect, to clear the designated bike lanes ( and sidewalks) for cyclists and pedestrian, There is much to be learned here, and again, while not perfect, is a show of considerable municipal effort.
I lived in Montreal for 30+ years and they get LOTS more snow than Toronto so are much more practiced at clearing it (and have the equipment and experienced staff to do so). Though sidewalk clearing was certainly not perfect there, they never expected residents to clear their own (though many did), unlike Toronto where it was only last year that the City took on the clearing of ALL sidewalks. As they get (or got) so much snow, it had to be removed rather than simply pushed to one side as here.
 
I’m in Montreal again, arrived in Tuesdays snow storm and would like to applaud a) the number of people making their way home with cross country skis and poles in hand ( would we be so lucky), b) the number of people on bikes making their way around the city on a snowy evening, and c) the cities efforts, by morning time, while not perfect, to clear the designated bike lanes ( and sidewalks) for cyclists and pedestrian, There is much to be learned here, and again, while not perfect, is a show of considerable municipal effort.

Montreal has a much different system for snow clearing than we do; and a much better one, may I add.

When significant snowfall occurs, the City completely removes all snow from the street, as noted by @DSC above.

To achieve this, all parked cars must be removed. The City sends out messages to those who live on the street/have permits a few hours before the plows are due, indicating cars must be removed.

Invariably some people aren't home/can't get their car out, the City gives the car a 'friendly' tow, to the nearest clear, legal spot, no ticket, and then notifies the driver as to where the car has been reparked.

The street then has 100% of its snow removed, no snowbanks.
 
Last edited:
It's a bit unfair to compare snow clearing in Montreal and Toronto. In Toronto, snow is mostly a nuisance impacting us (sometimes severely, of course) a handful of times a year. In Montreal, snow is a daily/weekly reality that has to be dealt with immediately and continually or the city grinds to a halt. So their snow clearing systems and infrastructure are way more developed than ours, for good reason.
 
Montreal has a much different system for snow clearing than we do; and a much better one, may I add.

When significant snowfall occurs, the City completely removes all snow from the street, as noted by @DSC above.

To achieve this, all parks cars must be removed. The City sends out messages to those who live on the street/have permits a few hours before the plows are due, indicating cars must be removed.

Invariably some people aren't home/can't get their car out, the City gives the car a 'friendly' tow, to the nearest clear, legal spot, no ticket, and then notifies the driver as to where the car has been reparked.

The street then has 100% of its snow removed, no snowbanks.
The other Montreal thing that might be copied here is that the parking regulations on many residential streets allow an hour or two each week when the street is supposed to be cleared of parked vehicles and can be 'swept' . Of course, this street-sweeping does not happen weekly and when the street sweeper is coming it is preceded by a parking officer's car with horn blaring to warn residents to rush out and move their car before it gets towed/ticketed. I was often amused to see my neighbours rushing out in various states of undress to move their cars for 5 minutes....
 
Last edited:

Top