Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#EastHarbour Public Consultation to begin 2nd Quarter 2017

By Michael Holloway
Ward 30 Bikes,
First Gulf Public Consultation participant,
Port Lands Acceleration Initiative S.A.C.

Ward 30 Bikes has been involved in First Gulf's more than two years long Unilever lands (now branded EastHarbour) stakeholder consultation process. 

Looking west of Booth to the Core - Image: FirstGulf/EastHarbour -
This is the beginning of a development arc that will begin to change the southern environs of Ward 30 markedly - starting perhaps next year and continuing for the next thirty years (and beyond that in the east Port Lands near Leslie Street). 

Ward 30 Bikes has advocated for high quality separated cycling connections north-south and east-west as well as inside the precinct.

First Gulf sees Public Transit as key to the success of the development, as a road network can't possibly support the intensity visioned. Like the downtown core most people will arrive here (and get around here) mainly by public transit, bike or walk.

Toronto City Council approved the recommendations passed in the Feb 23, 2017 video below at their meeting about a month later. (Toronto City Council - March 28, 2017 - PG18.6 |

In the video below First Gulf presents it's vision for the 60 acre parcel of land east of the Don River mouth at Lake Shore Boulevard - to the Planning and Growth Management Committee of Toronto City Council.

Toronto City Council Planning and Growth Management Committee,
February 23, 2017 Item PG18.6 - Unilever Precinct Planning Study - Status Update - 21 Don Valley Parkway and 30 Booth Avenue - Zoning Amendment and Subdivision Applications - Preliminary Report.

(Video is coded to start at the item in question)

Residential construction north of East Harbour (StreetCar's massive Queen/Broadview development) and south (in the Port Lands - first at 'Villiers Island') will create a live-work City Centre that is sustainable and will (hopefully) be a model of modern City Building - with separated cycling infrastructure and with state-of-the-art intersection treatments (Complete Intersections1).

Unfortunately due to City Councils backward decision to rebuild the Gardiner Expressway (with subsequently revealed prodding from FirstGulf) there will likely be Gardiner Expressway to Don Valley Parkway ramps blighting westerly views from the site. Not to mention all the challenges which they will create for east-west people movement as well as the spoiling of the Lower Don Valley lands there for another generation.

The still unsolved flooding issues north of the Rail Berm (and around the back and into the East Harbour precinct via the Eastern Avenue underpass and a new Broadview underpass) is an opportunity to advocate to get the Don River out of the canal walls that it's in from Gerrard south to the rail berm.

Perhaps a naturalized flood plain (along with the planned widened Rail Bridge and a Naturalized Don River Mouth) could handle the 100+ year storm crest there?

Perhaps put the DVP on pontoons - float the highway?! ;)

Or ... narrow it to the width of Bayview?


1 Complete Intersection Video:
Protected Intersections For Bicyclists

Protected Intersections For Bicyclists from Nick Falbo on Vimeo.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Dundas Bike Lane Snow Clearing - Is it happening?

Do the Dundas Bike Lanes have enough daily traffic to make them a Priority Snow Clearing Route? Are they being cleared of snow and ice in a timely manner this winter?

By Michael Holloway
Ward 30 Bikes' Outreach Coordinator

In Fall 2014 City Council passed a motion that created a network of priority bike lanes that would be cleared and salted during the winter months. That network included bike lanes that had a minimum of 2,000 trips per day; and didn't include any bike lanes east of the Don River - so Ward 30 Bikes squawked, 'west downtown ethnocentrism!' - and Councillor Paula Fletcher asked Transportation if the Dundas Lanes could be added to the priority network.

In July 2016 Transportation conducted a air hose count on the Dundas Bike Lanes just west of Carlaw Avenue.

Ward 30 Bikes is considering buying camera equipment this year to do bicycle counts in Ward 30 ... so I needed to check out if in fact we still needed to do bike counts on our own - (my 2014 article on the dearth of City of Toronto cycling count data can be found here) - or if perhaps the City was now doing comprehensive bike counts.

Today I downloaded everything they have up at City of Toronto -> Open Data -> Bicycle Counts - and no - the City still doesn't have a temporal, network sensitive data collection program in place like they do for cars (to the Nth!).

But the July 19-25, 2016 Dundas Bike Lane count file was up!

By the conditions stipulated at the City web page about this 1 - the data shows that the Dundas Bike Lanes - with well above the minimum 2,000 riders per day - are a Priority Network Bicycle Lane Snow Clearing candidate.

Is it happening this year?

We lost track of whether or not Transportation added the Dundas Bike Lanes to the Priority Network - did they just go ahead and do it after they saw the numbers? Or s the network just for downtown - west of the Don River?

We'll write a letter to Paula Fletcher after our next monthly meeting asking the question - but for now perhaps riders can tell us what's actually happening.
  • Did you ride Dundas on the snow days listed below?
  • What was the condition of the Dundas Bike Lane on your AM commute?
  • Was it clear by the time of your PM commute?

Snowfalls so far this winter (>2cm): 

Sunday    Dec 11, 2016  24h Snow  13.8cm
Thursday  Dec 15, 2016  24h Snow   4.0cm
Friday    Dec 16, 2016  24h Snow   3.0cm
Saturday  Dec 17, 2016  24h Snow   6.0cm

Tuesday   Jan 10, 2017  24h Snow   7.2cm
Friday    Feb 10, 2017  24h Snow   3.8cm
Sunday    Feb 12, 2017  24h Snow  15.6cm

[Data: The Weather Network | Ontario Monthly Calendar |]

1 City of Toronto | Cycling Snow Routes |

Ward 30 Bikes' "Bicycle Counts" label |

City of Toronto | Open Data | Bicycle Counts


Sunday, March 5, 2017

GreenspirationTO's 'Remembering Tooker 13 years on'

Republished with permission, from the March 3, 2017 GreenspirationTO email list post by Angela Biscoff. Join the GreenspirationTO email list here.

Remembering Tooker 13 years on

March 3, 2017
By Angela Bischoff

Tooker Gomberg (photo: Angela Bischoff)
To my friends and allies, far and near,

Many of you knew Tooker Gomberg. If you did, I know you miss him. It’s still unimaginable that we lost him 13 years ago today – our dear friend, comrade, mentor. And the earth lost a skilled warrior.

I often ask myself “What would Tooker do?” I imagine he would be taking on the many crises we’re facing today with fierce courage and creative brilliance, like he always did, always sacrificing. No one could fill his shoes.

Don’t you wish he was around to see the fruits of his labour? Bike lanes, recycling, composting, green energy, conservation, green buildings – so much progress has been made in the last 13 years that would make him smile.

In Tooker’s honor, I’ll share with you some links. Enjoy.

· Listen to the song written by Mike Ford after Tooker’s passing: Tooker, Le Monde à Bicyclette (click the black bar to the left of 00:00)
· Read Tooker’s Letter to An Activist. He wrote it during his first depression (of 2). It contains lessons for us all, and reminds us how vulnerable we all are, and how to take care of ourselves and each other.
· Tooker was a prolific environmental writer. Browse his articles from all around the world.
· View a slide show of him.
· Watch the trailer (4:52 min.) for Playing with Democracy, a video documentary of the Gomberg for Mayor campaign in Toronto, 2000 (he came 2nd to the incumbent!).
· Read the tabloid I wrote following his death. It’s called Depression Expression – raising questions about antidepressants. Tooker suffered from depression but was not suicidal until after beginning his antidepressant. Rather than take him off the drug, his doctor doubled the dosage, again and again. Just 4 weeks into drug therapy – suffering with akathesia, or agitation, a recognized side effect of antidepressant drugs – he took his own life. Many suffer with similar adverse effects – know the risks.
· Read the heart breaking eulogies to this beloved man.

Aside from being a great activist and writer, did you know Tooker was a harmonica player, a juggler and puppeteer, educator, film maker and photographer?

Here’s a story I love. Once on a road trip, the moving van we were driving sported a large military advert on the side. Tooker bought some water based paint and began painting a large peace sign over the ad. The cops came thinking he was a vandal. Tooker defended his action (in French!), the cop watched him paint, and then left the scene. Tooker had convinced the cop that he was doing the right thing.

Do you have a Tooker story that you would share with me?

Peace to you, and RIP Tooker…

[reprinted from a greenspirationto-l(at) post of March 3, 2017]

Michael Holloway
Outreach Coordinator,
Ward 30 Bikes