Friday, October 25, 2013

Jog-Downs at Temporary Entrances off Lake Shore into the Big Box Stores at Leslie Street are too Abrupt - Blinding Cyclists to approaching, turning cars.

Took a tour of the construction detours of bicycle infrastructure around the Leslie Street reconstruction today.

Many have posted about how happy they are with all the effort and diligence that the TTC and Toronto Transportation have put into these detours - as part of the on-going public consultation process that is happening in conjunction with a major reconstruction of Leslie Street - part of the TTC's Leslie Barns construction project proceeding now on the south east corner of Leslie and Lake Shore. Specifically, high praise for the jog-downs in the Lower Don Recreation Trail (LDRT) either side of the two Big Box Stores' temporary entrances from Lake Shore.

I supported those kudos when I saw the drawings at the public consultation at Morse Street School a couple of months back - but I hadn't yet ridden the trail at that location.

I did today.

Lake Shore Boulevard just east of Leslie Street at the Temporary Entrance to the Loblaws Parking lot.

Having learned a little about how the Dutch are reconfiguring intersections to keep cyclists safe, I really like the jog idea, that makes room for cars to stop if necessary, to allow cyclists along the trail to pass through...

But the planners who designed these forgot one key element that makes the vision work well in practice.

It's the idea that each mode should be able to see the other with out looking over their shoulder. The other road user should be visible at a glance through the right side of the windscreen (in the case of the car driver) - and concurrently - the cyclist user should be able to observe the car with out more than a slight turn of their head.

With good planning and deployment - the two modes should be in each others' *Normal Field of Vision* as they both approach the intersection.

Unfortunately, the Trail jog-downs at both Big Box Stores temporary entrances do the opposite of this.

Because the Trail begins to jog just 12 metres before the intersection, the cyclist is actually traveling slightly away from the roadway at the precise movement when they need to have the vehicle path in their normal line of sight.

In other words - the the curve down to the bottom of the jog completes too close to the temporary entrance.

I walked the area, measured, and rode it from both directions.

The jog-down needs to begin and complete approximately twice as far back from the intersection as it currently does - so that - as the cyclist is coming to the entrance way they are perpendicular to it for some distance.

This understanding comes from a video by Mark Wagenbuur at "Bicycle Dutch" - in a post titled, "What qualifies as Dutch Design?" -

I've made a diagram of the Toronto intersection to illustrate my point (see above). Watch the short video and then consider my re-design.

The longer approach for the Trail user allows good sight lines for both users.

I hope these observations will be of benefit to construction planners of bicycle route detours during roadway reconstruction in the future.


Bike Infrastructure BIG Talking Point at Public Consultation for Dundas/Carlaw Corridor Planning Study

There was lots of 'Bike Amenities' talk at last nights' initial "Dundas/Carlaw Corridor Study" Public Consultation.

The meeting was held at 326 Carlaw Avenue in the buildings' 3rd floor Amenity Room - a spacious, open room which looks out through three floor-to-ceiling patio doors onto a large, wooden roof-top deck.

Ward 30 Councillor, Paula Fletcher introduced the meeting by putting the study into context for everyone. She noted that this study is one of five area planning studies being undertaken right now by City Planners at her bidding - as Leslieville and South Riverdale and Riverside are experiencing a tremendous growth in the rate of development.

An over-view of the planning process and the history of recent planning in the area was then outlined by City of Toronto Planner, Heather Baron - who then set us to work at our facilitated working group sessions at five tables spaced around the large room.

Each table had 8 to 10 citizens along with a representative from one of the various City departments involved in the study - working as facilitators. Over 45 minutes we went through a list of items prepared by the organizers related to Councillor Fletchers' motion at Toronto and East York Community Council, and our opinions about Public Amenities in the study area.

The categories listed on the big discussion papers that organizers had placed on each table (along with a selection of maps, artists' street-scape renderings, and other documents from Planning) were so broad that they simply acted as a starting point for what people already had on their minds - but also worked as a guide so that we were all addressing basically the same issues.

("Public Amenities" I should note here, as far as I understand it in a Planning context, has a very broad meaning. Public Amenities are any tangible, or intangible thing about a public space that make life easier; more comfortable; nicer; more beautiful; more organized; more intuitive; more effective - for the people using it. In other words, stuff that Helps as opposed to Hinders the culture that we collectively are - and that we are becoming.)

I noted right away there was no mention of bicycles, bike lanes, bike parking or cycling as a transportation choice, anywhere in the documents or the introduction.

After the facilitated round-table discussions - someone from each table presented their groups' notes to the entire meeting.

All five tables noted cycling issues in the study area. Cycling it seems, is an essential element in a discussion of quality of life in public spaces.

I was shocked - by the time the fifth table began reporting I was waiting for the cycling mention like one anticipates a hit late in a ball game. Then, Wham-o! Table five talked more than any other about cycling issues!

After the reports were done people were encouraged to take the floor and say whatever they wanted. A conversation broke out that went on for some time. About what you may wonder? ...

Bike parking of coarse!

The times they are-a-changing. It appears that there are a lot of people in the neighbourhood who are using their bikes on a very regular basis. The bike - and the amenities one needs to use a bicycle as a primary transportation mode - are apparently integral to this evolving neighbourhoods' life-style choice.

As a ward group representative for Cycle Toronto's "Ward 30 Bikes" at these meetings - I'll represent this point of view as this public consolation process continues, with another Public Consultation meeting scheduled for January.

References: TIMMIS | Agenda Item History | Dundas/Carlaw Corridor Study |

Councillor Paula Fletcher web | Community Planning in Ward 30 - Carlaw Dundas Study |


N.B. The acoustics in that room made it very hard for some people to hear. Two other people mentioned it during the meeting. I, for example have frequency hearing loss in one ear that has the effect of turning reflecting acoustic waves into white noise. I had to step out of the room for most of the five-table facilitation process because the voices of all the people talking all at once bounced around for me, like light does in a house of mirrors.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ward 32 Spokes' Cycle Toronto Ward Groups #FF on Twitter

Last Friday, I (as @Ward30Bikes) missed this Twitter "Follow Friday" attempt by @Ward32Spokes:
(All links are live via positioned buttons that I coded into this image of the Tweet - because Twitter embeds suck.)
Follow Fridays are a ritual in Twitter - people meet new contacts through the #FF hash-tag.

@Ward31Bikes chimed-in with @OntarioCyclingTrails, @BikingToronto, @EastYork_TO and @CycleToronto (I 'Favorited' almost a week late).

Great to see the East Toronto, East York, and Scarborough Cycle Toronto advocacy groups active in getting bicycle infrastructure for East End cyclists.

This is a little networking experiment I'm trying - to see how I can combine the blog, the Twitter account and the social networking site where Ward 30 Bikes is posting an discussing; to see if I can create an expectation about the day after tomorrow, which reminds people to log into Twitter at some point during their day and do the Cycle Toronto, Follow Friday thing again. See if we can grow Ward32 Spokes' idea - and take it city wide this Friday.

Using the Ward 32 Spokes Tweet from last Friday as a template, just include the Follow Friday tag, "#FF", add a cycling friends' handle to a selection of the @CycleToronto ward groups' handles - and to broadcast it more widely add the tag, "#bikeTO" at the end - and Tweet.

Michael Holloway
Ward 30 Bikes

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Minutes - Ward 30 Cycling Group Monthly Meeting - September 10, 2013

Minutes - Ward 30 Cycling Group, general monthly meeting
September 10, 2013
SRCHC - fourth floor roof-top garden room
7pm - 9pm

Present: Jo, Michael, Jim, Pat, Paul.

1) Ward 30 Bikes / SRCHC Bike Light Give-away Oct 1
2) Bike Lanes on Bloor/Danforth - Cycle Toronto Petition
3) Twitter Account
4) Group Name Survey Results
5) Accomplishments
6) Feedback Results
7) Bike Lanes discussion Eastern, Dundas, Bloor/Danforth
8) TTC Reconstruction of Leslie Street

Meeting Minutes September 10, 2013:
(minutes taken by Michael)

1) Ward 30 Cycling Group / SRCHC Bike Light Give-away Oct 1
Paul talked about the roots of Health and Well-Being Week and asked people to do outreach and come out to help if they could on October 1. We talked about adding a little note to the free bike lights that the SRCHC had bought for this. We decided on some copy for a card, about SRCHC, Health and Wellbeing Week, and Ward 30 Cycling Group. Talked about what type of lights. Paul said he would source and purchase them. We talked about where would be the best place to do the hand out and  mentioned having some volunteers further east along Dundas telling riders that there was a bike light give-away just ahead at Carlaw. A tent or a big banner to make the hand out site an obvious event.
ACTION: Pault to buy bike lights.
ACTION: Volunteers Needed - outreach on this

2) Bike Lanes on Bloor/Danforth - Cycle Toronto Petition
We talked about the Cycle Toronto Campaign to back up the Bloor Councillors request to Council to start a new EA for Bike Lanes on Bloor and for to expanded the scope of the EA to the include the Danforth - and a Pilot Project Bike Lane on Bloor. We decided to support the campaign with outreach on the FB page including a link to the Cycle Toronto Petition online, and upload any relevant documents there so people can get informed on the issue.
ACTION: Michael will upload docs and a link in the FB Group.

3) Twitter Account
Should we start a Blog? a Twitter Account?
We need to conclude the name search and then start these other media. Some discussion about what a Twitter account is good for, need for volunteers to manage the account. Michael said he would get a Twitter account going; and look into Blog options.
ACTION: Michael to set up Twitter Account. Investigate web-site or blog options.

4) Group Name Survey Results
Discussion: Jo said that ‘Complete Streets’ in inside jargon, should not be part of a name -  is a phrase people probably don’t understand. Micahael talked about how his suggestions for a name were to try to reflect the neighbourhoods we serve, not the Ward - people aren’t even sure where what Ward they are in. Paul talked about how important ideas should be included in the name somehow. We looked at the several survey results we’ve done and noted that Ward 30 Bikes got the most votes.
Voted on the name “Ward 30 Bikes”. Carried unanimously. Some discussion about changing the name on the FB group - who is admin? Can we change the name? Michael said he would contact Emma and find out.
ACTION: Change name in public spaces we run - from ‘Ward 30 Cycling Group’ to “Ward 30 Bikes”
ACTION: Michael will contact Emma about name change on the FB group.

5) Accomplishments
  • Hosted the revival of a Ward 30 cycling advocacy group with the ‘East End Bike Summit’. 25 attended, including folks from several other east end advocacy groups, representative from CIP, Councillor Paula Fletcher...
  • Our Email list is growing (now 70)
  • Participated in the Withrow Park Farmers Market Outreach with W29Bikes folks (Michael)
  • Participated in the Leslieville Tree Festival with an outreach and tune up thingy 3 members present (Brandon, Michael Pat)
  • Represented Ward 30 Bikes at Cycle Toronto, Jones Branch Library outreach event. (Michael)
  • Did lots of outreach around the TTP speed bumps issue resulting in several letter to Park department and TRCA and City Council (Michael, Brandon, Paul)
  • Started several online spaces representing the new group (Emma, Michael, Brandon)
  • We’ve held 5 monthly meetings - some very well attended, some not so much (minimum was four attending I believe - at our first meeting after the Summit, I believe we had 12 people out.- including a ‘mole’ as he called himself - from Parks. They wanted to get a handle on what we were up to with regards to their new co-management  with TRCA, of TTP - I think.)

6) Feedback Results
Action Opportunities:
  • Bike light Give away
  • Petition Signing Event for Bloor Danforth Bike Lane EA
  • Volunteer for Outreach events (bike maintenance / info)
  • We could organize local and not so local “Group Rides” (historical rides, like W29Bikes does)
  • We should organize some kind of ‘sustainable transportation’ education event.
  • Attend the Cycle Toronto Skills Swap
  • Do Bike Maintenance / Info Events with the Good Food Markets group.

7) Bike Lanes discussion Eastern, Dundas, Bloor/Danforth
We had a discussion relevant to our Problems / Opportunities feedback process
Dundas Street Bike Lane Separation was discussed. - vs focusing on getting more painted-on Bike Lanes on more streets.
Michael made an argument that reflected CIP’s view of the broad East / West picture: Dundas separated Bike Lanes to connect to Sherbourne separated Bike Lanes (connecting to the core East West study in progress). With MGT and LDRT to the south, Dundas through the centre, and Danforth across the north. He asked what eveyone thought of this vision - do members suppot this iconcept - would folks work for a lobby in this diection?
Much discussion ensued. Several people thought that making sure Eastern Avenue Bike Lanes remain - and are expanded east and west - was very important.
Jo brought up the idea of focusing on getting school children safe infrastructure so they could ride their bikes to school. Jo thought that existing routes are dangerous despite paint.
Paul talked about a success he had at a local community public consultation with Councillor Fletcher to address the dangers around Pape Avenue Public School, and the neck-downs that are being installed on Pape as a result.
Pat talked about finding a way to get lower intensity on our local streets through narrower traffic lanes and separated bicycle infra..
Jim thought that a lot of the already in place infra. needed sprucing up with new paint and sighted several examples from the area where painted bike lane marking were fading almost to nothing. He mentioned Greenwood, Jones and Eastern.
Paul worried that there might be a move a-foot to take out the Dundas Bike Lanes and suggested we lobby to get them separated so they become harder to remove - more investment in cycling will ‘ensconce’ the route. Talked about the design of a separated Dundas Bike Lane - with parking spots on the traffic side of the lane, to make it safer as far a dooring issues.
Generally I think, the meeting decided to come back to the issue at a later date.

8) TTC Reconstruction of Leslie Street
Jo talked about a TTC community liaison Walk-about of the infrastructure that has been installed to reroute cyclists and cars through the construction - and especially solutions across the MGT. Jo reported that the TTC liaison person was surprised to see the volume of cyclists on the MGT crossing the construction zone.
Was noted that the high quality of the infrastructure in place in the construction zone for bicycles (as of this meeting) was a direct result of the on-going public consultation process that the TTC has enabled for this project.

Next Meeting was set for October 15th - at SRCHC 7pm fourth floor meeting room.
Adjourned at 9:15 pm.