Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May 2014 Ward 30 Cycling News

May 2014 Ward 30 Cycling News
Items in this month's email version were incorrect - use this link to network the May Meeting

Ward 30 Bikes
May News


Monthly Meeting

We're holding our regular meeting on this Tuesday, May 6 at 6:30 pm at the South Riverdale Community Health Centre, 955 Queen Street East.

Come out and discuss upcoming cycling and walking issues in the neighbourhood. This month, we'll be looking at a ramp idea for the Lower Don Trail and the response from decision makers, getting out to some community events with Ward 30 news and some ongoing planning studies in the neighbourhood,

All are welcome!

Bike Month is Coming - Join Us on the Dundas East Ride, May 26 for free pancakes at City Hall

Meet at Kingston and Dundas East at 7:20 for a 7:30am departure, or at points along the route (to be determined) Check the Ride entry at Bike Month 2014 / Events - and Bike Month 2014 Front Page for lots of other fun events.

Need repairs? Call 311!

As the snow melts, it can often reveal potholes, faded bike lane markings, and other problems for cyclists and other road users. If you spot something that needs repair, make sure the city knows about it by calling 311, and reporting it online at:


Next Ward 30 Bikes meeting: this Tuesday, May 6 - 6:30 to 8:30 P.M.
South Riverdale-chc

Bike Links:

Ward30Bikes Blog

Cycle Toronto

TCAT (Toronto Centre for Active Transportation)

Bike Sauce

SRCHC Bike Repair Drop-inCity of Toronto

Paula Fletcher, Ward 30 city councillor

Toronto 311
Copyright © 2014 Ward 30 Bike Group, All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"What she said" - City of Toronto Cheif Planner Jennifer Keesmaat's 'Liveable Cities' narrative

I've been passionate about cycling all my life. I've never had a drivers license, and I've biked everywhere I needed to go; even when I lived in the country as a kid - 10km from my high school.

I've written about and mapped about better cycling routes for years over at Biking Toronto1 But l came into the political process to see if I could help get some cycling infrastructure on the street. Last spring I joined Cycle Toronto and helped a group of us from the old 'SoDa Bikes' Cycle Toronto group 'reboot' the group as @Ward30Bikes - and took on the responsibilities of 'Captain'.

From the very start of this conversation (that's what I've discovered politics is, a massive conversation) I realized I had to refine my vision in order to convince others mine was the way to go. I've never been a 'realpolitik' guy - just shouting the loudest to get mine for me; rather, I had a real good idea of what I didn't like about what our city was - but I had a much harder time enunciating a vision of what I thought Cities could be.

All my writing and reading and research on cycling issues over the last few years has lead me to a school of thought in Urban Planning. The concept is not new2 - but it's not an easy one to express in a few words - it's a complex weave of  understandings in building, transportation, culture, work, policy, play and so on. For the last year I've been studying that school of planning that seems to 'get it' - "The New Urbanism".

This piece reprinted in full below, is by the Cities' Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat - published in the Toronto Star on Sunday April 27 2014 - it nails the vision I've been struggling to express. It pertains to everything from Great bike parking in new developments, to wider sidewalks on an East Danforth with bike lanes and connecting neighbourhoods to the water front ... .

"What she said":

By densifying Eglinton, we can fight congestion

The LRT on Eglinton Ave. should be treated not as a transit infrastructure project but as a critical city-building initiative.
A rendering of how Eglinton Ave. will look after the light-rail, which is currently under construction, is finished.
Image: "future_eglinton" visualization - Courtesy of the City of Toronto, via Toronto Star 2014-04-27

By: Jennifer Keesmaat Published on Sun Apr 27 2014

It’s a well-known fact that it’s not possible to relieve traffic congestion by building more roads in a rapidly densifying city. Research has shown that when we add capacity to our road network, within a very short period of time additional commuters are induced to drive, leading to impassable congestion.

Two University of Toronto professors, Gilles Duranton and Matthew Turner, quantified this phenomena through historical data, showing that road construction goes hand-in-hand with an increase in traffic thanks to the “fundamental law of road congestion.”

We also know that great cities of the world have been able to continue to grow exponentially by planning for movement by adding options or increasing choice. While cycling is just beginning to ramp up in North American cities as part of this recognition of the need to provide more choice and embrace sustainability, the long-time hallmark of a city with choice has been excellent — exceptional, even (think New York City, Paris) — public transit.

But one choice that has the potential to reduce our greenhouse gases while also making our cities safer, quieter and cleaner, critically, is the option to live closer to where we work, and within walking distance or a short transit/cycle ride of the amenities needed for everyday life. Imagine the change in your daily routine if, instead of getting in your car every morning, you tied on your shoes and walked to work.

While it is inevitable that many of us need to travel on a regional scale from time to time, such as to take a vacation, see a specialist or visit families and friends, commuting every day on a regional scale to and from work will always be resource and time intensive — even with high-speed, high frequency transit. If we truly want to reduce congestion, and if we truly care about becoming a more sustainable city, increasing housing choice and affordable housing near the places where people work should be at the top of our city-building agenda.

So when we think about the 19 kilometres of light-rail transit currently under construction on Eglinton Ave., running through the heart of our city, we will miss the mark once again if we treat this investment — and opportunity — as simply a transit infrastructure project, as opposed to a critical city-building initiative.

Densifying Eglinton through midrise development that provides more opportunities for people to live in the heart of the city with high frequency transit access, and as part of walkable neighbourhoods, is about providing housing choice. And more housing choice along key transit corridors is essential to unlocking the congestion puzzle.

But, skeptics may wonder — thinking of the noisy, traffic nightmare that Eglinton is today — is this a real choice? A livable choice? A choice for families? Our avenues will only become desirable, linear neighbourhoods if we reconceive them as complete streets where people move in a variety of ways, including as pedestrians on widened sidewalks lined with shops, medical services, daycares and schools, and separated cycle tracks, as they densify.

We know that the fastest growing demographic in our city — echo boomers, between the ages of 18-34 — are actively trading off a larger house and a long commute for a more urban lifestyle. On the other end of the spectrum, we also know that seniors are downsizing, and in many instances looking for housing choices near the neighbourhoods where they already live. Our avenues, if we get them right, could be home to both of these growing demographics.

Building transit on our existing corridors and leaving them primarily for cars would neglect the opportunity to create these new neighbourhoods, which is as critical to addressing congestion as the transit investment itself. And transit users are pedestrians, so a quality, safe public realm is essential to well-designed LRT.

We must transform our main transit avenues into the future city, the city we desire, the place that we are seeking to become. This future city is comprised of great places to live with a high quality of life where it is possible to walk, shop, cycle to school and take transit to work. It does take some imagining, and some belief, but it will also take tenacity because we have a long way to go.

Jennifer Keesmaat is the Chief Planner & Executive Director of the City Planning Division, City of Toronto.


Reprinted in full - (because she would have wanted it that way).

Read the article at the Toronto Star with all the links and related articles: 

Toronto Star - Sunday April 27th 2014 | "By densifying Eglinton, we can fight congestion" - by: Jennifer Keesmaat |


1 Toronto/GTA Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki | Cyclists Sharing Routes around Toronto -

2 Wikipedia | New Urbanism -


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

TTC Leslie Barns Leslie Street Reconstruction - Cyclist & Pedestrian Detour Issues: April 22, 2014 Walk-about

Earlier this week Councillor Paula Fletcher made a request to the community to send it their issues and concerns about the Leslie Street reconstruction.

I sent Councillor Fletcher a synopsis of one of Ward 30 Bikes' outstanding issues: incomplete pedestrian detours through the site - noteably on the East side of Leslie South of Eastern.

Here's a quick map I sent to Councillor Fletcher which notes all the issues (made from the LelsieBarns April Detours Map:

W30B - Pedestrian Deficiencies on the East side of the Leslie Street Reconstruction site --- April 2014 Map I

Here's an UPDATED Ward 30 Bikes Map showing the new configuration - to my knowledge - as of my walk yesterday.

W30B - Pedestrian Deficiencies on the East side of the Leslie Street Reconstruction site --- April 22, 2014 Map II

For the original TTC Leslie Barns map image at the original post, see their blog "April 9, 2014 – Construction Update" at: (scroll down until you find the entry).

Sidewalk is now Closed

The Sidewalk on the east side of Leslie South of Eastern Avenue is now closed.

Pedestrians are using the Loblaws driveway right from Eastern all the way down to the Plaza Intersection - and through the parking lot and the Burger King Drive-Thu lanes down to the Multi-use Trail on the North side of Lake Shore Boulevard (Lower Don Recreation Trail - LDRT).

Sidewalk closed on the east side of Leslie South of Eastern Avenue Pedestrians using the Loblaws driveway April 22 2014 4-30pm

At the Traffic Island jut to the South of the Plaza Intersection I watched and snapp pics for about 10 minutes. Here are Images taken from about 4:35pm to 4:45pm - in order; none edited out:

         Image 1                  Image 2                  Image 3

         Image 4                  Image 5                  Image 6

         Image 7                  Image 8                  Image 9

        Image 10                 Image 11                 Image 12

        Image 13                 Image 14                 Image 15

        Image 16                 Image 17                 Image 18

(Are those guys speaking French there in the last two photographs - walking through the middle of the Plaza Intersection dressed in executive suits - from Pomerleau?! :)

There must be a way to create a sidewalk here somewhere. Some paint on the parking lot - something.

The same holds true for the parking lot and Burger King Drive-Tru driveway to the south of here; from the Plaza Intersection south to the Multi-use Trail.

Kudos - The Process Works!

Some Kudos for the process are in order:

Wide detour for the Multi-use Trail north side of the intersection, Lake Shore Blvd and Leslie St

Pedestrian Crosswalk East side Leslie at Lake Shore Boulevard

Still looking at the pedestrian crossing - East side of Leslie north-south across Lake Shore Boulevard. The crosswalk lines have just been painted. Makes the crosswalk more visible for turning eastbound traffic coming northbound on Leslie. Hoping for a big yellow crosswalk sign for the summer.

Measured the Stop Line northbound Leslie the construction configuration Stop Line is 13 metres north of the usual non-construction configuration Stop Line. Moving it back gives the crosswalk pedestrians and cyclists more time to get out in the intersection before eastbound turning car traffic starts to turn the corner. Worth a look by Transportation I think.

I made a map image of that idea (sent into Leslie Barns Community Office last week).

TTC_Leslie-Barns Ward-30-Bikes suggestion 2014-04-14 - move northbound Leslie right turn stop-line back to preconstruction position

That's all for this week.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Getting to the Danforth Reconstruction Open House Experience - and experiencing it :)

Off the top I should declare that before I lived at Jones and Dundas in Ward 30 - I lived at Main and Lumsden; my family still lives there, I visit them often. I commuted to work from Main and Lumsden, usually to College and Bay for several years - by bicycle. I know this neighbourhood. Like the back of my hand.

I took the Felstead route from Jones and Dundas. Neat that I took the planned Multi Use Paths through the near Oakvale neighbourhood area - right across the frozen grass ... just to see if the route was possible.

Came up to Danforth before East Lynne Park and rode the Danforth just after 6:00pm. Cars were parked already so I took the right lane in the primary position during what was essentially still rush hour.

No issues.

I got to Main and Danforth bout 6:20 pm and found the door with the notice on it - and actually held it open for a couple coming in. A few minutes later - as I was sitting on  rotting stack off 4X4's surrounding a struggling plant and chugging back a litre of water - a couple I had passed earlier on the Danforth walked in looking for the same *Brand* keywords on the door sign - and noting they did not exist -  were different than the key words Consultation had posted on the sign as they did in the press releases (not the first time this, not-walking-the-process has resulted in this --- in my recent experience).

Chilled out for another few minutes by going to Tim Horton's for a large double-double; then hit the phalanx..

At the door they asked me to write my personal information on a sheet that would be seen by at least ten other people who came in after me. I noted this to the scribe there and they grunted as usual. (note: this a pointer about process to staff). The grunt loaded me up with a bunch of maps and stuff - an pointd my attention to little coloured pull-off glued circle-tabs that I was to post on the display inside, in order to indicate my vote for benches and/or bike parking ring and posts.



Got inside the room and saw that there were no tables to set down all the stuff I had been handed ... so I went out the back door into the 'ally' (actually a planned pedestrian-way amoungst the building-scape - that architects from the 70's (bad architects from the 70's - badly-focused architects from the 70's) laid-in there) where when you lay down your planning flotsam-and-jetsam, light up a cigarette, sip your double-double and cross your legs sitting on a pile of shipping flats you found in a corner out of the effects of a wind tunnel 60kph wind the 16 story buildings there create - residents passing you by look at you like you are a drug dealer, a mark, a hustle - and avert their children's gaze away from your direction and hurry to their concrete media cubicles.


Beck - Loser

Beck - Loser from Alvaro Molina on Vimeo.

So ...talked to BIA photog 'Graham' first - ran our narrative by him (probably the best narrative I gave all night). He's a cyclist - and I picked up on that immediately - he asked great questions that prepared me for what was to come. Thanks Graham.

I asked him to point out BIA people, and Planners. My goal was to lay the vision on the planners and present the thing to the BIA people - and let the Councillors (who already knew we were coming) know we were there.

The Tragically Hip - Poets

First I looked for Tags-around-the-shoulders - and meet Pam (I think - sorry :/) - from Public Consultation. After miss-phrasing my concern; and greeting the professional snear that said you don't belong here, I was able to get to the critical question,

'So what is Consultation's role in all this?'

That brightened things up - and we had a great talk that included how Transportation Cycling Infrastructure and Programs Unit (CIP) hadn't responded to the call to participate in this consultation process.

Let's be clear here, we are at a time where politically - on Avenues - Bike Lanes are not going to happen.. As a result - for those trying to complete the Cities' transportation network in a multi-modal fashion - money for bike infrastructure (which hasn't been cut) is evolving to Trails and On-Street & Informal Connections (re: contra-flow lanes on residential one-ways for example; and the Filtered-Accesses like on Felstead Ave - which Ward 30 Bikes is championing ... and like I've been lobbying for since 2010 at Biking Toronto - at the Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki - With a very limited budget and capacity, CIP has to prioritize.

The Process Revealed - Notes:

Well, I tired. Hope you liked the music.

Here's the notes (will write them up properly, later soon):

Eglinton Avenue reconstruction based cross-section drawings - base on field measurements near Toronto Tool Library - Saturday April 12th 2014:

My notes - written 2014-04-16


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

City of Toronto Bicycle Count Data - Plotted on Line Graphs

Ward 30 Bikes asked the City of Toronto Open Data portal for any Bike Count Data they had for Ward 30.

We received five data sets:
  • Martin Goodman Trail East (5 days)
  • Lake Shore / Logan (9 days)
  • Lower Don Trail at Queen Street Bridge (6 days)
  • Bloor & Castle Frank (1 day)
(received but not included in this article is the "East Don Trail" data at Wynford Heights Crescent near Eglinton Avenue)

Her's a Map showing the locations of the Count data that Open Data sent us.

View Bike Count Locations in a larger map

Used the excel data table to make 9 graphs of 3 days of the data at three locations - the 10th graph image is produced by Transportation Services. It represents 24 hours of data collection at Bloor & Castle Frank on  July 23 2010;  I've annotated the image of it with the necessary reference information that was also part of the Transportation Division's .pdf.

The data comes in .xls tables - like this one:

Also of some relevance to Ward 30 is the 2010 Bicycle Screen Count - that info is at this link at the bottom of the page.

Martin Goodman Trail East

The "Martin Goodman Trail East" file contains data for July 1st to 5th, 2013 - 24 hour data collection on the Martin Goodman Trail at Coxwell Ave - Eastbound and Westbound.

Plotted is July 1st, 2nd and 3rd - on three line graphs:

Automated Bike Count - Martin Goodman Trail East at Ashbridge's Bay Park - Saturday 2013-06-01 - W30B Graph

Automated Bike Count - Martin Goodman Trail East at Ashbridge's Bay Park - Sunday 2013-06-02 - W30B Graph

Automated Bike Count - Martin Goodman Trail East at Ashbridge's Bay Park - Monday 2013-06-03 - W30B Graph

Lake Shore / Logan

This count is over 10 days in 2013 - October 2nd to 10th.

Plotted is Wednesday, October 2nd to Friday October 4th:

Automated Bike Count - Lake Shore Blvd Bike Trail at Logan Ave - Wednesday October 2 2013

Automated Bike Count - Lake Shore Blvd Bike Trail at Logan Ave - Thursday October 3 2013

Automated Bike Count - Lake Shore Blvd Bike Trail at Logan Ave - Friday October 4 2013

Lower Don Trail Queen St. E. Bridge

This count was preformed over 5 days in 2012 - Tuesday, September 25th to Sunday September 30th. Plotted is the first 3 days. Weekend numbers nearly doubled.

Automated Bicycle Counts at Lower Don Trail just North of the Queen St. stairs - Tuesday September 25 2012

Automated Bicycle Counts at Lower Don Trail just North of the Queen St. stairs - Wednesday September 26 2012

Automated Bicycle Counts at Lower Don Trail just North of the Queen St. stairs - Thursday September 27 2012

Bloor & Castle Frank

I believe this location was part of Transportation Division Cycling Infrastructure and Program Unit's Downtown Screen Count.

Summary of Automatic Bicycle Counts Bloor St. at Castle Frank - Eastbound and Westbound July 23 2010


City of Toronto "Open Data" page:

(under "B" for Bicycle)
"Transportation Services, Cycling Infrastructure & Programs - Bicycle Count and Locations" |

2010 Downtown Bicycle Screen Count (at address above, see links to file sets)

Michael Holloway
Ward 30 Bikes