Friday, May 30, 2014

Lake Shore Blvd / Leslie Intersection, east-side #BikeTO/#WalkTO Detour Crossing STILL a Hazard

I scouted the new construction detours at the Lake Shore Boulevard and Leslie Street Intersection on the evening of Wednesday, May 28 (4:30pm - 6:00pm). On the Friday of the previous week the @TTCLeslieBarns Leslie Street reconstruction detours were moved so that now the north-side Cyclist/Pedestrian intersection is closed - and the south side Cyclist/Pedestrian Crossing is open.

The intersection accommodates the convergence of two important east-west commute cycleways - the Martin Goodman Trail and the Lower Don Recreation Trail - which connect Scarborough and the East Side to the Downtown Core and points west.

BEFORE - South-Side-Closure - Leslie/Lake Shore Boulevard Detour Configuration (since December 2013)

AFTER - North-Side-Closure - Leslie/Lake Shore Boulevard Detour Configuration (reconfigured Friday, May 23, 2014)

Since December 2013 - when the northbound lanes of Leslie Street were closed on the south side of the Intersection I've been doing walk-abouts of this part of the site and taking video of the way Motor Vehicles and Cyclist/Pedestrians are interacting at the east-side Cyclist/Pedestrian Crossing point.

When the south side of the intersection was closed the Crossing came out of a 'doorway' in the construction fencing, 22 metres east of the actual intersection where motor vehicles were actually do the act of turning; 22 metres from where Cyclist/Pedestrian were being beckoned out into the Crossing by the blinking Walk pedestrian sign and Green Cyclist's signal - out into speeding traffic turning eastbound on LSB from northbound Leslie Street traffic flow.

This new configuration does many of the same things.

Close-up of the Leslie/Lake Shore Boulevard Detour Configuration - May 23, 2014

Here's a Video I took of the Cyclist/Pedestrian Crossing on Wednesday, May 28th at 5:30pm:

Note the 'interviewee' says in response to my question, Little scarey corner eh?".

He retorts, "Always".

Leslie and Lake Shore Boulevard - cyclist & pedestrian east-side crossing 5:30pm, May 28, 2014

I have noted - and others have been telling me of late, including the guy in the video - that this corner was dangerous even before the construction detours. When Trial Users coming from the south and from the east approach their northbound crossing right-of-way - vehicles turning from northbound Leslie are looking west on LSB, looking for a spot to slip into the fast flow on red. They don't see the Trail Users - and 'Almosts' happen Every Time you try to cross there with the Cyclist/Pedestrian Crossing signals on green. 

A 'Dutch Intersection' type configuration here would be the solution: A bump-out that forces motorists to slow to a crawl to make the corner - and as a result, come face-to-face with Trail Users as the motorist complete their turn and the Trail Users come to their right-of-way cross point.

South-Side Closure Configuration Problems

In the earlier construction configuration I asked Transportation Services to change the signal phasing to give cyclists and pedestrians a head-start - so they would be in the middle (or through) the intersection when motorists finally rounded the corner eastbound - and thus they wouldn't be as much of a surprise to motorists as they would be plainly visible out there.

I also asked Transportation to consider moving the right-turn Stop Line on Leslie, northbound. right-turn-lane onto eastbound LSB - back from the intersection as much as possible. I suggested moving it back to the usual stop line before the construction configuration (in the old configuration this would have been 17m back from where it was). This I conjectured, would have acted as a Cyclist/Pedestrian Crossing head-start signal phasing - without changing the signal phasing.

I also commented to Transportation Staff that the reason a Cyclist/Pedestrian Crossing user hadn't been hit up to that point was the lucky configuration of the corner there - being as sharp as it was around the retaing wall for the hole in the ground, it - just by happen-stance - slowed cars on that right turn just so that they weren't going so fast that they couldn't stop as cyclists and pedestrians 'popped' out of the construction fencing at the south-to-north entrance to the crossing.

My original idea that I asked Transportation to look into - and the best solution then - and now - is to put a Big Wide Yellow Flashing Crosswalk Sign across the wires supporting the traffic signals right above the east-side Cyclist/Pedestrian Crossing.

The only things done about this since December 2013 were done by @TTCLeslieBarns and Pomerleau, the TTC contractor. They made construction infrastructure changes to provide better sight-lines for pedestrians - so they could see that the intersection was extremely dangerous place to try and cross:
  • More signs,
  • A no right turn sign on read at northbound Leslie,
  • Some slight jigging of the construction fencing,
  • Cutting down of the construction retaining walls between the intersection and the crossing point. 

This - putting the onus on the vulnerable users with right-of-way - instead of what is the proper remedy, to instal infrastructure that tells motor vehicle users they are approaching a Cyclist/Pedestrian Crossing which has right-of-way in this situation.

North-Side Closure Configuration Problems: The Same - or Worse

Now with the North-side of the intersection closed, several new issues arise which put cyclists and pedestrians in the same peril - or worse peril:

Now the southbound lanes of Leslie are open and a left turn are allowed, so motor vehicles can turn eastbound onto L:SB as well as northbound traffic eastbound onto LSB - thus increasing the number of traffic vectors impacting the east-side Cyclist/Pedestrian Crossing.

Plus, now the previously sharp corner at the northbound Leslie right turn lane onto eastbound LSB, is a softer angled turn - so motorists can take the turn at a higher rate of speed as they swing around the corner and accelerate for 22 metres towards the Cyclist/Pedestrian Crossing.

This construction detour configured Cyclist/Pedestrian Crossing is essentially a mid-block crosswalk (on a fast Boulevard) ... Let's sign it that way please.

Michael Holloway
Ward 30 Bikes

Credits - Links

All images are screen-shot edits from the Construction Liaison Groups Meeting #9 Presentation PDF - from Meeting #9, held Thursday, May 1, 2014 at South Riverdale Community Health Centre, 955 Queen Street East.

TTC Leslie Barns - Construction Liaison Group page:

Leslie Barns  & Connection Track - Construction Liaison Group Meeting #9 - May 1, 2014 |


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