Thursday, October 29, 2015

Parking your bike when you bike to the park

Riverdale Park East
Recently, we found out that there may be some money in the City of Toronto Parks department budget for cycling infrastructure, including bike parking. As a result, we started to bike around Ward 30 to see what the state of bike parking was in our parkland.

What we found was a bit of a surprise: most of our local parks have no bike parking at all. This is particularly true in smaller parks. Meanwhile, even our larger parks often have very limited bike parking stands, and the parking that does exist is often located far from the areas of highest use, such as playgrounds, pools, recreation centres, community gardens, or skating rinks. 

We would like to see bike parking provided in all of our local parks, even smaller parkettes and playgrounds. All of Ward 30 parks could use additional bike parking stands, with placement prioritized near major destinations. Bike parking should also be prioritized in parks that are near bike routes or local shops or other destinations. Opportunities should also be sought to install bike parking that is protected from the elements, either via covered bike parking, or more secure bicycle parking and storage.

Our parks are major destinations for local residents, allowing them opportunities for recreation, exercise and, relaxation; to connect with nature; and for meeting neighbours and friends. In keeping with City policy, cycling should be encouraged for local transportation, and providing more safe and convenient places for people to lock their bikes while using park facilities can help do this.

Below is a preliminary audit of the state of bike parking in the parks of Ward 30. It is by no means a final statement about the how much, where, and what type of bike parking we should have. And it's quite possible we missed some bike parking stands. So please, let us know what you think. Which parks do you frequently ride your bike to? Where would you like to see new bike parking? Please get in touch and let us know!

We'll also be doing a push for bike parking elsewhere in Ward 30 as well - stay tuned!

Ward 30 Parks – Preliminary Audit of Bike Parking, October 2015

Greenwood Park
Current bike parking stands: 0
Comments: There is no dedicated bike parking to be found anywhere in this large park, despite it being a major destination with a swimming pool, skating pad, community garden, dog park, and playing fields.
Recommendations: Add at least 10 bike parking stands throughout the park, particularly near major destinations such as pool/skating pad (northwest corner), near dog park (southwest corner), and along Greenwood Avenue and Dundas Street East.

Jimmie Simpson Park
Current bike parking stands: 1 rack with 6 spots
Comments: Current parking consists of one large rack with space for approximately six bicycles near the entrance to the Recreation Centre. This rack is old & poor quality. There are also additional spots on Queen Street East, near, but not within, the park.
Recommendations: Add 5-10 new bike parking stands, mostly at the southeast corner of the park.

Joel Weeks Park
One of the bike parking options at Joel Weeks park
Current bike parking stands: 10
Comments: Current parking is a good mix of ring & post stands, and more interesting (though not recommended) “corkscrew” bike racks. However, they are poorly located. On our visit, only a few bikes were in the current racks, but 6 bikes were locked to poles at the north end of the park, where there is not currently any dedicated parking.
Recommendations: Add bike parking stands at the north end of the park. Also consider relocating current racks so they are used more effectively.

Leslie Grove Park
Current bike parking stands: 0
Comments: Although there is parking along Queen Street East near the park, there is none directly adjacent to or within the park itself (bike parking starts where the retail frontage begins, in front of Tango Palace Coffee Shop).
Recommendations: Add 4-8 bike parking stands, split between south and northeast ends of the park.

South entrance to Monarch Park
Monarch Park
Current bike parking stands: 7
Comments: Current ring & post parking is all near pool, at the centre of the park.
Recommendations: Add new bike parking stands around the edges of the park, where cyclists are likely to enter, near bike/walking paths, as well as near key destinations other than the pool within the park.

Riverdale Park East
Current bike parking stands: 14
Comments: Current ring & post stands are distributed throughout the park, spread out along Broadview (5), in front and behind St. Matthew's clubhouse (4), and at the entrance to the pool & rink in the north end (5).
Recommendations: Add 5-10 bike parking spots. More could be used along Broadview, especially towards the north, so that they are evenly spread out for those who congregate at the top of and on the hill. A few more bike stands could also be used at the south end of the park. Additional bike parking should be included as part of upcoming renovations to the north end of the park near the pool, rink, tennis courts, and playground.

Tommy Thompson Park / Leslie Spit
Comments: Although we did not do a complete audit of the park, there is very limited parking at this major cycling destination. Signs prohibiting cycling are found at the entrance to walking trails throughout the park, but there is nowhere safe to leave your bike at these locations.
Recommendations: Add at least 20-30 bike parking stands throughout the park, just as a start. Priority locations include the entrance of the park, wherever walking trails split off from the main paved trail, as well as key destinations within the park, such as the visitor centre, viewing points, and the lighthouse.

Withrow Park
Current bike parking stands: 5
Comments: All current ring & post bike parking is at southwest corner. Added recently.
Recommendations: Add additional bike parking stands near major destinations within the park, such as the Farmers’ Market site, clubhouse, tennis courts, playgrounds, ice rink, sports fields and ball diamonds.

Thompson Street Parkette has no bike parking, but is located
very close to the busy Queen East & Broadview intersection
Small parkettes & playgrounds (e.g., John Chang Parkette, Matty Eckler Playground, McCleary Playground, Thompson Street Parkette)
Comments: We could not find any parkette or playground with bike parking, although many are located in good locations near stores or other destinations.
Recommendations: Add at least 2 ring & post stands or equivalent bike parking to each smaller park, more in well-located or busier small parks.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hello beautiful!

Spotted on Queen St West,  is this the loveliest bike rack in all of Toronto?

This gem is outside of fluevog shoes on Queen West.
If you've seen better,  post on the comments!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Councillor Fletcher's Fall Newsletter

Councillor Paula Fletcher published her Fall newsletter today.

Have a look, inside she's included some of the work we've been doing on cycling matters in the neighbourhood including Bells On Danforth, the Felstead cut through, and the Dundas bike lanes :)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Advocacy in Action: Ramp to Lower Don Trail

It's coming! Success!

Remember our ongoing work on the Lower Don Trail? This struggle to access the Lower Don Trail will soon be a thing of the past!

First Attempt
In 2012-2013, when the City of Toronto commissioned a Master Plan for the lower Don Trail, public consultations were held. At that time we advocated for accessible ramps to the trail.  But when the final plan was released we were all disappointed to see that more staircases were proposed to access the Lower Don Trail at Gerrard Street East and Dundas Street East, but without including ramps to provide universal access.

Second Attempt
Not satisfied with the result, advocates from across the community came together. With Ward 30 Bike's Michael Halloway taking the lead.  We did some scouting, mesasuring, calculating, and sketching, and came to the conclusion that a ramp option is absolutely viable. Ward 30 Bikes authored the April 2014 report “Creating Accessible Connections: Ramps to the Lower Don Trail at Dundas and Gerrard,” which was endorsed by Walk Toronto, Cycle Toronto Trails Working Group, Ward 28 Cycling Advocacy Group and Ward 29 Bikes. The Lower Don Trail project team reviewed the proposal and other community comments received. The project team unfortunately concluded that ramps could not be included in the project.

Third Times' the Charm
Still not satisfied, we took our concerns to our local councillor Paula Fletcher who in turn organized a site visit and then put in a formal request to the Parks and Environment Committee to reassess the accessibility issues.  Walk Toronto also submitted its own “Lower Don Trail Accessibility” report in August 2014. 

Paula Fletcher shares the good news at Bells on Danforth
And then we heard the good news.  In March 2015, the city confirmed that a budget had been allocated to make the pedestrian bridge at Riverdale Park fully accessible with a ramp! Paula officially made the public announcement in June at the Bells on Danforth ride, and the design consultation process is underway (yes, we are part of the design process!). If all goes to plan, we could have the bridge done by next year! Stay tuned for results of the design process and celebrations when it opens.

Thank you to all the advocates involved!  Ward 28 and Ward 29 bike advocacy groups, Cycle Toronto's Trails Working Group, Walk Toronto, South Riverdale Community Health Centre, the Riverside BIA and everyone in the community who voiced their support for accessible ramps.  

Get involved
Want to be part of projects like this?  Join us! Help bring positive change to the community, and positive improvements to our neighbourhood!   We meet the first Tuesday of every month at the Ralph Thornton Centre.

** note, this is a post I thought we'd published back in July, turns out it was still sitting in draft!  Oops... it's old news now, but it's still exciting news to share! **

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Better Placed 'Bike Rooms' needed in StudioCentre proposal on Eastern

 - to reduce the rate of increase in neighbourhood motor vehicle volumes 

Ward 30 Bikes' "Eastern Avenue Working Group" is making steady progress on our submission to City Planning about the proposed StudioCentre development on the south side of Eastern Ave between Pape and Larchmount.

From our still-in-draft report, this is a snippet about the Bike Rooms indicated on the drawings near loading docks in 5 buildings:

Bike (parking) Rooms in drawings submitted by StudioCentre are located right next to loading docks. This is the worst place to put them.

Best Practice says they should be view-able from the street like an apartments' front entrance door --- and especially not in a narrow service alley shared with loading docks and a parking garage ramp connected to the street grid via a rear roadway intended mainly for solid waste and delivery trucks.  

As an example of this (and other*) best practice - translated into a retail/office box development context, I sketched a better placed StudioCentre Bike Room on their most recently submitted ground elevation drawings (June 2015).

Full Size:

As an example, I moved the Bike Room in Building 03 (southwest corner of Eastern and new lower Caroline) such that it now it has:
  • Two sets of double wide doors right beside the main entrance to the buildings' Foyer (perhaps grocery store style sensor-opening sliding doors?);
  • Two doorways to the Foyer, one that leads directly to the elevator banks, and one that leads to the stairs (totally integrated);
  • Propose a glass street-front wall, and a glass divider wall between the Bike Room and the Foyer (this keeps 'eyes' on the Bike Room and advertises the developer's sustainable transportation amenity - which helps to create buy-in by tenants and employees);
  • Propose a washroom in each Bike Room - which should include a shower and lockers (might consider a cost effective, unisex facility: common counter and sinks; locking, single toilet rooms; locking shower room; a wall of half-high lockers).

* (and other best practice about bike parking) - separate motor vehicle spaces and bike spaces wherever possible; locate bike parking as close to the main entrance as possible; create a safe, accessible, well lit, calm egress to the amenity; create a warm, bright, visible, welcoming bike parking space - via:

City of Toronto May 2008 | "Guidelines for the Design and Management of Bicycle Parking Facilities" - ideas sprinkled through-out the report, specifically see Part 2.4.4 - Indoor Bicycle Parking (Bike Room) - p. 10 |


Image source: 629 Eastern Developer Changes (presentation at a June 25, 2015 public meeting at Revivals' newly renovated digital arts studio space off lower Winnifred) |


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Separation solves all Modes

Cyclists look out for cars all the time - but it seems, drivers don't notice.

Pinch points created by 'bump-outs'

I just watched a cyclist come off off the light at Queen and Leslie, the cyclist came off the light faster the cab driver, and as he approached the curb lane parking he paced his ride while eyeing the cabs' progress to the right of his progress.

The cab matched the cyclists' speed until the pinch-point and then, at the point where the pinch point was most dangerous - overtook him.


If there was separate infrastructure (a painted line) then the cab would have over-taken the cyclist right off - no pinch-point.



Monday, July 27, 2015

Complete Intersections in the context of the StudioCentre proposed development at 629 Eastern

by Michael Holloway
Lead - W30B Eastern Avenue working group

I created this image that attempts a close-to-scale drawing corrected to 180 degrees of the StudioCentre proposed Eastern-Caroline intersection.  The new street south is the same width as Eastern Avenue.

Eastern-Caroline Complete Intersection template.jpg

Copy it and paste it into a mark-up program (like MS Paint) and add your Complete Intersection treatment ideas - and post at the Google Doc we have up for discussion and writing of a report concerning the StudioCentre transportation context.

Google Doc - StudioCentre: Active Transportation Context |

EMAIL Ward30Bikes and request editing permission.

The latest proposal includes bike lanes on new lower Caroline as a two-way roadway; existing Caroline remains one-way southbound with a Contraflow Bicycle Lane northbound. At the public meeting in June 2015, in a presentation by the BA Group Transportation specialist, several treatments were proposed for the north side of the intersection intended to prevent southbound Caroline motor vehicle traffic from proceeding south through the intersection (bikes excepted). The intersection is to be a signaled intersection with left turn lanes on westbound Eastern and on northbound Caroline.

Treatments of nearby intersections (Pape, Winnifred, Larchmount, Berkshire, Rushbrooke) to create connections north-south; and to better allow exits and entrances to the Eastern Avenue roadway are also a part of this process (thought we should start at the key, central intersection of the development proposal).

Michael Holloway
July 27, 2015

Tomorrow: Cycling Network Planning Ride with Cycling Unit Staff; 6pm - Bay/Queen to Woodbine

Meet at the globe sculpture near the northwest corner of Nathan Phillips Square at 6pm - and ride east to Woodbine.

Chris Bouchard's Facebook post from July 23rd:

All are welcome to join this Tuesday's Cycling Network Plan Scoping Ride, no need to RSVP, just show up.

This week (July 28), let's head on an eastward trajectory over to Woodbine Ave.
Same start time; 6pm, (we should wrap by around 8).
Same start location; City Hall - by the Globe on the North West corner of Nathan Phillips Square.

We are working on a new plan to identify opportunities, challenges and priorities so that we may connect, grow, and renew our Cycling Network over the Next 10 years.

Thanks for helping spread the word



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bike Share has made it to Ward30!

Look what opened up last week just east of the DVP at Toronto Bike Share's maintenance depot:

Bike share now available on Dundas East between Munro and Hamilton - Just east of the DVP

It's not a huge fleet at this location... but it's a start!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bike Month 2015 - that's a wrap!

With Bike Month officially over, here's a recap of all the things we were up to:

Top Row:  Bike Month kicked off with bike to school week.  Ward30 was there for a hugely popular Bike Train to Withrow Public School.  Ward30 was also there with Greenwood secondary school.  For Bike to Work day we helped marshal rides along the Danforth and Dundas East (with a cheeky cut through the Eaton's Centre pictured above) heading to city hall for the big pancake breakfast

Middle Row: June 6th was the big Bells on Danforth bike ride! Paula Fletcher spoke and shared the great news that the Riverdale Pedestrian bridge staircase down to the Lower Don Trail will be upgraded with a switchback ramp!  Amazing right?  Stay tuned, Ward30 members are part of the design process.   The Bells ride was a huge success and ended at a party with our friends at the Crossroads BIA.  Meanwhile momentum continued on the #danforthlovesbikes campaign where as of today over 50 businesses are on board!

3rd Row:  no time to rest - after Bells on Danforth we're off to Riverside where the BIA hosted an amazing Eats & Beats streetfestival.  Ward30bikes was helping out at the Bike It Block Party on Monro Street. With our friends at Switchback Cyclery we did a bike tune up and kids bike rodeo!  Big thank you to Quince Flowers for hosting a bike decoration station and to Chiropractic who had the blender fixed to a stationary bike for pedal powered smoothies!

4th Row:  later in Bike Month we were part of the 174 (!) people who took time to write into PWIC letters of support for the extension of Richmond and Adelaide bike lanes.  Moments of sadness at the Cycle Toronto lead die-in at city hall.  In the dark times of city cycling, we came together as a community with set meet up locations to ride en-mass to city all.  Hundreds of people were there.  Back out in the community you could find us at Leslieville Tree Festival and the Leslieville Farmers Market .  And  Waterfront Toronto's Queens Quay Re-opening festivities topped off bike month for us.   If you look closely, you can see Ward30bikes co-chair Brandon in this news clip

Fwew!  Another Bike Month over, but the summer has just started. There is so much more to come.

Ride on, everyone!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Eastern Avenue Don River to Queen-Kingston - Proposed Developments Context

By Michael Holloway
Ward 30 Bikes member

In order to frame the issue more clearly, I made a Eastern Avenue Context Map.

(Full Size:

Together these development proposals along (so far) 3/4's of the length of Eastern Ave offer a huge opportunity for us to create a Spine Complete Street and at the same time remediate a major barrier to access to the waterfront along the bottom of our City, and our neighbourhood.

When considering the potential remember, when we talk about a roadway we must consider how it acts both as a connector and as a barrier. Right now Eastern acts as a barrier to east-west cycle traffic because it is not connected west and east, and it also is designed such that getting onto it and off of it, is extremely hazardous. Eastern acts a barrier north-south because is is a 'built-for-speed', 'move-cars-fast' designed street.

Induced traffic via the FirstGulf's Project21 and StudioCentre's developments; plus much higher residential density at the 3 now-in-process condo developments on Eastern (and several nearby on Queen St) means if left as is, Eastern will become a greater barrier, a greater hazard, than it is now.

Not to mention the fine-filtering that increased volumes will induce on the local neighbourhood streets that run off of it (also a barrier for cyclist traffic).

The TTC Russell Yards bottle-neck at Connaught to Minto is a problem and an opportunity. It could be a dangerous pinch point, or it could be the Nut of a beginning of a process of calming Eastern east of Leslie; and the beginning of a vision to create Bike Lanes east of Leslie.

Woodfield Rd is an excellent connector from the top of East York at the Cosburn Bike Lanes, and travels almost straight down to the LDRT on quiet residential streets. As such Woodfield is an opportunity to calm Eastern just west of the high-speed chicane there leading to the new pinch point at Connaught that the TTC is constructing right now.

Michael Holloway
July 4, 2015


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cyclist / Pedestrian Turning Count at Rushbrooke & Eastern

By Michael Holloway
Ward 30 Bikes member

The Image below is the results of a Turning Count I did on Tuesday, June 30 at the corner of Rushbrooke and Eastern between 6pm and 7pm (light spitting rain).

The count demonstrates what can be seen by standing and watching the intersection for 5 minutes: in one hour about 50 pedestrians came out of the neighbourhood (mostly via Rushbrooke) in order to cross into FreshCo Parking Lot.

Also of note is the improvised pedestrian crossing just east of the Garage (this is where a pedestrian was killed in 2010).

While I was there two people (separately) stopped to vocalize their support for a Crosswalk with signals. They were both so passionate about it they gave me their names, addresses and phone numbers! (both live at Jones/Queen).

It's a complex intersection - any questions about how to read the count, please ask.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

8 Concerns around the StudioCentres' proposed development at 629 Eastern Avenue.

Community Meeting #2 is TONIGHT!
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - 629 Eastern Avenue

Some Concerns:
1) 'Back Lot' is isolated from the community - will be difficult to police - not a public space - but rather a security guard protected private space; I think the space needs to be connected to the neighbourhood to the north, create an inviting public space (1 idea I heard at the winter meeting - move the 'Back Lot' to the north perimeter of the site?);

2) Small amount of Park space is being added to the community at Caroline (on the corner of the central transportation nexus of the proposed site) - this is badly placed and represents not nearly enough public benefit;

3) Multi-use Path on new Lower Larchmount is unconnected to the street grid north - including Bruce Junior Public School which will be disconnected from a safe north-south signaled intersection (signals at the bottom of Larchmount to be moved to Caroline, 1 block west);

4) Parking Numbers indicate the development will Induce traffic to the area from far away - this is the wrong sort of development for dense urban core neighbourhood;

5a) While we generally support a fine grained approach to the street grid (short walkable blocks) the Induced Traffic nature of the proposed development means the eastbound Eastern Avenue Bike Lane will be interrupted by 2 new streets south off Eastern - What sort of treatments are proposed to keep Bike Lane users safe at these intersections, create walkable connections north-south? - What kind of traffic numbers are expected at those intersections?;

5b) The LDRT on the Lineal Park on the north side of the Lake Shore Boulevard will have to cross 3 new intersections and one existing that will now be open 24/7 - What kind of treatments are suggested to make those intersections safe for Trail users? - What kind of traffic numbers are expected at those intersections?;

6) Large Retail square area, and extensive parking spot numbers indicate that this is not a 'Good Jobs' employment development (except for the film jobs at Revival 629 Studios - which is existing, refurbished).

7) Because of security concerns, the Film Studio section of the development will be separate from the rest of the development; thus the eastern portion of the proposal is entirely a Low Wage service sector jobs oriented development - Are good ideas like a Film Tech School still on the table? Moving forward? Does the so called, 'Flex Space' in the proposal support possible Film Tech schools?

City of Toronto | Development Applications | 629 Eastern |
(click on Supporting Documentation to see badly labelled list of Applicant documents - which upon download aren't labelled in English, but rather by file number - so that you have to label them one by one as you download them :/ )

StudioCentre |
StudioCentre - Downloads |


Monday, June 22, 2015

Eastern Avenue Pedestrian Crossing and Intersection Calming at Rushbrooke Avenue

By Michael Holloway
Ward 30 Bikes
Monday, June 22, 2015

The image is a proposal to add a pedestrian crossing across Eastern Avenue at the bottom of Rushbrooke Avenue. What do you think?

Image mark-up from a screen capture of a detail of the intersection via Toronto Maps v2 (

Eastern Avenue is a designed-for-speed Avenue with Bike Lanes on both sides from Logan to Leslie which has a couple of dangerous chicanes (at Rushbrooke to Leslie; and at Woodfield Rd to Coxwell).

On W30B's Jane's Walk this spring* (which Ward 30 Councillor Paula Fletcher attended) concerning the Ryerson Study we commissioned** - which visioned connecting the Jones Ave Bike Lanes to the Lake via Rushbrooke, Mosely and Leslie - it was not deemed possible to create the route that the Ryerson Students detailed due to a couple of issues.

But one element of the vision which did appear to have legs was a safe crossing for pedestrians (and cyclists) at the bottom of Rushbrooke. I've detailed through the years, many examples of people using Rushbrooke to walk south to the Big Box stores to do their shopping - and finding it quite difficult to cross Eastern Avenue there because of the fast design of the roadway; plus the chicane in the roadway which makes sight lines for both drivers and pedestrians difficult.

During the Jane's Walk a pedestrian crossing came up at the bottom of Rushbrooke as we watched several pedestrians trying to actually run the gauntlet there. Northbound pedestrians loaded with shopping bags - and if they're also parents - with strollers, can be seen having an even more difficult time crossing the roadway.

The image attached is a proposal for discussion, to add a pedestrian crossing across Eastern Avenue at the bottom of Rushbrooke.

I note that at T&EY Community Council a motion*** is in process to create Island Parking on the east side of Rushbrooke to enable more parking on that street for the residents who live there. The proposal also notes the traffic calming effects of Island Parking.

Also of note is item 3 of the motion:
Community Council Decision
The Toronto and East York Community Council - June 16, 2015:
3: Requested the Director, Transportation Services, Toronto and East York District to undertake a review once the Leslie Barns and connecting track is operational and the cycling contraflow review has been completed.
(my emphasis)

So an amendment that talks to the Ryerson Student's Proposal for a Contra-flow on Rushbrooke? W30B has no knowledge of this.

After some quick number crunching - if the Island Parking goes in, the Ryerson Students proposal for a contra-flow on Rushbrooke goes out the window - because there is not enough width on Rushbrooke to have permanent west side parking, east side Parking Islands and a contra-flow beside the northbound traffic lane at the proposed 3.3 metre width (even at 3m there is not enough room - under a metre).

The drawing notes the start point of the most southerly of the four 2-car, west side, traffic islands proposed.

To make the westbound Eastern Avenue Bike Lanes safer (and to allow less confident eastbound cyclists a route north), I have added another street calming proposal to the drawing, a big bump-out on the northeast corner of the intersection; this plus widened sidewalks on the south side of Eastern Avenue creates a shorter distance across the roadway for pedestrians - and with this, a signaled pedestrian crossing from the northeast corner of Rushbrooke to the south side of Eastern just west of Mosely - at the westbound start of the Eastern Avenue chicane there.

What do you think?

* Jane's Walk 2015 | Connecting Riverdale to the Lake - A Quick Start Proposal |
** Connecting Greater Riverdale to the Lake (pdf 69.25MB) |
***  TE7.88 Parking Regulations - Rushbrooke Avenue |

Post at this blog: "W30B Jane's Walk: Connecting Riverdale to the Lake - A Quick Start Proposal" |


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Smart Centre's 629 Eastern Development - Stormwater Management Opportunities

By Michael Holloway
Ward 30 Bikes
Sunday, June 21, 2015

This is part of a series of articles exploring the lost rivers of east Toronto, and how their still existing flows and stratification under the built form can be harnessed to more cheaply and more sustainably manage increases in the extent and regularity of extreme weather events due to climate change.

I'm reading the updated Functional Servicing & Stage-1 Stormwater Management Report by StudioCentres about their proposed development at 629 Eatsern Ave -

Community Meeting coming up this week:
June 24th,
7pm, at
629 Eastern
Paula Feltcher e-newsletter | StudioCentre development application at 629 Eastern Ave. |

It looks to me like Smart Centre (and perhaps also City Staff) aren't aware that there is a river running under the west side of Winnifred Avenue at Eastern Avenue.

From StudioCentre | Downloads | Functional Servicing & Stage-1 Stormwater Management Report (page 9 of 79):

(my emphasis)
3.2 Stormwater Management

Existing Conditions

There is an existing 1050mm diameter storm subtrunk sewer located within a service easement situated on the western property limits of the subject site that flows southerly from Eastern Avenue to Lake Shore Boulevard East and services the western portion of the existing site (i.e: Revival Site). It is our understanding based on discussions with City of Toronto staff that this existing 1050mm diameter storm sewer typically runs at capacity under minor storm events and is approximately one third full during dry weather conditions. Given that the subject lands are approximately 1.0 – 2.0 metres above the level of the lake, it can be inferred that this storm subtrunk sewer naturally receives backflow from the Lake Ontario. In addition to this 1050mm storm sewer, there is an existing 450mm diameter storm sewer that consists of the minor local system on Eastern Avenue that appears to primarily provide drainage for the roadway.

The always 1/3 full storm sewer on the western extent of the Studio Centre property is not I believe, just 1/3 full under dry conditions due to seepage from high lake front water table - it is very likely that it is 1/3 full all the time because the river that flows in a line from Dundas/Boston down to Eastern/Winnifred is flowing through it!

It is likely that the river has been redirected into sewer pipes as it crosses the Queen Street Trunk sewer and then again at Eastern where it then flows back to Pape and down the 1 metre subtrunk line noted above.

Interestingly - the flow from that 1 metre trunk line then travels down to Lake Shore where it connects to an east-west trunk sewer that then turns south under Carlaw and empties into the Turning Basin. You can see this flow any day of the year; it comes out just under the water surface, at the northwest corner of the Turning Basin, about 50 metres south of the corner of Commissioners and Carlaw.

My line here is about bringing the lost rivers of east Toronto back to the surface as part of a sustainable stormwater management template for the entire South of Eastern and Port Lands area - including this article on the StudioCentres development at Pape - but also with regards to the First Gulf development on the old UniLever lands - under which a river once flowed into the historical Ashbridges Bay at approximately between Saulter St and Bouchette just west of McCleary Park.

If I were designing a large parcel of land like SmartCentres' 629 Eastern site, I would start by understanding the existing and historical conditions of the property - rather than seeing it as a nice square of land that is ideally placed in the geography of the real estate market to make gobs of money after it is developed in some manner defined more by a business model than by the neighbourhood which it is in (which is what this plan appears to be).

As a stormwater management system, revealing the lost rivers of east Toronto is not only a sustainable system (in that global temperature change is causing increasing frequency, and more intense extreme weather events), but is is also a stormwater management system that would:
  • immediately mitigate basement flooding on the lake front lowlands between Dundas and Eastern;
  • add value to the existing neighbourhood properties and the South of Eastern Employment lands;
  • beautify the waterfront neighbourhoods; 
  • remediate brownfields over time;
  • add to the health and well being of the residents in a intensifying context; 
  • create a world tourist destination;
  • act as a transition element between the old neighbourhood and the new in the form of valley-like built lineal Parks north-south.

So instead of development characterized by boring intersections at Pape, Winnifred, Caroline and Larchmount - and a built form defined by the existing glass and sheet metal street wall at the bottom of Winnifred ...

.. the possibility exists to start with a Lower Winnifred as a winding, bioswale edged - wet-weather open water lowland (dry-weather wet detention basin) with a winding woonerf style neighbourhood street that acts to define the character of the development.

Later - as consecutive extreme weather events continue to increase the cost of maintaining and expanding the under-the-street trunk sewer system - the City might decide that running volatile rivers inside confined stormwater truck sewers under streets might be a losing proposition going forward (an opportunity lost in the expensive basement flooding mitigation project now underway) - and begin the process of bringing the lost rivers back to the surface by adding a wet bioswale to Winnifred starting at Queen, and then perhaps extending it into south of Eastern across the Studio Centre property as a river-feed, open water canal (and extending that south across the Port Lands to the Lake as those precincts develop).

Added benefit: mixed sanitary sewer and river flowing storm sewers would be separated - thus freeing up capacity at the Ashbridges Bay Treatment plant which has to treat slightly infiltrated stormwater/sanitary sewer water during wet weather (which is accomplished by simply adding chlorine to the massive flow and flushing it into the Lake).

That's all for today - I'm continuing to read Studio Centre's Functional Servicing & Stage-1 Stormwater Management Report.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Richmond Adelaide pilot expansion moves one step closure to reality

PWIC (Public Works Infrastructure Committee) unanimously approved the extension of the Richmond Adelaide cycle track pilot project to Parliament.  Here's what was approved:

1. Implementation of Richmond Adelaide pilot project extension to Parliament
2. Investigation of upgrading Simcoe between Front and Queens Quay to protected bike lanes
3. Investigation of upgrading Shutter Street and River Street bike lanes to protected bike lanes

Item 1 goes off to city council for approval in July.  Items 2 and 3 will be reported back to PWIC in September.  All great news!  Items 2 and 3 are of course very near and dear to our hearts in Ward 30. Protected bike lanes come all the way to the Dundas DVP bridge?  woah! 

Thanks to everyone who responded to Cycle Toronto's action alert and took the time to write into PWIC with their support of the pilot project extension, the sheer amount of letters recieved was noted by councilors.  The support did not go unnoticed: 

Letters of support for pilot project expansion.  Image taken by Jared from Cycle Toronto

Also of happy note, the Toronto Financial District BIA gave their support for the pilot project expansion in letter format and in person deputation.  Amazing! The city, cycling advocates and BIA's all working together?  Collaboration is a beautiful thing.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Local Councillors Support Fully Separated Cycle lanes on Dundas DVP bridge

Such great news to see local Councillors Paula Fletcher and Pam McConnell putting forward their support for east-west cycling connections east of Sherborne.  With all the great news about the Richmond Adelaide pilot project success, we're thrilled to see focus on safe cycling infrastructure moving east.

Read their letter to EYCC here

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Advocacy in Action! Felstead Ave Cut Through

It's not a big piece of infrastructure, but sometimes the little things make a big difference to the ease and convenience of cycling.  And that's really what keeps most of us on two wheels: it's quick and convenient. Biking really is the easiest way to get around our Ward, its faster, no waiting for transit, and parking is dead easy.  Make it even easier for local residents and you encourage more people to do the same.

In late 2013 a few of our members identified a local cycling route just off of the Greenwood bike lanes that needed a few fixes to improve the convenience of this route.  One on Felstead was a traffic calming island that was doing a great job of preventing speedy motorist cut throughs, but was unfortunately very awkward for cyclists.  

Ward 30 Bikes' Problems/Opportunities Map |

The small gaps on the sides (probably helpful for drainage) could fit a bike, but with parking bumped up against it, not easily.  And a trailer for families on bikes?  nope, wheels get wedged tight.  A cut through right down the middle would be the perfect fix.

I wish we could say this was a quick process.  But alas, as is the case with things in the city it's not always as fast as you'd like it to be.

Back on a cold day in February 2014, Ward30bikes members Michael and Paul meet with our councilor Paula Fletcher and city staff to assess and make measurements.  Everything was a go, and our project was added to the list of projects for city staff.  And then we waited.

Eventually in spring this year we heard back from our councillor's office that our project had finally come up on the list and was ready to go.  We did a final measurement check with a bike trailer to confirm the plans that were drafted, and in May construction finally happened.

Felstead Ave is now home to cyclist friendly traffic calming!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Queen's Quay Redevelopment - Problems, Opportunities on Toronto's new "Complete Street"

The new Queen's Quay layout is days away from being completed and fully opened to the public on June 19, 2015. For cyclists, this is particularly welcome news as the closure of the Martin Goodman Trail ("MGT") for years has left a significant gap in the cycling waterfront route. The good news is the new MGT configuration will replace that gap with a new, complete street model that incorporates many of the best practices from around the world. The bad news is there are a couple of major issues that cyclists will have to be aware of to safely travel the route.

1. The Physical Structure

The redesigned Queen's Quay is a multi-modal street that includes:
  • 2 single lanes of auto traffic on the north side
  • A dedicated transit right-of-way
  • A well-signed and complete bike lane that is part of the Martin Goodman Trail Wide pedestrian zones

At every intersection there are mixing zones where different users come together. The designers have used signage, traffic signals and physical materials to let users know how they should behave in these zones and where they should be going.

Below is a picture of the bike marking at one of these mixed zones. There are also going to be painted Blue Boxes for cyclists at every major intersection.

Here are examples of texture and colour used to inform users where they're supposed to go.

And here we have an example of a dedicated bicycle signal.

The changes in material, the markings and the dedicated signals are all meant to tell users where they should go and how they can safely proceed through the intersections.

2. Users Sharing the Road

The physical separation of autos, transit and cyclists seems to work well (well, aside from some motorists who can't quite seem to figure out where they're supposed to be).

Unfortunately, the separation of cyclists and pedestrians is much less clear. As can be seen from the above photo, there are many spaces where pedestrians can freely access the MGT. The design includes a row of trees along the MGT and a physical change in materials from the royal red granite used for pedestrian spaces to the asphalt of the MGT, but these are somewhat subtle differences for a space that is going to have many tourists and family users who may not notice these visual and tactile cues.

An even larger problem is posed by the location and orientation of the 22 benches that have been placed right next to the MGT. Both cyclists and pedestrians will have to be very careful in these areas, as anyone moving even a step or two from the bench is directly in the path of MGT users.

And there are some particular areas where either the signage and pavement markings haven't been completed, or they are inadequate:

1. Service Road entrances

2. The entrance to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal (where I witnessed 4 near-misses in less than 5 minutes):

Jack Layton Ferry Terminal user conflicts - PicMonkey collage -

We certainly welcome the changes to the Queen's Quay layout and congratulate Waterfront Toronto on completion of a project that should help to bring more people down to the waterfront. But we hope that they will be closely monitoring how users actually behave in these areas and will be ready to tweak any design elements that may prove to be less than ideal in real-world use. As for our advice to Toronto cyclists, its to treat the Queen's Quay MGT like the portion at the Woodbine Beach beach volleyball and change room area - ride slowly, obey your signals, always be under control and be prepared to stop on a dime at any moment.

Note - we'll be posting an update after the MGT opens in order to let you know what additional features have been added and how the MGT is working.

Gerry Brown
Ward 30 Bikes

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cycle Toronto Email Blast - June 3, 2015 - #BellsOnDanforth & #DanforthLovesBikes

Join us for Bells on Danforth: A pedal-powered parade to celebrate cycling!
Bells on Danforth returns for the fourth annual family-friendlyBells on Danforth
ride across the Danforth. This year the ride reverses direction, starting at the Prince Edward Viaduct and riding east to the crossroads of the Danforth. RSVP on the event facebook page here.
When: Gather at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, 2015. The ride leaves at 11:00 a.m.
Start: Prince Edward Viaduct Parkette (west end of Bloor Viaduct, south side, across from Castle Frank station)
Finish: The Crossroads of the Danforth, Danforth Avenue & Danforth Road. The Crossroads of the Danforth BIA will be throwing us a party when we arrive. Hang out, visit one of the local restaurants, or sit for a picnic lunch in the nearby park.
Do you want bicycle lanes on Danforth? Cycle Toronto wants you to sign the Danforth Loves Bikes Pledge!
There is a significant gap in Toronto’s cycling network Danforth Loves Bikes
east of the Don Valley. The Bloor Viaduct helps connect east end cycling commuters out of the core via the protected bike lanes on Sherbourne St. However, the lanes end at Broadview Ave. There are several north-south bike routes east of Broadview Ave but no high quality infrastructure options to connect them.
The City of Toronto is creating a 10-year cycling network plan to be approved by Toronto City Council in 2015. We believe that a pilot project for bicycle lanes on Danforth Ave should be launched in 2016 and that Danforth Ave should be included in the 10-year plan!
Learn more about our Danforth Loves Bikes! campaign.
Do you support bicycle lanes on Danforth? Sign the pledge now!

Hope to see you Saturday!
Jared Kolb
Executive Director


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Advocacy in Action! Keeping Bike Lanes During Construction Projects

It started in early January 2015.

The councillor's office emailed us to ask for some input on a section of the Dundas East bike lanes at Carlaw that would be impacted by a condo development.  The request from the developer was to close part of the bike lane as part of the staging area for the construction of their second phase condo.  A few hundred meters of bike lane closure would result in cyclists having to merge with motor traffic, a safety issue the councillor's office was looking to mitigate.  And this closure would last almost a year, right on the back of the bike lane closure right next door at the first phase of the condo development.  We were potentially looking at a grand total of 2 years of partial lane closures in what is in our opinion, the most heavily used bike lane in the east end.

So, a few ideas were suggested.  Maybe some sharrows and some signage that stated 'shared usage lane single file" would help motorists to stay alert for merging bike traffic.   But then one of Ward30bikes' members Vivien suggested something much safer.  On the south side of Dundas, directly across from construction  site were 4 on street car parking spots.  If we could temporarily remove those 4 parking spots during the construction period and restripe the road, all the lanes could shift south and remain open.  Bike lane, car lane, car lane, bike lane.    This sounded MUCH better than:  merged bike/car lane, car lane, bike lane, parking spots.

So we proposed it, and to our delight the councillors office and Streetcar developments were supportive.  A site visit was organised in February for us and also bringing in city staff.  The site visit went very quickly.  All parties agreed it could be done.

So, with a plan, things were underway.  Council approvals happened, but then we had to wait.  Mostly for weather conditions to improve to do the scraping and painting, but there were also some misunderstandings between city departments thinking it couldn't be done, but then in fact it could.    The group of us working on this really were hoping this would have happened in April, but such is life with city processes sometimes.

Eventually it did happen, and in early May our bike lane re-opened (to lots of cheers from us!).

A big thank you to Paula Fletcher's office for being pro-active on dealing with cyclist safety issues and asking for our input at the beginning.  Also a very big thank you to Streetcar Developments for being open to our ideas for keeping cyclists safe during their development work.

This story was picked up in the Beach Mirror:

But also, just today PWIC voted unanimously in favour of improving cyclist safety during construction. Thank you to  Councillors Joe Cressy, Mike Layton, and Mary-Margaret McMahon for championing this at the committee.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

W30B's deputations at PWIC May 13 meeting considering the Gardiner Expressway East, Remove vs Hybrid options

 Post by Michael Holloway - W30B

Ward 30 Bikes had 2 disputants at the May 13 2015 Public Works and Infrastructure Committee Meeting #4 (Special). Gerry Brown spoke early; and Ward 30 Bikes co-chair Brandon Quigley deputed late.

Gerry's deputation starts (automatically) at 1:58:04 and concludes at 2:03:36 - and after several questions and answers, ends at 2:10:32.

Brandon's deputation starts (automatically) at 8:12:49 and concludes at 8:18:14 - and after several questions and answers, ends at 8:25:30.

Committee Members Speech Time (9:22:50).

Worth watching parts of the whole 9 hours.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Riverdale Ave - a new east/west bicycle route that makes Riverdale streets safer

A group of residents here in Ward30 got together a few years back to put their heads together on the increasing traffic problem in Riverdale.  They've since put together a draft proposal that aims to reduce traffic speeds, reduce total vehicle volumes, and discourage non-residential use of local streets.

As advocates for safe streets, we couldn't be happier to see like minded neighbours put their volunteer blood, sweat, and tears into making Riverdale safer.  We are thrilled with proposed speed reductions and bollards along the sidewalk in front of schools  - great idea!

But, there are also some issues with the plan that need to be addressed. Reversals of one-way streets in the current plan may compromise the ability of people to get around safely on bikes. Even more troubling is that one part of the plan includes adding "island parking" to the north side of Riverdale Avenue.

Here's the problem with island parking

On-street island parking compromises pedestrian, cyclist and motorist safety by creating visibility barriers. People crossing the streets, both on foot and on bike, especially young children, become hidden to motorists. One study of child pedestrian injuries found that "the number of parked vehicles was the strongest risk factor on residential streets." Island parking could also make the entire roadway a "dooring" zone, putting cyclists at further risk. We need a solution based on evidence, not on creating a false sense of security.

We think this plan can be even better!

The solution: bike lanes

We've got something else that can narrow streets, benefit all road users... AND encourage less vehicle volumes.  Bike lanes.  73% of Torontonians say the lack of cycling infrastructure in the city is holding them back from riding more.   73%!  We want to give people the infrastructure to meaningfully reduce vehicle volumes.

Even with negligible bike infrastructure, Riverdale is already a community of active cyclists:

Our proposal

Through a combination of bike lanes, we propose a bike route along Riverdale Ave / Boultbee Ave.

Please see map layer titled:  "Proposed Riverdale Bike lanes".  The proposal includes a combination of contra-flow bike lanes, protected bike lanes and sharrows.

You can view our full proposal here

A bike route connecting Broadview to Jones Ave will:

  • narrow streets (a riverdale traffic calming group goal)
  • reduce vehicle volumes by encouraging other methods of transportation
  • establish a safe east-west cycling connection to the existing Jones Ave bike lanes
  • traffic calm the section of Riverdale in front of Pape Ave Junior School with protected bike lanes
  • provide a bike to school route for:
    • parents cycling with their kids to Pape Ave Junior School
    • parents cycling with their kids to Blake Street Junior School
    • students going to Earl Grey Middle School
    • students going to Riverdale Collegiate Institute
  • provide a safe bike connection to Riverdale Park East and the Lower Don Trail

(note, we assume that elementary school children ride along the sidewalk, and caregivers and parents ride safely beside them in the bike lanes)

We met with the traffic calming group hoping they would include our plans in their proposal.  We were unfortunately disappointed to find that they did not put forward any bike routes in their draft proposal.

Riverdale is an awesome neighbourhood.  I live here, my kids go to school here.  And until our kids get drivers licenses, bikes will be primarily how they get around the neighbourhood.  Will my 5 year old use a bike lane now?  no... but when he's a teenager he will.  All our teens will.  Let's give them safe options to travel around our streets.

Why our plan works

We scouted the proposed route in November last year and then in February this year we went out with City of Toronto Cycling staff who have noted that it's a feasible route with no impact to parking.

Take action!

If you share our views and want to make this a reality, we encourage you to take action.

Attend the Riverdale Traffic Group community meeting
Wednesday, May 13th, 7pm
St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 415 Broadview Avenue

Make your voice heard, and ask for a bike route to be added to the plan, and make sure the final proposal achieves the goal of safer and more welcoming streets for everyone.

Write an email
Send your email to:
Please also cc Councillor Fletcher and Ward 30 Bikes at &

Comment on the proposal at
Go to to view the proposal, and add your comments in their news section: