Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Our request to Councillor Fletcher to support A Road Safety Plan for Toronto

Dear Councillor Fletcher,

We are writing to encourage you to vote in favour of item PW2.11 (http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2015.PW2.11), A Road Safety Plan for Toronto, which would direct Transportation Services to prepare a comprehensive plan to improve road safety. Our group, Ward 30 Bikes, is the local advocacy wing of Cycle Toronto, and we represent hundreds of Cycle Toronto members in Ward 30, and also work to advocate on behalf of the thousands of others who bike, walk, or roll to improve their mobility in Toronto Danforth.

The Road Safety Plan for Toronto promises to review international best practices from other jurisdictions (including Vision Zero), review existing city policies on road safety, improve analysis of collision data, and provide specific recommendations to improve road safety, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists. To these ends, the plan would include an implementation plan, funding strategy, reporting mechanism, and the creation of a Road Safety Advisory Group and Road Safety Task Force. The Road Safety Plan would identify intersections which warrant enhanced pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, and develop a plan to implement safety improvements at these intersections. 

The development of this plan is a long overdue step towards improving safety and comfort for people of all ages and abilities who walk and bike for mobility in the City of Toronto. While overall, the motion is quite strong, we wish that it also directed staff to collect more and better quality information about cycling and pedestrian data in the city, not just “an enhanced analysis of city-wide traffic collision data.” Bike and pedestrian counts on all major roadways would help make the Road Safety Plan more successful, as well as help citizens advocate for better infrastructure that serves the needs of all road users - not just drivers.

We hope you agree on the importance of PW2.11, A Road Safety Plan for Toronto, and we look forward to your vote in favour of this issue on March 31, when it comes before council. We also look forward to seeing the specific recommendations of such a plan, and concrete steps and resources towards improving safety for people who walk and ride bikes in Toronto. It will be important to ensure that the plan that results from this motion is comprehensive, and receives the resources it needs to succeed.


Brandon Quigley & Sylvia Slaughter
Co-leaders, Ward 30 Bikes

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Free Bike Repair at South Riverdale Health Centre

As of next week the free bike repair clinic is back at South Riverdale Health Centre.  

Thrusdays 1 - 3pm
South Riverdale Health Centre
955 Queen Street East

The clinic is run on a drop-in basis and is for low-income clients of the Health Centre.  Participants can learn about bike maintenance, repairs and safety and have the chance to socialise with other participants.  

It's a great program here in Ward 30 - please help spread the word!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Better Cycling Route to the Lake

Originally posted on riverdaler.ca. Re-posted with permission.

The City From Tommy Thompson Park (The Leslie Spit)

It’s easy to forget that Riverdale is close to the lake. Riverside and Leslieville are even closer, yet obstacles like Lakeshore Boulevard and the Port Lands can make our neighbourhoods feel disconnected from the wonderful gems like Cherry Beach and Tommy Thompson Park.

Connecting Greater Riverdale to the Lake Presentation at the South Riverdale Community Health Centre. Feb. 9, 2015

A group of students from Ryerson's School of Urban and Regional Planning have set out to change that. They have put together a detailed report (pdf) called Connecting Greater Riverdale to the Lake. The report takes a detailed look at the current transportation infrastructure in Ward 30 and suggests five potential "quick start" projects that could provide safe cycling routes that connect the Danforth in the north to lake in the south. The authors of the report presented their findings at a community meeting on February 9th at the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

The proposed routes. Source: Connecting Greater Riverdale to the Lake

A quick start project is meant to be affordable and achievable in a relatively short time frame. After evaluating the five potential routes the group concluded that the Jones-Rushbrook-Leslie route (the green route on the map above) is the best candidate for a quick start project for a variety of reasons including how centrally located Jones is and the fact that Jones already has bike lanes. The authors of the report estimate that the cycling route along with a corresponding wayfinding strategy could be implemented for under $100,000.
Route evaluation matrix Source: Connecting Greater Riverdale to the Lake

The route isn’t without it’s challenges: including a short jog on Queen from Jones to Rushbrooke where there isn’t room for a bike lane and a tricky intersection where Rushbrooke, Eastern Avenue and Mosley Street meet. The group came up with clever solutions to overcome these obstacles like a cyclist refuge island (similar to the one where the Lower Don Trail intersects Pottery Road) at the Rushbrooke/Eastern/Mosley intersection.

The Rushbrooke/Eastern/Mosley intersection proposal Source: Connecting Greater Riverdale to the Lake

The community members at the presentation seemed to like all of the proposed routes and wanted them constructed. Some people thought that the difficulties at the south end of the proposed Jones-Rushbrook-Leslie route were a “compromise” and that bike lanes should have been built on Leslie – especially since the street is being reconstructed for the new streetcar tracks to the Leslie Barns. A lot of people at the meeting also seemed to like the Logan and Carlaw route to the lake. Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns, and Ravi Joshi from Councillor Paula Fletcher’s office were in attendance at the meeting.

Which of the proposed routes do you think is best? What will it take to get a better cycling route to the lake? Let us know in the comments!

- by Ward 30 Bikes' member, Mark Hutchinson.

Originally published at the Riverdaler - 2015-02-14 | A Better Cycling Route to the Lake | http://www.riverdaler.ca/2015/better-cycling-to-the-lake/

writer m-hutchinson/editor m-holloway

Monday, March 9, 2015

First Gulf's 21 Don Roadway/UniLever lands development Public Consultation Meeting #1

First Gulf's "Project 21" Community Consultation

First Gulf is looking to develop the old Lever Brother's site at the foot of Don Roadway and Lakeshore Boulevard. It's an ambitious plan, and made more so by the fact that the city has asked them to develop a Master Plan for the entire block of land east of the Don River, bounded by Eastern Avenue, Booth Street and Lakeshore Boulevard. The site is 60 acres and includes land owned by the City, Enbridge Gas, Cinespace Film Studios.

First Gulf have stated they're looking to build 12 million square feet of office space (think a 4-tower TD Centre spread in lower-height buildings over the 60 acres) but their plan is dependent on 3 pre-conditions:

1. The completion of the naturalization of the Don River in order to permit construction on what is now a flood plain.

2. Transportation access, including A Go-Train or Smart Track stop, TTC transit (via a Downtown Relief Line station or a Broadview streetcar extension).

3. A diversion of the Gardiner (they have gone from supporting the elimination of the eastern Gardiner to a proposal to move the Gardiner - Don Valley connection).

The good news is that First Gulf is taking a proactive approach in reaching out to the community. First, Ward 30 Bikes was invited to a site walk on January 17 with Derek Goring, the Vice President of Development and the person in charge of this project. He gave us an overview of First Gulf's vision for the lands along with a candid explanation of the challenges they face. Our impressions were that it is a massive site whose development would indeed transform the area. Here are a couple of pictures we took along the way:

Looking North-west from Lakeshore near the Don Roadway (Image Gerry Brown)

Picture this space filled with low-rise office space (Image Gerry Brown)

Looking south-west from along Eastern Avenue - Enbridge lands are in the foreground (Image Gerry Brown)

More pictures can be found in our earlier pos: http://ward30bikes.blogspot.ca/2014/12/21-don-roadway-walk-about-leg-1-railway.html

And this week, First Gulf held a meeting to engage the community and to develop a stakeholder committee. It's early days and this is a plan that will span decades, but it's good to see a developer seeking input at an early stage. There are many questions to be answered over the coming months but First Gulf are looking to finish the Master Plan before the end of the year. If you're interested in what Ward 30 will look like in 20 - 30 years, this is a project that deserves your attention. If you'd like a more in-depth look at the project, here's a link from Urban Toronto


One final point - First Gulf don't have an official name for the project yet (Project 21 is a placeholder) so if you've got a suggestion, let them know.

Gerry Brown
Ward 30 Bikes


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Complex, Multidisciplinary City Building

The Star.com - GTA
Thursday, March 5, 2015

Ryerson's City-Building Institute embraces complexity: Hume
University's new department will focus on multi-disciplinary approach to urban issues

Image: TorStar: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/11/14/ryersons_citybuilding_institute_embraces_complexity_hume.html

Ryerson City Building Institute

A new non-partisan centre focused on urban issues relevant to city regions nationally and globally. Multidisciplinary in approach, bringing together diverse perspectives to address critical urban problems. Delivering on its mandate through integrated teaching, cutting-edge research, sharing new insights and best practices, and improving public policy literacy. Advances Ryerson University’s demonstrated commitment to collaborative urban transformation and innovation.

The Institute’s activities will be initially guided by five themes:

Integrated land use and social/physical infrastructure investment
Inclusive and complete communities through economic, social, and design strategies
New options for universal mobility including green corridors and active transportation
Climate change mitigation/adaptation through urban design and environmental planning
Financial instruments that advance city building goals


Executive Team:

David Amborski, Director - Academic, Ryerson City Building Institute and Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning

Dr. Christopher De Sousa, Director, School of Urban and Regional Planning

Dr. Usha George, Dean, Faculty of Community Services

Dr. Anne Golden, Director - External, Ryerson City Building Institute and Distinguished Visiting Scholar

Ken Greenberg, Urban Design and Planning Consultant, and Visiting Scholar at the Ryerson City Building Institute

Ryerson University
350 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5B 2K3



Riverside Square Community Consultation - Meeting #1

By Ward 30 Bikes member,
Michael Holloway

Riverside Square is a 4 acre neighbourhood development west of Broadview south of Queen St E down to Eastern Avenue.

Streetcar.ca | Welcome to Riverside Square | http://streetcar.ca/welcome-riverside-square/

I attended tonight's meeting representing Ward 30 Bikes.

Streetcar's VP of Development Jason Garland introduced a 20 minute power point presentation by Streetcar's in-house planner Aaron Knight.

Streetcar Developments have submitted to City Planning an application for a two-phased development. Phase I is at 77-79 East Don Roadway; phase II (2-3 years later) concerns properties at 661-677 Queen St. East.

There is another public meeting on this proposal later this month:

Monday March 23, 2015
6:30 - 8:30pm
Ralph Thornton Centre
765 Queen St. East

Ward 30 Bikes position on neighbourhood development revolves around the idea of creating people places - a counter-point to the city building of the past century which focused on car transportation in a pivotal role.

New planning sees people as the point around which city planning revolves. To that, I asked how the Riverside Square proposal might be better connected to the immediate natural resource - the Don Valley - and the Lake Front and Harbour - just to the south. I also mentioned connecting the new neighbourhood to the neighbourhoods across the river and to the existing Lower Don Trail in the Don Valley.

Of coarse this is also about a great increase in population density (if they get approval for several high rise buildings they are proposing) - which will result in more traffic volume on our already congested (and finite) road grid. The solution is not more space on the roads for more or faster, cars - it is - counter-intuitively - less space for inefficient people movers (like cars) and more room on our roadways for mass transit, walking and bicycling transportation modes.

Along with high density comes the need to create spiritually rich public realm; that means lots of green space and active transportation connections to the green spaces that are nearby.

Joined the Stakeholder Group.

Ward 30 Bikes - October 20, 2014 | Does Streetcar's Riverside Square proposal make the Cycling Connection across the DVP? | http://ward30bikes.blogspot.ca/2014/10/does-streetcars-riverside-square.html