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:

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