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