Tuesday, June 28, 2016

FIX! - Lower Don Recreation Trail / Carlaw, Morse, Logan, Booth

By Ward 30 Bikes member,
Michael Holloway

Two recent collisions at LSB/Logan intersection got people writing letters to Councillors - and in their social media networks.

Google Map image mark-up of LDRT between Don Roadway and Leslie Street with dangerous intersections indicated at Carlaw, Morse, Logan and Booth.

On April 5, 2016, Ward 30 resident Paul Farnan came upon an accident as EMS was taking away the body (injured cyclist - he survived) and posted about it in Facebook at "City of Toronto Cycling" (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153993290071147&set=gm.1310963815586267&type=3):

The discussion after Paul's "City of Toronto Cycling" share was extremely well populated - including a post by the guy who got hit (bruised ribs) - here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/140997182582942/permalink/1310963815586267/?comment_id=1311040918911890&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R9%22%7D

Discussion Group Formed

Then on April 12, 2016 Doug Wedel (from Ward 13?), shared Paul Farnan's City of Toronto post to a new group he set up called, "FIX the MGT Logan/Morse/Booth Safety Analysis and Solutions Study".

The conversation is ongoing at this group.

On May 15, 2016, Ward 30 Bikes member Gerry Brown posted a short video showing what was happening at Lake Shore Blvd/Logan that was causing the collisions - noting that drivers were preoccupied with the continuance of their lives, as they try to merge onto LSB westbound from the local street - apparently in the video he took - never looking west to see if there were cyclists coming eastbound on the Lower Don Recreation Trail (LDRT).

Gerry Brown May 15
"A short video that pretty much sums up the problem. Although you can't see it in the video, the driver's head is turned left the entire time, looking for Lakeshore traffic and 100% unaware of any eastbound cyclists on the MGT."

(Watch the video in Facebook (account, 'Join' public group) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/856664931127019/permalink/875079175952261/ )

Lots of discussion there until just over a month later - another collision in the same spot!

Not sure how this victim fared - please comment if you know if they're OK - or what.
At that point Ward 30 Bikes sent the letter we had been drafting, into Councillor Paula Fletcher's Office (as did several other citizens also, apparently).

On June 11th the Councillor's Office sent emails to all concerned announcing she had set up a Site Visit for Wednesday June 22, 2016.

Public Analysis of the Intersection

Using this 'what the eyes of the drivers are doing' approach, a couple of people from the discussion group went out on their own and did 'traffic counts' - counting for example, how many drivers didn't look west before turning, and doing a survey of drivers using Logan southbound.

I followed those counts up with a proper Traffic Turning Count - recording what drivers did with their vehicles at the intersection - rather than what they did or did not see. (I always assume humans are social and empathic - and are not trying to kill cyclists. That understanding leads me to the understanding that the infrastructure configuration is at fault - not the way people are using it. The result is no victim blaming - and progress in traffic engineering and philosophy).

Here's my Traffic Turning Count graphic (the best way to read a traffic count):

Full size: https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-k9YzsWH5xQ8/V3Kb5wvkA8I/AAAAAAAAHkQ/RPxuakXFFTMPQqJOA9aJ7mHRyEGV1PntACLcB/s1600/LDRT-Logan-LSB%2BIntersection%2BTraffic%2BCount%2BJune%2B20%2B2016%2BGoogle%2BEarth%2BView.jpg

I used a legal framework to count actions and results.

From my comment under my count graphic published at the 'FIX' group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/856664931127019/permalink/897437317049780/):

  • Did the driver stop at the Stop Line?
  • Did they slow or stop on the path? (Thus blocking it, which is illegal - cyclists have right of way here.)
  • What happened when the two modes came in conflict (driver blocking the path at the same time as a cyclist was approaching the intersection).
  • What was the quality of the conflict? (Almost a collision? Was the cyclists able to see the danger before it happened and break or steer around?)
  • The rest is just counting numbers and noting where they went (go straight, turn).

Also under the graphic - my conclusions (my additions here for clarity, inside square brackets):

So this quantifies the degree [and quality] of the problem:
  • Of the 135 motor vehicles who tuned the corner onto westbound LSB, 79 of them blocked the Trail to one degree or another. (That's 59% !)
  • Of those 79 blockages of the Trail, 26 cyclists either had to steer around the vehicle or brake (remember cyclists have right of way here).
  • Of those 26 incidents, 5 were near collisions [one or the other - or both - road users had to apply emergency braking to avoid a collision] where my stomach jumped into my mouth and my adrenaline surged as I thought I was about to watch someone get hit.

Conducting this count was not a pleasant experience - for the rest of the day I was in a degree of shock from my experience of all the near misses.

The Site Visit

Then the day came for the site visit.

These are my report back notes about the site visit that I posted the day of at Ward 30 Bikes (group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/148229472024000/permalink/573888786124731/?comment_id=574293146084295&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R1%22%7D):

Sylvia (Ward 30 Bikes' Co-chair) asked:
How did the meeting with city staff go this morning?

I replied:
More, Better, Bigger signage on LSB and on the local streets approaching LSB; plus green paint on the Trail across all the intersections (Carlaw, Morse, Logan, Booth) plus paint on the Trail warning cyclists that they are approaching an intersection.

Transportation/Planning will get back to the Councillors' Office concerning planning progress in 2 weeks.

Also asked for signage for eastbound LSB approaching Carlaw warning drivers to watch for cyclists eastbound across the Carlaw intersection.

We need to monitor the effectiveness of these treatments after they are completed, and then I expect it's onto something more expensive and invasive.

The Councillor said she will not stand for closing any of these streets to LSB because of the negative impact on the South of Eastern Employment District (Don River, Eastern, Coxwell, LSB).

And then in the next comment later that day, I added:

Also: Paula wants Carlaw/LSB signal timing returned to the condition that marked the period before the Leslie St reconstruction (during which Carlaw acted as an alternate route into the neighbourhood from LSB, and at which time parking between 4pm and 6pm was prohibited in order to free up an extra northbound lane during the Leslie closure);

.. and she noted during the meeting, that the roadway be returned to the condition that marked the functioning of the street during the period when the raised expressway ran through here (Carlaw as a minor arterial with relatively low traffic volumes).

To this end she successfully got the prohibition of on-street parking on the east side of Carlaw between LSB and Eastern between 4pm and 6pm rescinded (T&EY CC: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2016.TE15.45).

Now she's adding, that the signal timing should be returned to the way it was before the Leslie St reconstruction as well.

And - just posted this today - as I had forgotten that we discussed this on the site visit too:
Forgot to mention that during the site meeting I brought up the condition of the rubber inserts that fill the flangeway gaps in the railway line that crosses the LDRT on an angle just to the west of Carlaw.

This Toronto Port Authority property.

Two years ago someone broke their shoulder here and a newspaper article made it a talking point * - Transportation asked Toronto Port Authority to make this crossing safe - they didn't have any flangeway inserts in stock so they lifted some old ones from an unused rail line and stuck them in at Carlaw.

Hoping the Port Authority have new flangeway inserts now, and can replace these now extremely worn ones as soon as possible.

I should also note here that I have been following this story for a few years now. Back in 2014 when the flangeway accidents happened, I was also aware of the dangerous condition at (especially) Logan/LDRT - and I published several articles with video of the intersection's deficiencies. See those articles here in Ward 30 Bikes at the Label "LDRT" (http://ward30bikes.blogspot.ca/search/label/LDRT).

So now we wait for news from the Councillor's Office for a progress report on the planning towards the improvements.


* Global News - August 24, 2014 | Several cyclists hurt near dangerous part of road on Lakeshore By Cindy Pom | http://globalnews.ca/news/1526352/several-cyclists-hurt-near-dangerous-part-of-road-on-lakeshore/


Friday, June 24, 2016

Danforth East public meeting on Monday - help make bike lanes on the Danforth a reality!

There's a public meeting coming up next week for the section of the Danforth east of us. Not Ward30, but very close to us.  Below is Cycle Toronto's action alert, if you can make it out to the public meeting please do!

City Council recently reinstated the Danforth Corridor Study to determine the feasibility of bike lanes on the Danforth. This Monday, planners at the City are hosting a community meeting for a separate Danforth Avenue Planning Study, and we need you to remind them how important bike lanes are to the vitality, economy, and growth of the Danforth. This meeting is especially important as the study area intersects with Woodbine Ave, which is also being considered for future bike lanes.

The consultation will take place Monday, June 27th, 7:00pm to 9:00pm, at the Hope United Church (2550 Danforth Ave).

If you live, work, or play along the Danforth, this meeting is an essential opportunity to share your comments and concerns about cycling infrastructure with City staff. We urge you to go and have your voice heard.

Learn more about the project on the City's website.

Cycle Toronto is your voice at City Hall. We fought for bike lanes on Richmond, Adelaide, and Bloor, and the Danforth is next. Support our work by joining our more than 3,000 members or donate now.

We hope we can count on you. 

Jared Kolb
Cycle Toronto