Saturday, August 13, 2016

Carlaw + Dundas Public Realm Initiatives - visioning a network of 'people-safe' corridors that connect local destinations

By Michael Holloway - member, Ward 30 Bikes

This article is intended to initiate a discussion towards creating more people-centred public spaces along the flanks of the Carlaw Avenue Corridor between Queen and Gerrard via a very-local network of complete streets treatments and multi-use paths that together, become 'Invitations' to active transportation choices; routes that will - for walkers and cyclists - connect neighbourhood destinations and public amenities already in place along this dangerous corridor which is congested with motor vehicle traffic most of the day.

Below is Ward 30 Bikes representative, Michael Holloway's submission via the Online Survey posted for the 3rd round of the Carlaw + Dundas Public Realm Initiatives public consultation (as per the June 21, 2016 Open House at Morse Street School Gym - Michael Holloway attended all the events through this two-and-a-half year process.

Only the sections of the survey where Michael wrote in feedback are represented in this article. This edited presentation does not include all the Options, or the Images that supported unanswered Options that appeared on: the paper survey; the display boards at the Morse Street School event; or in the Online Survey (which is unfortunately now closed -


Page 2 (16%)

Preliminary Jimmie Simpson Gateway Concept Design Options


Option 1 - Colgate Avenue Gateway

[no answer]

Option 2 - Colgate Avenue Gateway

Option 2 - What do you like? Why?

Like. Arc is welcoming.

Option 2 - What would you change? Why?

Ornamental Grasses - replace with naturally occurring vegetation in a bioswale - which pools temporarily, runoff from storm events in a wet/dry bowl feature planted with naturally occurring vegetation. Funnel the entrance feature and near-by sidewalk's run-off into this bioswale.

Perhaps copy at this entrance the existing stainless steel checker plate, 19″ high letter inlay in the sidewalks at the corner of Queen/Broadview? Perhaps with the words "Jimmy Simpson Park"


The Entrance feature is for active transportation modes - so it is an entrance way for pedestrians, cyclists, parents with strollers, skateboarders, elderly with mobility devices, the blind using their canes, and so on.


1) Create a pedestrian and cyclist friendly Colgate Ave from Carlaw to Booth (I suggest wider sidewalks between Carlaw and Natalie Place; bike lanes along the entire stretch where possible, sharrows where not possible - safety treatments at transition pinch points (like where the roadway changes widths at Natalie Place); dedicated cycle crossing lanes beside the cross hatches of a new crosswalk across Colgate/Booth;

2) Create entrance features that assist active transportation modes - narrow the crossing area at Booth with bump-outs, add dual pedestrian crosswalk / mounted cyclists' crossing, add blind (and sighted) crosswalk signals;

3) Create pathways in the Park that allow egress for all active transportation modes, to and from the Park's amenities.
(Best practice might be to wait some time after the entrance way is completed and investigate where people travel in the Park via the new entrance - and then add appropriately placed Multi-use Trails at a later date);

4) And add elements along those routes which support the people using them at the amenities which they are using - like 11 Ring & Post bike lock-ups for the soccer field (ie. enough lock-ups for two full teams) placed along the west side of Booth north of Colgate connected to the entrance feature via a Multi-use Path; similarly at the skating rink, basketball pad, tennis pad, hockey pad - and especially - at the main entrance to the recreation centre.
(Existing are too few and badly placed - currently hidden under a tree with no lighting; rather, needs to be 'front and centre', well lit, and near the doors ... in order to keep 'eyes' on the lock-up area. Also, the existing bike lock-up amenity is of bad design and is broken and rusting).

Option 2 - How does the proposed concept meet your needs?

[no answer]

Option 3 - Booth Avenue and Queen Street Gateway

Option 3 - What do you like? Why?

Arc is welcoming.

Option 3 - What would you change? Why?

Existing feature has bad sight-lines at night - feels scary there - seating is hidden away in the shadows; the entire construct blocks a view into the Park behind it. Open it up, but at the same time provide a friendly space to hang out and active transportation amenities for those who travel to the Park via this entrance-way.

Option 3 - How does the proposed concept meet your needs?

[no answer]

Page 3 (50%)

Preliminary Boston Avenue Boulevard Improvements

What do you like? Why?

Like the walking path - but it ends at a parking lot. People using the space have created their own walking path - installing a regulation path won't help the underlying issues -> no sight-lines, dark, path doesn't connect Dundas to the residential buildings.

In my opinion, connecting the walking path to the residential buildings is the only way to create a sustainable public space here; otherwise this is a waste of money.

To make this connection, perpendicular private parking on the west side of Boston from the empty lineal space down to the south face of 245(R) Carlaw should be ended somehow - perhaps an accommodation with the landowners (if this is private land) to improve the back of their building (tattered old fence, rutted gravel driveway) at the same time as a sidewalk and a boulevard is constructed.

This could be done by swinging the parking to parallel along this section, which at the same time would make room for a connection between the winding path to the existing sidewalks to the south. Plus there are lots of empty parking spaces in the lot at the southeast corner of Dundas/Boston.

Bike Lanes

Also, Boston is a good candidate for a contraflow bicycle lane. A northbound contraflow on Boston would help residents of the nearby developments connect to Dundas - and via Heward - to Eastern.

Queen / Carlaw intersection centres a vibrant local community, Boston as a north-south bike route allows 8/80 cycling to the Dundas and Eastern Avenue Bikes lanes (which provide an 8/80 route to the lake front).

Carlaw is not a presently a cycling street. It is congested during peak hours (7 hours a day) with tense, hopped-up LSB commute drivers.

Oddly, the street it is considered a 'destination' by planning staff - yet there is no safe way to bicycle to any of the places along Carlaw between Queen and Dundas; thus connecting cyclists to area destinations - and nearby commuter routes - via Boston and via Logan/Colgate as I've stressed above) would be an ideal alternative to Carlaw.

Page 4 (66%)

Signature Marker Design Competition Shortlist Submissions

Submission #3: Pierre Poussin - "Brick Obelisk"

Best of the lot. But penile, and there's already too much of that at this corner.

How about something penile that has to do with Trains (as it is on the historical railway easement).

Perhaps a sculpture that evokes the classic railway signal post - made out of old rail tracks! (Classic railway signal posts:

Via Dr Elizabeth R. Tuttle Professor of Engineering, University of Denver -

Or - a scale miniature of an old railroad station house - made of scale sized bricks?

.. An old railroad station house?

Via Esprit Co -



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What's wrong with Street Car's "Riverside Square"?

By Ward 30 Bikes' member, Michael Holloway

Under a thread I started at 'City of Toronto Cycling' Facebook group about Big Box Retail and Big Parking Lot Retail in the context of a dense urban built form, friend Rob Zaichkowski - cycling advocate comrade with Cycle Toronto - asked me what I thought of the Riverside Square development ... here's my reply to Rob which I wrote in FB and then copied and pasted here.

Here's an image of Rob asking the question (reply printed below):

Join Facebook, then join the group, "City of Toronto Cycling" and then use this link to view the thread:

Rob Zaichkowski - Right off the top, their name sucks! Plus sighting Sue Ann Levy in their messaging has not done them any favours with the community (Sun Newspaper attack dog, going after Councillor Fletcher).

But I think they are doing it for the right reasons - not NIMBYism. (I'm trying to help them message better; but OMB hearing was today ... so we'll see what happens there.)

The type of businesses visioned to set up in this development base their market on the ease of driving to it ... but although this site over-looks the DVP and has a 400 series highway bridge to the south of it (Eastern Avenue Diversion) none of those major arteries are able to funnel traffic directly to the site. There is no way to get to this car sales campus except via Queen! It should be feed from Eastern - but somehow that wasn't visioned or suggested in a consultation process that was accompanied by Street Car scrambling to find new partners, and partner with existing land owners, in what appears to be - after these machinations were revealed - a badly planned proposal.

(Ward 30 Bikes was shut out of the stakeholder group because (I think) I published some vitriol on our site about it[1] being the leading edge of the same kind of condo-ization of the east waterfront that happened on the west waterfront - lots of high-rise building and no community planning (parks schools, mass transit) - and it is turning out to be just that - except we have a Councillor who won't stand for that usually - not sure what happened in that regard in this particular development).

This is an odd one - the first iteration was a mix of medium and high rise residential with some retail on Queen - and keep the existing Auto dealership. Then in the coarse of the public consultation process it very quickly morphed from one thing to another and then finally into a 5 Auto Dealership Auto Mall with multi-story showrooms featuring light polluting glass walls shining into the valley (live showroom billboards where hedonists imagine the city watching them kick the tires of the latest models 50 metres above the DVP) - plus the mid and high-rise residential.

Having studied it in it's final iteration, there is not enough road capacity at the Queen St Bridge and East Don Roadway (first street east of the valley) to not completely snarl traffic there with the addition of high density and the proposed car-centric retail.

East Don Roadway is visioned to be the street that feeds delivery, servicing and customers to 5 different car brand showrooms in a 'Auto Mall'. A new street, following the line of existing Munro - envisioned as a woonerf - will complete the car consumer drive-thru experience).

Ward 30 Bikes has long been talking about a north-south bike route from LSB/Don Roadway to The Danforth. Our vision uses mainly local residential streets and East Riverdale Park ... but there are three key points along the route that need a work-around - one of them was(is) this parcel of land.

In the first iteration of this neighbourhood sized development proposal, we were looking at a Street Car Developments proposal to run a bike path next to the valley that would have come up to where East Don Roadway dead-ends now at the south-west corner of the site.

But in a later iteration Street Car decided to use East Don Roadway as the delivery, servicing and customer entrance ... and that destroyed the idea of a bike route through there.

So with the eastern, river-valley-edge route gone to a servicing roadway for the site, we shifted our attention to the proposed woonerf north-south through the centre of the site.

This woonerf is supposed to be a tip of the hat to sustainable planning - but it is not that - it is a 'green label' with no practical use. Rather than a way of moving non-car trips from the new residential to their street car stops at Carrol Ave or Broadview (or by bike up to the Dundas Bike Lanes) - this woonerf is the main 'lobby' or 'branded space' of the Auto Mall; it will be full of cars from far, far away - plus thousands of residents trying to make their way from the new towers at the south edge of the project, to the Queen Street streetcar stops. The woonerf will be a parking lot with no curbs - a dangerous place for kids and older people, and Definitely Not a bike route.

This will likely get built and we'll try to make the woonerf a part of a safe north-south route - but i expect the fix will kill the Auto Mall as a business - so we loose. With that we'll likely redirect our sights to Broadview Ave - the last remaining place to get a north-south grid line in the precinct to serve all the new population density.

I expect that once this is built, Queen will be dysfunctional between Queen/Broadview and the valley - much like King West - Spadina to Bathurst is now.


[1] Ward 30 Bikes - August 7, 2014 | Masters of Industry: South Riverdale to be the new West-of-Spadina High-rise Tower Goldmine |