Our first snow came in a busy month for cycling.
Car-Free Yonge, Danforth needs complete streets in 2020, monthly prizes
A bold, car-free vision for Yonge Street
The City held its second public meeting Thursday for the redesign of Yonge Street between Queen and College. We have the opportunity to see a bold, car-free vision for downtown Yonge St., and your input matters. Four potential block-by-block alternatives are currently being presented. One would make Queen to Gerrard a car-free zone where people biking and using active modes are welcomed. We think this bold pedestrian-first vision would be great for the city, as long as there is a safe transition for people on bikes outside the car-free area, which is currently not part of the proposal. Click here to read more about our position.
Three different road designs. Alternative 3 has the longest 'Pedestrian Priority' zone.
There is still time to tell the City you want a car-free Yonge, and to safely accommodate people biking in the areas north and south of the car-free areas. Their survey allows you to quickly evaluate some of the options. The City’s preferred option is presented in Step 4. The survey closes on December 6th.
On November 7th, we attended the first public meeting on the Danforth Complete Streets and Planning Study. The event proved so popular that an overflow room had to be set up in the library to accomodate the 450 attendees. For a detailed description of the event click here.
City staff are looking for feedback, and if you think pilot bike lanes on the ground in 2020 should be part of the study, they need to hear from you. You can subscribe to receive updates about the study here, and show your support for a bike lane pilot by signing the Danforth Loves Bikes Pledge.
The Bloor St bike lane upgrades are almost complete and we can’t wait to get out there and ride them in all their glory. Construction has finally cleared from Spadina to Bathurst, and the eastbound bike lane is now a raised, physically separated cycle track. We’re looking forward to similar improvements from Spadina to Avenue next year.
Next summer, the Bloor bike lanes are planned to be extended all the way to High Park, and potentially all the way to Runnymede with strong business and resident support. Public meetings are to be held in January, and we’ll keep you posted on that. If you haven’t already, sign the Bloor Loves Bikes pledge.
Did you know that the Ministry of Transportation does not currently consider being doored as a collision? Our Interim Executive Director, Keagan Gartz, spoke on Global News yesterday about the new Doored But Not Ignored Private Members Bill that will be introduced at Queen’s Park next week.
Alongside Share the Road Cycling Coalition, Friends & Families for Safe Streets, and MPPJessica Bell, we called on the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to reinstate the tracking of doorings by categorizing them as collisions in police Motor Vehicle Accident Reports, a component that was removed in 2011. The Toronto Police Service is the only organization in Ontario that currently tracks doorings despite the fact that they aren’t required to do this. However, their reports never make it to the MTO. This year, there have already been 118 reported doorings in Toronto, and many more near misses.
Until these incidents are treated by the Ministry of Transportation as collisions, we have no data on how many Ontarians this affects, where and when it’s happening, and how much safe cycling infrastructure is making a difference.
Cycle Toronto, Friends & Families for Safe Streets, and Walk Toronto deputed before the Toronto Police Services Board yesterday in response to a report recently released indicating that no dedicated traffic enforcement for dangerous & distracted driving has been deployed since 2012. Between 2003 and 2012, The Toronto Police Service (TPS) had a traffic enforcement team called Strategic Targeted Enforcement Measure (STEM). Following the dissolution of STEM and subsequent lack of enforcement, collisions and deaths of vulnerable road users have steadily climbed in the city. Even as the Vision Zero Road Safety Plan was launched with enforcement as one of its pillars, the police staffing to ticket dangerous driving was never reinstated.
Number of tickets given and collisions by year. Courtesy of the Toronto Star
We are supportive of the City’s push for Automated Speed Enforcement to address enforcement on a large scale, but as that has not yet been approved by the Province, we called on the Police Services Board to reinstate at minimum the level of enforcement we saw when the STEM program was in place.
Keagan deputes alongside Jessica Spieker of FFSS before the TPS Board
Until we have a connected network of high quality protected bike lanes across our city, police enforcement of rules like passing too closely, speeding, and distracted driving are often the only thing people biking have to rely on for their safety.
As a result of our deputation and public support, Mayor Tory moved a motion to reinstate the traffic squad immediately and went further to include permanent funding within the TPS budget for future years. Check out our advocacy in action.
Friends & Families for Safe Streets, supporters, and local councillors gathered on Yonge St in North York last Sunday to commemorate the people who have lost their lives or have been seriously injured on Toronto streets due to road violence. Candles and pictures of victims were handed out at Yonge and Finch before Friends & Families for Safe Streets led an impassioned and educational walk down Yonge St.
At every stop we were reminded of a person whose life was altered or taken in an instant. Even on the short stretch of Yonge that we walked, there were more than a dozen stories to tell. Each incident could have been prevented or lessened by transforming Yonge St from a dangerous six lane highway into a people-first street that has more crossings, narrower lanes, and a welcoming environment for people to walk and shop. These changes are on the table next year, but will require strong public and political support.
Shaw is one of the busiest cycling streets in Toronto. People riding bikes outnumbered people driving cars by 158% during the morning rush in October! The City is looking to install traffic-calming measures on Shaw from Bloor to Dupont, which may include managed access, where car traffic must turn, but bicycle traffic continues straight through Shaw. Parking and contra-flow bike lanes will also be positioned on the opposite sides of the street to reduce conflict between people biking and driving. Submit your comments on the proposal by December 5.
If you’ve ever tried crossing the College / Dundas / Lansdowne intersection by bike, you’ll know that it could be made a lot more people-friendly. The City agrees and upgrades are being proposed for this very thing. Improvements could include installing traffic signals, dedicated bicycle turn lanes, and closing the intersection of St. Helens Ave and College St N to traffic to replace it with a parkette
Drop in on their public consultation next week to learn more.
Date: Tuesday, November 26
Our first big snow came earlier than expected this year but that didn’t stop many people from hopping on their bikes. We held two well-attended public workshops last week at Toronto Public Libraries. Our Cycling Educator, Rick, had a blast talking gloves, knobby tires, maintenance, and more.
If you didn’t get a chance to make it out to either event, here are some helpful tips that you can read anytime.
We’re also pushing to expand the Cycling Snow Routes and improve clearing standards across the city, which we deputed about in October at the Infrastructure and Environment Committee. If you encounter poor road clearing conditions in the snow route network, take a photo and report it by email or twitter to 311. You can tag/copy Cycle Toronto too.
BikeSeed is a new family cycling group for parents, parents-to-be and friends who either cycle or wish to start cycling. They are a community that gets together for easy, family-friendly, fun and beginner-friendly rides in various Toronto neighbourhoods and on trails. They’re hosting a launch event where you can come and meet other cycling families to chat cycling, weather, drink some hot coffee, and have some cake. If the weather is warm enough, they might go for a short ride around the neighbourhood.
Date: Sunday November 24
MEC is committed to enabling everyone to lead outdoor lifestyles. That’s why they’re hosting Cycle Toronto Member Appreciation Night at their Queen St W location on December 5th. All current Cycle Toronto members will get 10% off almost everything in the store.
MEC is a retail co-op that sells exclusively to members. They match their members with gear that suits members’ needs. But they offer more than products, they offer passion. They love to share their expertise, experience, and enthusiasm.
Storing your bike over the colder months has many benefits: saving your bike from contamination on the drivetrain and brake pads, keeping your grips and seat in good, clean condition, and preventing additional weathering of the tires.
Switchback Cyclery offers Winter Storage through the cold months for a $75 flat fee. The $75 includes storage now through until April 4th, a lube of the chain, tightening of accessories and top-off on tire pressure. Need a tune-up? They can do that while it's in the shop and have it ready for you to roll in the spring (available for an extra fee)
Switchback is a non-profit Employment Social Enterprise with its origins in Sanctuary Toronto. They welcome and employ people who have known mostly rejection and abuse and have barriers to accessing the labour market. They offer relationships and a chance to rediscover the joy and dignity that comes from having a meaningful and purposeful occupation. Find them in Riverside at 651 Queen St. E
Cycle Toronto works for you all year and we want to reward our members that support us year-round as well. Starting this month we’re entering monthly members into a prize draw every month. You’ll get all the same benefits as an annual member at a 20% discount to the annual equivalent. Join or switch to monthly membership by the end of November to be entered to win a $150 giftcard Sweet Pete’s Bike Shop. Every month that passes by you miss one more chance to win. If you’re already a monthly member you don’t have to do a thing for your chance at the prize.
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