September greeted us with some scorching temperatures, but has since cooled down right on time for some crisp bike rides back to school. Here at the Cycle Toronto office, we’ve been busy making a final fundraising push for our Big Toronto Bike Ride, getting ready to “get lit”, and preparing to celebrate a monumental bike ride from Ottawa to Queen’s Park. Hope you enjoy this edition of the Ring & Post!
Table of Contents
The Big Toronto Bike Ride 2023
- Ride Updates
- More Prizes Unveiled
IEC / Council updates
- Transportation Equity
- Construction Zone Safety
- EV Charging Network Study
- Upcoming Fall Consultations
- Celebrating Complete Cycling Infrastructure
- Big Changes at High Park
- Just for Fun: My Archnemesis
- Get Lit
- Safety Ride with MPP Joel Harden
- In the Media
The Big Toronto Bike Ride presented by Bike Law
Cycle Toronto could not be more excited for the Big Toronto Bike Ride 2023. It’s only one week away! Thank you to all of our supporters, donors, and fundraisers. This year’s ride is going to be a special one.
If you’re out of the loop, The Big Toronto Bike Ride presented by Bike Law is our biggest annual fundraiser. On October 1st, you can join us on a lively ride around town, make a new cycling friend at the post-ride social, and, most importantly, help Cycle Toronto raise funds for even more programming and advocacy in 2024. We’ve spent 2023 amplifying cyclists’ voices during the municipal by-election, helping folks take up biking at our Learn-to-Ride program, and advocating for an expanded cycling network across Toronto. We have even bigger and better goals for 2024, but we need your help to accomplish them.
NOTE: Due to high participation, we have moved the starting point of the ride to the northwest corner of Christie Pits, at the intersection of Crawford and Barton. Riders are asked to arrive at 4:30 for registration, with the ride departing at 5:15.
If you're unable to take part in the ride, consider donating to a team or individual that stands out to you!
Throughout the weeks leading up to the event, we’ve been unveiling some wonderful prizes for top individual fundraisers and teams. Today, we are happy to announce prizes courtesy of Patagonia, InsideOut Studio, and Sweet Pete’s.
Patagonia, a retailer that produces clothing and gear for the outdoors, has been a proud prize sponsor for several Cycle Toronto events. This year, they’re supporting the Big Toronto Bike Ride to give a lucky fundraiser a Patagonia prize pack that includes:
- 1 Brodeo Toque
- 1 P-6 Label Trad Cap
- 1 Atom Sling 8L
- 1 Patagonia Book- Tools for Grassroots Activists
(Patagonia’s sling bag.)
InsideOut Studio in Leaside is a private studio that offers healthy and wellness services to help you reach your fitness goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle. They offer a range of services, from private studio sessions, group classes, to nutritional consulting, workplace wellness programs, and private at-home training, to name a few. This year, they’re partnering with Cycle Toronto to offer 3 private studio sessions to 2 lucky fundraisers!
Sweet Pete's has been proudly serving Toronto and beyond for decades. Located in Bloordale, Sweet Pete’s offers a range of services for the cycling community, including cycling gear, accessories, bike apparel, and more. It’s a one stop shop for all things bike-related. They’ve also been a long-standing supporter of Cycle Toronto’s work, and have been a champion for cycling in Toronto. Support from local bike shops like Sweet Pete’s gives us the ground support we need to continue to do our work, and we’re excited to have them as a prize sponsor this year. When you fundraise for the Big Toronto Bike Ride, you’ll get the chance to win a bike lock, a bike light set, or a $50 gift to Sweet Pete’s.
City Council Updates
While many were enjoying summer vacations, August saw Mayor Chow and her Executive team lead City Council in taking an important step towards diversifying the city’s revenues to address the current budget shortfall.
Of the various revenue tool options on the table, we are particularly pleased that City Council has approved increasing the cost of on-street parking by:
- Removing the $5 an hour cap for on-street parking which has been the main contributor to keeping parking well below market rate;
- Implementing a commercial parking levy.
The popularity of large shopping malls is in large part due to the free parking they offer, which has contributed to making it harder for local high streets to compete. A parking levy in Toronto is expected to generate around $490 million a year. Increasing the cost of parking will go a long way towards investing in Toronto’s active transportation network.
Improving Construction Zone Safety Falls on Us to DEMAND it
The lack of safety for people around construction zones has gotten worse over the past few months. Over the past year Cycle Toronto, Walk Toronto, Friends and Families for Safe Streets, and other community road safety stakeholders have been meeting with city staff, including the Transportation Services Director of Traffic Management, with the objective of finding a path forward towards making our streets, bike lanes and sidewalks safer for people.
We have been asking for a public forum on this issue since the lack of safety and consideration for people traveling outside of vehicles around construction zones impacts everyone. To help demonstrate to Mayor Chow, her Executive Committee and City Council that this is a priority that needs their immediate attention, we are organizing a large peaceful protest that will be a family friendly event that plays on Halloween being one of the most fun secular holidays of the year, but is also the most dangerous night for people who walk, wheel or bike.
When construction signs direct cyclists to dismount and walk on the sidewalk, or pedestrians are informed (with no notice) that the sidewalk is closed, often leaving them marooned and stuck between vehicular traffic and construction hoarding, they are essentially telling people that their safety doesn't matter.
Mark your calendars for Sunday October 29th - from 1:00 to 2:30.
Our organizing committee is seeking volunteers to help us plan. If you are interested in leading a multi-modal feeder group or making signs, please email Alison, our Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at [email protected].
EV Charging Network Study
Have your say and help the City of Toronto plan where EV charging infrastructure should be implemented. Cycle Toronto endorses and supports the City’s strategies, plans and initiatives that seek to reduce air pollutants and emissions.
Complete the public EV charging network study today - the deadline is September 30th.
Upcoming Fall Consultations
This fall, there are going to be several stakeholder and public consultations regarding city priorities that will help us move towards a more sustainable and vibrant biking city.
Comprehensive Micro-mobility Strategy
Our bike lanes, sidewalks and streets have devolved into a wild west as a wide range of active mobilities and e-mobility devices that move at various speeds are competing for limited space. None of these devices are allowed on sidewalks and many aren’t allowed in our limited network of bike lanes. We are advocating for a comprehensive Micro-mobility Strategy that will determine how micro-mobility devices relate to moving people safely and sustainably without endangering the lives of pedestrians, cyclists and all road users.
This strategy must seek to resolve any safety concerns identified by the Toronto Accessibility
Advisory Committee and other community stakeholders. It is imperative that the adoption of any emerging mobility options won't negatively impact the safety and accessibility of people in Toronto. As an important community stakeholder make sure you sign up for our Action Alerts so that we can keep you informed on upcoming consultations on this important issue.
City-wide Parking Strategy
The cost of on-street parking remains far too cheap and well below market value. Many councillors and resident groups have the view that letting people store their private vehicles on valuable public curbside space should remain their privilege.
Imagine if everyone bought sports equipment that they didn’t have space to store and started parking their snowboards, skis, furniture and other large items in public space with the expectation that they don’t need to pay. At the end of the day, a car or SUV is personal property and it is not a right or the responsibility of the city to provide car owners with free parking.
We are advocating for a range of initiatives regarding the city-wide parking strategy. Read about them here.
2025-2027 Near-Term Cycling Network Plan
Get excited! While city staff continue to work on completing the 100km of new cycling infrastructure outlined in the current 2022-2024 Near-Term Cycling Network Plan, they have begun planning for the future with the 2025-2027 Near-Term Cycling Network Plan.
When the now Mayor Chow campaigned in the 2014 Toronto Municipal Election, part of her campaign platform included implementing 200 km of new cycling infrastructure. We look forward to advancing cycling in our wonderful city and increasing the momentum that has been achieved over the past few years. We can’t wait to see what can be achieved under a progressive Mayor that is a cyclist like us.
Stay tuned. We will keep you posted on this development.
Celebrating Complete Cycling Infrastructure
We don’t always take the time to celebrate new cycling infrastructure, and we plan on changing that.
On Aug 17 we attended a celebration organized by the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association to highlight the amazing bi-directional cycle track connecting Esplanade to Mill St. This connection demonstrates that small cycling connections can deliver a huge impact. In this case, it removed conflict from cyclists, walkers, joggers, dog walkers and the myriad of people who were forced to share a narrow multi-use trail. When infrastructure is well designed, it accommodates the needs of the area and designs out conflicts between the different groups of peoples using different mobilities to get around.
Big Changes at High Park
Back in 2021, the High Park Movement Strategy study began in order to assist in rethinking High Park’s travel network due to the city’s growing population and changing travel patterns. The goal of the study was to improve mobility within the park, while prioritizing safety, accessibility, and the park’s ecological integrity.
In May, council approved changes to the park’s road network and policies surrounding private vehicle access. Council voted to adopt permanent car free weekends and holidays, permanent closure of several road segments to cars, and improved pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Almost 60 percent of the park’s parking spaces, many of which were located at the side of Colborne Lodge Drive, will be removed. This will free up space for the wide variety of other kinds of road users that travel the park’s main thoroughfares. The park will now be a safer and more enjoyable place for vulnerable road users.
Since the city began implementing the changes in August, visitors have enjoyed a safer, quieter, and more peaceful park. In the coming years, further improvements will include upgrades to physical infrastructure such as widened sidewalks and cycling infrastructure.
Change is difficult. Many who enjoy the park may have seen posters from the group High Park Access for All, which organized a rally that attracted only a dozen angry people. Their claim is that the park is now no longer accessible to people, despite the fact that anyone can drive into High Park on weekdays and there is a TTC bus route that operates on weekends, which are car-free, and brings passengers along the West Rd/Colborne Lodge Drive loop inside the park. We look forward to the city replacing the park's diesel-powered trackless train with a more sustainable and accessible replacement.
Fall is coming soon, and you know what that means - our fall education campaign, “Get Lit!” is back! Get Lit! is one of our signature campaigns to help people biking get around safely and confidently in Toronto even as the days get shorter. Thanks to our partner Toronto Hydro for supporting the campaign this year as the official sponsor, helping us keep cyclists in Toronto more visible throughout the colder months.
If you’re not familiar with Get Lit!, the campaign’s goal is to educate and equip riders all over the city with bike lights to keep them visible (it's the law). During the month of October, we will be setting up our orange tent in different corners of the city to flag down unlit cyclists as they pass, educate them on the importance of bike lights, and provide them with a free set for a safe ride home. This year, we’ve received the support of Toronto Hydro to provide free lights to cyclists across the city.
When and Where?
Our Get Lit! Stations will be happening all over the city over the month of October on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the occasional Saturday around dusk. You can visit our events page in the coming weeks to check out where we will be with our tent handing out lights in the city. Come say hi to us if you can.
Just for Fun: My Archnemesis
Have you ever had a rival? An adversary? An archnemesis?
As cyclists, it often feels like we have many potential foes lingering in the shadows: that same delivery truck unloading in the bike lane every morning, the oversized pickup that overtakes you a little too closely, or the rush hour box-blocker obstructing everyone else’s ability to safely cross the street.
But often even worse than the aforementioned thorns in our sides is one omnipresent, nonhuman enemy: the dreaded pothole. Everyone who regularly rides a bike has at least one that can ruin an otherwise pleasant excursion.
Do you have one in mind?
This month, Just for Fun delves into the ins and outs of potholes, and even shows off some of Toronto’s finest.
Toronto Ride for Safe Streets with MPP Harden
With just 6 days until fall and with our days already getting shorter, making sure our roads are safe for people of all ages, abilities and incomes is a major priority. From September 21-24, Ottawa Centre MPP Joel Harden is riding his bike from Ottawa to Queen’s Park. He is holding community consultations and promoting awareness of the importance in making the Highway Traffic Act a more equitable piece of legislation by adding penalties to careless drivers found guilty of killing or seriously injuring someone.
Join us on Sunday, September 24th along with a long list of other road safety activists in supporting MPP Joel Harden’s ride beginning in Scarborough. You can join at one of several stops en route to Nathan Phillips Square, where we will set off on the final leg to Queen’s Park. There, MPP Harden will host a community consultation about safety for pedestrians, wheelchair users, cyclists, children and the elderly.
Bill 40, the Moving Ontarians Safely Act, is a piece of legislation that seeks to introduce new measures to protect people by making drivers found guilty of killing or seriously injuring someone accountable for their careless behaviour. Currently, drivers who kill or seriously injure pedestrians and cyclists are charged under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act and far too often receive only small fines despite the huge impact their actions have on those who have been left with life long injuries, or worse, the loss of a loved one.
In the Media
Canadian landscape architect Claude Cormier, designer of public spaces, dies at 63 | The Globe and Mail
Virtual Seminar on Cycling in the GTHA - New perspectives on cycling policy and practice in the GTHA
The Big Toronto Bike Ride 2023 presented by Bike Law - Cycle Toronto's biggest annual fundraiser
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And as always, every donation counts to help us continue the work you've read about in this newsletter.