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City releases plans for separated Sherbourne bike lane

Posted by Derek Flack / January 27, 2012

Separated Bike Lane Sherbourne StreetToronto is finally getting separated bike lanes, and now we have a pretty good idea of what they're going to look like. Unveiled at an open house yesterday, the plans for separated cycling infrastructure on Sherbourne Street should be realized by fall 2012 — at which time, you know, Jarvis is slated to lose its bike lanes.

For now, let's take a quick look at the main features of the new lanes. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit that was revealed last night is that the infrastructure will take different forms on either side of Gerrard Street. To the north the lanes will be separated by a concrete divider, and to the south they'll run as raised cycle tracks similar to what exists on stretches of Roncesvalles.

Separated Bike Lane Sherbourne StreetAlso noteworthy is that both types of barriers will allow for emergency vehicles access, which might also mean that other vehicles could block the lanes as well. That's not to say that drivers will choose to do so, but that the barrier could metaphorically be described as "soft." The possibility of "interactions" between cyclists and pedestrians at bus stops south of Gerrard is also something that may not please everyone.

Given that there are already bike lanes on Sherbourne, the separated infrastructure will likely have minimal effect of drivers. Although all parking on the street will be eliminated, non rush hour left-hand turns will still be permitted at most major intersections (notable exceptions include King and Shuter streets). To accomodate this, the bike lanes will taper as they approach intersections — there's only so much space to go around, after all.

Here's a look at some of the renderings. What do you think?

Separated Bike Lane Sherbourne StreetSeparated Bike Lane Sherbourne StreetSeparated Bike Lane Sherbourne StreetSeparated Bike Lane Sherbourne StreetSeparated Bike Lane Sherbourne Street



Tommy / January 27, 2012 at 04:30 pm
A good direction to go in, but I'd still prefer more bike lanes overall, than improving the ones we already have. What happened to the plans for connecting the network, and filling in missing spots or tough areas? This kinda seems unnecessary.
Matt / January 27, 2012 at 04:40 pm
Losing Jarvis sucks, but if this is what we gain for it, can we all just stop complaining? Getting the city's first separated lane is a victory as is, and frankly, Sherbourne serves the farther east side near Cabbagetown way better than the Jarvis lane would have.
James / January 27, 2012 at 04:44 pm
Matt must be new here. The whining won't stop until all cars are gone and everyone is riding a bike.
Name Hijacked / January 27, 2012 at 04:53 pm
bike lanes on sherbourne!??!?!! i hate rob ford what a communiest!!!!! the war on the car!!!!!!!!!!!!11
Jacob / January 27, 2012 at 05:06 pm
As long as we can keep pedestrians off of them. Get the police out there to fine joggers that use them!
ney / January 27, 2012 at 05:23 pm
People on Sherbourne are gross.
A / January 27, 2012 at 05:28 pm
First you people bitch about commute times and Toronto traffic. Then you attack people who chose to use their bikes instead of congesting the streets with their cars. Pick one and shut up!
iSkyscraper / January 27, 2012 at 05:39 pm
Interesting. Raising the cyclists to sidewalk level is a little weird and puts them, psychologically, in the pedestrian realm, almost like Rob Ford is saying "hey, I hate these guys. Get them out of the car-space and let them fight for sidewalk space with those pinko pedestrians who refuse to buy SUVs". I mean, I know the lane is taking away car lane width and not reducing the sidewalk, and the raised elevation is to benefit transit, but still it seems a bad precedent to start making "bike sidewalks".

For some context, new bike lanes in Chicago:

And in New York:

Granted, those streets are a lot wider than Sherbourne so you can do more with protection via parked cars and pretty landscaping, but they do make you drool just a little bit. If only such lanes could be installed on Jarvis, University, Front and other wide streets.
Martin / January 27, 2012 at 06:52 pm
Raising the cyclists to sidewalk level (as shown in the Roncesvalles transit stop) is a really bad idea. Currently pedestrians think it is an extension of the sidewalk as opposed to the road and stand in the bike lane all the time. Looking down at their smart phones or just staring into space.

The TTC does not feel they need to educate transit riders that this is the road not the sidewalk and for some reason the painted bike markers have no effect.

Since people do not naturally clue in, you need to delineate the bike lane, I don't understand why part of it is and part isn't. Can we not do anything right?
Alex / January 27, 2012 at 07:05 pm
The Roncesvalles lanes always looked a bit awkward, but I haven't biked over there since they've been put in. Any Roncesvalles bikers want to share their experiences?
ife / January 27, 2012 at 07:18 pm
Separated lanes on a narrow street with a major bus route, subway station, with sidewalks and the entire road with dire need for better maintenance, and on-street parking? This is not a favour for bike riders, it's a big slap in the face.

Road traffic on Jarvis was unaffected by the bike lanes, and it's a well-off street with no bus route, so no need for space for buses to turn into. Not to mention it was a lot wider. AND it's got the two Bixi stations. Jarvis should've got the separated lanes. Why do cyclists have to choose anyways? That doesn't sound like "sharing the roads".

It just doesn't make sense!
SBR / January 27, 2012 at 08:22 pm

I like the idea of bike lanes in this city.

But here's my situation. I currently take one of the Express Bus routes (from the beaches.) All the express buses use Richmond and Adelaide. When the bike lanes are installed on Richmond and Adelaide, traffic is going to be a nightmare. On a good day, the express bus takes 30 mins to go from downtown to the beaches. On bad days it takes 50 minutes. When the bike lanes are put in, it will take 40 minutes on a good day and over an hour on a bad day. I COULD WALK IT IN 1 HOUR! Note that it takes about 20-25 minutes to drive in so a 40 to 60+ bus commute just isn't very attractive!

Anyhow...when the bike lanes are put in, I will drive. I can 100% guarantee you, a whole lot of the people on my bus will drive. I bet that you'll see at least 100 people use their cars.

We think we doing a good job for the environment....but the Richmond Adelaide bike lanes will increase pollution- first because people will stop using the bus and take their car instead and because there will be more idling in slow traffic.

Zoetropicdream / January 27, 2012 at 08:43 pm
With the opening of the new George Brown Lakeshore Campus, there will be a large increase in all traffic along this corridor. With any luck (*ahem Mayor Ford) there will be an increase of buses along this route. As well as a large increase in cyclists.

I envision students rushing to class with their eyes on their smartphones and their ears tuned to their ipods, chasing down the already overflowing bus...

I think everyone on this route should start wearing a helmet.

But perhaps this will also be an opportunity to start talking about education regarding bicycle safety and pedestrian traffic laws. Because teenagers are all too eager to listen, right?
Tort / January 27, 2012 at 09:00 pm
The loss of left-turn lanes will always be the number one pain-in-the-ass result of bike lanes. Traffic that once moved relatively smoothly now jams up all the damn time. Breathe in all that new idling exhaust, legume-headed cyclists.
Bob replying to a comment from James / January 27, 2012 at 09:29 pm
Now there's intelligence.... I guess you're right, We'll just Start strapping everyone in Toronto down onto bikes including those with disabilities then the problems solved right?
mike / January 27, 2012 at 10:04 pm
the ronchesvalles 'bike lane' is not actually a bike lane, unless you are right in front of a transit stop, there is no bike lane. Anyways, we will see how this new idea pans out, whether or not making bikes on the same level as peds will work, we cant know until we try it! but more importantly, how about bikes on bloor?????!!?!?!??!?! hello bloor street! its a heavily used route through the city, and there is no excuse for it to be four lanes for cars, its right on top of a subway!
Matt replying to a comment from Alex / January 27, 2012 at 11:31 pm
Roncesvalles works surprisingly well, besides a few people waiting for the streetcar who linger too close to bike traffic occasionally.
C. replying to a comment from SBR / January 27, 2012 at 11:53 pm
with all due respect, don't you think that'll just increase the traffic problem and you'll still be waiting in your car for an extra 20 minutes, maybe longer? while i understand the appeal and the hopeful idea that it'll take less time, adding more cars is only going to make it more congested with or without the bike lane thus adding time to your commute. maybe not as much as the bus, but think about it. in your car, you have to pay attention. on the bus, you can sit, listen to your music, play with your phone, read a book/paper, whatever and only have to listen for your stop. you have a personal chauffer of sorts! is it worth adding more cars and getting rid of that luxury just for a possibly shorter commute time? i think that you and your fellow commuters need to consider that before saying that you're going to hop on in your car and drive off to work everyday. just saying.
P / January 28, 2012 at 12:50 am
Wow, Derek wrote this?! #sarcasm
McRib replying to a comment from SBR / January 28, 2012 at 01:53 am
and you think you and all your express bus mates driving is going to help? you will add to the gridlock. add to it. then your commute and everyone else's will become longer.

or you could ride your bike and get downtown from the beaches in 20-25 minutes.

up to you dingleberry
McRib replying to a comment from mike / January 28, 2012 at 01:56 am
while I agree it would be great to have a bike lane on Bloor, and I hope one day we see it, most of the time the two curb lanes are full of parked cars, so those 4 lanes are now 2.

god forbid anyone tries to get rid of on-street parking, the whole city would burn in the riots.

OPS replying to a comment from Jacob / January 28, 2012 at 07:37 am
Sure, as long as the police dedicate resources equally to fining cyclists who ride on the sidewalks, run red lights and stop signs, use crosswalks to get past red lights, ride the wrong way down one-way streets, ride two or three abreast, or in huge packs...
jennifer / January 28, 2012 at 08:53 am
I don't know about being on level with pedestrians. If someone is not looking where they are going, perhaps fiddling with their phone, they might accidentally wander into the bike lane. Plus, some cyclists might use the pedestrian side as a passing lane, which is just as bad. I wish we could just keep Jarvis the way it is.
Eric / January 28, 2012 at 10:38 am
I think this is the first step in the right direction. It is about time that we have our own seperated cycle lanes! I was hit by a taxi on the college street bike lane so obviously just a line in the road is not enough. I hope these continue...with the electric green colour!
bikeit replying to a comment from SBR / January 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm
Why don't you ride a bicycle instead of driving? It's cheaper, healthier and takes roughly the same amount of time, if not faster considering your claim of nightmarish traffic. I love how people default to their cars over biking.
namehijacked / January 29, 2012 at 10:57 am
ZZZZ. Commenting on these pages about how silly installing a bicycle lane on a major downtown street as 3,500 condo units are about to go up at the north end is just as waste of time.
The city has committed to this. Let them do it. Then in 5 years when the area north of Wellesley is in total gridlock they can just tear it all out.
It's amazing how they must use Photoshop to find 3 cyclists to paste onto the future rendering. They won't find 3 cyclists on Sherbourne in an HOUR today.
Drew / January 30, 2012 at 01:43 pm
It's not downtown but there is a seperated cycle lane on Eglington from Jane Street to the East Mall (by the 427/401) at the border of Mississauga. I take it the whole length in spring/summer (not maintained in winter) and it is a great thing.
I start off around Dufferin/St.Clair and the difference between regular cycling on the road, either with no lone like on Eglington East of Jane, or in a lane like on Rogers Road, is huge. It isn't perfect of course, for some reason there are more pedestrians on the cycle path than the side walk, and you have to be careful where the lane crosses roads, even if you have the green light right of way as people turning from Eglington can't always see whether anyone is coming and you can cycle really fast on a dedicated lane. however a bit of common sense and awareness (slowing down, looking etc.) and it works fine.
Being able to fly along, not worrying about car doors, storm drains etc. and the path is in much better condition (smoother) than the curbside of the road.
This is possible of course because of how wide Eglington is West of Jane, there is grass separation between the road and lane, and between the lane and sidewalk and trees/landscaping etc, makes it a really nice ride in summer, but of course impractical in a downtown core that has little space to give up.
Just thought I'd point it out though, as I had no idea it existed until my office moved out that way and I was looking at ways to get there, certianly beats the bus. I was mostly surprised someone had the sense to put it there instead of just adding more lanes to the road, or more lanscaping etc.
Johnny Canuck / February 3, 2012 at 04:53 pm
@ Martin "Raising the cyclists to sidewalk level (as shown in the Roncesvalles transit stop) is a really bad idea" LOL, Now cyclists will know what we pedestrians have had to deal with... dumb ass cyclists riding on the sidewalks almost running us over. YOU belong on the road, unless your under 16 years old. Learn to follow the law cyclists!
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