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Queens Quay East to get a separated bike lane

Posted by Chris Bateman / October 9, 2012

toronto queens quayStill smarting from the loss of the Jarvis Street bike lanes, which were officially condemned at the last council meeting, Toronto's cyclists have been taking plenty on the chin lately. Well, time for some good news. At the same meeting last Tuesday, council approved an entirely new separated bike lane on Queens Quay East to be up and running in under a year.

The new, 3.2-metre bikeway will run on the south side of the waterfront street from Yonge to Lower Jarvis between the sidewalk and the kerb. From Lower Jarvis to Parliament, the existing, on-street markings will be repaired and a new painted 0.7-metre buffer zone added between car and bike areas. Disused rail tracks and other hazards for bikes will be removed at the eastern end to improve the transition to the Don Valley and Lake Shore trails.

toronto queens quayAccording to Daniel Egan, the city's Cycling Infrastructure and Program Manager, work is expected to start in the next few weeks now that Waterfront Toronto has awarded the $1.7 million contract to Coco Paving. The price-tag includes design, installation of both sections, and changes to the Lower Don trail connection at Parliament Street.

"They should be starting before winter, it depends on how much they can get done before the snow flies. What doesn't get finished in the fall will get finished first thing in the spring. It should be open and operating in the spring."

The new lanes form part of the major Queens Quay revitalization project currently underway west of Yonge, where a new, improved Martin Goodman Trail will be built between Bathurst and Bay streets. When complete, this portion will be connected to the rest of the path to form an uninterrupted, 3.5-kilometre bikeway on the central waterfront.

"It will feel all like one piece from Jarvis to all the way over to Dan Leckie Way," says Egan.

toronto queens quay lanesThat said, these new eastern lanes will likely be tweaked in future. A planned (though unfunded) LRT line could still be built along the street within the next decade. To compensate for the uncertainty, Waterfront Toronto say they've planned the layout as far ahead as possible, though the separated section will likely need some alteration in the years ahead.

The curbside area in the separated section will also include two "build-outs" (sometimes called "bump outs") - raised pedestrian waiting areas - for improved bus access at Freeland Street and Lower Jarvis Street. Design wise, the only real downside concerns westbound riders who will have to dismount and cross at Lower Jarvis to access the new separated area.

Aesthetically, these things look pretty good on paper. The existing, shantytown painted lanes on Queens Quay east of Lower Jarvis will be removed and replaced with the maple leaf pattern shown in the rendering at the top of the page. The same pattern will be employed in the painted buffer area between east of Lower Jarvis and later elsewhere on the Martin Goodman Trail.

Do you think these new bike lanes will improve the riding experience along the eastern waterfront? Though the decisions weren't connected, is adding a new separated bikeway any compensation for the loss of the markings on Jarvis Street? Sound off below.


toronto queens quay lanestoronto queens quay lanesRendering courtesy of Waterfront Toronto. Diagrams from WEST8 + DTAH included in the City of Toronto staff report.



Keith / October 9, 2012 at 01:58 pm
Wow - this great. So many people travel this corridor to get to work and back home. (LOL)
Jarvis is gone - Sherbourne bicycle corridor is partly finished and looks great - much safer than trying to share Jarvis which is a north/south corridor through the city.
Pk / October 9, 2012 at 02:05 pm
Good news. This area of town is going to get a lot busier (residentially-speaking) very soon, it's a busy Bixi-bike tourist area, and it's a major chunk of the Martin Goodman. Now if they could just make sure the lanes continue all the way through Harbourfront!
steve / October 9, 2012 at 02:07 pm
Jarvis gone, Sherbourne is a mess. Still lacking any decent North South route.
But hey this is a huge improvement over what is there now. Can we look forward to traffic lights to access it?
Chris replying to a comment from steve / October 9, 2012 at 02:14 pm
How is Sherbourne a mess? I've seen other people make this comment on this site, but for the life of me I don't get what the complaint is with the Sherbourne lanes, other than the fact that the led to the removal of Jarvis.

I'm not trying to pick a fight or anything - I'm genuinely curious as to what's wrong with them. In other words, ignoring that they run on Sherbourne, which may or may not be your preference for location, what's wrong with the lanes themselves that qualifies them as a "mess"?
Leo G / October 9, 2012 at 02:36 pm
@Chris: The problem with the "separated" lanes on Sherbourne St is the insufficient degree to which they are separated. In short, cars, taxis, delivery trucks or any vehicle can very easily mount the short, rounded curbs and park in the bike lane. In fact, it's already happening on a regular basis. However, a cyclist approaching a parked vehicle in the bike lane cannot move over to the regular lane because the rounded curbs make it impossible to travers them on a bike at speed. So cyclist have to slow down (or stop), hop over them into the regular lane (or sidewalk), and then proceed. This situation is actually worse than the painted bike lanes that were there before. That's why Sherbourne is a mess.
Driver / October 9, 2012 at 02:53 pm
I can't wait to park my truck on these.
Architectural Finishes / October 9, 2012 at 03:16 pm
lol @ Driver. I'm a driver too and when I drive in that area I see cyclists everywhere so I guess it's about time they got their own lane and got off the roads.
J. MacMillan / October 9, 2012 at 03:20 pm
Vehicles still park in the Sherbourne bike lanes. What's the advantage, again? Jarvis has nothing to do with Queens Quay which has been planned for years. I live on Jarvis and cycle it every day, only now a car will have to share my lane.
Cyclist Union / October 9, 2012 at 03:27 pm
This is unacceptable. This lane has to be on Lakeshore, not Queen's Quay. Having it one street south is too far and not as inconvenient to drivers as it could be. Lakeshore bike lane or nothing!
The Real Johnson / October 9, 2012 at 03:36 pm
This seems a bit like an effort by city council to appease cyclists without actually doing anything useful/drastic. This is far from a main artery--as the first commenter noted virtually no one will be commuting here--yet I can easily hear this project being pointed to in the future as evidence that cyclists are never happy. "Look at the great bike lanes we just put in on Queen's Quay. What more do you want?"

How about separate bike lanes where people actually work and live? I'm sure the people who live at Concord City Place and work at the Redpath Sugar Refinery will love this...The rest of the city's cyclists? Not so much.
ken / October 9, 2012 at 03:51 pm
That's nice, but, we're still going to have to wait...about 2 - 3 years until the trail that ends around Spadina is connected to this piece of trail. Which is kind of not so great. But at least its finally getting done.
Jer / October 9, 2012 at 04:03 pm
A big problem I see in this area is the "no parking" signs along Queens Quay vs. "No Stopping" signs. Just takes one or two handicap parkers to cause traffic chaos (which also leads to other drivers illegally parking down in this area). Now that the construction of the harbourfront centre parking is complete they should change this area to "no stopping" and strict enforcement.
the lemur replying to a comment from Cyclist Union / October 9, 2012 at 04:04 pm
I'll take this over Lake Shore. Do people really want to bike on Lake Shore, under the Gardiner? This at least means you can get a view of the lake and be truly separate from motor vehicles, plus it will be part of the waterfront trail and thereby extend to QQW (new separate lanes coming there as well) and also along the shoreline east of Parliament.
McRib / October 9, 2012 at 04:05 pm
wow, a whole 500m of separated bike lane!

we cyclists sure are spoiled in this town.
Sheerluck Holmes / October 9, 2012 at 04:10 pm
This is great news...commuting from Coxwell / Danforth to Liberty Village by bicycle was a dis-jointed adventure...Greenwood bike lanes, through the postal plant, onto Lakeshore bike path and onto Queens Quay bike lane.
The QQ lane was horrendous and ended at Jarvis. There was nothing then until the bottom of Spadina where it started up again. Having a linked lane/path system will increase ridership and safety.
Kudos, Rob Ford !
the lemur replying to a comment from McRib / October 9, 2012 at 04:20 pm
It joins up with the rest of the MGT/Waterfront trail to the east and the forthcoming separated lanes on QQW. Surely that's better than a 500 m gap along the lake.
the lemur replying to a comment from The Real Johnson / October 9, 2012 at 04:25 pm
It may not be a major artery, but I think that works in its favour - you can cover the same distance as you would on the Lake Shore, but the traffic is not as dense or as fast, plus you get to be closer to the lake instead of looking at the underside of the Gardiner.
Biking Mike / October 9, 2012 at 04:28 pm
Much needed, very good news! The current stretch is a nightmare and the next decent east-west route apart from that is all the way up at College st.
iSkyscraper / October 9, 2012 at 04:43 pm
Glass half-empty: This is crap compared to what they get in New York, with full landscaping, paint and proper barriers to fully prevent trucks from pulling up and parking in/over the bike lane. And what's with making the bike lane level with the sidewalk? This will encourage bicyclists to pass on the sidewalk, screwing over pedestrians. And it will feel cheap, like Toronto was too poor to pave all their sidewalk in concrete so they did half in asphalt. Why does Toronto have to settle for low-grade garbage when the rest of the world gets this along their waterfront bike trails:

Glass half full: Bike networks don't appear overnight, especially in "too poor under liberal mayors/too stupid under Rob Ford" Toronto. Every short section helps to build the network that will one day reach a tipping point, drowning out Toronto Sun readers with the educated wheeled masses. Take it, and move on to fighting for the next segment. Yay.
Aaron / October 9, 2012 at 04:51 pm
Cool. At this rate there may be a complete separated network in place for the War of 1812 tricentennial! (Fort York visitor centre may also be completed by then)
Aaron / October 9, 2012 at 04:53 pm
Based on the plans, it looks like they expect westbound cyclists to cross Queen's Quay 5 times, moving back and forth between new sections of the Martin Goodman trail on the south side and bike lanes on the north side. I guess it's progress, but we really need to complete the entire central section of the Martin Goodman trail. I mean, this is the waterfront we're talking about, if anywhere needs to have a complete off street trail this is it.
Ben / October 9, 2012 at 05:00 pm
This is how separated bike lanes should be done. Sherbourne is a bloody dangerous mess. Nice to see that we'll be doing it right somewhere.

David M / October 9, 2012 at 05:02 pm
This is good news. The existing bike lane through this stretch of road is like riding on cobblestones.

Next up is to do something about the buses and taxis double- and triple-parked in front of the Harbour Castle Westin. There's no thrill quite like getting forced onto the rails-barely-covered-with-asphalt road surface there while simultaneously trying to avoid being cut off by a taxi that's just picked up a fare.
Ben / October 9, 2012 at 05:08 pm
Has anyone else noticed that most every new bike lane in Toronto in the past few years has a different design than the ones that came before it? There's absolutely no consistency. I suspect motorists would have an easier time dealing with a consistent bike network.

As it stands, we have:

1. The old style "line of paint" lanes that the city used to put in, still the most common by far (e.g. Dundas East, Davenport, Christie, parts of Gerard, Shuter, etc).
2. Signed bike routes.
3. Routes that are entirely sharrowed (e.g. Hallam - Lappin).
4. Routes with occasional sharrows and bikelanes elsewhere (College).
5. Those weird occasional pseudo-bike lanes on Roncey.
6. Routes with bike boxes (e.g. College, St George, Harbord).
7. The kind of separated bike lane on the north half of Sherbourne.
8. The kind of separated bike lane on the south half of Sherbourne.
9. Soon we'll have this new (proper) kind of separated bike lane on Queen's Quay.

The possible problem is that each of these requires a different interaction between motorists and cyclists.
Ace McNugget / October 9, 2012 at 05:08 pm
Wow bike lanes on a street no-one uses anyway! Thank you Toronto city councillors!
McRib replying to a comment from Ben / October 9, 2012 at 05:20 pm
design consistency, or the lack thereof, is something you see every day in all areas of public domain in the city. from street lights to street signs, bike lanes to bus shelters, the lack of foresight to help make the city actually LOOK nice is astounding.

whatever is cheapest, that's what we do.

Greg Hannah / October 9, 2012 at 05:24 pm
"Driver" laugh all you want, I've got Toronto Parking Services programmed into my cell phone and will report every violator to be tagged plus I will record their license plate and will photograph the illegal stopping or parking scene in ANY bicycle lane. Want to fight it? I'll show up in the courtroom with a statement and photos, I run my business from home so I make my own hours. This will be my "civic gift" to the city coffers, all those $160 parking tags!
the lemur replying to a comment from Ben / October 9, 2012 at 05:28 pm
Those all reflect different approaches to different situations depending on local input. The line of paint was the default ever since the first lanes went in in the 1970s. The entirely sharrowed streets aren't bike lanes but a compromise between bike lanes and signed routes, same with the mix of lanes and sharrows on Harbord.

Bike boxes are an addition to existing lanes. The Roncey things are an anomaly - there wasn't remove to put in bike lanes AND extend the streetcar platforms AND retain on-street parking, so getting off one of those sometimes means you encounter parked cars just as a streetcar passes you.
Cyclist whiner replying to a comment from Greg Hannah / October 9, 2012 at 06:18 pm
Even I think you need to get a life Greg.
Aaron / October 9, 2012 at 06:23 pm
Toronto operates in a vacuum. Why bother consulting with other cities that have more experience when you can simply lay any old half-assed crap down. Plop some random shit here and there and then coo that "Separated bike lanes? Yeah we have those too! We've got one here, we've got one somewhere up there, and we're thinking of getting one someplace up over there.." No plan. Half-assed everything.
Greg Hannah replying to a comment from Cyclist whiner / October 9, 2012 at 06:32 pm
I've got a great life plus I'm active in my community. I'm sick to death of this "war on the car/war on the bike" nonsense that has created so much unnecessary animosity between drivers and cyclists. I know I didn't help with that comment but I pay my taxes too and without complaint so I believe I'm entitled to a little piece of the road to cycle safely. If people like "Driver" want to park in them it only takes a few seconds to make a phone call and snap a few photos on my iPhone so hopefully, eventually, people will learn that's not a space for stopping or parking - except emergency vehicles.
Is this new? / October 9, 2012 at 06:54 pm
There has basically been a "bike lane" in this location for years. When the construction of the Chorus building started along here, the waterfront bike path suddenly became an asphalt sidewalk with giant "do not ride your bike here, it's for pedestrians" on it, and if you ride along here, you realized that all the cyclists roll right past the signs, and nobody pays attention to the fact that they're also riding the wrong way on the road, riding westbound.
Whiners / October 9, 2012 at 09:04 pm
Number 1 whiners in toronto is ford nation, #2 is bicyclists, no pleasing either of these crybabies.
OssyLady replying to a comment from Jer / October 9, 2012 at 09:32 pm
by "handicap" do you mean running into starbucks? today, at 5:05 pm I had to navigate around 8 "stopped" cars between York and Simcoe. there is zero enforcement around here. don't even get me started on the westbound right lane must turn right at spadina. >50% of cars ignore this. where are the police???
KitaOdOrla / October 9, 2012 at 11:09 pm
@Greg Hannah, I am so proud of you!
KitaOdOrla / October 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm
Once bicyclists:

- Have licence plates on their bicycles
- Renew plate stickers ever year
- Pay some sort of the bike insurance

I will be able to digest their presence on the roads,
'till then keep them away from busy roads!
lol / October 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm
no barrier between pedestrians and cycling?? typical toronto half assing
the lemur replying to a comment from KitaOdOrla / October 9, 2012 at 11:54 pm
Plate and stickers if you want, but I doubt it'll do anything. Good luck getting an insurance company to provide coverage.

Cyclists' presence on the roads has nothing to do with your ability to 'digest' it or the busyness of those roads. Deal with it.
steve replying to a comment from KitaOdOrla / October 10, 2012 at 07:41 am
You feel it is best to have the city add an extra cost to cyclists. paying the same taxes as you to use the road is not good enough. Why do so many motorists feel all that use the road must pay more then they do to use the roads?
Peter / October 10, 2012 at 09:24 am
Can't wait for this. The city needs more bike lanes
the lemur replying to a comment from lol / October 10, 2012 at 09:33 am
Slight grade separation and different paving is enough in many other cities with more extensive bike lanes.
Jeff replying to a comment from KitaOdOrla / October 10, 2012 at 09:43 am
Good point KitaOdOrla: for cyclists to use our municipally-funded roads, they should pay licence fees to the provincial government! Nevermind that cyclists and motorists all pay the property taxes that pay for our city roads.

Let's not just stop at cyclists! Pedestrians use the roads too: they should all be required to have licence plates on their backs and pay for insurance. After all, who's going to pay for the damage to my car when I hit a pedestrian who jumps out in front me?
Steven replying to a comment from Chris / October 10, 2012 at 03:14 pm
It's a mess in my opinion because the separators/curbs are convex - this allows most vehicles with a descent clearance to still pull over (I've encountered this a few times and I've only used the southbound lanes a few times - plus the curb may be mountable by truck/suv (I don't think cars can) but as a bike, it's hard to then get around the illegally parked vehicle. That's the mess that I've seen anyhow.
jen / October 10, 2012 at 04:35 pm
Why can't the bike lanes go east AND westbound on the south side of Queen's Quay east of Jarvis? There's certainly enough room there now for double lanes, what's stopping that from happening? Other than that, this is a good plan. I'm on that stretch of road almost every day commuting to and from the Port Lands and I will welcome the new lanes for sure. Pity to have lost Jarvis, though. Hopefully car drivers will stop parking in the Sherbourne lanes.
Tim Bishop / October 11, 2012 at 11:32 am
Looks like Torontonians are getting what they asked for based on recent research by Northstar
Other Cities: Montreal