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Toronto mulls separated bike lanes for Wellesley Street

Posted by Chris Bateman / November 12, 2012

toronto wellesley bike laneToronto could have its first east-west separated bike lanes within a year if the public works and infrastructure committee accepts a new report calling for a total reworking of the cycling facilities on Wellesley Street and Hoskin Avenue.

If adopted and approved by city council later this month, new curved curbs like the ones presently found on Sherbourne Street could be in place between Parliament and Yonge by next year. A second phase would witness separated lanes installed on Hoskin Avenue with a connection between the two added to Queens Park Crescent in 2014.

toronto wellesley bike laneThe project will cost in the neighbourhood of $975,000 and will likely be tethered to planned resurfacing work on Wellesley scheduled for next summer. In what could be a controversial move, the new lanes will eliminate all street parking on the thoroughfare except at busier sections near Queens Park and Bay Street. New, accessible TTC bus stops on raised platforms are so part of the plan.

At major intersections along the proposed bike lanes, cyclists will be able to make two-stage left turns using special bright green painted areas. The city also plans to add bike boxes at the head of each set of lights and ban right turns at red lights for motorists.

Presently, the cycle lanes on Wellesley are identical to the ones about to be removed from Jarvis Street: painted road markings without any physical barrier to vehicular traffic. "Sharrows," markings telling bikers and drivers to share the road, are used in narrower sections of the street.

The proposal joins the already confirmed Queens Quay East lanes, a precursor to separated biking along the entire waterfront street, which should be open in the spring. Is this sudden surge in the number of in-construction and proposed separated lanes surprise you? Is this a good place to build the first major east-west cycle way?

Images: City of Toronto

Discussion

27 Comments

Pk / November 12, 2012 at 11:45 am
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I'll never understand bike-haters who hate bike lanes; Bike lanes keep cyclists separated from cars. Eeeeverybody happy!
theoadorno / November 12, 2012 at 11:59 am
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enough 'mulling' more doing.

i'd love to see a cost breakdown of the cash the infrastructure committee burns through to 'mull' vs. actual implementation costs.

Douglas / November 12, 2012 at 12:16 pm
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Theoadorno has it right on. This city spends way to much money on researching options, instead of executing plans. This is a good idea, but this will not help with traffic, we need to focus on TTC, roads, and other public transit.

Also, can we please make construction on major roads/projects be 24 hours a day. Nothing is worse than driving on the 401 on workday evening to see all worksites empty.
Chris / November 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm
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I am curious about the stretch between Queens Park and Hoskins. Would it actually run north on the west side of the circle in the opposite direction of car traffic as shown in the map?
mdm / November 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm
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although it's great whenever new bike lanes are built, I'm sure I'm not the only one who is extremely tired of the piecemeal nature of these lanes. This is about 1.5 km of construction. Who bikes for only 1.5 km? Extend the grade separation all the way down harbourd and east all the way to the end of wellesly. What's so freaking difficult about building an extensive, interconnected network of bike lanes that actually serve more than 1 neighbourhood?
Grid / November 12, 2012 at 01:00 pm
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Thing is, if these are anything like Sherbourne (which a motor vehicle, such as emergency services, can mount in a pinch), then cars and delivery trucks will still be able to illegally park in the lanes, thus forcing cyclists into traffic. That would be fine except that the physical separator makes that a dangerous, sometimes impossible, option.

If this goes through, I do hope the lane separators discourage illegal parking. But that would mean firetrucks and ambulances would be put at a disadvantage.
mike in parkdale / November 12, 2012 at 01:14 pm
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but will someone play a giant Dorioto Guitar on the corner? When do the renderings come out?
Phil / November 12, 2012 at 01:22 pm
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Naive optimist that I am I hope that even lousy separated lanes will prove their worth, and in some glorious future we'll start getting decent separated lanes.

Further to the comment about the piecemeal nature of the bike network - building separated lanes is not a substitute for building more lanes. Where are the north-south lanes north of Davenport? Where are the bike-friendly ways of crossing the 401?

Good biking infrastructure is, in fact, a great way to reduce congestion. If it was possible for people of all ages and levels of fitness to get where they're going by bike without putting their lives at risk and competing for space with cars more people would make more trips by bike. It's already faster to travel over most of the old City of Toronto by bike than car.
Bradley replying to a comment from mdm / November 12, 2012 at 01:27 pm
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This is almost a perfect bike lane for me.

I ride from East York almost all the way to Spadina and King. To get across the core, I have to rely on sharrows on Bloor or Wellesley, doubling back north if I take the Gerrard-College lanes, or riding with cars.

Also, Parliament is effectively the end of Wellesley. The usefulness is the connection at Sherbourne to get me up to the bike lanes on Bloor.
UPS Guy / November 12, 2012 at 02:23 pm
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Ahh this is going to be great I find the Sherbourne bike lanes are just perfect for parking in. My buddies in the cabs are going to like them as well. But the stupid bikers should just get te city to get a Bloor separated bike lane in, then I could pretty much park anywhere cyclist need to go in the north part of the city it would be so much better for me ah I mean them. Who am I kidding I mean US. Gotta go someone might want to make an uninstructed right turn somewhere downtown!
Jerome Ford replying to a comment from Pk / November 12, 2012 at 02:36 pm
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I'll never understand cyclists who think they should get everything their way instead of compromising (that means you get something you want, not always).

I'll never understand cyclists who bitch when bike lanes are blocked instead of changing their route, something cars/trucks/ttc have to do all the time.
Jerome Ford replying to a comment from Douglas / November 12, 2012 at 02:37 pm
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Try living near a construction site that is 24hrs.
Sean / November 12, 2012 at 02:43 pm
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The only part of this project I'm excited about is a proper connection between Hoskin/Harbord and Wellesley. There are options right now: cut through Queen's Park, go through the Memorial Tower on the UofT lands, or take Queen's Park Circle as a motorist would, but all have their drawbacks.

The traffic on Queen's Park Circle is almost homicidal: when taking Can-Bike II, we had angry motorists yelling at our group for daring to use it!
mike in parkdale replying to a comment from Jerome Ford / November 12, 2012 at 02:45 pm
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"I'll never understand cyclists who bitch when bike lanes are blocked instead of changing their route, something cars/trucks/ttc have to do all the time."

very often bikes do not have a safe alternative.

They might not be able to switch routes without going directly into heavy traffic, OR on to a sidewalk with isn't a safe option either. When a road is blocked, there's usually a marked detour. When a bike path is block, cyclists are expected to find their own way though the mess.
Rob / November 12, 2012 at 02:58 pm
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No one in this city has the political will for a biking network. I look forward to the taxpayer-funded million dollar study, the eventual taxpayer-funded addition of a bike lane, and when the new guy or gal comes in a few years down the road, I especially look forward to tax payer funds being used to remove them. Then repeat!

No bigger scam going right now in post-amalgamation (i.e. extremely divided ideological) Toronto than these taxpayer-funded "studies". They know progress is stalled because the lefties get booted out/then the neocons come in/then the neocons get booted out/then the lefties come in... nothing ever gets done permanently, scumbag "consultants" still get to eat on our dollars. Someone needs to follow the damn money.
Evan / November 12, 2012 at 07:36 pm
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This is an absolutely terrible idea. As we are seeing with the Sherbourne "separated" lane, the curb employed does nothing to prevent a motor vehicle from jumping the curb, either in preventing parking in the bike lane or for the purposes of safety. However it does prevent a bicycle from being able to maneuver around obstacles in the bike lane, like a parked car.

No less this design is reducing the available space for safely passing slower cyclists and with the inability to go into a general purpose lane to pass will only decrease safety and increase frustration with the use of the lane.

Either bollards need to be installed (Which emergency services is opposed to) or the entire bike lane needs to be on one side of the street with both directions right next to each other.

I for one refuse to ride in a separated lane for this design.
Sean / November 12, 2012 at 11:49 pm
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Best idea: Totally concede Harbord/Wellesley to bikes (ban non-police/fire/EMS vehicles) and make it a bike highway in exchange for banning bikes from College & Bloor. Do the same with Bay or Avenue. This way, bicyclists get the much needed safety and protection from inept drivers piloting 4000lb vehicles and they get a quick way downtown, and pedestrians/transit riders/driver don't have to deal with idiots blasting through reds/cutting everyone off/etc.
inciquay / November 13, 2012 at 12:07 am
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I'm with mike from parkdale, if s giant Dorito guitar is involved, I'm on board...well one cheek on my bike seat!
Hi / November 13, 2012 at 12:47 am
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Why are the curbs curved? This is still a halfway solution. The curb should be unable to be mounted by vehicles, and the entire thing should be seen as an extension of the sidewalk.
Sean / November 13, 2012 at 03:19 am
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Hope the cyclists get licensed and pay for for their lanes.
the lemur replying to a comment from Sean / November 13, 2012 at 09:41 am
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Licensing of any kind doesn't pay for roads. Not true of cars, not true of any kind of vehicle. Besides, if that were true, wouldn't all the driver's licences held by many if not most cyclists already have paid for the roads and the cost of putting in bike lanes?
_n / November 22, 2012 at 05:43 pm
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DANG! That made it to around 20 comments before someone brought up the moot idea of "licensing" I think that's a record for comments on a biking news article.

Also...curbed bumps don't work. Look at Sherbourne, its a mess. And dangerous, and people still park in it _all the time_

If you're going to separate a lane, use a better design.
Niven / November 26, 2012 at 12:34 am
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This is good but hopefully by the time they go to make it they'll see that the barrier on the Sherbourne lanes isn't good enough and put something else in here. They should have a look at what's done in Vancouver or in the Netherlands to see what is possible.
Noel replying to a comment from Jerome Ford / December 8, 2012 at 11:31 am
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What an IDIOTIC comment. Moving because a car or truck is blocking a bike lane is different than moving because their is construction. Also, in a car your chances of being hurt because you have to move around the obstruction is miniscule compared to the chances of being hurt while having to maneouvre out of a bike lane (possibly having to dismount your bike to get over the hump) and then back in again. Would you like someone blocking the road because they are making a delivery or dropping someone off? No, eh? Well that's why these trucks or cars block the bike lane.

SHEESH!
Noel replying to a comment from Sean / December 8, 2012 at 11:35 am
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I already pay property taxes, gas taxes, car licence taxes on my car, so I don't need to pay more taxes because I am biking! In fact, I think more of the taxes should be allocated to bike lanes. More people biking would result in a healthier population and less drag on our OHIP system. In fact more bike lanes = saving the entire province money.
Noel replying to a comment from Hi / December 8, 2012 at 11:35 am
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Yeah the curb should be designed such that a car or truck cannot mount it.
Faustino / April 30, 2013 at 04:38 pm
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Your method of telling the whole thing in this post is in
fact nice, all can effortlessly understand it, Thanks a lot.

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