Sunday, October 23, 2016Overcast 15°C

Richmond and Adelaide bike lane pilot gets green light

Posted by Chris Bateman / May 15, 2014

toronto richmond adelaideToronto cyclists are due to get separated lanes on Richmond and Adelaide streets this summer as part of a pilot project approved yesterday by the city's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. In addition to lanes on the east-west streets, there will be bike lanes added to Simcoe between Front and Queen and on Peter from King to Queen.

The Richmond lane will be located on the north side of the street for westbound bicycles between York and Bathurst. On Adelaide, the lane will be on the south side for cyclists heading east between Bathurst and Simcoe.

toronto richmond adelaideThe lanes will be separated from traffic by a painted buffer and "flexi-posts," like the ones recently added to Wellesley between Yonge and Parliament, and will require the removal of one lane of traffic on each street. The number of parking and loading spaces on Richmond and Adelaide will remain relatively unchanged, the city says.

The bike lanes will remain in place until at least 2015 and could become permanent when the final environmental assessment is presented to city council.

The committee also asked city staff to investigate extending the lanes beyond Parliament in order to make connections with existing routes on Dundas and Eastern.

The total cost of the pilot project is $390,000.

Are you pleased to see the city adding new bike lanes?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Danielle Scott/blogTO Flickr pool, City of Toronto.



Mike / May 15, 2014 at 11:38 am
That's nice that it got a green light, but even if it got a red light, I'm sure cyclists would still blast right past it.
iSkyscraper / May 15, 2014 at 11:44 am
A good candidate for a road diet if there ever was one. Let's see how it turns out.

Perhaps in the post-Ford era Toronto might catch up to the cities that it used to be so far ahead of when it came to being a model, livable urban area.
noel / May 15, 2014 at 11:49 am
great, more bike lanes for oblivious drivers to park in
mike in parkdale / May 15, 2014 at 11:56 am
aren't there lanes on Adelaide perpetually closed because of condo construction?
Concerned Resident / May 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm
Rob, if you're paying attention please do something about this abomination! Such a disaster, just like the one that St. Clair W is reeling from years later.
Jen C / May 15, 2014 at 12:48 pm
A nice idea in theory, except for the perpetual lane closures for condo construction. Add in the Tim Horton's trucks/tour buses/taxis that are always blocking a lane as there's only one lane open for car traffic.
Don't Be Dumb replying to a comment from Jen C / May 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm
Lawrence / May 15, 2014 at 12:51 pm
These streets would be a perfect to place something similar to Montreal's duo bike lanes. That way they could just designate Adelaide or Richmond (one or the other) and put in one bike path running east and west as opposed to modifying 2 roads...
Darryl / May 15, 2014 at 12:54 pm
A minor correction: the flexi-bollards on Wellesley St. run from Parliament to Jarvis. Bollards will go from Jarvis to Young (and further west) after World Pride.
seriously replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / May 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm
That's what I was wondering, where in the graphic are the lanes closed for construction or the lines of cabbies infront of the Trump hotel that bottleneck the city all dang day!
seriously replying to a comment from Don't Be Dumb / May 15, 2014 at 12:58 pm
user-pic mean 2-10 years?

Good definition. I think Jen was right, PERPETUAL.

Do you get downtown much?
mike in parkdale replying to a comment from Don't Be Dumb / May 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm

never ending or changing. (It seems like Adelaide and Richmond are under perpetual construction)

occurring repeatedly; so frequent as to seem endless and uninterrupted. (there are so many construction projects that the lane closures are perpetual)

jen / May 15, 2014 at 01:21 pm
Seriously, what is this going to look like with major chunks of Adelaide currently blocked by construction hoarding? How are they planning on installing this? I bike, but I stay the hell away from Adelaide due to construction insanity/parked cars/streetcar tracks/potholes/etc.

You just know some idiot driver is going to mow down the flexible bollards and sally forth into the bike lane.
Aaron / May 15, 2014 at 01:34 pm
I'm contacting Ontario politicians running for premier to tell them to make cyclists pay for their lanes by getting licenced, having insurance and required by a law to wear helmets. If cyclists object, then paint out their lines.

Cyclists aren't vehicles. That's why you never see them on the DVP, Gardiner Expressway and the 401. They aren't vehicles downtown either.
mike in parkdale replying to a comment from Aaron / May 15, 2014 at 01:50 pm
correct... cyclists aren't vehicles.

A bicycle is a vehicle - a cyclist is a person.

elizabeth / May 15, 2014 at 01:51 pm
ZUPA's in the background of the picture!!! The most delicious grilled cheese and bacon sammich you'll ever have.
Danny replying to a comment from Aaron / May 15, 2014 at 01:52 pm
Yeah, good luck with that, silly troll. They are vehicles, maybe you should stop being a whiny crybaby about it and just accept that they exist.
Danny replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / May 15, 2014 at 01:53 pm
"seems like" does not mean "actually in reality"
donos replying to a comment from Jen C / May 15, 2014 at 01:55 pm
I don't think the buses will be an issue - they park east of York. Also, Tim Horton's in the the south side of Richmond so the north side placement is good.

Construction will continue to be an issue, but I don't think the sections of Adelaide under discussion are currently blocked - mostly east of University though that cal always change.

I don't think that focusing on 'idiot drivers' is helpful in advancing productive discussion. There are many drivers who strongly support bike lanes because it's easier for both rider and driver to stay comfortably clear of a demarcated area rather than trying to estimate (in all traffic, weather and light conditions) what 1 metre on the road really is when from the driver's position that road surface area can't be seen in direct line of sight.

It would be no more useful for me to complain about the last half dozen (of many) cyclists who have blown through red lights and stop signs and put me seriously at risk. Good cyclists don't make many mistakes. Neither do good drivers. There will continue to be idiots on both sides but let's not treat them as the majority because they're not.

I've also had problems with the lane on Sherbourne but I think we've learned a lot from it, and some of the ideas for improvements will hopefully inform future bike transit space development.

As a long-time bicycle, motorcycle, car, van and professional truck driver I think this is a WONDERFUL step forward. Let's focus on it as the good story it is and the better one it can become.
Yvonne T. / May 15, 2014 at 02:22 pm
Another one under the belt of "incompetent city planning." There is already enough construction which is causing congestion to traffic due to condo construction.

And I know I'll get some sass about this (and no offense to the cyclists) but seriously I think there are more cars to bikes ratio in this city so why cause the majority of the city the inconvenience to serve a few?

Why can't you take the real estate from parts of existing sidewalk to make the bike lane? Why does it always have to be street space?
steve replying to a comment from Aaron / May 15, 2014 at 02:29 pm
There you go again making that silly argument. City streets are paid for though property taxes and other revenues collected by the city. Everyone that lives in the city pays for the roads which include bicycle lanes and pedestrian crossings.

Licensing, insurance and gas and it's taxes do not pay for city streets. Cars are subsidized according to a Vancouver study by $2700 a year. The above costs associated to operating a motorized vehicle those are not the cost of running a bicycle. So why should a cyclist have to pay more then cars?
iSkyscraper / May 15, 2014 at 02:40 pm
So I just finished a 20 min Citibike ride in Manhattan from Penn Station up to around 57th St and 6th Ave, which is a more congested area than downtown Toronto will ever be. Most of the ride was on the protected bike lane up 8th Ave, which has concrete islands and trees at intersections and tightly spaced bollards inbetween. Parked cars provide additional protection in places.

Note - The NYC bike lane "bollards" can be run over and survive, but they are not nearly as forgiving as the Wellesley ones. They have a CN-tower shape cross section which makes them quite stiff. This is the actual spec:

Even along such a well-designed bike lane there are still hassles, just as there are always hassles to be found along good sidewalks and good roads. Nothing is ever perfect. A car with a Kentucky plate found its way into the lane at one point, a tour bus was disgorging luggage into the bike lane, pedestrians stood in it here and there anticipating a street crossing, and very often the lane disappears for about 30 feet so that cars can pull over to make left turns. Some cyclists went through red lights when the coast was clear, some did not. Same was true of pedestrians and also cars cheating the signal. No one -- cyclist, auto, or pedestrian -- should ever feel they can blast through at full speed in an urban setting. There is always a need for caution and respect, and just enough enforcement of all modes to deter the crazies. But with a good bike lane the overall experince was positive and I'm still in one piece. Meanwhile, someone else got my seat on a subway car or taxi or bus, and I saved time.

Toronto just needs to build more of these lanes and things will tip. Patterns will change, new benefits will arise, it will all work out. Traffic is elastic, after all. The only mistake would be not to build. Ford is gone. Time to return to the 21st century.

PS - Yvonne, try using that argument in 1914 to argue against building roads to serve a few when most people and goods were using trains. Sometimes you have to build for the future, not the present. There is no question at this point where the future lies, unless your theory is right and about thirty major cities in North America are wrong.
mike in parkdale / May 15, 2014 at 02:44 pm
I have my suspicion that this will be the "summer of the bicycle" just because traffic and transit have become unbearably slow.
Michael / May 15, 2014 at 03:24 pm
I have to say no for purely selfish reasons. I live there and construction is already making the area a disaster.

But once they're done they will be fantastic.
Phil replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / May 15, 2014 at 03:37 pm
or traffic on Adelaide and Richmond will become unbearably worse thanks to the "summer of the bike lane", Adelaide and Richmond are constantly congested with lane closures already -- the odd time that they're not everyone speeds. They're dangerous roads, it's not safe for cyclists. These lanes will just make everything worse in a city where traffic is already FUBAR.
McRib replying to a comment from Yvonne T. / May 15, 2014 at 03:50 pm
the majority of the city drives on Richmond St? No wonder its so backed up.

who knew!
Anthony / May 15, 2014 at 04:24 pm
Every time the city makes an effort to promote bike use, there are a pile of dickwads that have some dickwad comment about it. These are dickwads that probably don't read much or don't care that the planet they live in is under a great strain of carbon emissions or that millions of people a year die from pollution caused by cars or that the last century has seen unprecedented military conflict in an effort to secure the oil and produce the automotive s for them to drive or even that more cyclists and less cars is actually a solution to traffic congestion not a contributor. They are dickwads that prefer to be angry because their comfort of sitting in there own concealment chamber is being threatened. And the best argument these dickwads can come up with is that some cyclists are terrible riders, even though, at their worst, and some of them (cyclists) are really bad, they are not nearly as complicit in the destruction of the planet and death of millions of people every year as those who feel they have to get in a car to drive three miles. Fortunately, nature will catch up with these dickwads as their bellies extend beyond their belts and their heart races every time they reach for cheetos, until finally they are stuck riding a motor assisted scooter damning the world that had left no room for their lazy ass approach to travel. Ride a bike you lazy dickwad, do yourself and the planet a favour.
David / May 15, 2014 at 05:14 pm
A modest start. Manhattan is far far better for both bikes AND pedestrians since Bloomberg added the bike lanes. New York still works and if anything traffic flows better there than here.
But NY has always been more ambitious than T.O. and that's why we're only talking about 2 lanes and not a true network of them.
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from David / May 15, 2014 at 05:55 pm
Not quite true. There was a time when New York looked to Toronto as a role model. But the 1990s recession was brutally hard on Toronto, amalgamation soon followed, and the city never recovered its leadership role.

Toronto's inertia worked well for it in the 1960s and 1970s, when virtually everything cities did anywhere turned out to be wrong (wholesale urban renewal, cutting up neighborhoods for expressways, public housing towers, dismantling streetcar networks, sending all shopping to the suburbs, etc.) By doing very little big thinking, Toronto ended up looking like a genius. But that inertia is not helping it today. Getting aggressive on low-hanging fruit like bike lanes is a start.
Helen / May 15, 2014 at 07:31 pm
Yay! I use Richmond and Adelaide all the time because Queen and King are a clusterf*ck of parking and streetcars. This will be a welcome addition to getting in and out of the core.
Dave / May 15, 2014 at 11:49 pm
Bikes are for poor people that like smell like sweat when they get to there part time job at the hipster coffee shop.
Blaine / May 16, 2014 at 12:23 am
Gee do you think a bike can steer in a lane around construction like a car does?
Michael / May 16, 2014 at 12:24 am
The real trick will be actual enforcement of clear rules for BOTH cyclists and drivers. Drivers should be ticketed for parking/driving in the bike line. Cyclists also need to be ticketed for running red lights.

One other comment. Even the Sherbourne cycletrack can't stop really stupid drivers. A FedEx truck was parked over the cycle track fulling blocking the lane last week.
Cyclist / May 16, 2014 at 02:34 am
I've always thought the Richmond-Adelaide bike lanes were a great idea. They'll provide safe bike routes in an area where there are currently none. They'll have to expand further east than York/Simcoe to make much impact though. Not sure if that's part of the plan if the pilot goes well, but it would be nice if they met up with the lanes on Sherbourne, or even River.
Mayor McCokehoover replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / May 16, 2014 at 08:00 am
Thanks for the great post, iSkyscaper. Always felt naked in NYC without my bike, and your comments have convinced me I have to get out on the streets on the Bixis there.
Kat / May 16, 2014 at 08:40 am
Great news!
Kdiddy / May 16, 2014 at 10:39 am
Great news!

I think this will lessen the amount of bike traffic on both Queen and King. It really is too bad the lanes won't go all the way past Yonge street though.
Jennifer Dale / May 16, 2014 at 07:18 pm
YES!!! Finally!!! Much safer for driver's and cyclists alike ... Huuuurrrrrraaaaaayyyyyy!!!!
Kelsey Grammar replying to a comment from Jennifer Dale / May 21, 2014 at 09:52 am
Why the apostrophe in drivers but not cyclists? Both plurals, no apostrophes needed.

As long as lanes are blocked all over the place by condo construction and the road is full of cuts for the condo utilities, this is only a good idea on a map. Would be great if the road wasn't perpetually disrupted.
Mike / July 9, 2014 at 03:19 pm
It's a great start. As someone who commutes along queen every day, this is going to make my life infinitely safer and easier. that said, I avoid adelaide like the plague on the way home from work because the perpetual construction has left monstrous potholes that will instantly flatten a tire if not avoided. Theyr eally need to resurface both richmond and adelaide while putting these lanes in place if their aim is cyclist safety.
avid cyclist replying to a comment from Aaron / July 14, 2014 at 11:08 pm
If the city cared about safety, they'd remove the old, unused streetcar tracks from Adelaide. It's nightmarish cycling on that street with construction hoarding and old tracks.
Very Happy Person / July 23, 2014 at 03:53 pm
Cycler replying to a comment from Aaron / July 25, 2014 at 12:41 pm
A bicycle is a vehicle under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA). This means that, as a bicyclist, you have the same rights and responsibilities in the use of the roadway. It is unfortunate that some bicyclist still do not obey all traffic laws as other road users.
Other Cities: Montreal