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New bike lanes appear on Simcoe, confusion reigns

Posted by Chris Bateman / July 3, 2014

toronto simcoe bike laneNew painted bike lanes started to appear on Simcoe Street this week, but it seemed users of the street's soon-to-be-defunct parking meters were turning scofflaw, blocking the painted contraflow track with their cars and motorcycles.

Not so, says Dan Egan, the city's Manager of Cycling Infrastructure and Programs. The lines might look finished, but the transportation department still needs to install south-facing traffic signals for the new northbound cyclists.

"We've done the contraflow on Richmond west of Bathurst, we've done the contraflow on Stephanie and Phoebe--we're doing all the connecting pieces first before we put Richmond and Adelaide in," he says. "We will finish the Simcoe piece and it will get activated next week."

toronto simcoe bike laneThe new Simcoe bike lane, which runs between Front and Queen, is part of the city's year-long pilot project centred on Richmond and Adelaide streets, the results of which will be passed on to council with an eye to making the lanes permanent.

When construction wraps up in a few weeks, Richmond will have a separated westbound bike lane between York and Bathurst. Eastbound riders will get a similar set-up on Adelaide from Bathurst to Simcoe.

"[The lanes] will be there probably for a good year," Egan says. "The intent is to keep the pilot and transition to a permanent facility once the report goes through council."

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



Velo / July 3, 2014 at 08:02 am
Makes sense. There not done yet. First World.
Steve / July 3, 2014 at 08:10 am
Am supposed to be satisfied with the answer that painted bikes lanes can be ignored by vehicles? I do not see how posted signs will make that much of a difference they are ignored also.
Reg replying to a comment from Steve / July 3, 2014 at 08:12 am
Chill its a pretty quiet street, you do have handle bars that can turn you around cars right? Isn't that how you jump the cue to the front of a red light anyway.
Joe / July 3, 2014 at 08:14 am
So the lanes Adelaide and Richmond won't go east of Yonge and they won't be separated? Just painted lines? What a farce! How else can you mess this up Toronto City Hall!?
Mark / July 3, 2014 at 08:31 am
Can we just finally make bike lanes tone zones already? This is ridiculous.
Bill / July 3, 2014 at 08:37 am
I think it's finally time that we up the enforcement penalties for stopping/driving in bike lanes. There should be an especially large fine for stopping in the Sherbourne cycletrack...maybe $500+. I can't believe the number of times I've seen delivery trucks drive over the barrier and park. Bikes are totally stuck and it's dangerous.
Steve replying to a comment from Reg / July 3, 2014 at 08:39 am
Weaving in an out of traffic while constantly watching out for doors and cars pulling out in front you is nothing to chill about.
W. K. Lis / July 3, 2014 at 08:46 am
Everyone knows that stopping any motor vehicles with their four-way hazard lights flashing away overrides ALL the laws of the land.
Clifford / July 3, 2014 at 08:53 am
@Bill, and the point about high ticket prices for parking in bike lanes. I agree wholeheartedly.

But I think we should go further. I don't claim to be remotely educated on how the Parking Enforcement people are compensated, but I've never heard that they are on a commission basis. Performance quotas perhaps, but not financial compensation indexed to actual tickets issued.

For the key impacts to the city, such as parking in bike lanes, and parking on major arteries, I say we give the Parking Enforcement officers a commission. That will make them hungry to focus on those streets.

Its a classic technique from the business community. If workers have a variety of tasks, but management deems some more important than others, then you put the rewards on that portion of the job.

Today, its my casual observation that Parking Enforcement officers focus on sidestreets, cause its easier pickings.
RCheck / July 3, 2014 at 09:23 am
Perhaps you should revaluate your readiness to ride in the big city if a car or a truck parked in the bike lane is a CRISIS for you - or automatically DANGEROUS (hint: change lanes when it is safe to do so). 12.3.12 (a) of the Highway Traffic Act clearly states - "Deal with it Big Boy. No one promised you life was going to be lollypops and chocolate drops all the time."
CityPainter / July 3, 2014 at 09:23 am
Whoever did that terrible spray painting job was clearly still hung over from the long weekend.
Bubba Gump / July 3, 2014 at 09:40 am
Looks like some great new parking spots, city of Toronto at it's best!
Adam replying to a comment from Andrej / July 3, 2014 at 09:54 am
He's right though. The roads are built for cars primarily, you can't really argue that. Bikes on the road should respect the cars and vice versa, which mean perhaps waiting your turn sometimes, just like cars have to brake when they can't move forward.
SteveM / July 3, 2014 at 10:00 am
I don't know about anyone else, but I will be calling parking enforcement anytime I see someone parked in a bike lane. Drivers in this city have no sense of respect or courtesy for anyone else and deserve to be treated with none in return.
Bollards anyone? / July 3, 2014 at 10:06 am
Has Toronto considered installing retractable bollards to act as barriers to the bike lands? If you can't build permanent barriers (due to people complaining they would be useless in Winter) why not use retractable ones that can be used during summer and then lowered all winter when bikes aren't in use.
Bollards anyone? / July 3, 2014 at 10:06 am
JScooter / July 3, 2014 at 10:11 am
Oh, pick your battles please!! To be absolutely fair, I myself parked my scooter there yesterday morning, when it was still OK TO PARK!! There were still parking signs and ticket machines. The no-parking signs and bike lane signs were installed yesterday during the day. There was no one parking in the bike lane this morning. Get over yourselves.
Jacob replying to a comment from Adam / July 3, 2014 at 10:12 am
If we're talking about downtown, those roads were actually built for horses. Cars just took them over.

But as for the "respect the rules of the road" argument, with all the rules being designed for cars, last night I saw one of those "cyclists dismount and walk bike across" signs at an intersection. Why don't motorists have to obey that sign too, in all fairness?
AdamG / July 3, 2014 at 10:13 am
Personally Bikes don't bother me weave in and out of traffic, they're like sand filling up a jar of golf balls. I am used to parking on Simone everyday. Unfortunately now i cant which really sucks, now bicyclists are effecting me in a negative way...
AdamG replying to a comment from SteveM / July 3, 2014 at 10:15 am
@SteveM this is the kind of guy that got his ass whooped everyday before he had to switch schools
gg replying to a comment from Bollards anyone? / July 3, 2014 at 10:16 am
Because they will be in use all winter. By me and many others.
Adam replying to a comment from Jacob / July 3, 2014 at 10:17 am
"Cars just took them over." Thanks for proving my point...
Dogma / July 3, 2014 at 10:18 am
It is a bit of a "gotcha" picture. The street is still available for parking, the meters are still there and active, so people are going to park. Get rid of the parking meters and have people face the threat of a ticket if they park and then we'll see how the lane looks.

Which is not to say that this isn't part of Toronto's "bike lanes must never actually have any physical impact on the road or car users" mantra. God forbid they actually be physically separated like Montreal seems to be able to manage.
Kelly / July 3, 2014 at 10:23 am
Any idea if they're putting a traffic light at Simcoe and Richmond? If not, it's going to be biker pizza at that intersection. It's already dangerous to cross.
Smart Biker / July 3, 2014 at 10:25 am
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When riding on a city road with cars, do as the cars do.
R / July 3, 2014 at 10:33 am
The bike lane system in this city is shit and this project is yet another example of that shit. Bike lanes that lead to nowhere in particular.

Who is going to make their way to this small stretch of bike lane only to have to go onto another street to continue their travels.

They should've just extended it out to at least Yonge Street so that tourist can get around efficiently.
Parker / July 3, 2014 at 10:44 am
Paint is not infrastructure. C'mon Toronto, make cycling safe.
S replying to a comment from Bill / July 3, 2014 at 10:45 am
While we're at it, how about $500 fines to bicyclists for going past reds, cutting off pedestrians, and racing past open TTC doors? Or is the rules of a road a one way street (a street the bicyclists will have no problem going the opposite way on)?
Grant replying to a comment from AdamG / July 3, 2014 at 10:54 am
Sucks to be you, brah. If only there were parking lots downtown.
Little Fury replying to a comment from S / July 3, 2014 at 11:09 am
I've seen car drivers do all those things you mentioned on many many occasions which goes to show it's not a cycling issue or a car issue, but an asshole issue.
CP / July 3, 2014 at 11:17 am
Everyone needs to relax. The bike lanes on Simcoe aren't finished. They will have flexible posts - bollards - as separation. And the pilots on Richmond and Adelaide will also be separated by bollards, with the hope of adding curbs once the pilot is made permanent.
Kevin / July 3, 2014 at 11:25 am
This is the perfect street to get down to the waterfront. I take Front/Simcoe all the time and as this is a relatively quiet street, protected barriers are not needed. I applaud the efforts of the city to install bike lanes on the road.

With regards to the 'age old' debate of car versus drivers. There are many more bad cyclist on the road than drivers. There are so many cyclist that don't understand the rules of the road and behave wrecklessly or put themselves in dangerous spots. As someone who cycles/drives a couple of times a week... I'm left speechless with what some cyclist do. Drivers get penalized/fined and cyclist should to.

I know this is a bit red herring... but travelling up the wrong way of a street (e.g. Spadina) with no lights on is just idiotic.
Tim / July 3, 2014 at 11:26 am
Rob Ford says reducing speed limit to protect pedestrians and cyclist is 'nuts, nuts, nuts, nuts'
karen / July 3, 2014 at 11:34 am
i hope they have plans to re pave Richmond before they mark the bike lanes! Not sure how they can even paint on something so broken and uneven. it's like the worst kind of offroading riding west on that stretch of Richmond! so dangerous. And perhaps, i don't know, the police could tow cars parked in the bike lanes? They seem pretty happy to tow or ticket other cars who just park in proper spots for a minute too long.
Nick replying to a comment from CityPainter / July 3, 2014 at 11:47 am
@CityPainter: haha, but those apparent overspray marks are actually sand-like reflective beads that workers apply over the paint to make the markings reflective. The residual beads will wash away in a few days.
Patrick / July 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm
Some misinformation in the comments here.

Regarding traffic separation: for the pilot program the lanes on Simcoe, Richmond, and Adelaide will be separated from traffic in the same manner as on Wellesly, white line, 1ft gap, second white line with 3ft separators spaced every few meters.

Regarding lack of connections: the Simcoe lanes run from the existing bike lanes that run south from Front and connect with the lanes on rich/Adel. Those the Peter St. lanes connect to the Beverly/St.George route.
adamG replying to a comment from Grant / July 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm
Thanks "brah" your assuming a park my car there "brah" but i park my bike there "brah"
Garneau / July 3, 2014 at 01:00 pm
I'm just posting here because I don't want the most frequently read posts to include anything about Rofo anymore. Humanity is saved by these little gestures.
Me / July 3, 2014 at 01:27 pm
What a waste of time. I doubt we'll see much use on Simcoe st. Richmond St I agree with - bike lanes would be good. But Simcoe didnt need them. F'n joke
Me replying to a comment from Kevin / July 3, 2014 at 01:29 pm
How many accidents are we going to see on Simocoe with cyclist now? Not many, because NO ONE will use that !
Little Fury replying to a comment from Kevin / July 3, 2014 at 01:47 pm
I call b.s. on your claim that there are more bad cyclists than bad drivers. There are far far far more drivers that cyclists so even if you assumed comparable proportions of bad apples in both camps, the total number of bad drivers would be greater.

Cyclists are also subject to fines and other penalties when they are caught violating the highway traffic act.

Here's another thing: a bad cyclist is much more likely to hurt themselves than anyone else. Bad drivers(like the guy I saw weaving through the southbound lanes heading north on Bathhurst during rushhour last week) are more likely to maim or kill someone else. So not only are there more bad drivers, they are much more of a menace to public safety.
Suicide_Boi replying to a comment from Steve / July 3, 2014 at 02:19 pm
Painted cycle lanes may legally be ignored by motorists in Ontario. It's the signs that make the lanes (and other things) enforceable.

Also these lanes are great for me (especially the contra-flow one) because they provide a connection between Beverly St. and the Waterfront.
Grant replying to a comment from Little Fury / July 3, 2014 at 02:26 pm
X 1000
Jordan / July 3, 2014 at 04:00 pm
As a longtime cyclist ya I can weave in and out of cars. Toronto's got to upgrade our good enough, lazy ass mentality and build the city we want. We should be building towards separated bike lanes like pretty much every other forward thinking city (there are plenty of snowy cities with year round cycling). We need to make it a safe environment for novice cyclists and take some of the traffic off the roads.
Kevin replying to a comment from Me / July 3, 2014 at 04:18 pm
It's a north/south artery that we needed to connect other bike lanes. My guess is that you don't live or cycle in the downtown core. Have you ever tried to get to the harbourfront? There's not many options except through heavily traffic. Look at a map! It's the perfect connector.
Kevin replying to a comment from Little Fury / July 3, 2014 at 04:28 pm
Blah on the fines. I've yet to see a cyclist pulled over for running a Red. Every morning when I walk to work I see 10 cyclist run the Red light. I've seen cyclist almost hit me as I crossed a Green light with a police car at the intersection. I could also sit on the corner on any given night and count probably 50 cyclist who don't have front/rear lights or wear a helmet. I mean.. how much does it cost for front/rear lights?? $30?

It's true that bad cyclist hurt themselves.. but it also hurts you indirectly as tax payers who pay for these idiots in the hospital. A lot of problems/collisions could be avoided if cyclist just follow the rules of the road.

JMO - a person who cycles maybe 200km a week.
New Cyclist / July 3, 2014 at 08:31 pm
Fuck yeah.
Denis / July 3, 2014 at 09:18 pm
These parked cars in the bike lanes furthermore prove that a line of paint does not mean anything to the ignorant and intelectually challenged motorist who uses the bike lane for parking while putting the lives of cyclists in danger. Ottawa got it right with the Laurier bike lane design, why couldn't Toronto with Sherbourne (which in my opinion is a complete f-ing joke due to the fact that there really is no separation)? The political incompetence in Toronto is just mind boggling.....
Peewee / July 3, 2014 at 11:11 pm
People relax. It wasn't a bike lane yet!!! It was designated parking with street signs and meters! When it's officially designated a bike lane. People won't park there! Until then.... Park away!
the lemur replying to a comment from Kevin / July 4, 2014 at 09:19 am
Helmets aren't mandatory.
jake / July 5, 2014 at 09:24 am
Motor vehicle drivers flouting the law for their own convenience? Hardly surprising. Ban cars!
Simon Tarses / July 5, 2014 at 12:33 pm
Bicycle riders flouting the law for their own convenience? Hardly surprising. Ban bikes!
Anti-Hipster / July 9, 2014 at 10:42 pm
Cyclists are the scum of the city. Self entitled pricks that think just because they work serving coffee they're better than say...anyone with a real job. Grow up kids, get a car.
Ed / September 8, 2014 at 12:13 pm
Bikers do not obey any rules of the road. They blow through stop signs, stop lights, ride against traffic, don't stop for street cars' open doors, etc. Makes me laugh when a bikers tries to challenge a 2 ton car. Who do you think is going to win in that collision? For bikers to get their own lanes, they should first learn the rules of the road and get fined for breaking them just as car drivers. On the subject of Simcoe St - the dumbest thing I have ever seen. Extremely confusing for anyone going down Simcoe. It always looks like the cabs are parked in the middle of the road in front of 140 Simcoe. Then, if you try to swing around the cabs to go up Nelson, you inadvertently are almost always nearly running over bikers or pedestrians because you can't see them behind cabs. The idea is horribly dangerous and moronic. Who ever came up with this dumb idea, needs to be slapped hard. This city is going into the dumps. I wish they would fix the roads instead of painting odd lines here and there. Stop wasting our money!!!
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