Wellesley Bike lanes

How are the new Wellesley St. bike lanes working out?

There are two types of separated bike lane in Toronto: the ones on Sherbourne Street that discourage intrusion by drivers (but also allow access for emergency vehicles) with a gently raised curb and the newly upgraded lanes on Wellesley Street, which are marked by a strip of white collapsable bollards.

The bollards were installed earlier in 2014 as part of ongoing upgrades to the cycling infrastructure on Wellesley east of Yonge. When construction is finished on Wellesley between Yonge and Queens Park Crescent in the fall, the newly separated lanes will be aligned with the proposed Hoskin and Harbord lanes, which were approved by the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee today and will run as far as Ossington, if city council gives the green light.

But why bollards? When the lanes were still in the planning stage in late 2012, the city prescribed raised curbs. I spent a few minutes on Wellesley on Monday. Within moments of arriving, a Beck taxi squeezed into the bike and ran over one of the bollards in a slow, exploratory manner, leaving it bent out of shape. Clearly there are some issues.

Dan Egan, the city's manager of cycling infrastructure, told Xtra flexible plastic posts were used because the current cycling budget didn't allow for a more comprehensive rebuild of Wellesley.

"I think in a temporary way they are a really great intervention," says Jared Kolb, executive director of Cycle Toronto. "The whole point of using painted bollards is you can do it fast and you can do it cheap. You can get something in that promotes a sense of separation."

"The issue on Wellesley that seems to be emerging is that the bollards are placed at too infrequent of an interval. So in other words, because they are only every 12 metres, cars can very easily pull in to them."

On Harbord and Hoskin, the city will use a mix of separation methods, including a row of parking spaces between the car and bicycle lanes.

What do you think of the bollards?

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

Image: @toastywaffle/Twitter.


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