Toronto cyclists say some new bike lanes are unsafe
New bike lanes have opened up around Toronto as part of the major downtown cycling network connections project created during the pandemic.
Although some people were excited about these new bike lanes and some still remain content, others have concerns.
Gil Penalosa, 8 80 Cities founder and chair and World Urban Parks ambassador tweeted his concerns about two particular sections of the cycling network connections.
New bikeway on Bloor bet Ave & Yonge very unsafe. Forces cars to cross bikelanes for 15 min parking & cross again! Keep cyclist next to sidewalk. Pls fix. And N side bet Spadina & Bathurst needs separation. @CycleToronto @TO_Transport @TO_Cycling @M_Layton pic.twitter.com/kxHgFZOq3j— G_Penalosa (@Penalosa_G) July 16, 2020
He says this particular bikeway, which is the Bloor East gap from Avenue Road to Sherbourne Street, installed during the week of June 22, forces cars to cross bike lanes for 15-minute parking and then cross again.
Penalosa also mentions that the north side of the bikeway between Spadina and Bathurst “needs separation.”
Penalosa told blogTO that the problem between Spadina and Bathurst is that there is only paint on the north side and “nothing else.”
“They need to enhance the painted line at least — do what is easy,” he said.
“In regard to the brand new section, done two weeks ago, between Avenue and Yonge, they did something weird,” he said. “They made a space for parking three cars for 15 minute parking.”
“The bikeway is next to the sidewalk, how it should be, but then the bikeway opens up and leaves space for three parked cars and then goes back to the sidewalk,” says Penalosa.
The cars have to cross the bikeway to park and cross the bikeway again to leave. Cyclists have to avoid both parked cars and moving cars on Bloor.”
Penalosa says that bikeways should always be next to the sidewalk and that parked cars act as a barrier and protection for cyclists but with this new lane system, cyclists are on the left side of cars and are the ones protecting the cars, not the other way around.
“The city would never think of doing something dangerous for car drivers,” he said. “Why would they think of doing something dangerous for bikers?”
Most of the tweet replies to Penalosa’s tweet agree with him.
"It truly makes no sense the way it was designed. From both a motorist and a cyclist perspective. This whole thing reeks of lazy design principles and half-baked ideas that seems to be endemic within @TO_Transport," said one person.
Someone else suggested they all contact Justin Bak, a project manager for the city.
"He can change this #fail before final work is coming next week with the rollout of planters!" the person tweeted.
City Councillor Mike Layton replied to Penalosa’s tweet explaining that the design was a staff recommendation.
This design was staff recommendation. I gave my political support to remove, but staff felt it necessary in order to avoid unwanted parking in bike lane at intersections and moving the centre line would add a month to installation. We will now start a design process for permanent— Mike Layton (@m_layton) July 16, 2020
Layton said that they will now start a design process for permanent design which should eliminate the need for cars to travel between lanes.
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