Gardiner demolition is creating a dangerous situation for Toronto cyclists
The closure and demolition of the Gardiner Expressway's Logan ramps have created endless headaches for motorists since the last cars used the elevated structures on Tuesday, August 31 at 9 p.m. Many of these complaints are met with refrains of "just ride a bike," though this method of transportation has been hit just as hard by the ongoing teardown.
Like drivers, the traffic confusion and disorganized detours are also complicating the lives of the many cyclists who have grown accustomed to using Lake Shore Boulevard as a cycling route into the heart of the city.
Road closures have transformed what was once a simple 1.3-kilometre jog along the Lower Don Recreation Trail between Booth Avenue and Cherry Street into a convoluted 1.9-kilometre route through the Port Lands.
Little in the way of signage is provided, leaving cyclists to discover a route through the closures on their own. What they find is a route with a total of five turns passing through poorly paved roads frequented by trucks, where speed limits are treated more as a suggestion than law.
A video posted to Twitter shows the entire route of detours, highlighting the new bike lanes and revealing the complex, largely exposed trip that riders now face.
Tried a new setup on my commute in this morning, for consideration. pic.twitter.com/GerXsolCMm— James Gray (@jamesACgray) September 7, 2021
Aside from a lack of traffic separation and sporadic sidewalk placement, protection from the elements is practically nonexistent.
Few trees and predominantly low-rise industrial buildings translate to zero shade. Some cycling infrastructure exists on this detour, including bike lanes along Villiers Street and Saulter Street, though construction vehicles have regularly blocked the former.
I'm grateful that the city made a bike lane along Villers, but with only pilons in place workers can just take over the lane completely. And when you go around, these are the vehicles with which you must contend. @WaterfrontTO #BikeTO pic.twitter.com/pB3flvXTJ9— Jamie Hopkings (@JamieHopkings) September 7, 2021
Making matters worse, clouds of dust permeated the air over the weekend, with this demolition debris expected to remain an issue until the last of the ramps' road surfaces have been chewed away.
These problems have been noted since the closures began at the start of the month, but few reports are as troubling as a post in the I am a Leslievillian! Facebook group, where one contributor shared an anecdote about him witnessing a group using Bike Share bicycles to cross the Eastern Avenue Bridge about 750 metres north of the demolition site.
This bridge functions partially as an onramp for the Don Valley Expressway and shows the dangerous repercussions of cyclists being forced to find alternative routes through the area.
Though the Lake Shore Boulevard East project is causing temporary inconveniences for cyclists, the end result will see improved conditions for cyclists passing through the area.
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