cyclist construction bike lane

Toronto cyclists complaining major intersection has been a death trap for months

A busy construction site at a bustling Toronto intersection has had cyclists on edge for several months, and safety advocates fear that another tragic run-in between a cyclist and a heavy construction vehicle could happen any day.

A condo/hotel tower under construction at the southwest corner of Bloor and Sherbourne — recently covered for its hilariously tiny condo units — has been angering cyclists since August, who complain a construction staging zone overlapping a bike lane has been a regular hazard in their commutes.

NotSafe4BikesTO, an anonymous account sharing work zones that create unsafe conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, tells blogTO that bikes are being put in precarious situations at the intersection "on a near-daily basis."

The concerned citizen says that trucks can often be seen "pulling into the lane in the wrong direction before stopping to idle. It is not uncommon to see 4 or 5 cement trucks idling in the bike lane at one time, often accompanied by various pickup trucks and SUVs following suit at both ends of the line."

On top of the threats posed by trucks themselves, their blockage of bike lanes while idling forces cyclists to merge with faster-moving vehicle traffic, often with little warning.

It's an all-too-common situation on Toronto streets that has ended in tragedy many times before, NotSafe4BikesTO saying, "people on bikes and heavy trucks are a terrible mix, as cement/dump trucks are involved in a disproportionate amount of deaths involving cyclists."

Aside from making noise on Twitter, safety advocates have made frequent requests to 311, Transportation Services, Toronto Parking Services, Toronto Police, and Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.

NotSafe4BikesTO says that "while the Councillor has made attempts at asking for a safer work zone, the issue continues to persist. No action has been taken at any level to make this safe for people to cycle through."

blogTO reached out to Councillor Wong-Tam for comment on the issue, though she has not acknowledged our request, though she has since responded to the reports of unsafe conditions on Twitter.

Requests for comment have also been sent out to Gupta Group, the developer of the project, and Skygrid Construction, the company building the tower, though neither has agreed to comment as of the time of publication.

"People understand that construction is going to happen and that roadways and bike lanes may be affected," says NotSafe4BikesTO. "However, in this work zone, virtually no precaution for safety has been made."

"What gets me is that there is a Work Zone Coordinator who has approved this site and must have been made aware of the complaints already - yet has decided to allow this to go on," the advocate continues.

"What I would love is to know who this WZ Coordinator is, and get their take on why they think this is safe."

NotSafe4BikesTO has harsh words for developers, claiming that "there appears to be zero accountability when it comes to providing safe passage for people who have to travel through their sites."

"People in this city deserve better. I'm terrified that someone is going to get killed there this winter, and I'm just as likely to be that person as anyone else."

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