Toronto cyclists just got a very unnecessary bike lane obstruction fixed after months
Construction zones have become a huge problem for Toronto cyclists, a mix of large vehicles and unpredictable bike lane closures creating notoriously hostile conditions for people just trying to move about the city.
Reports of these unsafe work zones have been popping up with increasing regularity and cycling safety advocates have been sharing many concerning clips over the past few months showing the frightening hazards they have to contend with as part of their daily commutes.
Yet another of these clips is now gaining traction, showing a perplexing situation at the intersection of Shuter and River where construction fencing forced cyclists to merge with fast-moving vehicle traffic for months, all as advocates made noise online about the danger it posed.
But here's the real kicker. There hasn't even been any apparent work happening on that site for months.
I just walked by this Shuter & River intersection yesterday and was baffled by what they expect cyclists and pedestrians to do here. An egregious example of throwing up construction fencing without thinking or caring at all about non-car road users. https://t.co/sQoFAFZRSU— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) December 8, 2021
NotSafe4BikesTO, an anonymous Twitter account raising awareness of work zones that create unsafe conditions for cyclists, tells blogTO, "I ride by there almost every day, and this has been blocked since at least September. It's been reported to 311, the councillor and Transportation TO numerous times.”
Why IS this still blocked? Why has the bike lane been given away?— NotSafe4BikesTO (@NotSafe4BikesTO) December 7, 2021
The fencing in question surrounded the base of a new purpose-built rental tower, known as EVOLV, which appears to have completed construction and welcomed its first residents all the way back in June.
And yet, construction fencing remained around the perimeter for months after the fact, swallowing up infrastructure meant for cyclists and pedestrians.
"It's bad for people on bikes, but what do they expect pedestrians to do here? The choice is to walk 500 metres back to Dundas or walk into traffic," says NotSafe4BikesTO. "It's a mess."
While the safety advocate acknowledges that construction is a part of life in the city, they stress that "it doesn't have to be so dangerous for the people who live here."
Cyclists and pedestrians spent months scratching their heads over this perplexing stretch of fencing and complaining to 311 and local Ward 13 councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, a move that appears to have paid off.
By Wednesday afternoon, it seems all of the social media attention had finally reached the attention of those with the power to fix it. The obstruction was removed just in time for the evening cycling rush.
And then it was gone.... Before anyone pats themselves on the back too hard, let's start making and enforcing policies that ensure garbage like this doesn't go unresolved for months. What was the consequence for the developer here? https://t.co/iU8NSOfdnh pic.twitter.com/9QN49Yyvs9— NotSafe4BikesTO (@NotSafe4BikesTO) December 8, 2021
Still, even with the problem resolved, NotSafe4BikesTO wonders if the developer will face the consequences for this misuse of public infrastructure, but thinks this is doubtful, asking in frustration, "who is responsible for making sure this does not happen again?"
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