Monday, November 14, 2016

Complete Streets Opportunities on Logan & Eastern - Weston Bakery Redevelopment

Completing the existing cycling commute grid; extending the grid; making local connections - as part of the Weston Bakery Redevelopment proposal and other nearby developments.

Below is an image of the City’s online GIS map zoomed in on the south of Ward 30 (Riverside, South Riverdale, Leslieville and and the South of Eastern area). The Bike Infrastructure layer on the map is enabled (red lines, pink lines, blue lines) - and then we add markup to an image of the map showing , nearby development proposals (black lines), and our proposed new cycling infrastructure (gold lines).

Complete Streets Opportunities on Logan & Eastern - Weston Bakery Redevelopment - Full Size:

The Weston Bakery proposed development is for retail/residential complex. Here's the blurb on the City of Toronto Development Applications webpage:

"Official Plan Amendment and Rezoning application to permit the re-development of the lands for the purposes of a new mixed use development containing residential, and commercial uses. Included in the proposal is the construction of a 7 storey mixed use building complete with ground floor retail uses including a food store and 259 residential dwelling units above. An additonal 7, 3.5 storey town house type dwelling units would be constructed on the Logan Avenue facade . 288 parking spaces to serve the development are proposed to be provided, all in a below grade parking structure. Resubmission Mar 17, 2015: Flood Plain and Flood Proofing Analysis pending advise from the Province on the Lower Don Lands SPA."

We see this as a great opportunity to extend the Eastern Avenue Bike Lanes from where they end just east of Logan, west to Broadview - and add cycling infrastructure to the existing 'Logan Avenue Bikeway'.

The local road network is already full to gridlock during peak hours - we need to increase these roadways' capacity - the only way to do that is to make them 'Complete Streets'. This means adding infrastructure that supports not just driving, but cycling and walking too.

In the near future the Relief Line will go right under this precinct as will Smart Track (on the heavy rail line on the berm). People will need to walk to mass transit stations nearby. As well, 20% to 30% of us will choose to cycle to work and school - if that option is made safe.

All the indicated black boxes (except the First Gulf ‘East Harbour’ development) purport imminent higher population density in the immediate area.

They include:
  • 462 Eastern Avenue - Weston Bakery (259 residential units)
  • 875 & 887 Queen Street East - Church and Heritage structures on the southwest corner of Queen/Logan (118 residential units)
  • 897 Queen Street East - Jim's Restaurant, AutoShare Lot (59 residential units)
  • 7 - 79 East Don Roadway & 661 - 667 Queen Street East - Riverside Square (894 residential units)
  • 21 Don Roadway | First Gulf's 'East Harbour' - a 'New City Centre' - Offices/Retail and a transportation hub bigger and more connected than Union Station.

So massive new local population density and massive new local employment.

East-West Cycling Grid

To handle all the transportation needs of all these new residents we propose extending the Eastern Avenue Bike Lanes east to Broadview and then connect them to a point due south of Monroe and create a route north-south through Riverside Square on a proposed 'Woonerf' there; connecting to a neighbourhood route through Rivertowne; through Riverdale Park East and connecting to Danforth Avenue west of Broadview.

We also see a connection to First Gulfs' East Harbour Transportation Hub - which runs along the rail berm from the overpass at Eastern to the west side of the Don Valley just south of Corktown Common Park.

As well, we envision a Pedestrian/Cyclists Bridge across the valley at Sunlight Park Road (where the existing steel bridge sits across the river abutting the southbound lanes of the DVP). This route takes advantage of a direct, line-of-sight path from Eastern Avenue at Broadview to the Richmond/Adelaide Bicycle Corridor which starts at Parliament Street.

North-South Cycling Grid

Logan Avenue is an existing Bikeway with a contraflow bike lane from Lake Shore Boulevard to Eastern Avenue. North of Eastern it continues as a 'Signed Bike Route' with Logan signed as a Two-Way roadway.

We propose that the City make Logan a One-Way Street from Eastern to Queen with a contraflow Bike Lane on it.

Image via StreetMix

This configuration will preserve existing one-side street parking. It can be configured either One-Way southbound, or northbound - with the contraflow either continuing on the east side of the street as it does from LSB to Eastern - or if the One-Way is preferred northbound - a contraflow on the west side with street parking on the east side.

We also propose similar treatment north of Queen to Dundas, where existing bike lanes travel up to Gerrard and north via a Woonerf style treatment between Gerrard and Bain - and beside Withrow Park as a painted road edge line that acts as separation for northbound cyclists with Logan marked One-Way northbound. We also propose that the speed limit on the Logan beside Withrow Park be reduced from 40km/h to 30km/h maximum.

We wonder if parking can be removed on Logan in order to create a bi-directional bike route from Danforth to Gerrard. If not - then a bike lane on Carlaw from Danforth to Dundas.


Weston Bakery -

'Red Door' development - kitty-corner to Jimmy Simpson Park -

Riverside Square -

897 Queen Street East - Jim's Restaurant, AutoShare Lot -

21 Don Roadway | First Gulf's 'East Harbour' -


Friday, November 4, 2016

East Harbour (Unilever site) Update - what @Ward30Bikes is advocating for in this project

By Michael Holloway

via Toronto Star, via FirstGulf - East Harbour's Broadview extension south through a proposed Transit Hub on the rail berm - with (typical of last-century city building) missing Active Transportation visioning

East Harbour is developer FirstGulf's new brand name for the UniLever Site at Lake Shore Boulevard and Don Roadway (the Don River). With progress being made on the numerous different elements integral to this massive city centre development south of Eastern and Broadview, East Harbour has been in the news quite a bit of late.

Here's a good overview with lots of pictures:

Urban Toronto - November 2, 2016
Preliminary Plans Reveal Scope of Unilever Redevelopment
by Stefan Novakovic

I'm on the working group representing Ward 30 Bikes.

Not included in these overviews is all the active transportation infrastructure we've been talking about at ~2 years of working group meetings.

We're advocating for a way to extend the Eastern Avenue Bike Lanes west from Logan across the valley through this project.

We're advocating for an east-west corridor for bicycles from Eastern at the rail bridge along the south side of the berm (integrated into the massive Transit Hub somehow) and across the valley to connect to the Lower Don River Trail and to Corktown Common and beyond (Richmond/Adelaide Bicycle corridor).

Early designs also include a north-south route along the west side of the property and then a connection to the bridge across the valley via said transit hub (which extends from the west side of the valley to the rail underpass at Eastern).

We also want to extend the Eastern Avenue Bike Lanes west of the rail underpass to Broadview - and somehow north from there to the Viaduct near Danforth/Broadview.

Broadview is to be extended south of Eastern through the site and into the Port Lands. We see this section of Broadview as a street with high quality separated bike infrastructure on it (as does the Port Lands Acceleration Initiative report).

Image via: East Harbour: Where Toronto will go to work and play | | via @torontostar


Thursday, October 27, 2016

New Bike Infrastructure Lately

I think we can safely say, Toronto is in the midst of a new era for bike improvements.  Wait, wait, before you start crying foul (yes, yes, we have a LONG way to go), let's stop and think about all the good that has come over the last few months.  Bloor, Simcoe, Bayview, and the Viaduct.  In the midst of being frustrated about the slow pace of change in Toronto, take a moment to think about some recent successes.

The new pilot project protected bike lanes along Bloor sure did cause quite the media hoopla in August. Never has road works been so heavily reported!

September there was the Bells on Bloor victory celebration lap, and Ward 30 Bikes co-hosted with Scarborough Cycles a feeder ride from Logan / Danforth to meet up with the main ride - great turnout in the east end:

Danforth & Logan feeder ride

Bells turnout was huge!

Councillor Layton speaks at Bells on Bloor, photo: Cycle Toronto

Bells on Bloor Photo: Toronto Observer

And then in early October we learned that a new Forum poll shows that 70% of respondents approve of bike lanes in Toronto!

But since then, quite a few other improvements have been installed to much quieter media reaction. Here's a rundown of what's happened lately:

Simcoe upgrade
Last year Councillor Cressy put forward a motion to separate the rest of Simcoe Street bike lane.  For those familiar, what was there before was mostly separated lane (with planters!) from Richmond St to Wellington.

The better parts of Simcoe

After that... the bike lane down to the waterfront trail was left to your faith in the magic repellent powers of painted lines.

Before: Simcoe Bike lanes - the painted lines, they do nothing!

Well, in October, we got better separation:  bollards.  Not the best, but better than before (note: can't find a good after photo)

Upgrade in process.  After the buffer, bollards were installed

And on a personal note, I biked my son to the 2nd last Jays game of the post season and was super thankful that coming up from the waterfront trail I had those plastic sticks to keep vehicles (mostly) in check, what a difference it made for that section leading up to major family destinations.  It's actually kind of shocking that major destination like Rogers Centre, Steamwhistle Brewery and Train Museum, Ripleys Aquarium and the CN Tower didn't have a safe way to get there by bike.  From now on, Waterfront Trail to Simcoe Bollards and I'm there!

Bayview near Brickworks

The media picked up on this one, and called it a game changer.  Given that the connection is only from Pottery Road to Rosedale Valley Road, and doesn't go all the way south to the Corktown Common trails down there, or north towards Moore and the paths in the Mt Pleasant Cemetery, i'm going to say calling it a game changer is bold. Or it's just click bait.  Also... a metal guard rail?  That a'int no game changer.  Ya! Way to reinforce that feeling of riding beside a highway!

I will concede however, it's a game changer specifically for getting to the Evergreen Brickworks. Because if you've ever done it from Ward 30 with kids in the past.... your heart palpitations may still not have stopped.  Ride down Pottery, then a poorly paved Shoulder-Of-Death and a blind corner right before the Brickworks.... ya...   So then you probably did what we did, crossed the viaduct went on an extended detour through Rosedale and picked up the Milkman's path.  Which is fine and dandy until you need to get out of the valley and your kids can't push their bikes up the rough wooded trail let alone bike it (and your dutch cargo bike can't make it out either - to much pretty nature!)  So you try one more time by going deeper through Rosedale, find the switchback ramp over the tracks at Summerhill and make your way up to Moore and try to get to Brickworks from the north via the Beltline trail.  Only to find not only do you have the same rough wooded trail problem on your way home, but by now your young kids have biked 5km out of their way just to find a safe way into Brickworks.

So, yes... for us folks in Ward 30 trying to safely get to Brickworks, this is indeed a game changer.  The most direct route now has significant safety improvements.
October view of Bayview bike paths across from Brickworks, note the bike traffic signals too! Photo: @Sean_YYZ Twitter

And the new pottery road multi use bridge is a HUGE improvement as well.

But I need to have another go at the guard rail protection of Bayview bike paths:

Not good enough! I feel that living in Toronto I am condition to cheer for whatever we can get.  Our love affair with plastic flexi-post bollards are not going to win any best practice awards in Denmark or the Netherlands.  So a metal guard rail is better, yes... but, we can do so much better!!

Grass buffers perhaps?  This is the Don Valley, there is space.

Netherlands - family friendly bike heaven

The Viaduct
Well this was a surprise to I think almost everyone.  Protection for the viaduct was approved YEARS ago, but we've been forever told that the membrane of the Viaduct cannot be drilled into, so protection couldn't happen.  And then city staff quietly went x-rayed the bridge and figured it out. Install happened over one weekend, with a giant crew of TWO workers and ONE hand drill.  And ta-da, protected-ish.

My safety assessment:  I won't let my 6 year old ride on this, but when I ride I have less fear of orphaning my 2 kids.   Let us know in the comments how you feel about the width of the bike lane for passing etc.,

Still under construction and finishing asap:  upgrades to Gerrard bike lane between Sherbourne and Ryerson (spoiler... protection with trees!) and Peter Street.  Stay tuned, we'll report back soon.