|Posted by: Martin Koob on Sunday, September 20, 2009 @ 10:13 am|
|Posted to: Cycling Committee |
The Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee (TCAC) will be meeting on September 21, 2009 at Toronto City Hall at 100 Queen Street West in Committee Room 3 on the second floor. The meetings are open to the public. You can download the agenda at the following link TCAC Sept 21, 2009 Agenda
On the agenda is a discussion on the use of e-bikes on city bike lanes and bike paths as well as a recommendation from the Pedestrian Committee that 'power assisted bicycles' not be permitted on sidewalks.
Also on the agenda is an update on the 2009 Bike Plan program. Martin Koob
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|Posted by: Sam on Saturday, September 19, 2009 @ 8:22 pm|
|Posted to: Downsview Area Secondary Plan |
The latest and last Downsview Area Secondary Plan Review Community Meeting was held at North York Civic Center Council Chambers on September 14.
SUMMARY OF THE PLANNED CYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE
- Bike path along the proposed Transit Road extension. If built, this extension would butt right up to the existing airport lands in the park. The Right -of-Way (ROW) diagram for the road shows the following usage of the roadway:
- DND Bombardier boundary (i.e., the road butts right up to the airport lands)
- 2.65m of planting and furniture
- 2.10m sidewalk
- two 1.60m bike lanes (the bike lanes are side-by-side, so they may simply consist of a 3.2m width strip of asphalt)
- 2.65m planting and furniture
- four lanes of traffic (two lanes each direction with no median)
- The December entry mentions the City would not be extending Grand Ravine east of Keele Street. However, the current plans show a proposal for a 4-lane road from Keele to the proposed subway/GO station. Bike lanes are planned for both sides of the road. Grand Ravine already exists running west of Keele.
- A wide multi-use pathway is planned along the southern and eastern perimeter of the actual parklands. This pathway would be physically separated from the road and would be shared with other forms of active transportation such as walking and roller-blading.
- There will likely be recreational pathways criss-crossing through the park. But this is determined by the Parc Downsview Parc corporation, not the City of Toronto.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADVOCACY
- Multi-use pathways should be built so that cyclists are physically separated from other forms of transportation (eg. pedestrians, dog-walkers). For example, the final design of the Martin Goodman Trail through Marilyn Bell Park has separate areas for bicycles and pedestrians. Also, the bike lanes are asphalt, and the pedestrian area will be covered with another stone.
- Development of a bike path parallel to the CN rail tracks, all the way to the Kay Gardiner belt-line trail. Part of this is outside the scope of the Secondary Plan, but still worthwhile pursuing. For now, they could consider building this bike path from Sheppard to Wilson Avenue.
- Public review and comment are due October 5th, 2009. You can send any comments you have to this address:
North York District
Community Planning Office
North York Civic Centre
5100 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M2N 5V7
- Submission to North York Community Council on November 10 this year.
- Report and recommendation to full Toronto Council by the end of the year.
You can find more details on the planned Road, Transit, and Pedestrian and Cycling Networks at http://www.toronto.ca/planning/pdf/Downsview_MeetingPanels_Sept14_3.pdf and http://www.toronto.ca/planning/downsview.htm
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|Posted by: Martin Koob on Sunday, May 31, 2009 @ 6:28 pm|
|Posted to: Toronto Waterfront |
Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto have completed the Terms of Reference that will guide the Environmental Assessment regarding the reconfiguration of the Gardiner Expressway from just East of the Don River to Jarvis St. This is probably better known as the "Tearing Down the Gardiner" but the study includes much more than that. This will be on the agenda of the City of Toronto's Executive Committee this Tuesday June 2nd. for their approval. You can see the document at the following link Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard Reconfiguration EA Terms of Reference DRAFT
| Removing the elevated Gardiner Expressway between Logan and Jarvis could allow this neglected section of the former Martin Goodman Trail north of Lake Shore between Cherry and Parliament to be incorporated into an extended Lake Shore East Boulevard path which could extend right to Jarvis Street. |
The Environmental Assessment leading to the development of a plan for the study area from Jarvis Street to Logan Avenue provides an opportunity to look at how to improve the transportation network in the area and improve the linkages to the Lake for the communities to the north and east of the study area. During the consultation process that has led up to the development of the Terms of Reference there was a lot of support for not just looking at the automobile part of the transportation system but also the pedestrian, transit and cycling portions of the system as well. Looking at the terms of reference it is clear that those voices were heard.
Among the five goals of the EA 2 of them pertain directly to cycling infrastructure.
Goal 2: Reconnect the City with the Lake
One of the points listed under this goal recognizes the importance of bicycle routes in making those connections.
Goal 3: Balance Modes of Travel
- Design the public realm to be attractive, accessible and connected. The qualities of experience offered by streets, plazas, parks, promenades, pathways, bicycle routes, and visual corridors will be major drivers of design decisions. Public
The description of this goal recognizes the need to include active modes of transportation such as cycling and walking in the transportation system.
Any new configuration of the Gardiner Expressway will need to maintain an effective local and regional transportation system, including commuters and freight, and minimize negative impacts by balancing alternative travel modes, including transit (local and regional), cycling and walking within the system.
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|Posted by: Martin Koob on Sunday, May 31, 2009 @ 7:57 am|
|Posted to: Toronto Waterfront |
The Environmental Study Report on the Queen's Quay revitalization plan goes to the City of Toronto's Executive Committee on June 2nd, 2009 for their approval. Queens Quay Revitilization Environmental Assesment StudyThis is a significant step towards seeing Toronto's central waterfront revitalized and Toronto's signature bicycle path, the Martin Goodman Trail, finally connected through the down town. A continuous Martin Goodman Trail was one of the key goals of the plan. The benefit of this was experienced first hand by Toronto residents when the city unveiled the prototype value was seen in the Quay to the City event in August 2006. A temporary continuous Martin Goodman Trail was created along with a pedestrian promenade and Torontonians flocked to it. A 600% increase in cycling traffic was documented in the area. That initial public support continued as the proposal wound its way through the consultation process conducted by Waterfront Toronto. Thanks to that support the recommended design that is being put forward to the Executive Committee includes the expanded pedestrian areas and a separated Martin Goodman Trail for most of the length of Queen's Quay. This is a significant step foward in seeing a continuous Martin Goodman Trail from the beaches to the Humber and beyond but at the moment it is a step not quite far enough. This week is an opportunity to press the members of the Executive committee to go the distance.
The one concern with the plan being submitted is that it falls 600m short of its goal to have a continuous Martin Goodman Trail through the central waterfront. In the proposed plan the Martin Goodman trail will only be incorporated on Queen's east of Spadina Avenue. For the section between Spadina and Bathurst cyclists will be routed onto the existing bike lanes which are along side the existing traffic lanes. For westbound cyclists that means crossing to the north side of the street at Spadina and Queen's Quay and then crossing Spadina to the bike lane. This also precludes making a separated trail on the section between Bathurst and Stadium Road where the existing bike lanes are continually occupied by parked cars.
| This diagram from the recommended design shows the intersection that Westbound cyclists will have to cross to continue their journey. I have indicated the bike lanes and MGT in orange. You can see all pages of the recommended design at the following link Queen's Quay Recommended Design|
(Click the image to see a larger version.).
The above plan does not show how cyclists will have to make the double crossing to move through the intersection. There will have to be a clumsy workaround to try and ensure they can navigate the traffic lanes and streetcar tracks safely. This will be an obstacle that will inconvenience experienced cyclists but it may be a barrier to less experienced cyclists and families cycling with children. The goal of waterfront revitalization should be to make a waterfront accessible to all. The continuous Martin Goodman Trail is one of the priorities in the waterfront plan that helps to realize that goal. A separated Martin Goodman Trail continued between Spadina and Bathurst and then on to Stadium Road to join up with the existing Martin Goodman Trail should be in the final plan.
If the design for Spadina to Bathurst stays as it is, it will be a part of the waterfront the City will have to draw a curtain around when showcasing Toronto's waterfront to the world. It will have to couch its descriptions of its new waterfront, 'Martin Goodman Trail, Toronto's quasi-continuous waterfront trail'. Toronto's Bold Moves on the waterfront should not become a series of half-hearted half-measures done half-assed. The plan being proposed up to Spadina is a bold move that will be something that Toronto residents will truly be proud of. The Executive Committee should press to take the final step and ensure the final section of this plan is included in that bold move. You can let your opinion be know by making a deputation in person or in writing and by writing to the Mayor and members of the Committee. You can find all of the contact information at the following page Toronto City Council - Executive Committee. Martin Koob
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|Posted by: Martin Koob on Thursday, April 23, 2009 @ 8:20 am|
|Posted to: Toronto Waterfront |
The Martin Goodman Trail through Ontario Place is getting a face lift. The current trail, marked with the signature green and blue centrelines, which snakes along the water's edge through Ontario Place has fallen into disrepair. A new trail is under construction, which will add to the Martin Goodman bypass trail that was completed first in Marilyn Bell Park and then extended along the south side of Lake Shore south of the CNE grounds.
| This sign shows the detour around the construction which is the currently marked Martin Goodman Trail along the water's edge. (click the image to see a larger image) |
This new trail follows the path most cyclists would take when entering the Ontario Place grounds from the west, along the access road. In fact the access road is no more being replaced by the new trail. Then where the cyclists had to turn south to follow the road along where the HMCS Haida used to be docked the trail will continue straight along the south side of Lake Shore Blvd. on to Inukshuk park curving around the inukshuk there then rejoining the old trail along the water's edge which has been repaved. This will create a more direct route for cyclists unimpeded by pedestrians crossing into the Ontario Place entrance.
| Looking east south of Lake Shore Blvd. at the east entrance to the Ontario Place parking lot you can see the parking lot at Ontario Place has been reduced in side to make way for the new Martin Goodman Trail. |
However there could be some points where there may be conflicts where pedestrians and automobiles cross the trail where the trail crosses the entrances to the parking lots. In fact at one entrance it looks like a light standard will be in the middle of the trail. Hopefully this won't be an obstacle to cyclists and other trail users.
This is a great opportunity to use new bicycle pavement markings and bicycle signals that have been approved by Transportation Association of Canada to ensure that cyclists, other trail users and pedestrians can cross the intersections safely. You can see an explanation of these on page 16 of the New Lines on the Road: Canada's Guidelines for the Design and Application of Bikeway Pavement Markings This would be a good pilot project to showcase the new markings and start to use this design along the length of the Martin Goodman Trail.
At the locations where cyclists cross the entrances to the parking losts the bike crossings should be marked with the Elephant's feet pavement markings in addition to the traditional crosswalk markings as explained in the TAC Bicycle Pavement Markings guidelines.
This project is slated for completion at the end of June 2009 and will be a great addition to Toronto's signature waterfront trail. Martin Koob
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|Posted by: Martin Koob on Monday, April 13, 2009 @ 7:49 am|
|Posted to: Toronto Waterfront |
Ever since the bailey bridge was closed on Unwin Avenue just east of Cherry Beach cyclists using the Martin Goodman Trail have had to squeeze along a narrow foodbridge clinging to the south side of the bridge. That bottleneck on the trail is now gone and has been replaced by a new cycling pedestrian bridge.
| Here on the Martin Goodman Trail just east of Cherry Beach Cyclists have had to turn north onto Unwin avenue and cross on the bailey bridge. Now a new cycling/pedestrian Bridge is in place so cyclists and other trail users don't have to make this detour any more. |
While the new bridge is in place there still is more work to be done. The approaches to the bridge have yet to be paved so there is just gravel to the east and the west of the bridge. Hopefully this will be in place soon now that the weather is warming up.
| Looking west over the new bridge. The approach has not yet been paved so use caution crossing. |
In addition to the cycling a bridge for automobile traffic on Unwin will be built this spring and there is landscaping work being done on the south west area of the bridge to the shore of the lake creating a small stopping area. While this is a small project it removes a big barrier on the trail and improves one small corner of our waterfront. Martin Koob
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|Posted by: Martin Koob on Sunday, March 29, 2009 @ 8:54 am|
|Posted to: Toronto Waterfront |
On March 25th, 2009 Waterfront Toronto, the entity responsible for revitilizing Toronto's waterfront held a public consultation to finally reveal the preferred option for the redesign of Queen's Quay. To this point a design which would make room for a continuous Martin Goodman Trail along Toronto's central waterfront by removing two traffic lanes among the several options being considered, but in my mind seeing the Toronto Waterfront choose such an option was by no means a certainty. After the meeting it was apparent that we are a big step closer to realizing that goal but we are still not quite there yet.
The formal presentation started with introductions and the outlining of the agenda, then a review of the consultation process to this point, then outlining the five options that had orignially been considered. I sat nervously as the presentation dragged on, waiting for the big announcement. Next the evaluation of the three short listed alternatives on a number of different criteria. Then finally, on slide 62 of the powerpoint, without any fanfare the option which retained the traffic lanes on the south side of the transit right of way was eliminated.
During the next slide the presenter made it official. The preferred technical option was 4, well and 5, "but we are leaning to 4". Actually the technically recommended alternative was "Southside Transit" which is in fact a huge step. This means that the two traffic lanes south of the Transit right of way will be removed and in its place will be "Generous pedestrian boulevards" a 'Continuous off-street Martin Goodman Trail, completing the Lake Ontario Trail." This decision should give cyclists cause for celebration but after looking at the details of the plan it became clear that there is more work to do to.
The difference between the two options is primarily is that how the two remaining traffic lanes will be used. Option 4 has two way traffic and option 5 has one way traffic. However another significant difference between the designs is that in Option 4 the Martin Goodman Trail will not be continuous. Between Bathurst and YoYo Ma lane there will be on street bike lanes leaving a gap in the Martin Goodman Trail. Option 5 has the continuous Martin Goodman Trail right from Parliament to Bathurst.
| These photos of the section of the Queens Quay redesign options show the difference for cyclists between the options. The Martin Goodman Trail is indicated as the thick red line. (Click on the image to see a larger version) |
Aside from the fact that the option 4 does not achieve one of the primary design goals of creating a continuous Martin Goodman Trail it creates a bottleneck for westbound cyclists who have to cross the street to the north side bike lane at YoYo Ma Lane. In the designs this is shown as a pedestrian activated signal with cyclists crossing with pedestrians in a crosswalk. Given the huge volume of cyclists that will be using the trail this will create many dangerous situations for cyclists and pedestrians.
| Option 4 creates a hazardous situation for cyclists by directing Martin Goodman Trail users to the west bound bike lanes on the north side of the street. The trail is indicated by the thick red line. |
Option 4 should be eliminated from consideration on this part of the design. For criteria A.3.3 East West Connection (MG Trail) of page 55 of the evening's presentation: Queens Quay EA and East Bayfront EA Public Forum #3 - March 25 2009 (pdf) both option 4 and option 5 are evaluated as being equal in this regard. In fact Option 4 should be rated poor which I think should tip the overall balance in the evaluation towards Option 5.
So, the final decision has not been made there is still time to have your input into the designs to ensure that the design approved by City Council this July truly keeps with the original goals of the project. The public can comment until Friday April 17th, 2009. You can see the presentation which includes information on the designs at the following link PRESENTATION: Queens Quay EA and East Bayfront EA Public Forum #3 - March 25 2009 (pdf). The comment form which includes the contact information is at the following link: WORKBOOK: Queens Quay EA and East Bayfront EA Public Forum #3 - March 25, 2009 (pdf). You can also e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
While ensuring that the trail is a continuous off-street trail is a major concern there are other parts of the design that deserve comment. One is about the design of intersections and connections to other Bikeway Network routes. There are 4 streets with bike lanes shown in the designs that will intersect with the redesigned Queens Quay and the Martin Goodman Trail: Lower Simcoe, Yonge street, Lower Sherbourne Street and Bay street. There needs to be be a look at how these intersections will be designed to handle the flow of cyclists turning from the Martin Goodman Trail north onto the bike lanes and the flow of cyclists turning east and west onto the trail from the south bound bike lanes. The intersections should incorporate bike boxes for cyclists in the southbound bike lanes who are waiting to turn cross over to the trail and a similar queuing area for cyclists turning north from the east and west bound lanes of the trail. Bike Boxes are now a part of the TAC Bicycle Pavement Markings guidelines and should be incorporated in the design of this project. You can see an explanation of bike boxes on page 31 of a presentation from TAC at the 2008 ProWalk-ProBike Conference. New Lines on the Road: Canada’s Guidelines for the Design and Application of Bikeway Pavement Markings.
| Intersections need to be designed to ensure cyclists can safely and easily move from the north south Bikeway Network connecting routes to the east west Martin Goodman trail. |
Another pavement marking that should be incorporated from the above guidelines is the 'Elephant's feet' crossings which designate where cyclists on an off-street trail should cross a roadway. You can see an explanation of these on page 16 of the New Lines on the Road: Canada’s Guidelines for the Design and Application of Bikeway Pavement Markings
At the locations where cyclists cross streets that run south of Queen's Quay there should be separate bike crossings marked with the Elephant's feet pavement markings.
A final concern is the loosing of the connection between the Martin Goodman Trail and the intersection of Queens Quay and Parliament Street. Currently you can ride from the Queens Quay bike lane or the Martin Goodman Trail to the short section of trail that runs on the north side of Lake Shore Blvd. between Parliament and Cherry Street. This provides a direct connection to the Lake Shore East bicycle path via the bicycle pedestrian bridge over the Don River. It is also a direct connection to the popular Distillery District. In both designs the streetcar turn loop is a barrier preventing the connection. A connector path should be made east of the loop from the Martin Goodman Trail to the south east corner of Queen's Quay with a bike crossing with 'elephant's feet' markings across Lake Shore Blvd to the path.
| The removal of the bicycle lanes on the eastern portion of Queen's Quay and the planned re-alignment of Queens Quay will remove a direct connection for cyclists to the Lakeshore East path. The designs should include a connector path to keep that connection. |
Hopefully with enough public comment the balance will tip to Option 5 or Option 4 will be reworked to have the Martin Goodman Trail run between YoYo Ma Lane and Bathurst Street. Ideally the next step would be to have the section between Bathurst St. and Stadium road changed from the current on-street bike lanes to a separated two way path on the south side of the road to make the Martin Goodman Trail a truly continuous off-street trail from Humber Bay Park in the west to the Beaches in the East. As a City we get one chance to do this right. Half measures shouldn't make the cut. So send in your comments to make sure that the plan that Waterfront Toronto recommends to the City of Toronto's Executive Committee on June 2nd, 2009 makes cycling the waterfront a wonderful experience for Toronto residents and visitors.
There are still several steps of this ongoing environmental assessment process that have to be completed before the plans get the final seal of approval and work can start. The Mayor and the Executive Committee of Council will have the report on the agenda of their June 2nd, 2009 meeting. There will be an opportunity for deputations at this meeting so this is your chance to comment on the final recommendations for the revitalization of Queens Quay. From there it will go to Council on July 6th for approval. After that the Environmental Study Report will be filed in August and there will be a 30 day comment period in September of 2009.
So as this project inches to wards approval and ultimate completion it is more important than ever for cyclists and other trail users to keep involved in the process to show support for the options and the designs that will make this a waterfront that you can get to and through by bike. Martin Koob
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|Posted by: Martin Koob on Sunday, March 22, 2009 @ 10:29 am|
|Posted to: Toronto Waterfront |
On March 25th, 2009 Waterfront Toronto www.waterfrontoronto.ca will be presenting the recommended road alternative for Queen's Quay. This is part of the Queen's Quay Revitalization Project that would see the traffic lanes realigned that would see among other things a continuous Martin Goodman Trail through Toronto's downtown waterfront which would link up to the western and eastern sections of this trail. Torontonians got a taste of this during the Quay to the City event in August 2006.
At the last public meeting on the subject on December 10 2008, three preferred options were presented for comment. Two of those had a continuous Martin Goodman Trail on the south side of the streetcar tracks as was demonstrated in the Quay to the City event. See previous Article. This week we will see which design has been chosen and whether Toronto residents will finally see this important link in the Bikeway Network take one more step closer to realization.
The public meeting will be held on Wednesday March 25, 2009 at the Westin Harbour Castle hotel. There will be an Open House at 6:30 pm and a Public Presentation from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. There will also be a Drop-In Centre on Saturday March 29, 2009 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Harbourfront Centre. You can see more details on the meeting locations in the announcement from WATERFRONToronto at the following link. PUBLIC MEETING & DROP-IN CENTRE Queens Quay Revitalization Environmental Assessment & East Bayfront Transit Environmental Assessment. Martin Koob
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|Posted by: Martin Koob on Sunday, March 22, 2009 @ 9:57 am|
|Posted to: Cycling Committee |
The next meeting of the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee will take place on Monday March 23, 2009. It will take place at 7:00 pm in Committee Room 2 on the second floor of Toronto City Hall at 100 Queen St. West. The meetings are open to the public. You can see the agenda at the following link. Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee Agenda, March 23 2009.
One item on the agenda is a presentation from a community organization, Cycle 26, on improving cycling infrastructure in Ward 26.
Also on the agenda is a presentation entitled 2009 Toronto Bike Plan Program. Hopefully this will include the list of the Bikeway Network Projects planned this year. Seventy kilometres of on street bike lanes have been promised this year. As well Transportation Services has assumed the responsibility for the construction of Bikeway Network trails in Toronto's Parks. Hopefully this presentation will include plans for this area in 2009. This presentation is currently not online but should be posted after the meeting at the following link 2009 Toronto Bike Plan Program Martin Koob
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|Posted by: Martin Koob on Monday, February 16, 2009 @ 9:31 am|
|Posted to: Bike Budget |
The City of Toronto is in the process of debating and approving the 2009 Operating budget and on February 18th the public has their chance to add their voice to the debate. Public hearings are scheduled for 9:30 that day. You can sign up to make a deputation or you can send your written comments into the Budget Committee. You can sign up for a deputation by calling Merle MacDonald, the Budget Committee Administrator at 416-392-7340. You can e-mail your comments to the budget committee at email@example.com. There are initiatives in the budget that cycling advocates should voice their support for to counter the predictable attacks that will come from the few Councillors who don't see the need to adequately fund cycling programs. There are also areas that cycling advocates can point to that still need attention in order to fully realize the goals of the Bike Plan and to truly create a great cycling city.
The Toronto Bike Plan figures prominently in the 2009 Operating Budget as 'completing the Toronto Bike Plan by 2012' is one of the priorities of the Mayor and Council that is listed as a challenge and opportunity for the next three years for the Transportation Services Division. To meet that challenge the budget proposes to 'Dedicate staff resources to complete the Bike Plan by 2012'. This commitment to increase funding for staff in the Operating Budget complements the actions taken in the 2009 Capital Budget, which was approved last December, to dedicate funds in the 5 year capital plan to build cycling infrastructure to complete the Bike Plan by 2012.
The details of how the staff resources will be increased can be found in the Transportation Services 2009 Operating Budget Analyst Briefing Notes. There will be a increase of $210,000 for three additional staff. The funds for this increase will come partly from the 2009 Capital Budget and partly from user fees from the Bike Locker program and from new Bike Stations. The documents also state there will also be a fourth new staff position to work on cycling initiatives which has been achieved by reassigning a postion to the cycling unit.
Bike Plan Cycling Positions ($0.111 million gross and $0 net)
Funding of $0.111 million gross and $0 net for a permanent Senior Traffic Field Investigator and a Traffic Field Investigator position is recommended in order to undertake the field investigations, traffic and parking studies necessary to increase the amount of bike lanes designed and approved from 50 kilometers in 2008 to an average of 103 kilometers over the next four years in order to complete the Bike Plan by 2012. The full cost of this new and enhanced service priority in 2010 will be $0.163 million gross and $0 net. These positions are being funded through the 2009 Approved Capital Budget.
Project Lead and Assistant Planner for Cycling Infrastructure ($0.099 million gross and $0 net) Funding of $0.099 million gross and $0 net is recommended for two permanent positions which include a Project Lead and an Assistant Planner to be responsible for enhancing delivery of cycling promotion programs including Bike Month, bicycle lockers and the development of a new Bike Share program. The Assistant Planner position is intended to replace the existing Mail Clerk position which will be eliminated resulting in an increase of one position. These positions will enhance program delivery as part of the Bike Plan and will be funded from recoveries from the 2009 Approved Capital Budget and user fees from the Bike Station and Locker program. The full cost of this new and enhanced service priority in 2010 will be $0.149 gross and $0 net.
This change to the budget demonstrates a further consolidation of the responsibilities for completing the Toronto Bike Plan within the Transportation Services division. In the past the Planning division was responsible for Cycling Safety & Education and Cycling Promotion programs. These programs have suffered from a lack of funds since the inception of the Bike Plan in 2001 with only nominal increases since that point. If these are new positions in addition to the 2 existing staff who were transferred from the Planning Division to the Transportation Services Division, this will mark the first real increase in staffing to deliver these important elements of the Bike Plan. The focus of these two staff appears to be, however, on Cycling Promotion. There is still a need to enhance the funding for Cycling Safety and Education programs.
As Toronto Bikeway Network expands there will be the need for increased maintenance for the growing number of on-street bike lanes. That is recognized in the 2009 budget as one of the reasons given for increases in the base budget in years 2009, 2010 and 2011 is the increased maintenance for newly created bike lanes.
Winter maintenance of Bike Lanes is also addressed in the 2009 Operating Budget One of the items mentioned as an initiative funded 'Enhanced winter maintenance for bike lanes including the Martin Goodman Trail, and increased provisions for snow removal.' Details of this initiative to clear the Martin Goodman Trail and for enhanced clearing of snow in bicycle lanes are outlined in the breifing notes for the Transportation Services budget:
- Increased priority for cyclists to clear on-street bike lanes located on main roads. For a period of 48 to 72 hours after a storm, ploughs are sent out again on the roadway to clear curb lanes, where the majority of bike lanes are located, with instructions to operators to move the snow as close as possible to curb without blocking the public sidewalk in order ensure at least 1 metre of bike lane is open for use.
- For the first time in 2009, there will be winter maintenance on parts of the Martin Goodman Trail providing two bicycle routes into the downtown core from the east from Northern Dancer Boulevard to Sherbourne Street and from the west from the Humber River Pedestrian Bridge to Bathurst Street.
While maintenance of the on-street bike lanes and the Martin Goodman Trail are getting attention in this budget there is still one large part of the Bikeway Network that is not addressed. While much of the responsibility for building new trails through Toronto's parks has been transferred to the Transportation Services Division from the Parks Forestry & Recreation(PF&R) Division the PR&R is still responsible for the maintenance of trails that are part of the Bikeway New and for repairs and upgrades to those trails to keep them in a State of Good Repair. Looking through the Parks Forestry & Recreation Analyst Briefing notes maintenance of these trails does not get a mention. There is a need for improved maintenance on the trails that make up the Toronto Bikeway network, this includes cutting of the grass along the trails, trimming trees and shrubs along the trails, cleaning of debris on the trails and patching potholes in the trails. Just as trail maintenance was highlighted in the Transportation Services budget, trail maintenance should be given heightened attention and increased funds in the Parks Forestry and Recreation Operating Budget to support the Mayor's and Council's priority of completing the Bike Plan by 2012 to ensure all parts of the existing Bikeway Network are in good shape and rideable. Also, just as the Transportation Services division recognizes the need to increase the funds for bike lane maintenance as the number of lanes increases over the next 4 years, Parks Forestry and Recreation needs to build into this year's and future year's budgets the funds needed to maintain the new trails built as part of the project to complete the Bikeway Network by 2012. In the next 4 years both divisions also have to build up the capacity to continue to carry out the maintenance on the entire 1000 km plus network in the years beyond 2012.
The State of Good Repair backlog is another issue that needs to be addressed by the Budget Committee. There are many park trails that need to be repaved and upgraded to current trail design standards. According to the 2008 Capital budget there was a $20.48 million dollar backlog to 2006, a $20.075 million dollar estimated need in 2007. Adding to that in 2008 and 2009 was an estimated need of $1.62 million and $2.06 million respectively. That amounts to a $44 million dollar backlog of repairs that should have been done at this point to trails and pathways. (This includes not just Bikeway Network related trails but they make up a large portion of that.) In 2009 only $1.375 million is being spent to address these needs. While the funds for State of Good Repair projects comes from the Capital Budget there still needs to be funding in the Operating Budget for the staff to plan and coordinate those projects.
As the Federal Government and the City of Toronto are looking for "shovel ready' projects for infrastructure spending under the federal government's stimulus program they should seriously look at the parts of the Bikeway Network that have already been identified by Parks Forestry and Recreation as in need of repair. An injection of cash to repair this important component of Toronto's cycling infrastructure would go a long way to supporting the implementation of the Bike Plan. The City should clearly state their attention to do so and a clear way to do this would be to earmark funds for staff to focus on coordinating these projects and state their intention to request the capital funds to complete these projects from the federal infrastructure funding. Martin Koob
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|Posted by: Martin Koob on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 @ 2:28 pm|
|Posted to: Bikeway Network |
Metrolinx is currently conducting consultations on the Union Station - Pearsonrail link and the Georgetown GO line extension. This project while focussing on rail could have an impact on the Bikeway Network. Cyclists should get involved to make sure the project will incorporate designs that will enhance the bikeway network, include cycling facilities and allow cyclists to use the new rail services. There are public meetings between Feb 5th to 12th and there is an online consultation as well. You can see all of the details here. Metrolinx Consultation.
Some of the areas of interest for cyclists are the plans for a grade separation at Strachan avenue which has a bike lane, the impact of this project on plans for the west toronto rail path from Dundas to Strachan and the potential for completing the Humber trail below where the rail bridge crosses the Humber river. Other issues would be access and parking for cyclists at all stations. Martin Koob
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|Posted by: Martin Koob on Thursday, January 15, 2009 @ 8:11 am|
|Posted to: Cycling Committee |
The Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee(TCAC) will have its first meeting of 2009 on Monday January 19th at 7:00 pm in Committee Room 2 of Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street W. This meeting is open to the public and you can see the items up for discussion on their agenda TCAC Agenda, January 19, 2009.
Highlights of the agenda include a Toronto Bike Plan Update and a Park Trails Projects Update. (As of January 15th these two reports are not available yet online but the agenda notes they will be added to the agenda on January 20th, 2009 after the TCAC meeting.) As the City of Toronto heads into the new year with a renewed commitment to building the Bikeway Network as recommended in the Toronto Bike Plan, which is evidenced by an increased capital budget an a reorganization of the responsibility for building bicycle paths in Toronto's parks, this will be an opportunity to look at what happened over the past year and look for solutions to obstacles that were encountered in the past year.
I hope the city will return to the practice of issuing an annual Toronto Bike Plan progress report to Council through the cycling committee. The last official report that can be found on the city's Cycling Reports and Official Documents webpage was the Year 3 strategy report which was issued in 2005. In order to permit and encourage residents to become engaged in the city processes all of the reports to the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee should be made accessible to the public just as they are for Council's standing committees. These reports should be made available on-line in a searchable text form (ie. PDF), preferably before the meeting where they will be discussed. It has become practice to hand out reports at the meeting and then not always posting them online afterwards. Sometimes when reports are posted they are in a scanned form that is not searchable.
In order for the City of Toronto to reach its Bike Plan goals it is going to need the involvement of an increasing number of Toronto Residents to work with Councillors to promote routes planned in the Bikeway Network, promote programs proposed in other sections of the Bike Plan and promote cycling as a mode of transportation. Ensuring that the documents explaining the City's plans being implemented, issues being discussed and challenges being faced are available and accessible will allow Toronto residents to become informed and engaged in the process. Martin Koob
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