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Monday, May 10, 2010

To Bike or Not To Bike?

The City of Toronto's suggestion that they are putting bike lanes across Danforth East has become a complicated issue for many of our community stakeholders. We are a strong cycling community and if you've ever walked the Danforth between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. you will be witness to the legions of people who use Danforth Ave. as a main artery for commuting by bike. However, by limiting parking on a major thoroughfare, the BIA feels that the city could essentially be cutting off access to small businesses along the strip.

What do you think? Should Danforth East have bike lanes? Choose yes or no in the poll on the right hand side of the page.

6 comments:

  1. Danforth East (ie east of Jones) could easily accomodate bike lanes while maintaining a large proportion of existing parking. As the street is configured now, there are four lanes of live traffic, with the inner lane in each direction wide enough to accomodate both parked cars and live traffic. Bike lanes could be installed along the curb, with a second curb on the outer side of the bike lanes, followed by a parking lane and then a live traffic lane. In short, Danforth East doesn't need two live lanes in each direction as is the case today. Danforth west of Jones only has one live lane per direction, and although that stretch is busy in terms of traffic, it's not gridlocked. The real challenge is trying to add bike lanes west of Jones, but Danforth East would be comparatively easy.

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  2. Leonardo,

    I agree 100%. Time and time again experience shows that simply slowing traffic down is a huge catalyst to improving neighbourhoods. Where we live at East Lynn Park, the Danforth often feels like more of a race track than a community rallying point. In my opinion, cutting traffic down to one live lane (and the slow down that would result) would ultimately benefit everyone except motorists, and that includes local businesses as well. While some see this as a cycling issue, it's really a liveability issue at the end of the day. There are many more benefits to be gained from deprioritizing cars than just improving the bike commute (although that *is* a huge benefit on its own).

    If you walk the Danforth and look at who's patronizing most of the businesses, the classic BIA argument that 'parking = customers' just doesn't hold water. The future of this neighbourhood lies in catering to the baby stroller set, not the minivan set.

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  3. I don't really get the parking=customers thing either. Anyone who's ever been to a city where they have a big pedestrian commercial area can tell you how busy those places are. People that want guaranteed parking will go to a big mall.

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  4. I disagree with bike lanes. According to the Ontario Traffic Act, bikes have just the same rights as cars to the road. Cyclists should follow the laws (which a lot don't!) and motorists should give cyclist the right away (which a lot don't!). Bike paths are just a band-aid solution that doesn't work in the long term (cyclists are still being hit by cars, even when they're on bike lanes). We need to come up with a better solution (education, signs, traffic cops that give tickets to both motorists as well as cyclists, and lastly .. I'm all for corner cameras)

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  5. As a biker with two small mini-bikers, I would love to see more bike lanes. It would allow us to go more places and feel safer on the road. Cars are not the same as bikes and need their own designated spaces and lanes to travel. I think it's a great idea!

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  6. According to the traffic law, a bike is a vehicle and cars that wish to pass should move to the left lane or at least give them a wide berth in order to pass the slower moving vehicle. In reality, this does not happen and cars often 'buzz' me when I am riding to work along the Danforth, passing within inches of me. Only when the bike lane starts over the Don Valley bridge do I get some breathing room. Bike lanes are necessary, and in cycling cities like Coppenhagen and Barcelona, they are clearly defined.

    I have a car, a metropass that I share, and I commute on my bike 2-3 times/week. There is certainly too much priority put on cars, and not enough on transit and bike infrastructure. This year, I see more cyclists on the road than ever before, and the trend is growing. I also hope that the upcoming addition of the BIXI bike sharing program will increase our bike infrastructure for a more livable and world class city.

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