Bike Spotting: Bi-directional bike lanes proposed on Harbord
This June, the City announced it’s plan to replace the bike lanes on Harbord between Queens Park Circle and Ossington with bi-directional, Montreal-style lanes. Now that the plans have been unveiled, we hit Harbord for a roundup of cyclists’ reactions to the proposed lanes.
The proposed lanes will run on only the north side of Harbord. The lane on the south side of the street will be removed. It has not been decided how the lanes will be separated yet, but the bi-directional lanes will allow for dual 1.5 metre-wide lanes in each direction, which is a bit narrower than those on Harbord now, which currently stretch two metres across.
Public consultation on the proposed changes will be held until October. For more information and to sumbit feedback, go to the City of Toronto’s page.
On a sunny summer evening, the Harbord bike lane has a steady traffic flow. We talked to cyclists stopped at the lights at Harbord and Manning, and asked: Were you aware of the plans to install a bi-directional bike lane on Harbord? and Do you think this will improve the street?
Here’s what they had to say:
Photos by Tammy Thorne
I don’t think it’s a good idea to have only one street in the city done that way. If they want to do it I think they need to do it throughout the entire city and not just one street.
The separated from traffic part is good. I’ve seen the ones in Montreal but I haven’t used them. I guess I’m not 100% convinced that having both side by side like that is safe. As a pedestrian, I was crossing one and I didn’t look both ways because I’m used to traffic coming from only one direction. So that was a little confusing. As a cyclist I’m sure it’s fine because you’re on the path and you can see what’s going on. It also has to be real separation, not like Sherbourne where the cars can still roll up.
I’ve heard about the proposed lanes. I have the same concern about this as I had when I heard about Sherbourne’s raised lanes, and that’s being able to pass safely. One and a half metres is not enough room to pass. And if the new lanes are separated by raised cement that’s squared and not round, then passing is pretty much impossible.
Yeah, it’s fantastic! I really like it. I’ve never really considered a bi-directional lane on one side of the street. I like it the way that it is, it’s really accessible. I’m not sure it needs the change. But I’m also not sure what the studies have indicated, so I will read into it more.
I cycle on Harbord every day and am happy with the current lane set up – It’s really great early in the morning when it’s not too busy. I think a new bike lane system may be a good idea as long as it’s not like the nightmare on Sherbourne, which has a major problem with parked cars blocking the lane. The proposed bi-directional lane could be an improvement here, although there needs to be enough room for passing slower cyclists since Harbord gets a lot of bike traffic, especially during rush hour.
That sounds like a bad idea. I’ve had experiences riding in Holland for many years and it doesn’t seem like the City learns from what’s going on in other cities that are bicycle friendly. It seems like they make up solutions that are not designed very well. Sherbourne, for example, has a poor design, and Roncesvalles as well, speaking as a designer and a cyclist. So no, I don’t think that it’s a good idea, but that’s typical, for them to come up with a solution and not carry it out very well.
I think it’s stupid. If the police want bikes to behave like traffic, we should be treated like traffic. Cars don’t have separated bi directional car lanes, so why should bikes? If the Harbord bike lane is going to be anything like Sherbourne’s divided bike lane, which is only divided in name, cars can still park in the bike lane. So cyclists will have to dismount and walk their bikes around the barrier to go around the parked truck or cop car. And with a bi-directional lane, you only need one truck to screw up both lanes. So I think that Harbord is an excellent bike lane, and it’s not broken so they shouldn’t try to fix it. One thing they should do is paint it like they did on Sherbourne to make it more visible as a bike lane.
I didn’t know they were planning on putting a bi-directional bike lane in, but I think that it would be pretty cool. I’m not a big cyclist, but I use the lanes on Harbord.
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