Bike Spotting: Bi-Directional Bike Lanes Proposed on Harbord: Part 2
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.
We went back to Harbord to talk to cyclists at the corner of Harbord and Major, asking whether they knew of the proposed changes, and whether they thought a bi-directional lane was the best solution for the street.
Here’s what they had to say:
Just having heard of it, I wouldn’t know how to assess it, but I think any proposal to make cyclists a part of the city substructure is a good proposal because we are citizens also, and I was in Holland for a while, and their bicyclists have the first right of way, and cars don’t hit them with their doors because it’s part of their understanding that bicycles are a component of the road way. So my feeling, anything that isolates bicyclists from other road users and increases safety would be a good proposal. How effective it will be, I have not assessed it, but I would say yes because what’s happened in the city, we’re not conscious of other entities except cars, the suburbs. So I would say people care about bicycles, this is the best proposal we have going. I would say yes at the moment.
I can’t see any problems with the way the bi-directional lane is structured. I think it would make bicyclists a part of the city. It’s like the streetcars have their own space, cars have their own space, bicyclists should have their own space. There is space for everyone.
I think it’s a really wonderful idea, probably the best east-west route for cyclists in the city, and separated bike lanes would make it safer for everyone. Once construction is done, I think it would be pretty seamless. I take these lanes every day, and it’s definitely the safest and fastest because there’s less car traffic. But it could still be safer for sure.
I don’t like it. I do not like separated lanes, and I do not like lanes in which you cannot pass. Because the bi-directional lanes are going to be narrower, and they’re going to disallow passing. I like the freedom to veer into the road and to pass people who are going slower -it’s perfectly okay to go slower. We’re going to be crammed. This is a busy street in the number of cyclists, cars are cars, and we need room for that. I prefer to have it the way it is. Raised bike lanes are different. I live over there and I work over there, so I’m going to take Harbord even if there are separated bi-directional lanes.
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