Photo by Tammy Thorne. dandyhorse questions the future of bike parking in Toronto.
Bike parking demand up, bike parking spots down
Roncesvalles the exception
Story by Tyler Wade
In the recent dandyhorse article Coralling business support for bikes by Fred Sztabinski we learned that bike parking is crucial for the success of local shops along major thoroughfares in the city.
Beautiful bike racks at Terrazza on Harbord. Photos by Christopher Kaiser
Then on St. Clair, very few of the bike racks that were uprooted for the TTC construction have been replaced.
Unfortunately, the same thing has happened after the Mink Mile redesign. Many a dandy has walked up and down this tony section of Bloor desperately trying to find a place to lock up their bike, searching in vain until it seems the valet parking at Pusateri’s might be the only option.
The elegant exception to the rule: Roncesvalles.
Lauded in this recent article in the New York Times, the Roncesvalles community made sure to make room for bikes in their beautification project.
After it’s recent re-do, including those made-in-Toronto “bumps-ups” for cyclists in front of TTC stops, and 165 of Toronto's iconic ring-and-post bike racks installed, the Roncesvalles BIA made things even jollier, by painting the ring and posts in bright colours.
Only problem: The new even-more-bike-friendly street is filling up with so many cyclists shopping and dining, the spots are gone too quickly to keep up with demand.
One solution: There’s new street furniture on Ronces where one can lock up their bike; the fancy new tree guards (and of course, the old standards; fences, sign posts, streetlights etc.)
The Roncesvalles BIA is encouraging cyclists to use the new tree guards to lock up to. The guards were installed specifically to ensure the health of the trees. They’re very sturdy, and already well used.
Photo by Tammy Thorne
John Bowker, parking and beautification chair for the Roncesvalles BIA said, “There has been a huge spike in the demand for bike parking in recent years. When we have counted, we have regularly found many more bikes parked along Roncesvalles than cars. Even though the BIA has more than doubled the bike parking capacity along the street, we still have not yet seen a plateau in demand.”
There have been requests for additional bike parking in specific sections of Roncesvalles by business owners and customers alike, but demand for bike parking is high everywhere on Roncesvalles...and in most parts of the city's core for that matter.
In a twist of fate only two-wheeling Torontonians could fully appreciate, our city’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) recently put in place legislation that seems contrary to these good neighbourhood initiatives.
This is the exact wording below from proposed amendments to Municipal Code Chapter 441 and 743 re: use of Streets and Sidewalks:
P. No person shall, without prior authorization from the General Manager, chain, lock or otherwise attach any article or thing to a waste receptacle, streetlight, parking meter, utility pole, transit shelter, fence, tree or any other municipal property or authorized encroachment that is located in a street, and any article or thing that remains attached for more than 24 consecutive hours may be removed by the General Manager and disposed of pursuant to Article XVIII.
Many of the city’s bylaws still exist from before amalgamation and are now in the process of being “harmonized.” The city is apparently now working on a rewording of this harmonized and amended version of the bylaw.
Basically, the purpose of this bylaw amendment is to allow for the removal of “things” like shopping carts, A-frame signs, and yes, derelict bicycles; but not bicycles in “good working order”. It should also be noted that the city is not adding any staff to expand its level of clean up. They typically do a big clean up of derelict bikes in April. The city also takes complaints from people requesting a bike removal and the protocol is to tag the bike, wait a week and if it’s no one’s claimed it, staff will remove it.
Is this "thing" legally locked under the newly amended bylaw? Photo by Tammy Thorne
City staff claim this does not mean there will be a reduction in bike parking spots but the reality is that bike racks aren't being installed apace with the growing number of cyclists in the city, nor are they being replaced after street construction projects. The amended bylaw seems to be adding insult...
Overall, the city is undergoing some big changes in their bylaws in an effort to amalgamate all the different municipalities rules into one.
You can view them all here.
You can order ring and post lock ups for your street here. And remember, if you are driving, don't park in the bike lane.
Photo by Christopher Kaiser.