Text and photos by Joe Byer
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dandyCOMMUTE series : Church and Gerrard to Liberty Village
Back in April, I shared with everyone my commute that takes me from Church and Gerrard to Liberty Village every day. As an able-bodied cyclist who enjoys the ride, it’s a bit of longer route than you’d expect, not the most direct path. But now that the weather’s even nicer I like to extend that 8km ride even further when I can, provided I wake up early enough…
So let’s pick things up where I left off at Bay and Wellesley, an intersection that the original route usually takes me to. From there, rather than continue on my westward trajectory towards Queen’s Park, I’ll veer north up Bay.
Bay St is home to the largest on-street bikelane in the city. Well, not only for bikes, but that diamond lane there is marked for bikes, busses and taxis – so you might as well use it! If anyone behind you honks their horn at you, tell’em to talk to the sign.
At Bay and Bloor is one of the city’s few, and much needed, pedestrian scrambles. If you’re biking through here and don’t want to wait for the traffic light, please dismount and walk your ride on busy days. And to the councillors at City Hall looking at “re-assessing” these scrambles, please only add more and don’t take this one away.
North of Bloor things get pretty hairy. The pavement is in much need of repair, which we’re told is coming along with fresh bike lanes. Even if only for half a block at least it’s… I wanna say “something”.
The intersection that really needs fixing is Bay and Davenport, and that’s where you’ll find a lovely bike lane taking me most of the way west…
This intersection IS undergoing some drastic construction in the near future, so plan your route accordingly!
…up past Casa Loma…
..and onward! One of my favourite stretches in the city, as long as there’s not too much debris and it’s not garbage day.
I keep gliding all the way to Caledonia Rd, but at this point I want to find my way to Dupont and into the Junction.
So I tend to take Symington…
…as it’s a pretty chill, quiet street.
And now I’m on the sweet section of Dupont that has another bike lane…
One more hop across the Lakeshore when it’s clear, and bingo… on to the Martin Goodman trail!
Again, you can see why I go this far out of my way. The trail, though it gets busy in the summer months, is usually pretty chill in the morning. Most of the people using it are other bike commuters at this time of day.
To get over to Liberty Village, I like to take this bridge from Ontario Place over to the Ex. As long as the Indy or the CNE isn’t on, it should be open for foot and bike traffic. Other times of year, I have to get a little creative on how to traverse the Lakeshore, but that’s a small price to pay.
Winding through the Ex is pretty easy, and leads me over to Dufferin, where the bridge has been closed to car traffic but open to pedestrians, cyclists, horse cops (as evidenced by the mess left some mornings) and, apparently…
…Ducks! This little lady is wondering where all the stinky, noisy metal things on wheels have gone. I’m not sure what’s going to happen when they start demolishing this bridge, but it’s definitely made the south end of Dufferin a lot safer with less car traffic whizzing in off the Lakeshore and Gardiner.
All told, this route is about 20km, depending on the variations I take. I may not go the whole distance both ways, but I try to do it as many times a week that I can when the weather’s right. This is a great way to get some serious exercise first thing in the morning without red-lining, and while staying safe at the same time. This city still leaves a lot to be desired for a connected framework of cycling infrastructure, but as long as you get creative and have the energy for it, you can make it work.
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