CYCLE TRACK vs. SEPARATED LANE
New ‘protected’ bike lane on Sherbourne provides parking opportunity
~This article originally appeared in our Summer 2013 'safety' issue. ~
by Derek Chadbourne
According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, a cycle track is part separated path, part on-road bike lane. The key element is that cycle tracks are “physically separated from motor traffic and distinct from the sidewalk.”
The Sherbourne “separated” cycle track was first trumpeted as a safer alternative to the Jarvis bike lane, and only a 1/2 km out of the way. It would be safer than Jarvis, with the installment of physical separation between cyclist and driver.
Cycling south from Bloor, it’s soon apparent the “separated” curbstones are easily mounted by delivery vehicles, taxis and emergency vehicles parked while the drivers look for a doughnut.
This promise of separation ends at Gerrard. South of Gerrard, the lane opens up with a design that pleads drivers to park in the cycle path, with a well-designed lip that makes both the bike lane and the sidewalk available for parking.
South of Gerrard, cyclists can ride into the road to navigate around parked cars in the “separated” cycle path. North of Gerrard, cyclists are hemmed in and are forced to go on the sidewalk, which is not okay, or lift their bikes over the separation/curb and ride in traffic.
When the lane was finished, cyclists asked where the bollards to prevent drivers from parking in the lane were. The city replied that the curbs were designed for emergency vehicles to park.
Sherbourne was never a street in need of a separated bike lane. Sherbourne has always been and remains a low population arterial that was in need of resurfacing and a good paint job. Instead, it has become an overbuilt street that cost 28 times what it cost to install painted lanes on Jarvis.
From the City of Toronto archives:
“In the construction ofstreets hereafter the Council should pay special attention to the needs of
those who ride bicycles. A part of each street should be paved with the most suitable material for them. In addition to this, strips on a large number of streets in different parts of the city, where asphalt or brick does not now exist, should be put in first-class shape for bicycle riders.”
- Toronto City Council 1896
City officials have recently said they would crack down on illegal parking in the bike lane.
But after a hundred years, it would appear that the city of Toronto still only knows how to talk the talk.
P.S. Call 311 or Tweet @311toronto if you see snow in the bike lane.
Call Toronto Parking Enforcement at: 416-808-2222 (ext. 3, then ext. 1) if you see a car or truck parked in the bike lane.
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