#dandySANTA winner takes a ride to claim her prize at Soulpepper

Photos by Janet Joy Wilson

#dandySANTA winner takes a ride to claim her prize

Janet Joy Wilson was the winner of our dandySANTA Soulpepper ticket contest and she recently went to see The Conjuror. Janet Joy is the co-captain of Cycle Toronto's Ward 13 advocacy group and co-founder of The Reading Line initiative.

In the spirit of our dandySANTA contest we asked her to tell us what bike lanes she'd like to see for 2015, and how she liked the show!

dandyhorse: In the spirit of our holiday promotion tell us what bike lanes you'd most like [dandySANTA to bring] in 2015?

Janet Joy: I want a connected network to make it easy, safe and ‘normal’ to use a bicycle to get to work, to school and to your local shops. Let’s connect the established bike routes and expand the existing bike lanes and sharrows to make them protected lanes so more Torontonians, and tourists using Bike Share, will feel safe cycling. I also really want to see all those signs saying “Bike Lane Ends” to vanish!

dh: Tell us about bike advocacy priorities in Ward 13? 

JJ: We have “natural destinations” in Ward 13. High Park: Toronto’s largest public park with over a million visitors every year. The bike lane is not consistent throughout the park nor is it connected to any streets outside the park. Humber River is a glorious route that is part of the Pan Am Path project and yet there are so many areas of it that need improvement – from the path itself to the signage. If you were a tourist at Jane Street and Annette Street would you know how to access this natural resource? No! We need signage. Local businesses could benefit as a result of increased traffic to the park. And, of course, we have Lake Ontario. We have one of the best sections of the lake in our west-end ward. Residents and visitors take advantage of the beaches, the boardwalk, the playgrounds, the rowing club, the swimming pool and now the Sunnyside Bike Park too. But are any of these destination points connected with a safe, protected bike lane? No. This is our dream. This is our vision. This is our goal: To have those safe connections.

This "cyclists detour" (above) on the Martin Goodman Trail was partially flooded last weekend - and dangerous, says the author.

What was the ride like to Soulpepper theatre in the Distillery District?

I went on Sunday, January 4. The roads were pretty clear, with the occasional bit of residual slush. The Martin Goodman Trail was clear (except for the "detour" - seen above). I took Sherbourne north, on the most bumpy stretch, then east on the Esplanade and cut through a park. When I saw all the new buildings in the Distillery District on Cherry I felt like I’d been asleep and awoke to a new city. It’s astounding what’s been built for the Pan Am Games. After the show I wanted to ride north on Cherry Street, as there are bike lanes. I was curious where they went. Well, like all bike lanes in this city, they disappear like magic. I crossed King Street on a very short light, navigating across many streetcar tracks and then nothing. I thought I was going to connect with Richmond Street but no. So I cycled farther east than I wanted to and then had to go along Queen Street at dusk, which didn’t feel too safe. Not a fun way to exit the theatre. I also wanted to note that I don’t like the bike racks at the Young Centre, the kind that you put your tire in. Doesn’t feel secure and I want to hug my frame to a piece of secure metal, not my tire.

How was the show, The Conjuror?

I wish my son was 10 again as he would have loved it! The stage magic of the Golden Age, set in 1909 at the St. George’s Hall in London, was charming. I felt like I had gone back in time. It was a magical experience for all the families in attendance.

Do you think our new mayor will support the #minimumgrid idea or it will it take a little magic?

He kind of says he will; “expand the network of separated bike lanes in ‘sensible locations’...increase maintenance, and equip SmartTrack stations with secure bike parking.” So I think the 'magic' that will be required is continued pressure on the City of Toronto.

The more people who use their bicycles the better. Every person who rides a bike represents one less car on the road looking for a parking spot. I really think the network will be expanded in the next four years. Our city can be transformed.

Related on the dandyBLOG:

Read about all of our winter cyclist profiles: 16 year-round cyclists tell #dandySANTA they want bike lanes

Cyclists and authors promote the Green Line initiatie

Ward 13 ride with MP Peggy Nash and Councillor Sarah Doucette

Pan Am Path project for Toronto

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