Flashback Friday: Bike Spotting on Bayview

Flashback Friday: Bike Spotting on Bayview

This bike spotting was taken from our summer 2013 Safety issue, where we did bike spotting for bikeability all over the city.

We have started a series discussing the need for a new approach to cycling policy and infrastructure in the outer reaches of the city.

Read part one, Albert Koehl's piece on why City Council's arbitrary division between "urban" and "suburban"  harms our potential to solve major problems.

Karey Iron (Sunnybrook Hospital, Bayview and Blythwood) Photo by Tammy Thorne

From St Clair and Christie, where I live, I have two choices in the final stretch towards my destination of Sunnybrook Hospital on Bayview:

1. Bayview: a north/south fast-moving thoroughfare

2. Blythwood: an east/west tree-lined gulley side street that runs right from Mount Pleasant into Sunnybrook Hospital

Which is safer? The obvious choice seems to be Blythwood. But, what appears benign and pretty on the surface may sometimes be fraught with peril upon closer inspection. There are steep hills no matter which way you go, deep potholes and broken road (scary on the downhill), parked cars and impatient taxi drivers going to and from the hospital, mini-buses and trucks with very wide mirrors.

Blythwood needs to get fit! Fix the tired concrete, get rid of parking during rush hour and get a brighter streetscape.  With these small improvements, I will fully appreciate the sweet sounds and smell of ravine twice a day as I enter the gulley.


Brent Cyca (Sunnybrook Hospital, Bayview and Blythwood)

Yes I feel safe, but on Bayview Avenue in particular I ride on the sidewalk.

Bike lanes would make it safer. They need to put in enough lanes that there are continuous paths to get from various points of the city to various destinations. I lived briefly in the Netherlands and in England, but particularly in the Netherlands and in Denmark bicycle lanes are everywhere. Just as there are separate sidewalks for pedestrians and the road for the car, there is a separate bicycle lane, and bicycle traffic lights. There’s a network of systems.

It doesn’t need to be on every road, but if I want to get from here to York Mills and Yonge, there should be a network of paths for me to get there. Or if I need to get all the way downtown, whatever. There are some bicycle paths or bicycle routes in place already, but they tend not to be continuous. There’s no complete network.



Peter Low (Sunnybrook Hospital, Bayview and Blythwood) Photo by Tammy Thorne

The lanes are far too narrow here, and it’s a speed zone as you can plainly see. If I’m going home tonight, I will have to fight this traffic. I will not ride on the sidewalk because it’s illegal, but I don’t feel safe cycling on Bayview.

We need to start with education, it’s probably not going to happen in our lifetime, but for the next generation, cycling safety should be made part of the curriculum in schools.

This area is completely car-centric. I’ve lived here for 27 years and there’s been no change. I know that the local councillor is a believer in complete streets. If anything, they have to stop talking and start acting. Start doing something we can see, whether it be bike lanes or sharrows or enforcement of lower traffic speeds. But again it’s not going to happen, we’ll just be talking till the cows come home.

Anthony Bloch (Sunnybrook Hospital, Bayview and Blythwood) Photo by Tammy Thorne

Yes, I feel safe here. There are worse places like downtown and York Mills and Yonge. I like it here because it’s flat, there are no crazy uphills or downhills. I actually live in Thornhill and I prefer taking Bayview. To make it safer they could put bike lanes everywhere, otherwise it’s fine.


Christopher Yarnell (Sunnybrook Hospital, Bayview and Blythwood) Photo by Tammy Thorne

At this time of day on Bayview it’s a little harried. There’s a lot of traffic, and cars are sometimes reluctant to leave you very much room when they pass you. When there’s construction happening, the way they put the cones at the edge of the lane, is such that you’re forced into a one-lane situation on Bayview, even though there’s pavement that’s not being used by the construction workers -which you could easily bike in, that wouldn’t push you into the flow of traffic. I think in general it reflects an attitude of prioritizing cars over bikes. Like somehow when push comes to shove the bike is the one that doesn’t belong, which I think is not reasonable.

It would be nice to have bike lanes on Bayview. It would be nice to have bike lanes everywhere. There’s really no legitimate north-south bike lane route in this area of the city.



Related on the dandyBLOG:

The "Urban vs Suburban" debate misses the point

DJ Barbi: Biking in the 'burbs

Vision Zero: A road safety plan for Toronto

A New Image for Toronto: Pedestrian priority combined with a transit right-of-way

City's new public works chair on cycling

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