Peter’s best and worst bike routes in Toronto for 2016

The Martin Goodman Trail is one of Peter's preferred bike routes (except for a small un-lit portion).

Peter’s best and worst bike routes in Toronto

dandyhorse contributor PETER HARTE has been reporting on his most RIGHTEOUS ROUTES and bike lanes on dandyhorsemagazine.com. HERE’S HIS 2016 RECAP!!

I’ve ridden my bike in Toronto for about 8 years, and have commuted more or less every day by bike for 6 of those years. When I go out in the evenings or on weekends I am 9 times out of 10 riding my bike, and so I feel like I have a personal relationship with the streets of this city – and a thorough understanding of what traffic conditions will be on any street at any given time. After writing about these various routes on dandyhorsemagazine.com, I have becomes a bit more aware of the quality of the pavement and bike lane infrastructure – about what is working and what’s not. Since I’ve been writing this column, I’ve been stopping, assessing, and documenting what, exactly, is making me prefer one route to another and I’ve enjoyed sharing my favourite routes in the hope that these stories may help other dandyhorse readers discover new, safer routes too.

My ratings are based on quality of roadway and safety of infrastructure.

Best

  • St. George-Beverly - I love that I can go from Beverly St and Queen St and be able to stick on this route all the way to Dupont. Along the way I can connect to the College, Wellesley, and Bloor east/west bike lanes which gives me a lot of options to get anywhere across town. This bike lane is in excellent condition and surprisingly not that busy with other cyclists.
  • Queens Quay - This is my own personal highway. A staple lane that I’ll take in most of my routes when heading east or west. This new bike lane does get busy in the summer with other cyclists and pedestrians, but I still prefer to use this separated lane to connect to other northbound bike lanes in the city. I love that I can sometimes get from Parliament to Bathurst in 20 minutes or less if I can time the streetlights right (ala the Green Wave.)

  • Dundas East - I love using Dundas to travel eastbound from the Don River overpass bridge. This lane has super wide bike lanes, and takes you as far east as Woodbine if you want. The time seems to fly when using this route as well.
  • Wellesley - A great east/west option to get you from Parliament St all the way to U of T, and then connect to the north/south St. George bike lane. West of Yonge St. the bike lane becomes separated and is a real smooth treat to ride on.

  • Sudbury-Douro - I love avoiding all of the traffic on Queen St. and King St. by taking these alternative roads that run just south of their busier counterparts. I feel like I am “cheating the system” in a way using these streets because they are infrequently used and in most cases quite smooth.

Worst

  • Bloor St. Sorry, I have to admit that I do not enjoy riding in the Bloor St bike lane. I feel like there are way too many opportunities for collision with a turning vehicle, a pedestrian trying to cross the street, or a delivery truck passing through. I AM happy that there is a bike lane on Bloor, but I just don’t feel safe on it. And now that it’s winter this lane is a total joke, and is a legitimate ice rink after it’s been “plowed” of snow. I see so many cyclists preferring to ride in the road to avoid the dangers of the bike lane, which I can only imagines frustrates drivers.

  • The unofficial “bike lane” east of Parliament St., north of Lakeshore Blvd. I feel like this is a little known bike path, but I am very familiar with it having ridden my bike to work in the Distillery for over 5 years. After you reach Parliament while on the Queens Quay bike lane, you can either ride north on Parliament, head east on Mill St. in order to get to other east bound bike lanes. Or, you can continue on the Queens Quay lane until you pass Cherry St. and then cycle out of the way for a bit until you can actually get onto the Cherry St. bike lane. BUT, if there was a better maintained and properly paved bike lane north of Lakeshore Blvd. that took you east from Parliament to Cherry, all of this could be avoided. There is a path there now that is falling apart, has major potholes, and in the winter is not maintained at all. It takes you to Cherry St. but you still have to somehow get to the east side of the street in order to get onto the bike lane heading north.
  • The Martin Goodman Trail from Stadium Rd. to Ontario Place. Why is this section of the trail so dark?! Yes, I have a light on my bike, but only some runners and very few if not no pedestrians will carry a light on them and so it’s easy to come close to having a collision. I’m not sure if this area is kept dark because of its close proximity to the Naval base or the airport, but it really seems to make no sense why this is the only section of the path that everyone complains about. [Editors Note: We at dandyhorse believe that parts of the Martin Goodman Trail would be a PERFECT candidate for solar, glow in the dark bike lanes.]

Most improved

  • Bathurst - After a lot of construction one lane at a time, Bathurst is now smooth and the road is flush to the curb without any potholes. It’s still a pretty traffic heavy road and not necessarily my first choice to take on bike, but the quality has undergone a major improvement and is now a road that I consider an option when planning my route.
  • Argyle - This road that alters directions as a one-way road for traffic, now has a right of way (including contraflow bike lanes) for cyclists to be able to cycle from Shaw St to Gladstone Ave.
  • Peter - This street that had a bike lane seemingly pop up out of nowhere used to be in nightmare condition. However, now it has a bike lane complete with flexi-posts - and (of course) on-street parking for cars.

Read all of Peter's commute columns here.

Related on dandyhorsemagazine.com

Paint the Town Green

How much does a bike lane cost?

Toronto construction and bad bike lanes

Bike Spotting on Adelaide: Do you like these bollards?

Waiting for Go Dot: Three dots.... a pause in time (from issue 1)

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