Toronto’s Bike Corral Pilot Expands to Kensington Market

Story by Duncan Hurd
Photo by Hyedie Hashimoto

At the corner of Augusta Avenue and Nassau Street in Kensington Market a short stretch of on-street parking has been transformed into a space for 16 securely locked bicycles.

The second addition to Toronto's bike corral pilot project (the first on Spadina Avenue) has arrived in an area notorious for its lack of bicycle parking. dandyhorse spoke to Jesse Demb of Cycling Infrastructure & Programs at City of Toronto Transportation Services to learn more about bicycle parking in Kensington Market and the future of bike corrals in Toronto.

dandyhorse: What is the current bicycle parking capacity in Kensington Market?

Jesse Demb: Counting all bike parking currently in place on Augusta, St. Andrew, Baldwin, Kensington and Nassau streets, parking capacity is around 200+ bicycles at one time. The challenge is the surging demand in-season and due to special events. Augusta Avenue is a dense cultural corridor, with many competing demands on the streetscape's space and intense pedestrian volumes on weekends. The same can be said for the rest of the Market as well.

There have been consistent requests for more bike parking in the Market. Last year we added more post-and-rings on Augusta Av south of Oxford and the year before that a few near Denison on the west side, and [there is] the giant 'Kensington' sign/art bike rack at College but spatial limitations and surging bike parking demand required further innovation so we've adopted the in-street bike corral as well.

d: In what way is the City of Toronto involved in setting up a bike corral?

JD: City staff design, install and maintain the bike corral. A bike corral will get approval if it is supported by the local councillor and businesses and there is sufficient demand for bike parking at that location. We look at parking demand and location feasibility (e.g curb-side parking that becomes a traffic lane during rush hours can't be converted to a bike corral). If Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) spaces are involved, our proposal requires their consent and design consultation.

d: Replacing an on-street parking spot with a bike corral that is free to use means some lost income from paid parking, is there a specific value that can be attached to a single on-street paid parking spot in Kensington Market?

JD: The value of an on-street parking space can be calculated directly from the charge for car parking times the hours available and varies in different parts of the city. For example, car parking spaces in Kensington Market can generate upwards of $8000/month if used at maximum capacity.

d: What are the costs associated with installing a bicycle corral?

JD: The cost for two bicycle racks (capacity: 16 bicycles) and the 8 bollards is approximately $1032. The installation of the bike racks, bollards and signs is done by Transportation Services staff. If necessary, TPA staff will also relocate the pay-and-display machines. The "staff time cost" for design and installation is approximately $1000.

d: Are there any on-going costs once the corral is installed?

JD: Transportation Services staff will remove the bike corral in November and, if all goes well, reinstall the next spring. Parking regulatory signs have to be changed each time as well, so there is some "staff-time" cost for this work.

d: What more can you share about the future of bike corrals in other parts of the city?

JD: BIA's or the public can make requests [for bike corrals] to Cycling Infrastructure & Programs or through BIA liasons (City staff) in Economic Development. Bike corrals are still in a pilot phase in Toronto, so we don't have plans yet to roll out a lot of them. The results of the Augusta Av. and Spadina Av. bike corrals will be reviewed at the end of the season with a view to developing a policy and process for future bike corrals.

In the Spring 2011 issue of dandyhorse magazine Fred Sztabinski explores the many reasons why businesses love bike corrals and the additional benefits of installing on-street bike parking. Read the article, "Corralling Business Support for Bike Facilities" by getting dandyhorse here or becoming a subscriber today.

Our Bike Spotting team recently stopped by the bike corral in Kensington and asked: What's Bike Parking in Kensington Market Like?

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