New bike lane may be coming to the Beach

For cyclists crossing the Beach Triangle, there are no two ways about it.

Going to and from the long bike lane on Dundas Street East means riding to busy Kingston Road or Queen Street East, or else going the wrong way on Dixon Avenue, a quiet residential street.

That’s why local cycling advocates are asking the city to paint a “contra-flow” bike lane on Dixon. It would make Dixon two-way for cyclists, but leave it one-way for other vehicles.

“It actually makes the street safer for all road users,” says David Oppenheim of Ward 32 Spokes, the local chapter of Cycle Toronto.

“If you stand at Dixon and Dundas, you’ll see plenty of cyclists going what is currently the wrong way on Dixon.”

Christina Bouchard is a cycling planner at the City of Toronto who recently did a walk-through on Dixon Avenue with Ward 32 Spokes and City Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon.

Bouchard said Dixon is an obvious link to get cyclists past the barrier of Kingston Road and into the Beach Triangle neighbourhood.

From there, she said cyclists could use existing traffic signals to cross Queen, thus linking up with the Beach.

“It’s an easy one,” Bouchard said, noting that Dixon is wide enough to add the lane. All street parking on Dixon is also on one side of the street.

Oppenheim said Ward 32 Spokes has also proposed a contra-flow lane on Norway Avenue, which would extend the Dundas-Dixon route into the Beach without having to cross Queen Street, or its streetcar tracks.

Asked if he’d ever fallen on streetcar tracks, Oppenheim said he crashed on the Queen tracks while training to make left onto Rainsford Road.

“I think if you talk to anyone who cycles fairly often, they’ve had a fall, and often streetcar tracks are the worst culprit,” he said.

Bouchard said the city will look at Norway after Dixon, but added that it may be difficult to link the two.

According to the current proposal, cyclists could continue from Dixon up Columbine Avenue to Norway. The trouble is how to safely cross Woodbine Avenue.

The answer may be the new pedestrian-controlled traffic signal that city council approved for Woodbine last fall, but Bouchard said right now it is designed to go 40 metres north of Norway.

“We need to discuss that further, to see how cyclists would use it,” she said.

East Toronto has several contra-flow lanes already, including one on Knox Avenue, between Queen and Eastern Avenue, and on Logan and Strathcona Avenues in Riverdale.

Painted with a solid yellow line, the lanes are restricted to cyclists going in a single direction. If a lane is added, the one-way signs on Dixon would stay up, but with a “Bicycles Excepted” tab below.

As for cost, Bouchard said a bike lane like the one proposed for Dixon typically averages $10 per metre.

“It’s a real bargain,” she said.

“Putting a bit of paint on the road for bikes in residential neighbourhoods is quite cheap.”

A public meeting about the bike lane proposal is scheduled for Feb. 18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Beaches Recreation Centre. It will be held in Room 4, which is on the second floor.

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35 comments

While I appreciate this the fact is the end result is still fractured. What makes more sense is to have the Dundas bike lane continue up Kingston Rd. We should also consider eliminating on-street parking on Queen St and make way for bike lanes. Even if it were eliminated on one side of the street and made way for contra-flow it would be much safer than the constant door prize risks that cyclist face every day.

I am a commuter cyclist who cycles to the financial district from the Beach year round (save in weather like we have had recently) and am generally sympathetic to calls for increased bicycling infrastructure.

I would be in favour of the proposal for Dixon since it would not affect the flow of vehicular traffic. However, we need to get cyclists off main streets with streetcar traffic especially where there are alternatives available. For example, there is not reason for cyclists to be on Queen or Kingston Road when there are safer alternatives available, like the Martin Goodman Trail, the trail along Lakeshore west of Northern Dancer and the Dundas Street bike lane.

Similarly, the bike lane to nowhere along Eastern Avenue from Leslie to Carlaw should be removed, with an alternative, safer bike route located on Lakeshore only one block south! In the process, a major traffic bottleneck on Eastern would be removed.

A bike lane on Kingston Road removing a lane of traffic on a major arterial road should be a non-starter.

My suggestion would be to eliminate these bike lanes – have only seen a handful of bikes using these lanes in the past four months and doesn’t seem like we will have too much more usage in February and March.

Also – cyclists using the roads should be licenced and insured and included in this licence fee should be their fair share of road tax.

@Steve

What’s my fair share of road tax? I have two cars but cycle to work for fitness and to save on exorbitant downtown parking fees (and because most days I can Tavel faster than by car). I also have a driver’s license. What other license would you like me to obtain?

@Steve-Do you actually think that your license fee (provincial remember) pays for the City of Toronto roads that you drive your car on???

On Sunday morning there are less cars on the road than Monday at 4:00pm. Should we have less lanes for cars because at certain points during the week there are less cars on the road? From March till December the bike lanes are very busy on Dundas.

I don’t believe forcing people to bike down to the Lakeshore is a useful idea, mostly because most cyclings would need to pedal a few blocks down to the lakeshore then pedal back through downtown north to their destinations adding 15-20 minutes to their commute. Dundas is a good bike lane, it should be extended along Kingston Road and the street parking on Kingston should be eliminated. This should have been done over the past two mammoth construction sessions. Cycling along with public transit needs to be a priority, not an afterthought to squeeze in here and there when possible. There are numerous routes for cars, including the massive lakeshore, eastern and queen.

Hiow is asking someone to pedal south one or two blocks south from Queen or Eastern to Lakeshore or one block north to Dundas putting that person under extreme hardship? As for addiing 15-20 minutes to the commute, that is not much less than the total time that it takes me to cycle from the Beach to King and Bay.

Demands for cycling infrastructure must be kept reasonable, or you will ignite backlash from folks like Steve and other Rob Ford acolytes.

Joe – I would like to see a test and licence for those operating a bike on city streets, as well as applying and enforcing all traffic rules as it relates to bike riders on city streets. I think thinks like helmet laws need to be mandatory and each rider should pay a lump sum road tax in order to operate their vehicle on city (and taxpayer funded) roads. The current situation where bike riders get all this on the backs of drivers and many shun traffic laws and don’t wear the proper safety equipment is not sustainable and contributing to traffic congestion. The other issue is insurance, I think we need to establish a system of insurance for each rider operating a bike on a city street which needs to be regulated at the provincial level similar to auto insurance.

The idea of more dedicated bike lanes in our climate is not an efficient use of scarce transportation resources – these lanes are only used approximately 6 months a year.

Please read above and then respond. I, like most cyclists, pay gas taxes on a car (in my case two). Secondly, gas taxes are collected by the provincial and federal governments, not municipalities, and they are not earmarked to pay for roads – they go into general government revenues. They certainly do not pay for municipal roads which is what we are talking about here.

Clearly, you’re just anti-bike without any rationale for being so. Sure there are bike riders who ignore certain traffic laws, just as there are many motor vehicle drivers who do so. Neither is a reason for being anti-bike or anti-car.

Hi Joe , gas tax revenues most certainly go towards roads, where do you think the money comes from when free spending city counsellors need funding from the province for infrastructure? Unfortunately the David Miller regime made a number of poor decisions with our scarce transportation resources in his war on the car which have significantly slowed the traffic flow within the city, and one of these decisions is bike lanes . The others were ordering so many new streetcars, which also slow traffic by taking up two lanes for stops every two blocks (if he was serious about traffic flow it would be subways and busses only)and finally by not investing in the upkeep of the Gardiner, almost to the point where it can’t be saved. These taken together have created traffic chaos in Toronto, so we can’t afford any more bike lanes that are only used 6 months a year.

Steve,

You should get out of your car and look around once in a while. I use bike lanes year round as do many others. It’s difficult to use them right now becasue the City does very little to keep them clear of snow and ice. However, once the snow mwlts on them I will be right back out there.

Again, the City does not have a gas tax, so please tell me how you think that gas taxes pay for the upkeep of municipal streets. There is absolutely zero connection there.

And you should take heed of Love my City’s points that the more cyclists there are, the fewer cars there are on the orads slowing down your morning commute!

@steve:
I think you might want to check your facts before you post them as truths. It’s sounding a bit like the Fords “if-I-say-it-and-repeat-it, it-must-be-true” mantra. You say “most certainly” gas tax revenues go towards roads. I wonder if you could clarify what that percentage/amount is? I think you are going to find out that it barely scratches the surface. The provincial portion of everyone’s gas tax is transferred to a general municipal fund, then SOME of that may go to roads.
Everyone pays a lot to build and maintain public roads. Road maintenance is very expensive and the tax on gas doesn’t even begin to cover it.
To keep with your thinking that whoever uses the roads should pay for them, maybe Toronto should adopt a user-pay way of charging (i.e. tolls, or a congestion tax) and then those who heavily rely on driving would then learn to bear the true cost for every km they drove. They would then be accurately paying their “fair share” of road maintenance. Should cyclists be licensed? I think yes, they should. But the cost for that license should be calculated considering all factors. Since their vehicles don’t do nearly as much damage as cars to the hundreds of roads where there are no bike lanes, and then add in the fact that their mode of transportation doesn’t affect the environment and improves their overall health – therefore less of a burden on another tax-paid system – and of course, you must consider that a person on a bike means one less car on that gridlocked street, \\you may find their “share” would be minimal.

Love and Joe – gas tax revenue was $3 billion dollars for the province in 2012-13, over and above the amount that they paid in municipal taxed. How much did cycists contribute to the tax revenues over the same period?

There is no tax revenue that is collected that is earmarked for any specific purpose, it all goes into general revenues at the three levels of government that collects it and then each level of government makes transfer payments to the other levels of government, typically downward these days in Ontario and Toronto due to the fiscal mismanagement of Miller and McGuinty that I mentioned earlier.

So, to your point Love, the more a motorist drives, the more they contribute to the tax base, which is indeed a user tax, so I am absoluletly in favour of this. Why should bike riders use the roads and not have to pay for them? Why can they operate a vehicle without training, a licence or insurance?

Joe, the reality is, you are not using the roads today to bike to work because of the weather, so what use are these lanes in our six months of winter? Additionally as you mention, any bikers who are on the road today are in the one lane of traffic that are also being used by cars, which further slows down traffic.

Seems to me that the decisions made on the left about transportation in the city (bike lanes, transit city, lrt, streetcars) are not about making the city move more quickly and efficiently, if they were, we would be implementing subways, busses and dedicated bike lanes which don’t impact the sity streets. Seems to me like these decisions are being made to create more traffic chaos to promote the left’s war on the car. Why try to make things worse – I don’t get it.

That’s it for me on this one – Steve out

Steve,

And the more $ I make the more provincial income tax that I pay. Does the fact that I am in the top marginal bracket give me a greater right to use the roads than those in lower brackets? About as ridiculous an assertion as yours that drivers are paying for the roads and cyclists are not (false premise) and therefore have a greater right to use the roads than cyclists. Further, the amounts collected in gas taxes don’t come close to apporaching the costs of building and maintaining roads in this province.

I can assure you that on February 12 in at least the last two years, I rode my bike to work. I would have today if the City would devote more resources to keeping bike lanes clear. And your statement about six months is pure hyperbole – typically we have snow on the ground in Toronto for a maximum of three months – mid-Dec to mid-Mar.

You clearly don’t get it that cycling and transit take cars off the roads and therefore make driving easier for you, do you? Fortunately dinosaurs like you and Rob Ford are being left behind on this issue.

Steve,

If drivers are going to be required to follow the rules and the police enforce them ie. not parking in bike lanes, then I’m open to more regulation for cylcists. I absolutely disagree with you though when it comes to usage for only 6 months. I would love to bike all year but there are no facitlities to shower near my office. Doug Ford’s homophobic narrow-minded comment that ‘ only gays will use the showers for sex ‘ just highlights the ignorance on this issue. Go to Calgary, they have tons of year round cyclists and the city plows the bike paths. It’s not about the ‘war on the car’ as our idiot mayor tries to create division, it’s about sharing the road. Streetcars and bikes were on the road way before cars became the norm.

Joe McNulty, I’m shocked by your open-mindedness on cycling. Given your narrow views on trying to get appropriate development on Queen, I’m glad to see this other side. Here’s hoping you can keep that mindset to have a respectful discussion with other neighbours on how to balance devleopment with the livablity of the Beach.

Folks, all these issues are inter-connected – cycling, transit, ‘complete streets’, social housing, diversity of housing, vibrant streetscapes etc.

As a resident who helped lead the opposition to Licks it wasn’t simply about height, but rather about the lack of a holistic plan for our neighbourhood. How can we approve anything, bike lanes included, until we have an idea of what we want the result to be which we pass along to the next generation ?

Sincerely,

Jason Self

Interesting comment jadson. I tend to see you and the other strident anti-development NIMBYs as the ones who are closed minded on development. Such a hideous condo on Kippendavie! LOL.

Well designed mid-rise condos in appropriate locations (i.e on main streets or on streets where there is a history of multi-unit buildings, such as Kippendavie, promote liveability in the Beach.

Any of the rats that were displaced when the Lick’s building came down make it over to your place?

Sadly,

that’s the level of discourse I’d expect from you Joe. Again, when you’re ready to have a mature discussion on the holistic plan for the Beach, I’m happy to sit down.

Mid-rise along Queen is fine, but without a plan to address traffic ( Queen/ Woodbine at capacity in 2009 ), parking ( btwn Lee/Woodbine & Queen/Norway – streets are 50 to 100% oversubscribed ), transit ( TTC takes an hour from Yonge/Queen and they want to ban parking until 7pm, where does it go ? Side streets, thus making a maxed out problem worse ).

If Licks followed the Beach Urban Design guidelines and parking/ flooding issues were addressed, there would have been zero oppposition. Having spoken to hundreds of residents over the last 2 years I can say that with confidence.

You make ad hominem attacks on me, accusing me of being closed minded and then talk about having a mature discussion? Grow up.

To Steve – though you are ‘out’; have you ever travelled to Europe – France, Germany, Netherlands, Norwegian countries or seen videos of how people get around in Amsterdam or Copenhagen? I have. They don’t use cars very much within cities. Cars here usually only carry one person, the driver – multiple tons for one person. It is not bicycles or bike lanes that are causing congestion it is cars. Toronto cannot continue with the car as the major mode of transportation – we actually cannot afford the high costs associated – fuel costs to all of us and which will only grow, road maintenance, traffic enforcement – these are where the costs are. Again, looking at Europe – we don’t need subways – surface transit works at a far lower cost. When cars are removed there is room for surface transit. stop parroting ‘know nothing Rob’.

I must say a interesting story to say the least, I to wish, that bike riders be licensed, and take the time to learn the proper rules of the road, I do see the odd rider following the rules of the road. but on the most part adult riders still ride their bikes like their still 5 years old.

as for more paint on the road this is getting to be too much. at crosswalks the road now is half painted white better for the driver to see you, well if you wore bright clothing at night we would see you better. most people wear dark clothing at night and as for bike riders most have no light and wear dark clothing a little hard to see you.

as for closing off the parking on major streets to allow for a bike lane, are you kidding, where would the patrons park, and how would the people who own businesses along these major streets stay in business. they depend on people parking near their stores.

I don’t think we need bike lanes at all, find the safest route and go that route, I don’t ride my bike in the city anymore to many nut bars out there trying to kill me, and I follow the rules of the road, I always have, with my vehicle, and also with my bike when I rode it.

as for Dixon road that used to be a two lane highway but it brought to many cars into the area so they changed to a one way street, and if bikes are driving the wrong way on this street what does that tell you, it tells me there is one rule for bikes, and there’s one rule for vehicles, bikers do what they want, if I drove down that street the wrong way in my vehicle, I would receive a ticket.

so this is why bikers need to be properly trained on how to operate their vehicle the bike, and what the rules of the road really mean, there put in place to protect us.

Happy Motoring Folks…..

What’s with this red herring about licensing bikers? I have a driver’s license – if I run a red light or go the wrong way on a one way street on my bicycle, I will be cited under the Highway Traffic Act and, if convicted, will receive the same fine and demerit points as if I had been driving my car. What would a license to drive a bike add to the equation? Holding a drivers license certainly doesn’t make 100% of the drivers of motorized vehicles follow the rules of the road 100% of the time.

As for going the wrong way on Dixon, get with the program Debra! What is being proposed is a “contra flow” bike lane – a separate lane for cyclists to go either way on Dixon. No one is asking to be able to ride the wrong way on a one way street.

The bottom line is bike lanes will reduce traffic congestion by encouraging folks to get out of their cars and ride their bikes. They don’t have to be on every street or take up a lane on both sides (one lane with a bike lane going in each direction would be sufficient) and they don’t have to be on every major street – just a reasonable network of east west routes, which would also have the effect of taking the bike traffic off other streets and moving it to those streets where there are safe riding lanes.

Looks like the conversation is fizzling a bit and seems like there are still some hardcore Global Warming/ David Miller enthusiasts still out there.

I can’t argue with folks who think it is responsible municipal government (and transportation strategy) to not invest in the Gardiner expressway, the most important transportation route into Canada’s largest economy and let it crumble, almost to the point where it can’t be repaired over the past 10 years (and in turn, almost shutting down Canada’s largest economy) while investing our municipal tax dollars in his ‘livegreen Toronto’ agenda, but we are getting away from the core issue – the issue that I have with your position is that it is not based in fact.

More bike lanes do not get drivers our of their cars and reduce traffic congestion in our city.

Under the David Miller regime we have a significant increase in bike lanes and, if you would put your political leanings aside for a minute and go have a look, there are not a lot of bike riders our there in the winter (actually, next to none) and have not been for a number of months, it is a seasonal activity for the vast majority of people in Canada. The traffic congestion in Toronto has never been worse!

There is no rational reason for more bike lanes in the Canadian climate in Toronto.

There are thousands of cars, busses, streetcars etc that use those streets today, tomorrow, and every day in every season, bikes do not and not just today, all winter long.

I would invite you to go outside and have a look! Sorry – nobody is riding bikes, and haven’t been for months.

Hey Steve,

How did you make the leap in logic that the pro-cycling commenters on here are opposed to investing in the Gardiner or are Miller supporters? The Gardiner is part of a responsible, balanced transportation strategy in this city and I have let my councillor know in unequivocal terms that the Gardiner needs to be rehabilitated or replaced (and not with an eight lane Lakeshore Blvd.). Have you taken the time to do the same?

As for there being no cyclists on the road in the winter, you must drive around the city with your eyes closed.

Joe if you rode your bike through a red light & went down a wrong way on a street, you have a 100% chance of not receiving a ticket, and what demerit points do you lose you have no license yet for the bike you drive.

i have to agree with Steve on this one Yes there are bike riders but i agree with you there are not that many in the winter.

As for pollution, the vehicles do create them yes granted they do, but creating more bike lanes increases the traffic flow to a standstill instead of having that 4 lane highway you now have two, so that creates more traffic at a standstill.

i’m not opposing bikes, i’m just opposing to putting all this paint down that’s a great way of creating more pollution….

@Debra

I watch many cars on a daily basis run red lights and stop signs with impunity. In fact, I’d love you to tell me the last time you saw a car come to a non-rolling stop at a stop sign in the Beach. In my area of the Beach, a good percentage of drivers don’t even put on their brakes at the stop signs. I also watch virtually every car travelling along Lakeshore near Woodbine exceed the speed limit by more than 20 kph. Regardless, what does the fact that a certain percentage of drivers and cyclists breach the Highway Traffic Act on a regular basis have to do with building cycling infrastructure? It’s a complete red herring.

FYI, a cyclist who breaches the HTA will receive the appropriate number of demerit points on his or her drivers license.

And exactly how does painting lines on the road pollute?

Source please, Toronto specific.

Historically, that may have been true, but different types of pigments are typically used now.

I’m still out there looking for all of those cyclists that Joe is talking about that ride their bikes in our six months of winter.

Dedicated lanes along dundas – empty. Along the beach and lakeshore – empty.

None bike riders on the streets on queen, on danforth, on gerrard.

Joe – where are the thousands of cyclists you speak of, are they cleverly disguising themselves as snow banks!?

Wow Steve, amazing that you could be on all those streets observing bike traffic all at the same time. Even more amazing that you would miss me cycling to the office today along the Lakeshore bicycle path. What a great day for a cycle! Plenty of folks just like me felt the same.

Also, please point out where I spoke of “thousands of cyclists”. That’s a phrase you seem to like to use.

BTW Steve, weren’t you “out” on this topic on February 12?

“Six months of winter”?

Hi Joe,

I walk, drive and take the bus and streetcar on a lot of streets, and on all those streets that I mentioned above have not seen more than a handful of cyclists this winter.

You may enjoy cycling and may even be one of those handful of people who does cycle in the winter, but there are certainly not many of you out there these days and have not been many out there for months. When we are talking about taking up roadspace used daily, and year round, by cars, busses, streetcars, taxis, trucks, for more dedicated bike lanes, the facts matter, and the facts are, cycling is a seasonal activity in Toronto, around 6 months a year for most.

Funny thing too about the facts Joe is that they don’t change regardless of how much you repeat them or want them to change!

You haven’t cited a fact yet, only personal anecdotes. Come back wjhen you want to have a reasonable discussion. How does the lane on Dixon which is the subject of this article affect vehicular traffic at all? Facts please, not conjecture and personal anecdotes.

More than a year later and still no contra flow on Dixon. Is this really the only cycling infrastructure improvement that is planned for Ward 32 in the last 4 years? We need to provide safer cycling infrastructure for children, families, and all of us now. Hopefully this little bike lane is still going to be installed someday. Our neighbourhood could be the perfect place to cycle in if it wasn’t dominated by aggressive motorists willing to physically hurt you for an inch of space and a few seconds saved. Build it, they will come.

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