Letters to the Editor, Oct. 31, 2017

We are writing to you as members of Ward 32 Spokes, the local cycling advocacy group associated with Cycle Toronto.

The Woodbine bike lanes are an important addition to the minimum grid of bike lanes cyclists need to get around the city safely. The installation on Woodbine now allows cyclists from Scarborough and the east end to get to and from the Dundas East bike lane and the Martin Goodman trail in safety. Both routes continue on into the downtown core. This will only encourage more people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes as a viable means of transportation, whether commuting or for recreation.

As Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon has pointed out, the bike lane installation is not yet complete. There are still adjustments being made, such a garbage pick-up time on Woodbine and improving the flow of bikes and traffic at the intersection of Kingston Road and Woodbine.

Our group is committed to making the cycle lanes a success. We are in full support of the further traffic-calming measures for side streets off Woodbine that have been suggested by concerned residents, such as additions of speed bumps, restricted hours of access, and turning some of the streets into one-way streets to increase the safety for everyone. There was a meeting between city staff, Councillor McMahon, members of Ward 32 Spokes, and local residents on the topic of impacts to drivers and residents surrounding the recent Kingston/Woodbine redesign on Tuesday, Oct. 3 and our group is taking pains to ensure that concerns are being heard.

As car drivers as well as cyclists, we have seen the benefits of having the bike lanes on Woodbine. Woodbine was never meant to be a main thoroughfare as evidenced by the no trucks signs posted at intersections, yet over time it has become an alternate continuation of Lakeshore as the preferred means to get to Kingston Road. Since the bike lanes have been put in, we find the traffic on Woodbine a bit slower, yes, but smoother and more predictable, having the very calming effect on the street as bike lanes do as evidenced for years on Dundas Street East.

Our plan as the Ward 32 cycling advocacy group is to continue dialogue with Councillor McMahon and the City of Toronto staff around what some of these tweaks should be to maximize the safety and enjoyability of the Woodbine neighbourhood for everyone. We would suggest other residents do the same.

The Woodbine bike lanes are here to stay as part of the City of Toronto’s 10-year bike plan, and will greatly enhance our Ward for all residents.

Mary Ann Neary

Michael Werneburg

Ward 32 Spokes

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Wow! the unfiltered enthusiasm for the Woodbine bike lanes is stunning. To suggest that “improvements” are still to be made without actual specific other than reaching for the speed bumps/access restrictions et. al hammer is failing to acknowledge that the bike lanes themselves are the cause. Talk about speaking of one mind alone.

From your post it appears that a well written, well reasoned, and well stated summary of the issues, and a conclusion that you do not agree with is “unfiltered enthusium.” What exactly does “unfiltered enthusiasm” actually mean? What kind of filters do you wish seen applied to their enthusium? Is it actually filters that you want, or to have their statements suppressed so that the many myths and disinformation that are so often presented as fact (e.g. bike lanes hurt local business, bike lanes should be on side streets, not main roads, bike lanes take away much needed lanes for motor vehicle traffic, bike lane are unfairly given to “greedy cyclists” and so on) may be presented to the public instead. We already saw the application of that with the mayoralty campaign of the late Rob Ford, which rhetorically used the phrase “war on cars.” That saw the removal of the Jarvis bike lanes, at the cost of over $300,000 of the tax payer’s money (vs a cost of $75K to install them) with no significant improvement in travel time during rush hour afterwards. The continually disproven myths and arguments on how bike lanes slow down traffic and cause other problems need to taken out of the public debate once and for all because they do not reflect reality, and the public needs to know and understand the benefits and advantages that the changes being made to an increasingly obsolete roads layout (which has not changed very much since 1945 when it was standardized for the post-war world)…

I must strongly disagree with Frank Marra’s statement that the bike lanes (they are actually universally called cycling tracks today as they are one component of the “complete streets” design that incorporates a number of safety features for all users of the road) are the cause of traffic problems on Woodbine Ave. If you Google the phrase “Do Bike Lanes Slow Traffic”, what you will find from multiple study sources that the answer is “No.” In fact, the real world study of the effects of bike lanes show that rather than slowing traffic, they actually assist in making traffic move faster. My own experinces on Woodbine Ave, before and after the installation of the bike lanes support that. I found that it took me 12 minutes to go from one end of Woodbine in either direction during rush hour, and that it was the same amount of time afterwards. This result has remained consistent in the months following their installation. It should be remembered that the road layout on Woodbine Ave is now a provincial standard, as well as a federal standard, for the organization of roadways, and while this design may seem different to many people, now, it is going to become the “new normal” that people will be encountering in their travels, not just in Canada, but in the United States as well, where it is being implemented as part of a global initiative to reduce collisions, protect vulnerable road users, and to bring about a better flow of motor vehicle traffic by promoting more disciplined…

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