… Or why the current Arygle/Florence and Dewson/Lindsay Contraflow plans are not acceptable
March 17, 2014
Mr. Daniel Egan, Manager
Cycling Infrastructure & Programs, City of Toronto
We are writing on behalf of Cycle Toronto Wards 14, 18 and 19 groups, as well as the Toronto Bicycling Network, to express our concerns about the proposed designs for the Argyle-Florence and Dewson-Lindsey contra-flow routes.
Specifically, we have serious concerns about the proposal to install these bike routes without providing for safe bike crossings at Dufferin Street in either case. While we understand that there is pressure to “get the lanes painted” as soon as possible, we believe that it is irresponsible to proceed with installation without addressing the route deficiencies at Dufferin. We have waited five years for these routes to be installed and, after all this time, it seems reasonable to expect that the designs incorporate safe, signalized crossings for cyclists travelling in both directions at Dufferin. Indeed, this issue was highlighted when City staff engaged in a walking tour of the Argyle contra-flow route with Ward 19 and 18 cyclists in March 2013.
Allow us to put these two routes in the context of what cyclists have actually sought by way of safe cycling routes in Toronto’s west end. Recall that these side-street routes were approved as “quick wins” to be installed after a 2008 public consultation that clearly demonstrated a preference for bike infrastructure on uninterrupted streets withsignalized intersections, such as Dundas and Queen.
Because these main streets are much preferred by cyclists, our organizations will continue to press for cycling infrastructure on them. We recognize, however, that such routes require the mobilization of significant political support and that “quick wins” on side streets fill a gap in the meantime. That being said, these routes will not serve their purpose and may be downright dangerous if they encourage cyclists to cross Dufferin Street at unaligned intersections with no stoplights, as is the case with the jog at Argyle/Waterloo and the jog in Lindsey Avenue at Dufferin. Cyclists will either try out these routes and, after finding them unhelpful or dangerous, revert to main streets (thus defeating the purpose of the routes) or they will continue to brave these short stretches of Dufferin Street, putting their safety at risk as they cross four lanes of traffic. Surely neither of these outcomes is acceptable.
We have heard the arguments from your staff that these intersections are too close to other traffic signals on Dufferin to permit the installation of stoplights. If this is the main barrier, there are three options: move the existing stoplights to align with the bike route, move the bike route to align with the existing stoplights, or accept that placing two stoplights “too close” to each other is not too great a price to be paid for cycling safety. If the City is not willing to implement one of these options, the purpose of the contra-flow routes will be seriously undermined.
Liz Sutherland, Captain
Cycle Toronto Ward 18
Laura Pin, Captain
Cycle Toronto Ward 14
Antony Hilliard, Captain
Cycle Toronto Ward 19
Joey Schwartz, Advocacy Director
Toronto Bicycling Network
cc: Jared Kolb, Executive Director, Cycle Toronto
Toronto City Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18)
Toronto City Councillor Gord Perks (Ward 14)
Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19)