Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mount Pleasant Avenue as a North-South Route?


To all Toronto cyclists who travel in the central part of the city between Bloor and York Mills:

What are your thoughts on the best north-south route through the area? If bike lanes were added to one North-South road, which one would be the best road?

There are currently no real bike lanes anywhere north of St. Clair Avenue. The designated north-south route is called route 35, which travels through 4-way-stop-land and zig zags through Forest Hill.

The Bike Plan indicates plans for bike lanes on Bayview Avenue from about Moore (St Clair) to the 401, but all the messages I get are that Bayview Avenue is untouchable due to the volume of car traffic it carries. This doesn't mean I'll give up on it.

The most dense part of our city is based around Yonge Street. However, any change to Yonge Street is bound to face endless scrutiny. This isn't an excuse, but merely a fact to consider in making some progress. Another thing to keep in mind is that there's a huge hill at Yonge and York Mills that most people aren't interested in climbing.

Avenue Road serves as a veritable expressway from the 401 to downtown. Traffic is fast and heavy.

Mount Pleasant Avenue is close to Yonge and roughly parallel. It's hilly south of St. Clair, and traffic tends to move a bit faster on that section of the road. However, traffic isn't quite as heavy as the other central arterials. The other factor to consider is that Mount Pleasant ends near Lawrence Avenue. After you pass north of Lawrence, you are forced out to Yonge Street. However, to the south, unlike Bayview, Mount Pleasant would provide a direct route all the way south to Bloor.

The reason I bring this topic up is because my local councillor, Cliff Jenkins, has asked me if I would support bike lanes on Mount Pleasant Avenue. He proposed them one year ago, and was turned down. The issue has come up again, and he believes he'll get more support for them now. He has also received support on the idea from Kyle Rae, the councillor who represents the ward at the south end of Mount Pleasant. There is another ward in the middle, currently represented by Michael Walker.


There could be factors I haven't considered, so I'd really appreciate any input people have. One thing I'm concerned about is the simple fact that Mount Pleasant was not intended to have bike lanes in the bike plan.

My preference would be to have bike lanes on Mount Pleasant, which go from Bloor to Lawrence, then have bike lanes on Bayview from Lawrence to the 401 (at least). This would give people a practical, direct route through the center of the city towards the north east. If they're heading north-west, they can cross the 401 at Avenue Road.

Feel free to comment below, or send me email. I'm sure any of the councillors I mentioned would be happy to hear from you too.

Since there's a local election coming up, I should mention that I'm not campaigning for anyone. This is part of my effort to decide where to send my vote.

Darren J 10/04/2006 08:54:00 AM

8 Comments:

The last time I came down that hill south of st clair on my fixie it was a killer! :O
i like taking the bike path up the the side of the dvp every chance i get! if only that trail went further... mt. pleasant is too dangerous south of st. clair when everyone drives at 100km/h.
I think part of the idea of adding bike lanes south of St. Clair is to help slow down traffic by narrowing the remaining lanes.
It's an odd one. Steep and fast in places but maybe that's another reason to have a bike lane on it.
Btw, no road is untouchable in terms of bike lanes. It's what 'they' want you to think/accept.
In Victoria, B.C. there are bike lanes on the TCH coming into town. It's more like the Don Valley Parkway. I was too scared to ride
that one but it was there nonetheless.
An interesting thought.

Pros:
- no lights on the hill
- access to St. Clair at the top for Westbounds and Merton or a jig over to Moore for Eastbounds.
- it's straight!!! I hate jiggedy-joggedy lanes
- access into the park system (sort of)
- A good option for Glendon commuters
- not too heavily retailed (ie. door-o-rama) as Bayview (for example)

Cons:
- Fast psycho drivers both coming up and down the hill. Lots of chimps who jump on and rip around north of Eglinton as well. From St. Clair to Eglinton, I've found it's not too bad. The human factors component of adding a bike lane and narrowing the lanes somewhat may work.

- maybe a little steep for those folks who may not have the legs for it on the hill. An offroad chicken route would be nice as an alternate.

You'd want a fair size BUG behind this one. Lots of folks in Rosedale north and the general Yonge and Eligible area may not be supportive.

Next step would be an East West on Lawrence :-)
I don't think Bayview needs to be untouchable, especially as there is boulevard between the sidewalk and the roadway so the entire roadway could be widened to allow for bike lanes + four lanes traffic. I think the Bayview extension would be a possible place to put a barrier-separated bike lane since there are few intersections and very high speed traffic. This would be cool - bike expressway.

Since Yonge is already relatively bike friendly I'd say even concentrate on making a north/south route further from the central area. Don Mills might be a good choice.

Mount Pleasant might be okay but its already fine in the spots where parking is allowed. And the other spots have very fast traffic and curves. I doubt the cars would stay on their side of the white line.
I'd support a bike lane along mount pleasant. My commute includes the peice between Bloor and St Clair. Oddly enough, I see few cyclists using this wide open route.

Mount Pleasant is great in that there are few lights or stop signs. The fact that it doesn't continue north to the 401 is a bonus as it discourages most commuters. There is little commercial activity requiring roadside parking that makes it more dangerous for riding. The road seems to be wide enough for 2 lanes of car traffic plus a bike lane, so there wouldn't be a big impact on the drivers.


Regarding Bayview, that route is nuts to try to compete with cars. If there was to be any provisions made for a bike lane it would have to be with more than just painted lines, maybe the occational fixed pylon.
For Bayview south of Moore Park, maybe Nesbitt (where the housing starts) I've always thought it would be a cool idea to close down that section, Pottery road, and Rosedale Valley road and open it to cyclists sunday mornings like Ottawa does along the canal and parkways. It gets corporate sponsorship, tons of people get out and ride, with little impact to traffic.

One more note regarding Bayveiw, can someone do something about the abandoned railway crossing? At least pave it over or something.
darren, care to be on our radio show on CIUT to chat about cycling issues? email me at thegreenmajority at gmail dot com to set this up. i'd like to get you on the air b4 the election. check us out at greenmajority dot ca for more info...
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