It was a stunning evening for a bike ride around the neighbourhood. Ward 3 Councillor Nann, and residents and friends of the ward, joined Friendly Streets for a bike-about and casual audit of a number of streets as to comfort level and safety of cycling on these streets.
What a turn out! We were blown away by the number of enthusiastic participants, including a very young child on training wheels. Residents expressed that they love their ward because of their great Councillor, great neighbours, and amenities like cafes, parks, and the rail trail.
Generally, residents want to be able to have safer and more enjoyable cycling trips to these amenities and on their commutes. Councillor Nann is committed to providing safer biking routes with protected infrastructure.
We started off at the Woodlands Park on Barton, where we overheard children playing in the park asking if we were a “biker gang” or if we were “getting ready for a race.” We left the park and moved onto Barton Street, a road that does not have bikelanes, and is not in the City’s Cycling Master Plan. Let’s just say, this was a situation of “safety in numbers.” Our audit took us through the General Hospital Campus, where Friendly Streets has been working in the area with hospital staff and other community stakeholders, to create a “Hospital Zone” of traffic calming and improved air quality. Copeland, off Victoria will be the site of a new, signalized pedestrian crossing. We then headed down Wellington St N and over to the Hospital Alley/Wellness Way. This is an alleyway in the Hospital Zone that has the potential to be an alternative bike path to the General Hospital. Staff have been directed by council motion to study what this might look like. Councillor Nann mentioned the work that has been happening in her ward, including with our partners, Beautiful Alleys to change the perspective of alleyways, and recognize them as public assets, rather than nuisances. We look forward to see how her idea to pilot an alleyway for animation and uplifting will unfold.
**Note: Friendly Streets and Truck Route Reboot have been conducting industrial truck counts as well as measuring air quality (fine particulate matter PM 2.5, which is very harmful to human health).
Next, we headed along Wilson St (another minor arterial road that our Beasley Friendly Streets working group is focused on improving), down beautiful tree-lined Emerald St, along Stinson St, and up Wentworth St. N. Previous Friendly Streets audits of this street has resulted in the following anticipated improvements:
- The installation of a pedestrian crossover at Wentworth Street at Mars to be installed in 2020. Once the installation of the pedestrian crossover at Wentworth at Mars is complete the existing traffic signal at Wentworth at Munroe will be decommissioned.
- A midblock pedestrian traffic signal on Wentworth Street in front of Cathy Weaver School has been submitted in the draft 2020 budget, and awaits Council approval for a 2020 installation.
We then headed along Delaware Ave, where unprotected bikelanes are in place, and up Sanford Ave. Councillor Nann talked about the proposed bike protected bike lanes for this street (proposal to be included in the 2020 Captial Budget, before the fall). Sanford has is overbuilt as is, and it makes perfect sense to have a north-south bike route that also connects to the Pinky Lewis Community Centre and behind the Cathy Wever School.
Some issues with cycling infrastructure that residents had were:
- Normally feel unsafe riding on Barton St (felt pretty safe in such a big group, but that’s not the norm!)
- The bump-outs and islands on Barton are great for speed reduction, but they force cars closer together. Don’t necessarily want to have a car right on your tail when cycling, but it’s best to take the whole lane in these sections.
- Cannon st. bike lane closure during re-surfacing has forced cyclists to take other routes that sometimes feel less safe. The repaving should be complete by October.
- Delaware bike lanes are nice (but unprotected), but when they cross major intersections (Wentworth, Sherman) they tend to disappear or cross traffic in an unsafe manner.
- Protection is needed for single lane bike lanes.
Thank you Ward 3, for cycling your ward with us, discussing issues, and thinking about how we can make cycling safer and more enjoyable.