Ward 30 bike reportv3


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Ward 30 bike reportv3

  1. 1. Ward 30 Bike report: 1 Background It is widely understood that for a city to become a truly bicycle friendly city, there are five areas that it must address. These areas are frequently called the “five Es”1 and include Engineering, Evaluation & Planning , Education, Encouragement and Enforcement. The Five Es Engineering This refers to the existence and content of a bicycle master plan, the accommodation of cyclists on public roads, and the existence of both well-designed bike lanes and multi-use paths in the community. Evaluation & Planning This category refers whether the city measures the amount of cycling taking place in the community, the crash and fatality rates, and ways that the community works to improve these numbers. This also refers to the existence and implementation of a bike plan. Education This category includes teaching cyclists of all ages how to ride safely in any area for multi-use paths to congested city streets as well as teaching motorists how to share the road safely with cyclists. Encouragement This category concentrates on how the community promotes and encourages bicycling. This can be done through Bike Month and Bike to Work Week events as well as producing community bike maps, route finding signage, community bike rides, commuter incentive programs, and having a Safe Routes to School program. Enforcement The connections between the cycling and law enforcement communities fall into this category. For example, a liaison for the law enforcement community has with the cycling community, the existence of bicycle divisions of the law enforcement, and using targeted enforcement to encourage cyclists and motorists to share the road safely. SoDa Bikes2 , the Ward 30 Bicycle advocacy group, is committed to making the streets of Toronto safer for cycling. It sees its efforts as a key component of a larger pro-bicycle movement in Toronto. The northern boundary of Ward 30 is Danforth Avenue, a corridor with one of the highest incidences of bicycle collisions in the city. Between March and May 2010, SoDa Bikes surveyed cyclists to find out how they feel the streets of Toronto can be made safer for cyclists. The results of the survey are presented in a series of recommendations, below. The recommendations fit within the five Es framework and provide a citizen’s view of how Ward 30 could become a safer place for cyclists and motorists alike. The findings are part of an important conversation with the Toronto municipal government. We ask that Councillor Paula Fletcher review the recommendations and discuss them with SoDa Bikes. Based on our research, SoDa Bikes believes that these recommendations will lead to the following immediate, tangible benefits: • Fewer bicycle-related accidents 1 See http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/communities/bfc_five-Es.php for more details. 2 SoDa stands for South of Danforth
  2. 2. • Increased pedestrian traffic and commercial activity for shop owners • Healthier citizens • Reduced carbon emissions • A more satisfied cycling community The report is organized as follows: Section 2 outlines the survey design and results. Section 3 outlines the report’s recommendations while section 4 discusses the benefits that would accrue to the city as a result. Section 5 concludes. 2 Survey design and results The survey was assembled and reviewed by SoDa bikes and BikeSauce3 using a simple online solution (Survey Monkey-a copy is included as appendix A). The survey was then posted at the main Toronto online cycling discussion forum: the Toronto Cyclists Union website, emailed out to Ward 30 bike union members, and to BikeSauce members. A total of 103 respondents completed the survey over a period of 2 months. Respondents represented a wide variety of interests in Toronto. Respondents were mostly (58%) from Ward 30 and cycled for a variety of reasons: to get to work or school, to shop and to play. Only 10% of respondents cycle one day or less per week. The remaining respondents cycle more frequently with close to 45% riding 6-7 days per week. Slightly more than half of the respondents do not ride in the winter, 20% use public transit to get to work and 8% drive. While the group represents a wide variety of interests, they share a common knowledge of Ward 30’s streets and an interest in cycling. Indeed, collectively, this group is on the streets of Toronto every day of the year. As cycling is an issue that affects the entire city, we have taken steps to ensure that the views of Toronto’s diverse bicycle stakeholders are represented in the report. In addition to the survey respondents from outside Ward 30, we consulted with the Toronto Cyclists Union, Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation, and the Office of Cycling Infrastructure, Transportation Services. 3 Recommendations All five Es of making a bike friendly city are represented in the survey results; however the recommendations in this report will cover the findings around which there was the greatest amount of consensus. In order to keep the number of recommendations to an achievable target yet keep a critical mass that would facilitate change, we have limited them to five issues. They are listed below. 3 BikeSauce is a DIY bike repair space and community hub. It is located at 717 Queen Street East (at Broadview). See http://bikesauce.org.
  3. 3. 1. 91% of respondents said they would ride their bike more often if there were more bike lanes/safe cycling routes in the neighbourhood. 2. The most important changes that would make it easier for me to bike in Ward 30 are: Building more on-street cycling infrastructure, such as bike lanes and shared routes and better integrating bicycles into road projects, including redesign, reconstruction and maintenance. 3. The top streets where respondents would like to see improved infrastructure (bike lanes, sharrows, etc) are: a. Danforth Avenue b. Queen Street c. Broadview Avenue d. Eastern Avenue e. Gerrard Street 4. 75% of respondents feel that there is not enough bike parking in Ward 30. 5. 89% of respondents feel that improved snow removal will make the streets safer. The majority of responses relate to the Engineering aspect of creating a bike friendly city. This is clearly the top priority as identified by respondents. Furthermore, improving bike infrastructure particularly in the ways described above would be a very visible and relatively quick win for Councillors, who have the ability to make safer streets, reduce car traffic and improve the health of Torontonians. 4 Benefits to Toronto A common complaint voiced by opponents of bike lanes is that it the removal of parking is bad for local businesses. In fact, there is evidence that shows differently. We refer here to two (2009 and 2010) studies of Bloor Street4 . The conclusions derived from the study should be generalisable to Ward 30, particularly to Danfort Avenue, Queen, Gerrard and Dundas streets. The studies conclude that: • The dominant mode of transportation in the Bloor West Village is walking, followed by public transit; • Visitor survey respondents that reported that they usually drive, were found to visit less frequently and spend significantly less money per month in the neighbourhood than those who did not drive; • Patrons arriving by foot and bicycle visit the most often and spend the most money per month. 4 see http://www.cleanairpartnership.org/files/BikeLanes_Parking_Business_BloorWestVillage.pdf and http://www.cleanairpartnership.org/pdf/bike-lanes-parking.pdf
  4. 4. The Bloor Danforth Corridor has one of the highest incidences of bicycle collisions in the city. There is considerable evidence that "road diets", when three- and four-lane roads are put on a "diet" to narrow them to two or three-lanes in order to accommodate a bike lane, lead to safer streets and slower traffic. Furthermore, there is evidence that there is no concurrent reduction in carrying capacity. As an example, the four lanes on St. George Street were reduced to two, sidewalks were widened and bike lanes were added, along with greenery. Speed and traffic collisions have decreased even though the number of cars carried on the road did not. Conclusion The recommendations of this report are: 1. more bike lanes/safe cycling routes in the neighbourhoods, particularly on (in order of importance) a. Danforth b. Queen c. Broadview d. Eastern e. Gerrard 2. more on-street cycling infrastructure, such as bike lanes and shared routes and better integrating bicycles into road projects, including redesign, reconstruction and maintenance 3. improved bike parking 4. improved snow removal These recommendations relate mostly to the Engineering aspect of creating a bike-friendly city. The other aspects are also important and SoDa bikes will look for opportunities to increase or strengthen Evaluation, Encouragement, Education and Enforcement in Ward 30 and the rest of the city. Councillor Fletcher has a real opportunity to create a win-win-win situation, in which cyclists enjoy safer streets, shopkeepers enjoy increased business and Toronto City Council is recognized for its wisdom a foresight in making Toronto a greater place to live than it already is.