A city that was truly committed to complete streets would have repainted Hunter to have 24-hour curbside parking, one driving lane and a protected cycle track.
By Jason Leach
Published June 10, 2014
Well, that didn't take long: cars are already parking in the newly painted Hunter Street bike lanes.
Car parked in new Hunter Street bike lanes
Who could possibly have predicted that drivers would use the bike lanes as a parking spot if the lanes were not physically separated from the driving lanes?
In addition, I guess we now know why the City has put off connecting the Hunter Street bike lanes past the GO station. They have repainted the rest of the road so that it still has two full automobile lanes. Once again, our dedication to excessive overbuilt lane capacity leaves us with crappy cycling infrastructure.
Hunter Street carries just 7,500 cars a day at its busiest spot west of John, and it is not a thoroughfare in that section. It's actually begging to be a shared space with level roadway, considering it is largely a drop-off and pick-up zone for the GO station.
There is no reason to leave Hunter as a high-speed route - especially past the GO station, which should be attracting even more pedestrian and cycling traffic than the rest of the street!
Remember that one urban car lane can handle 10,000 cars a day. There is simply no reason for Hunter to continue as a two-lane street, especially since the excess lane capacity means cars will be able to drive faster than they would on a single lane.
Combined with the fact that there is no physical barrier and not even a space buffer between the automobile lanes and the bike lanes, our obsession with lane capacity has totally undermined what could have been an excellent cycle track.
Markings for bike lanes west of MacNab (Image Credit: Ryan McGreal)
On the plus size, the City at least used narrow lanes west of MacNab, although the bike lanes literally spring out of a flower bed at MacNab. There are still two lanes, but they are now two narrow lanes instead of two incredibly wide lanes.
This has drivers slowing down a lot more at the bend in the road where it passes Central School and the posted limit is 40 km/h. Normally cars whip down that stretch at 60 km/h and faster.
If they had similarly made the driving lanes narrower east of Catharine, they would at least have had room to leave a space buffer between the centre lane and the bike lanes.
A more progressive city that was truly committed to complete streets would have repainted Hunter to have 24-hour curbside parking, one driving lane and a protected cycle track. There is simply no good reason not to do this.
We really need to get over the debilitating mindset that every street should function as a high-volume, high-speed thoroughfare.
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