Here's some great news out of Toronto: physically separated bike lanes on Sherbourne with bright, visible green lanes and bike boxes at intersections.
Toronto follows on the heels of Ottawa, which recently opened a separated lane on Laurier Avenue with more to come, as well as bold, green lanes and bike boxes.
It's great to see Ontario cities finally catching up to the North American leaders on this vital infrastructure. Seeing this design makes a lot of sense, with raised curbs to separate cyclists from drivers and the green painted lanes through intersections.
One word of caution already coming out of Toronto this week since these lanes opened: the rounded curb edge is allowing drivers to feel comfortable about hopping over and blocking the lanes.
A cube van blocks the Sherbourne bike lane (Image Credit: Now Magazine)
Adjusting the car-dominant culture in Ontario will take some time, but using higher, straight curbs and adding more bollards like we see in Ottawa would help:
Curbs and bollards on Ottawa's Laurier Avenue separated bike lane (Image Credit: West Side Action)
Ottawa has a bicycle traffic counter on Laurier Avenue, which carries on average around 2,000 cyclists a weekday from the months of May through October (or 1,171 cyclists a weekday averaged year-round).
Looking west for inspiration, Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto's chief planner, just suggested on twitter that Toronto could separate bike lanes with some of the small planter boxes like we see through Vancouver:
Dunsmuir separated bike lane in Vancouver (Image Credit: canadianveggie on flickr)
Keesmaat wrote, "you can't drive over them + they are not over-engineered. True separation."
Personally, I love the simplicity and ease of this design, which could be interspersed with curbs like the ones in Ottawa:
Planters and parked cars protect Vancouver's Hornby Street bike lane (Image Credit: Paul Krueger)
I know we are planning separated lanes on Hunter Street. This is the chance for us to learn from other cities and use the best ideas, including real barriers cars can't cross, affordable planter boxes and painted bike boxes like other cities are using.
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