Cycle Toronto Calls for Improvements to Sherbourne Street Cycle Tracks
Submitted by Jared Kolb on 9 May, 2013 - 12:05
In late 2012, the City of Toronto announced the completion of its first separated bike lanes (cycle tracks) on Sherbourne Street. By physically separating cyclists from motor vehicle traffic, cycle tracks are a key way to increase safety, de-stress cycling, boost ridership and reduce conflicts between road users in Toronto.
Cycle Toronto conducted an on-line survey of its members in January 2013 about the new Sherbourne Cycle Tracks. In response, 189 cyclists provided feedback on their experience of the Sherbourne cycle tracks. Generally, the majority of survey respondents felt safer with the cycle tracks and thought cycle tracks are visually distinct from the car lanes, which discourages cars. However, cyclists also recognized that design of the cycle track itself does not stop cars from entering the cycle tracks in all areas.
Unfortunately, motorists continue to illegally block the new cycle track. Due to insufficient separation, the Sherbourne Street cycle tracks allow motor vehicles to park in the lanes. Reports of cars parked in the cycle tracks have become common place.
Cycle Toronto now calls on the City to make a series of improvements.
General Recommendations for Transportation Services:
- Send more visual signals to discourage parking in the cycle tracks by adding bollards and tow away signage along the entire stretch of Sherbourne Street.
- Address the issue of right hooks in the Sherbourne Street cycle tracks by pulling the stop line back for motor vehicles, or adding bollards out to the stop line.
- Increase separation in all future cycle track designs with squared curbs, bollards, planter pots or a variety of other treatments to safeguard cyclists.
General Recommendations for Toronto Police Services:
- Enforce the rules of the road; ticket and/or tow motorists parked in the cycle tracks
“Most Torontonians do not feel comfortable riding in mixed traffic on busy roads. Creating a large network of separated bike lanes is critical to get more Torontonians out of their cars, off of overcrowded subways, buses and streetcars and promote cyclist safety,” said Jared Kolb, Executive Director of Cycle Toronto. “While the Sherbourne Street cycle tracks are a good step forward, infrastructure and enforcement improvements are critical to improve their intended function.”
Additionally, the survey found that the greater the separation, the greater the sense of safety; 23% of respondents feel “safe or very safe” riding in mixed traffic whereas 72% feel “safe or very safe” in the curbed section of the Sherbourne Street cycle tracks north of Gerrard Street.
Cycle Toronto staff worked with our Ward 27 and Ward 28 groups on the audit, which included a ride in early January with City staff and an online survey. Cycle Toronto compiled the survey results and submitted a report to City staff. The City is now reviewing the Cycle Toronto report findings as part of its evaluation of Sherbourne Street and to inform the design of future cycle tracks on Wellesley and other streets.