Earlier this month, the city announced plans to install a new painted bike lane on McArthur Avenue in Vanier. This sounds good because there’s a real need for some sort of east-west cycling corridor in this part of town. However, some cyclists have raised questions about the decision to move the corridor from Donald Street to McArthur Avenue .
Originally, the city was going to provide a bicycle corridor by painting sharrows on Donald Street (a parallel street just south of McArthur Avenue). Sharrows don’t count as real cycling infrastructure, but Donald Street has much less traffic than McArthur Avenue.
By comparison, McArthur Avenue is much busier. Riding on a painted bike lane next to parked cars on such a street is not going to be very relaxing. Cyclist will have to protect themselves from being ‘doored‘, and will have to dodge cars pulling out of parking spots, or turning on or off this high traffic thoroughfare.
I don’t know which is the best option, but one solution would be to have a semi-protected bikes lane on McArthur Avenue where cyclists would travel between the curb and parked cars (a design apparently favoured by the city). However, this isn’t possible because provincial rules require that vehicles be parked next to the curb. It’s reported that Toronto has chosen to disregard this rule when designing some of its bike lanes.
Using parked cars as a buffer between cyclists and motorists is common in many jurisdictions. I find it amazing that it is not allowed in a province that claims to be promoting cycling. Is someone asleep at the switch in Queen’s Park?
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