Welcome to the website for the Trefann Court Residents Association.

Trefann logoThis website is maintained as a historic record of developments and changes affecting this neighbourhood. Scroll down to read all posts (listed in date order, newest items first), or use the links above to view posts by year (archives), or posts for a particular category eg. Regent Park. (For most images on this site, clicking will display a larger version.)

The Trefann Court Association hasn’t been active for several years, but it could be re-started anytime there are several local residents who are interested and want to get involved. Some items of local interest are still being added to this site.

Email us with your comments or questions.

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Regent Park bike rings – from bad to worse

Nov 2020April 2019
Secure posts for locking a bike are important public infrastructure, if the city wants to encourage more persons to cycle. (Especially now, given rampant levels of bike theft in Toronto).

Toronto’s original bike ring was designed in 1984, and a large number were installed in 2000. By 2006 the city realized that this un-reinforced single-ring design was easily vandalized (and bikes stolen), so the city developed a reinforced design (see history of Toronto’s bike rings). The city has replaced some, but not all of the old single-ring style posts.

Given these successive design improvements, we were disappointed to see in 2019 that Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) and the Daniels Corporation were still installing the obsolete, easily vandalized “single” ring design (twelve years! after serious flaws noted with this design). However, a photo and complaint sent to the city and to TCHC in April 2019 about these flawed bike rings didn’t result in any changes.

This month, an even less secure bike ring appeared in Regent Park (see photo, above right).

Widespread provision of enough secure bike parking in Toronto simply doesn’t appear to be a high priority. The city has numerous types of bike parking, but apparently no recent guidelines for the implementation of each type, and no periodic surveys to determine specific areas of the city where there is an unmet demand for bike parking (The city’s website has a link to a 2008 document Guidelines for Bicycle Parking Facilities.) The city started work on a Bike Parking Strategy in 2016, which was expected to be completed by 2019. To date, no draft reports have been made public. The bike parking strategy seems to be “on hold”; in Jan 2020 the city’s project manager said they “can’t give a date on when it will be finished.”

Cycle Toronto’s Bike Parking working group was initiated in Sept 2016, and met monthly for a few years, but apparently it has not produced any deliverables. In 2018, one group member inventoried types of bike rings currently found in Toronto.

The city has fastidiously documented the location (but not current repair status) of 17,500+ bike rings located on city property (see map), although this map isn’t current (eg. bike rings on the SW corner of Sumach & Shuter not shown). A volunteer community-built app demonstrates how problems could be reported (eg. broken/insecure ring). Repair requests can already be reported to 311 via email; tracking and timely resolution of these requests would be really useful.

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deficiency in new Shuter St bike lane

 Nov 6
The new Shuter St bike lane is almost completely protected with curbs and bollards. But just west of Sumach, there is a 100m section of the westbound bike lane which is unprotected, to give access to a 35m school bus loading zone adjacent to the curb, on the north side of Shuter St. But because of a curve in the road (exaggerated by the schoolbus loading zone) and the new narrower car lanes, westbound vehicles frequently intrude into the bike lane as they navigate the curve. “Smoothing the curve” instead of slowing down, is totally natural behaviour by car drivers, which is why having the bike lane unprotected where the road curves, isn’t great.

 Nov 26
In 2020, this is not the level of safety that cyclists hope for in a protected bike lane. On Nov 25, the contractor installed a few concrete curbs immediately west of the crosswalk, which reduces the problem somewhat. But re-locating the school bus loading zone to the western end of the school where the road is straight, would be a simple change and should reduce the number of motor vehicles intruding into the bike lane. Or move the bus loading to a very accessible, quiet side street: even better and would permit curbs/bollards to protect the entire length of the bike lane!

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protected bike lane on Shuter St – completed ?

Shuter St, from River to Sherbourne, was completely rebuilt during the summer: the old roadbed removed, then new gravel foundation, concrete base, and two layers of asphalt (some sidewalks and curbs were also replaced). For the entire length of Shuter (west to Yonge), car parking was moved to the left of the bike lane, which is now adjacent to the sidewalk, and protected with concrete curbs and bollards.

At the Feb 2020 “Shuter bike lane” open house, several persons asked that the crosswalk be moved 20m east, to align with Sumach (where most persons currently cross). See right: the city plans show the crosswalk remaining in its existing location, and a photo taken July 7 shows “tactile walking surface indicators” embedded in freshly poured concrete sidewalk at the crosswalk’s existing location on Shuter; apparently the city forgot? to relocate the crosswalk! Fortunately, Facebook messages sent to our city councillor resulted in some action. Newly poured concrete sidewalks were demolished and then relocated (unnecessary waste), but at least the crosswalk is now properly located at the corner, where it will get more use!

Construction photos (looking east towards Sumach, unless noted otherwise)

July 14 – concrete baseJuly 10 – gravel foundationexcavation (Shuter/Ontario)

Sept 15 – curb deliverySept 14 – new sidewalk demolishedSept 2 – changed road alignment

Nov 13 – curved curbsOct 27 – completed crosswalk 

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Sumach St contra-flow bike lane update

The Sumach St contra-flow bike lane was finished Oct 15. Back in 2015, the road at Sumach & King was painted to delineate the bike lane, that paint was removed in 2019 and then repainted in 2020. The traffic light at Queen (see photo at right: Queen & Sumach, looking north) was installed in February, so the only other work was 2 blocks of roadway paint, and removal of parking signs on the east side of Sumach. No bicycle-activated sensor loop is embedded in the roadway for north-bound cyclists at Queen & Sumach, so cyclists might be waiting a long time for the light to change.

The Sumach bike lane connects to the existing bike lane on Cherry St. The photos below show Cherry & Sumach, looking north to King; streetcars turn left, most cars turn right, bikes in the middle. Perhaps this intersection could be made safer for cyclists wanting to continue north on the Sumach contraflow bike lane eg. separate traffic signal for northbound cyclists? The signage at King & Sumach says “bike lane starts”, which isn’t true – isn’t this a continuation of the Cherry St bike lane ?

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Shuter St – aerial view

Nelson Mandela School (then called Park Public, built in 1915), is the one landmark which appears in every photo. (Click each image to view larger version)

1942: empty land west of Sackville (compare to 1949 photo)
1949: development appears west of Sackville, which was demolished by 1954. Shuter St (then called Sydenham) is a 2 lane road, ending at Sumach.

1954: Shuter St now extends east to River, and widened to 4 lanes. 90 Sumach (CBC warehouse), and some of the Regent Park high rises (eg. Blevins Place) have been built.

1967: Regent Park Phase 2 townhouses built along Shuter St. Sumach Park has appeared. Through streets within Regent Park have now disappeared: Sackville N of Shuter and St. David’s St (northern boundary of the school). Regent Park skating rink not yet constructed.
Larger version (click to view): Richmond, Adelaide ramps to the DVP, and Eastern Ave extension built. Sumach St veers west to connect to Cherry St.

1993: Wascana now extends eastward to River St.
Demolition of Regent Park (townhouses and high rises) didn’t start until 2011.

animated version

original aerial photos: 1942,   1949,   1954,   1967,   1977,   1981,   1989,   1993,   1998,   2005,   2012,   2019.

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FIVE+ years to construct Sumach St contra-flow bike lane ?

A contra-flow bike lane on Sumach is a good idea. Should be simple; from Shuter to Queen to King is only 2 blocks. Currently, the only routes in the immediate area for north-bound cycling from King to Queen are on River, Parliament, or Power (where it is difficult to cross fast-moving traffic on Adelaide and Richmond).

When the King-Sumach intersection was rebuilt in 2015, lines were painted on Sumach St just north of the intersection, for a future contra-flow bike lane (see photo below, left). Contra-flow biking on Sumach St was not yet legal, however these painted lines on the road misled cyclists to think that north-bound biking on Sumach was permitted. Cyclists did so frequently, which created an unsafe situation. The city was negligent in letting this painted faux “contra-flow” bike lane remain on Sumach for 4 years, without completing this project. When local bike advocates met with Shawn Dillon (City of Toronto Cycling Infrastructure) in June 2017, he said:

“a two block contra-flow bike lane is planned for Sumach (Shuter to King). One block already approved; working on gaining approval for 2nd block. Will require signalized intersection at Shuter & Sumach. Hopes to complete project by Dec 2017.”

Sumach St, looking south towards King St:
repainted in 2020paint removed in 2019bike lane painted in 2015

In her Dec 2019 newsletter, City counillor Kristyn Wong-Tam states:

“By the end of this year [2019], the major work happening on Adelaide Street … should be complete,along with the new contra-flow tracks being installed along Sumach Street between Shuter Street and Richmond Street [sic] .”

Presumably, she is referring to the planned 2-block long contra-flow bike lane between King and Shuter (Richmond ends at Parliament).

Progress remains slow: after 4 years, the painted lines on Sumach north of Queen were removed in Dec 2019 (see photo above, centre). In Feb 2020, a contra-flow traffic light was installed on the north-east corner of Queen and Sumach. Apparently, no longer any intention to put signalized intersection at Shuter-Sumach, according to the latest plans for the Shuter bike lane.

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protected bike lane on Shuter St

Sometime in 2020, “the City will carry out much needed road reconstruction on Shuter St, between Sherbourne and River St: removing and replacing the asphalt surface and road base, and some sections of curb and sidewalk. Existing bike lanes will be upgraded to separated bike lanes (cycle tracks) from Bond Street to River Street, to increase safety and comfort for people cycling”. The city’s draft plan was shared with the public on Jan 21.

[Although Toronto’s Complete Streets Guidelines: Cycling Design, page 96 suggests that protected bike lanes should be located to the right of parked cars, next to the curb (“cycle tracks: separated bicycle lanes with bollards, planters, or a row of parked cars between cyclists and moving traffic”), this design has some downsides: getting doored by car passengers, lingering car passengers/unloaded packages blocking the bike lane, slow moving accessibility scooters in bike lane, inability to safely pass slower cyclists, etc]

School buses currently uses a long stretch of Shuter St (much more than the 35m which is currently alloted); this section of the reconstructed bike lane won’t be safe for cyclists if this bus activity continues.

3 “long” buses (Jan 29, 8:50am)6 “short” buses (Feb 5, 2:45pm)
All Shuter St. residents will have to compromise in order to accommodate protected bike lanes: on-street parking will be reduced by 55% or 133 spaces. It will become more challenging for everyone – Canada Post, Fed Ex, UPS, home repair contractors etc – to continue to provide services to Shuter St residents. It seems only fair to ask Nelson Mandela school to similarly make minor adjustments by moving the bus loading zone off Shuter St, to ensure that the new protected bike lane is as safe as possible.

St. David St already has a 35m designated school bus loading zone. There is an entrance to the school on the north side, easily accessible from St. David St. This street gets slower car traffic, and much less traffic volume, than Shuter St. Some school bus activity already happens on St David St, where it is safer for students. Our school trustee Chris Moise was asked to relocate all school buses to St. David St, but the school board (TDSB) refused this request.

As a result:

  • at the eastern end of Nelson Mandela School where the bus loading zone will remain, adjacent to the curb, the westbound bike lane will not be protected. Cyclists will have to ride immediately adjacent to west-bound car traffic (see closeup of draft pavement marking plan: area shaded in red shows bus loading zone where bike lane is unprotected)
  • in order to accommodate a 35m school bus loading zone on Shuter, new design standards for bike lanes means that 7-8 parking spots need to be eliminated immediately opposite, on the south side of Shuter.

Disappointing that the school won’t make a minor compromise to increase cycling safety by allowing the entirety of the bike lane to be protected.

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website cleanup

Likely no one noticed, but the WordPress “theme” for this site “broke” 3 months ago; I finally managed to fix it. At the same time, I scanned the site for broken links and fixed a few of them. Although some linked websites have since been deleted, the links remain here, as a historical record. For a few deleted sites, links have been provided to archived information.

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contaminated soil in Regent Park

The Regent Park Athletic Fields were not part of the original plan for Regent Park redevelopment – the city’s plan published in 2004 showed new apartment buildings on this site (see image: page 10 of presentation, or view complete document in Powerpoint or PDF format)

So why the change in plans? Prior to the construction of the original Regent Park, this land was industrial. The city and Regent Park developer never advised the community whether this land was deemed too polluted for residential use. In this 2012 announcement, they simply boasted of a “new sports facilities with support from the MLSE Team Up Foundation”.

“Based on review of the available historical information, the first developed use of the Site occurred in the 1840s. From the 1840s to the early 1910s, the Phase One Property was comprised of a mixture of residential and commercial properties. A review of historical sources indicates that the Canadian Ornamental Iron Co. factory was present at the Site and the adjacent properties to the east, from the early 1910s to the late 1950s. The current outdoor hockey rink and associated changeroom / compressor building were constructed in the mid/late 1970s to early 1980s. The Booth Coulter Copper & Brass Co. Ltd. factory was present on the neighbouring property to the south from the early 1900s to the early 1960s. A foundry, copper shop, and brass finishing room were all present inside this factory.”

In 2014, a drainage pond was dug (perhaps to leach contaminants from the soil). Lots of contaminated soil was removed and clean soil trucked in, as required by the Ministry of the Environment (MoE). However, the soil located immediately below the existing hockey rink was not tested; it is possible that this soil is equally contaminated.

Additional photos of Athletic Field construction

Just west of the hockey rink is a new 12 story seniors residential building: the Sumach (Chartwell) building. Is the Chartwell site just as contaminated as the Athletic Field? No info in the MoE database, but maybe no environmental testing was required here since no change in use (previously residential). However, once building construction was complete, a 6 foot deep gravel-filled pit and mysterious drainage tubes were installed immediately south of the building (at the corner of Sumach & Shuter). Every few weeks during the fall of 2019, a GFL environmental tanker truck appeared at the site of these drainage tubes, and stayed for a few hours each time – removing contaminants perhaps; who knows? (Just west of the Chartwell is the school, where contaminated? soil was excavated and removed in 2012.)

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