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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