With warmer weather you may have noticed more residents and visitors getting on their bikes and commuting to work or exploring the neighbourhood. It’s no surprise as Parkdale has a major cycling community and has the second highest bike use among all neighbourhoods in Toronto. So as you’re thinking about taking your bike in for that spring tune up at Mojo’s Cycle and going out for a ride, we’d like to remind you about the status of Cycling in Parkdale and what to expect in the future, making cycling in Parkdale safer, accessible and more convenient.
Currently, with respect to bike parking there are approximately 154 rings and decorative bike posts within the BIA, but only 3 multi-space racks. As cycling is growing in our neighbourhood, this is becoming insufficient and we regularly see dozens of abandoned bikes and crowded rings within the area, which the BIA regularly inventories & submits to 311. This is one of many cycling challenges our area faces and thus, the BIA is currently working with numerous stakeholders and reviewing possible cycling infrastructure improvement in the area.
The City’s existing and planned cycling projects do targeting Parkdale. Their Bike Plan, although approved in 2001, still serves as the guiding document for cycling improvements across Toronto. A key objective of this plan is to create connectivity among the different cycling routes throughout the city. In 2009, Parkdale was part of an additional study – the West End Bikeways Project – to address the unique cycling conditions and challenges in West Toronto (west of Bathurst St. and south of Bloor St.). These include the discontinuous and disjointed streets as well as one way streets, the presence of a rail line that creates a barrier across neighbourhoods and the presence of streetcar tracks on major east-west streets such as Queen Street. These unique conditions have made it more challenging to create a regular bikeway network in our neighbourhood.
To address this, the West End Bikeways study identified a number of residential streets (some of which already are used by cyclists) that would be designated as bike routes connecting the neighbourhood north-south and east-west. The roads on these streets will receive a number of improvements to make them safer for cyclists. These include bicycle lanes, contraflow lanes, sharrows (pavement markings to indicate a shared roadway) and signage. Many of these improvements are already slated to take place in the next few years. The complete West End Bikeways Project report including maps showing all the planned improvements can be downloaded on the City of Toronto website. There is also a great page that explains the different cycling lanes and pavement markings that are mentioned above.
Currently, some area stakeholders are working to add to these existing projects by contributing local knowledge on cycling conditions in Parkdale especially in terms of exploring new options for designated cycling routes and to find ways to connect some of the disjointed north-south routes that cross Queen Street. Additionally, they are contributing to improving signage and route maps to help visitors and residents familiarize themselves with the designated cycling routes.
Further, the recent pilot studies throughout Toronto have shown that people still want to park their bikes as close as possible to their destination. Based on this, some of the following options are being reviewed such as re-evaluate the locations of post & ring locations, adding new or relocating some of the existing posts and adding more multi-space racks. With the multi-space racks, determining the most appropriate locations and exploring a variety of options such as using wide sidewalk areas on side streets, municipal parking lots, and on-street bike corrals (bike racks in on-street parking spaces). Some of these options tested by the City of Toronto Queen St. West Bicycle Parking Study, which can be found here.
Thank you for exploring Parkdale, cycling safely and sharing the road. Enjoy these resources:
City of Toronto cycling maps
Cycle TO website
Spacing Magazine articles on cycling