Kyle going and the lost opportunity of Bloor

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Kyle Rae promised to put on bike lanes on Bloor in his last election campaign, and it was somewhat reinforced by a motion of Council to greatly upgrade the bike safety conditions on Bloor in Yorkville as part of that reconstruction.

But sadly, all we’re getting are sharrows.

While sharrows do have some real potential for improving our city’s biking, they’re so inferior when put beside what’s often done in Europe, and what could have been done here on Bloor in Yorkville.

The true tragedy is that there is room on the new road for bike lanes, just they’re being paved shut – in granite – with wasted space between the planters and the curb of .8M – which bike-friendly design would reclaim for bike lanes, as the road is just one lousy metre too narrow for good bike lanes of 1.5M and two travel lanes of 3M (Total is 15M, the new road is 14M).

Elsewhere in the City, this space between planter/curb is far less eg. Wellesley near Church, and in the Annex, and the entries to the subway at King and University are right at the curb.

So as Kyle Rae announces that he’s not going to run again – details are here http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/738176–rae-takes-aim-at-other-politicians?bn=1 – he shouldn’t be thinking he’s got a great legacy of providing for bikes, as his tenure started in 1991 – a bit before that Marshall Macklin Monaghan report that nodded to wide Bloor from Broadview over to Spadina as the #1 best spot in the old core for east-west bike lanes.

And the follow-up option and compromise of using Wellesley St. for an east-west bike lane is in itself badly compromised in design, and execution, where it became apparent after a year of vexing by Hamish and an FOI that the City has installed an irregular bike lane that has a true danger spot on the eastbound bike lane where it curves east of Jarvis St., and that this lack of safety is caused by the City not knowing what the true dimension of the road actually is (12.5M on paper, 12.0M in reality).

So like Mr. Miller’s legacy, the legacy of Kyle Rae can’t be seen as positive, but instead far more of a set of lost opportunities marred by the horrific death of an admittedly not poster-child cyclist that if the City had acted 18 years ago to provide bike safety with bike lanes parallel to the subway, we wouldn’t have had a pair of tragedies.

While the road-ripping has seemed paused for Christmas, with a spurt of tree-destroying despite the desire for more consumption of the season, it’s a shame that our leaders can’t pause this project to give cyclists and our climate a real nice Christmas present of extra space for bike lanes – some year – with pushing back that curb for the remnant two-thirds of the project. This includes Mr. Rae and Mr. Miller, who need to truly “green” their legacy.