How Not To Design A Separated Bike Lane

The City of Toronto is finally getting a separated bike lane. It's on Sherbourne Street, a block east of the soon to be painted out Jarvis Street bike lanes that keep city councillors from getting home in time for dinner. The separation is a rounded bump that is too big for a cyclist to cross easily and safely, but not too big for a UPS truck. So now, when they park in the Fedex Lane (as I call our bike lanes), cyclists will have to dismount and go around them.

According to Jack Lakey in the Star, they didn't have any choice.

Dan Egan, Toronto’s manager of cycling infrastructure, said the curbs had to be designed to allow police vehicles, ambulances and fire trucks to pull over them in emergencies. “It’s not an ideal situation,” said Egan. ‘If we had a lot wider street, it would have been a much simpler design. “This is the challenge of trying to do a separated bike lane on such a narrow two-way street.”

Which is why five-laned Jarvis Street was such a good spot for a bike lane.

Montreal bike laneMontreal Bike Lane/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

In Montreal this past weekend, I saw hundreds of people riding their own and Bixi bikes on Maisonneuve in the separated bike lanes. The delivery vehicle is forced to block a car lane, something that is unheard of in Toronto. They design a proper barrier.

I recognize that things are different in Montreal and New York, where there are extensive networks of one way streets. It makes it much easier to take out a lane and to it right. But sometimes I think that in Toronto, they don't even try.

How Not To Design A Separated Bike Lane
Make the divider low enough for trucks but too high for bikes, and trap those cyclists!

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