DeBaeremaeker takes action: ALLDERBLOB takes credit

It’s come to our attention (thanks, CrazyBikerChick!) that thanks to persistent lobbying by the esteemed councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, Ward 38, one of the long-held dreams for east end Toronto cyclists is to come true: the renovated Dundas Street bridge is to include bicycle lanes from Broadview to River (westbound only), completing a critical missing link. This stretch of Dundas was particularly dangerous, with cars rushing to turn onto the Don Valley Parkway northbound and cutting you off from behind and from the front. Together with the bikelane on River and Shuter streets, it will be possible to travel from Kingston Road in the Beaches all the way to Yonge Street and the Eaton Centre without leaving a bikelane.

[the fact that it’s westbound only doesn’t bother you? –ed.]

Thanks, Glenn, and thanks, Paula–and thanks too, to Martin Koob of BikeToronto for some serious work at exposing what would have been a sad oversight in the new bridge construction.

Only a few dozen more critical connections to be made, and Toronto will start to have some semblance of logic in its bicycle network.

Read on for the complete text of the article as it appeared in the Riverdale/Beaches Mirror and Car Advertiser:

City to complete missing link for cyclists
Single bike lane planned for Dundas Street bridge

BY DAVID NICKLE
September 6, 2007 10:58 AM

For years it’s been a missing link for bicycle commuters using the bike lanes on Dundas and Shuter Streets.

All that will change this fall when the city opens up a westbound dedicated bike lane on the Dundas Street bridge crossing the Don Valley Parkway.

The bridge has been closed all summer for a $8-million reconstruction, with just one sidewalk open for pedestrians. According to works and public infrastructure committee chair Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38, Scarborough Centre), the city had originally intended to simply replace concrete and generally fix up the bridge.

But De Baeremaeker, who is also an avid cyclist who uses the bridge himself to get from his home in Scarborough to city hall, put pressure on staff to find some ways to enhance pedestrian and cyclist safety in the finished product.

“The plan is in a draft form, but now the westbound lanes will have a bike lane across the bridge, and not only across the bridge, but from Broadview Avenue to River Street, which is really the missing link in the east-end bicycle network,” he said.

Currently, there are dedicated bicycle lanes on Dundas Street from Kingston Road to Broadview Avenue. Bike lanes don’t pick up again until River Street on the west side of the Don Valley Parkway, and then continue across to Yonge Street along Shuter Street, a block south of Dundas.

The lanes weren’t in place over the bridge because of the streetcar tracks, which cross the bridge and go north on Broadview. But the re-configured bridge will allow just a single bike lane going westbound.

Dundas eastbound won’t be able to accommodate the bike lane, because the streetcars, combined with the left turn onto the Don Valley Parkway on-ramp, would create too much traffic congestion without a right passing lane, De Baeremaeker said.

However, De Baeremaeker has a solution. He’s asking staff to look at building a separate bridge across the parkway, just south of the existing bridge, for cyclists and pedestrians.

“The logical place to build that bridge would be on the south side, completely separate from the existing bridge,” he said. “The cost of fixing the bridge is $8 million – it might be another $2 to $3 million to build the bridge.”

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