York Urbanist

Archive for May, 2015

Cycle the 400 Series Highways

May 30th, 2015
Healthy Communities, Recreation, Trails

Why Cycle Lanes on 400 series highways?

  • Effective Use of land: Wasted space on the edges of highways requires MORE maintenance than the paved surfaces that could be trails. The highways have removed oxygen producing trees and shrubs, replacing them with grass, which is often mown. The asphalt of a cycle lane is not damaged like that of motorized vehicle lanes, so maintenance is minimal.
  • The direction cyclists want to go: Just as we in motorized vehicles want a stopless direct route to destinations, so to do cyclists.
  • Understanding Commuter cyclists: 400-series highways are built for commuters, although their primary purpose is to give access for delivery of goods from hinterlands to cities. Cyclists are also commuters.
  • Exiting Toronto fast: 400 series highways provide the most direct exit from the city and have available land on their edges.
  • Reduced grades: Although avid cyclists like the challenge of changes in grades, commuter cyclists are appreciative of the requirements of MTO to maintain grades at less than 5% inclines.
  • Positive reaction from cycling community: When this was raised in a workshop and on line, avid cyclists had to think for a moment. Yes, they said, this provides the opportunity to turn my recreation to a method of getting to work.
  • Puts planning in the provincial jurisdiction: Currently, the provision of cycling facilities is the purview of municipalities. As such, public consultation is limited to municipal boundaries, yet cyclists can travel 500km in one day, well beyond the jurisdiction of one city.
  • Raises awareness of Active Transportation: Volumes of drivers of motorized vehicles will see an alternative form of transportation as they sit in traffic. Meanwhile, cyclists continue unimpeded by other forms of transportation.

Where has this been done?

The public will be surprised that there already exist examples of highway related cycling facilities. The idea of cycling routes parallel to motorized routes may seem like a foreign concept. However the following list will surprise you. Let us start with more progressive jurisdictions off-shore

  • Australia roadside cycling routeAustralia is well known for its support of athletics and health. This lane is associated with an 80km/hr speedway. Apparently, avid cyclists can feel comfortable in this association.






  • Amsterdam roundaboutAmsterdam, Netherlands: The reaction from the uninitiated is, ‘well that’s because cycling is ingrained in their culture’. I respond that it is because cycling facilities have been incorporated into their transportation systems. Chicken and Egg? This example shows distinct and separated bike lanes on the outside, yet they continue to have crossings that allow motorists the right of way. A curious example has been circulating the social media that shows an elevated cycle facility at traffic circles. https://bicycledutch.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/turbo-roundabout.jpg

what's the point of cycle lanes



  • QEW Niagara service roadQEW Niagara was part of the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure for years. Although an unpleasant straight ride for this recreation ride, it is straight and allows for commuter cyclists to travel the same route as motorists.



  • Toronto Waterfront TrailToronto, Is there a more travelled route than the Gardiner/Lakeshore? Toronto created the Waterfront Trail to provide for primarily commuter cyclists who find their way to work much faster than the routes that regularly make the 680 traffic at the ones report. 5m wide this route is so well used that rules have needed to be created for its use, summer and winter.


  • Rosehill cycle separation productRosehill products in the UK can be used to establish the safety that transportation engineers use to scare away cycling facilities from the public realms.


See also:




June 4 – Walk and Ride – Vaughan’s Active Transportation

May 27th, 2015
Healthy Communities, Pedestrianization, Recreation, Trails

Become involved in COMMUNITY! A vortex of enthusiasm brought three groups together for a single event.

BUG logoVaughan Bicycle Users Group, BUG for short, expresses a common face of the community of bicycle riders. It is made up of recreation, racing and utilitarian cyclists. The goal is to advocate for those who want and need to travel further than walking can achieve. But Vaughan is lagging in the development of cycling facilities. The celebratory cycle lanes on Napa Valley and Peter Rupert are a compromise, but at least they have painted the lines.

BUG’s crowning 2014 achievement is being celebrated on June 4! Ride one of the first cycle lanes yet devised in Woodbridge!

Green Ribbon TreeTrees For Kleinburg may be self-evident by its name. But it is more than just trees. It is an environmental, event planning and business friendly group. A pilot project directed by this group is nearing completion in May 2015. This pilot project was a test of the mettle of volunteers and City staffers.  It took convincing a steadfast engineering department that a walking facility, such as their proposed sidewalk on Islington Avenue, could use trees to make the route a more comfortable. The City of Vaughan’s Vision speaks to that very need.

This crowning achievement is being celebrated on June 4! A stop on the Jane’s Walk will allow you to help plant a commemorative tree.

greenbelt_Logo_4C_OL[1]Greenbelt Foundation learned of Trees For Kleinburg from the City of Vaughan staff. Kleinburg is the perfect venue for a Jane’s Walk, where a village steeped in history can come to life through a guided walk. The Greenbelt Foundation promotes hiking in the villages and valleys that are contained and edge Ontario’s Greenbelt. The Greenbelt is up for review by the province and public meetings are being held this year to redefine or reconfirm its boundaries and mandate.

This banner year is being promoted on June 4 as a collaboration with BUG and Trees For Kleinburg.

Ride and Walk June 4 2015Get your walking or riding gear together and meet at 6:30pm at Sonoma Heights Park to start a journey whose destination is McMichael Gallery, but its ultimate goal is to raise awareness of the need for Active Transportation facilities in Vaughan. See what Vaughan has committed to by clicking the link to these new cycle facilities. Like the pilot project for Trees For Kleinburg, unofficial cycle lanes took two years to enact. If not for the actions of Councillor Alan Shefman getting a pedestrian and cycling task force, active transportation would not be an agenda item for Vaughan Council.

Go further, Vaughan! Involve Communities and encourage them with action, not two years of waiting for compromise solutions!



Editor’s Note: Choosing June 4 may have been folly, as it conflicts with the Mayor’s Gala. But will be an alternative event with no cost, but much benefit.