I was wondering if I could get your help with what I suspect is a relatively easy issue, yet one that would make an enormous difference in our neighborhood.
My wife and I live on Havelock Street, and a big part of why we bought in the neighborhood is its accessibility in terms of public transportation and proximity to the downtown by bicycle (we sold our car 3 years ago, and commute and take our son to school, as well as doing all our errands, by bike and by TTC). We do our shopping for groceries at Dufferin Mall (often towing a small bike trailer for our son), and get there by biking West from Havelock along the street that runs parallel to the north side of Dufferin Grove Park, then down the little path beside the clubhouse and down the little street that is perpendicular to Dufferin (I believe it's called Dufferin Park Avenue).
The problem is that there are a lot of pedestrians walking along the sidewalk up from Dufferin and down to Dufferin, as well as bikes trying to go along the same route. The problem could easily be solved if there was a small asphalt ramp (perhaps 1 or 2 feet wide) from the sidewalk to the road at the east end of Dufferin Park Avenue; that way, bikes wouldn't try to bike along the sidewalk that is already crowded with pedestrians, since they could go down the ramp to the street to get to and from Dufferin. There would probably also have to be a post so the ramp wasn't blocked by parking cars.
We are actually already working on getting an expanded curb cut at the north end of the park, where Dufferin Park Ave. intersects with Gladstone, just on the east side of the rink. Transportation staff are supposed to be adding a temporary asphalt ramp this winter and then a permanent concrete ramp this spring.
While this isn't exactly the location you suggested, it is still nearby. Do you think a ramp at this location would help resolve the congestion issues you've raised?
%block lframe%Neighbourhood-Photos:bike-ramp2.jpg | %center%[-sketch-]
That will certainly solve the east end of the problem (of people using the laneway of the first house north of the sidewalk strip running between Gladstone and Dufferin Park Ave to get up onto the sidewalk, then cutting back south to get to the actual sidewalk strip). It still leaves the west end of the problem though. That is, a similar asphalt ramp (or more permanent concrete ramp) to bring bicycles up and down from the sidewalk strip running between Gladstone and Dufferin Park Ave. is needed, so that bikes can easily use Dufferin Park Avenue rather than sharing the sidewalk paralleling Dufferin Park Avenue with pedestrians (which is what they are doing now, in the absence of such a ramp).
These descriptions strongly risk being a bit confusing - I've attached a jpg of a sketch I just did, to show what I mean...
I was planning to ask Transportation to work on this request, but thought I'd check if you had any comments first.
Yes, everyone wants better bike access at the end of the sidewalk as Robert Stewart's sketch shows. The whole arrangement is a muddle and needs these simple fixes. I'm glad he brought it up. His description is exactly right.
His sketch for the east side is not the same as what's needed for the zamboni. But of course he's right about the need for better bike access on that side too.
There are enough places that need to be adapted to bikes or vehicle access, along that little stretch, that I think we need a site meeting there, with Robert and with rink staff too. The best thing, with all those access issues, would surely be not ramps but lowered-sidewalk sections, the same as at all intersections.
May as well build it properly and forget about the asphalt: April?
I think asphalt for the zamboni still makes sense, then we can do the two bike curb cuts properly in the spring, and also replace the asphalt for the zamboni with permanent concrete at the same time. I'll talk to Sandy and Transportation to get this coordinated.
Since this seems to be an almost snow-free winter, the zamboni has never yet had to go up that way. So I think the temporary asphalt solution is probably a waste of money -- IF the curb cuts can get put in there in April. Is there a problem with that time line?
No, that would work as well, I'll firm up the details with staff and keep you posted.
Just to let you know that I've put last winter's e-mails about the bike-related curb cuts into a "problems and follow-up" thread on the Dufferinpark web site. If you cc me on any correspondence, we can have a pretty good reference for progress on this issue. The park staff have offered to paint a sign for the barrier at the dead end, to warn motorists that there is a big fine for parking right against the barrier (the Highways Act prohibits parking against the ends of streets). And Anne the market manager can put it in the market newsletter too. That should help keep the opening clear, once the curb is cut.
And when the curb cuts and the new bike rings are all in, we should have a big cyclist party at the park. I'm so glad you brought this to the Councillor's attention -- every cyclist knows the problem, and so do the poor pedestrians!
I just wanted to see where the city is in terms of planning for such jobs (the cuts in the sidewalk, that is)...
I was just wondering whether you had any more information on when the city will make a decision and go ahead (or not) with doing the curb cuts we'd been in email contact about during the winter.
We are trying to coordinate the curb cuts with a couple other projects on the north end of the rink house (e.g. a culvert under the sidewalk for the rink drainage, a new gate in the fence to access the rink). Hope to get them all moving this summer.
I just wanted to thank everyone for efforts they have made so far - and are continuing to make - to get the curb cuts done at Dufferin Grove, particularly Chris. Slowly but surely will ultimately win the race! (to quote my grandmother).
From the September Dufferin Grove Park newsletter (pride of place on the back page), just out today:
2. TWO NEW CURB CUTS: Almost a year ago, cyclist ROBERT STEWART started lobbying the councillor's office about getting a small curb cut, leading down from the sidewalk by the rink house, to stop bikes from using the sidewalk and endangering pedestrians. It seemed good to do the missing zamboni curb cut at the same time, giving bike and vehicle access to the new paved path at the east side of the rink. PARKS SUPERVISOR PETER LEISS said it's a TRANSPORTATION department responsibility, but it took until the end of August to get a site meeting with staff from there. (Four of them had to come.) They said that it was actually the Parks supervisor's responsibility. So back to Mr.Leiss. Once he sends in the request for these simple changes, they'll get on the radar.
I found out that Dufferin Park Ave. is in the Toronto Bike Plan for a signed bicycle route. I'm going to see if I can get the Cycling Infrastructure group to expedite the signage and see if they'll take on the curb cut by the rink house at the same time. Still working on getting Parks to take on the other two curb cuts at Gladstone Avenue. Will keep you posted.