Corp Comm Connects

Toronto cyclists forced out of Sherbourne Street bike lane by leftover construction signs and pylons

Jack Lakey
June 15, 2021

When a cycling lane at a busy intersection is impeded by stuff that shouldn’t be there, it makes Toronto’s commitment to safe riding seem insincere.

The city was quick to change course after I recently wrote about a huge concrete block plunked down in the cycling lane on Bayview Avenue, a location that an official said was the “best and safest place” for it.

They were quick to move it after Mayor John Tory read my column and asked them to reconsider --and that may be putting it nicely --prompting a change of heart about that allegedly safe space.

In an interview, Tory noted that the city has put a lot of effort into creating safe cycling infrastructure. But you wouldn’t know it at the intersection of Queen and Sherbourne Streets, where a bike lane is needlessly obstructed.

Peter Ashby sent me a note that included a photo of traffic barrels and construction signs left in the bike lane on the west side of Sherbourne, just south of Queen, saying there’s no reason for it to be there.

“Whatever danger the (pylons) at Sherbourne and Queen Streets were there to warn about has long since gone,” said Ashby “Yet the (pylons) remain, forcing cyclists onto the road.”

I went there Saturday and found not only a dozen or so big traffic barrels piled along a 30-metre stretch of the lane, but several road signs warning that the sidewalk and bike lane are closed, when they clearly aren’t.

The Sherbourne bike lanes are well-used, especially on summer weekends.

I watched riders veer from the bike lane onto the sidewalk as they crossed Queen --sometimes several at once --where they dodged unwary pedestrians.

Others swung out into the sole traffic lane on southbound Sherbourne --including a woman towing a child in a carrier behind her bike --to mix and mingle with passing vehicles.

There was no construction to be seen around the intersection that would justify the stuff. Even if there was, surely there’s a better place for it than in a busy bike lane.

The mayor would be aghast.

STATUS: I sent a note to the city asking if the stuff can be moved, and am expecting a reply that includes a hearty yes, right quick.