Think of one of downtown Toronto’s main traffic arteries, King Street for example, or Queen. Measure the width of the street, building to building. Then take a look at one of Europe’s cities, Berlin for example. Why Berlin? Because it’s the same size as Toronto, similarly in financial trouble, and yet remarkably functional in terms of automobile traffic management, public transit and bike infrastructure. Plus, it isn’t perfect in this regard, so from a Toronto point of view it doesn’t look like unattainable perfection.
So, here in Berlin, I look at the traffic-artery equivalent of Queen Street, say Kottbusser Damm. Here’s what it looks like:
As you can see, it’s about twice the width of Queen. And unlike Toronto roads, that width isn’t taken up by increasing lanes for cars. On this picture we see a sidewalk wider than a lane of traffic, an off-road bike lane (red paving) separated from traffic by a line of trees, parked bikes and parked cars. Then two lanes of traffic, just like Queen, but with a line of trees in the middle.
Poor Queen Street should never have to carry the volume of car traffic it does. It creates bad air, is unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians, leads to angry drivers and creates crazy people like Rob Ford. In Berlin, a street the width of Queen would never be asked to do the work that our downtown arteries do. It looks more like this:
So what’s my point? We can’t shift the buildings back on Queen Street. But we can start investing money in the kind of infrastructure that will get the cars off the roads and give the streets back to the people.
For a Toronto cyclist, riding through Berlin is in many ways an unexpected experience. The first thing you notice is the vastly superior infrastructure. Bike lanes physically separated from roads.
traffic lights turn green for bikes a few seconds before car signals, so bikes can get away first
and if someone does block a bike lane, the sidewalks are wide enough, and their relation to the parking area is such that you veer onto the sidewalk and not the street.
This just arrived from the Toronto Cyclists Union:
The City of Toronto has announced that it will undertake an
Environmental Assessment over the underground section of the Eglinton
Ave LRT, from Black Creek Drive to Brentcliffe Road. As you may
already know, the proposed Eglinton Ave LRT route includes bike lanes
on the surface section, but NOT the underground section. Now, the City
will explore re-designing the street surface over the underground
section. This is OUR chance to ensure bike lanes are included in the
conversation and to advocate for their implementation as part of the
final Environmental Assessment recommendations! BUT, WE NEED YOUR
This month, there will be three (3) public consultation meetings to
introduce the objectives of the study, discuss guiding principles and
provide an opportunity for the community to provide feedback. WE NEED
TO FILL THE ROOM WITH AS MANY CYCLISTS AS POSSIBLE TO SEND A CLEAR
SIGNAL THAT EGLINTON AVENUE SHOULD BE RE-DESIGNED AS A COMPLETE STREET
WITH SAFE AND CONVENIENT PROVISIONS FOR CYCLING.
Below are the meeting dates and location. You can also find more
information for each meeting here. 
ACTION ALERT: Demand Complete Streets for Eglinton by attending one
of the following public consultation meetings:
THURSDAY, MAY 17 - Fairbank Memorial Community Centre: 2213 Dufferin
Street (south of Eglinton Ave. West)
TUESDAY, MAY 22 - The Hub at Victoria Village: 1527 Victoria Park
Avenue (north of Eglinton Ave. East)
THURSDAY, MAY 24 - Northern District Library: 40 Orchard View Blvd.
(northwest of Yonge Street and Eglinton Ave. West)
ALL MEETINGS BEGIN AT 7PM AND END AT 9PM.
Together, we can make Eglinton into a Complete Street. We hope to see
Director of Advocacy
For those who have not yet discovered the sheer joy of sailing down Gladstone, here’s what you could be avoiding. Not to mention the trucks, buses and drivers breathing down your neck as you swerve to avoid the potholes.