Tag Archives: harbord street

Protected Bike Lanes

There’s been a lot of talk in the Toronto cycling community about the city’s plans for separated bidirectional bike lanes on Harbord Street. The idea is to build a single, protected lane for cyclists travelling both east and west, extending all the way from Ossington to Queen’s Park. This would create at least one place in our city that looks like some of the more developed cycling lanes in the world’s more progressive and bike friendly cities, such as New York


or Berlin

Berlin separated path 3

or Rio

beachfront bike path Rio 3w

In the August version of Ring and Post, Cycle Toronto comes out strongly in favour of the proposal. They give a cross-section of the road configuration planned between Ossington and Spadina:


Cycle Toronto have even announced a Love-In at the Harbord Bakery (this being the business which, following an article in The Star, has come to be seen as the centre of resistance to the proposal).

The blogs are buzzing with discussions about the proposal. I’m not going to go into any detail here, since you can read the comprehensive run-down on ibiketo.ca and dandyhorse. As I see it, the more funding the city puts into projects like this, the better. Once drivers and cyclists begin to see how they can share our roads, we will find increasing support for safe roads. It may be true that, for the seasoned rider, unidirectional lanes on the north and south sides are better. But bike lanes protected by a physical barrier will get more people cycling, which means fewer cars on the roads. And it’s a small step toward realizing more comprehensive and progressive visions of what cycling in the city can be, such as, for example, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

Bikes outside restaurants

One of the pleasing aspects of cycling down Harbord Street is seeing the restaurants and Caf├ęs that make their cycling patrons feel welcome.

It’s not something to take for granted. Last night I had dinner at Acadia restaurant on Clinton Street.

A. and I pulled up on our bikes, locked them to the fence in front of the restaurant, and as we were entering, a wait staff came toward us and opened the door. I thought “Wow, welcoming place.” In fact, it was just to tell us not to lock our bikes on the fence. “Why?” I asked, “I could understand if there were tables in front and people were sitting here, but the whole area is vacant.” The reply was: “The boss doesn’t like it!”

Acadia Restaurant with Bicycle

A. convinced me not to complain, since we were there for a friend’s birthday party. So, I walked around the corner to College Street, found a vacant post, and came back to a meal which was actually pretty good. Good food (though not fabulous, and not quite up to the price), and knowledgeable, helpful wait staff.

Pity that the message sent to diners is DON’T arrive by bike! We don’t like cyclists here!

Back to Harbord Street. What a pleasure to find places like Terrazza with its innovative Bicycle Park.

Or the Sam James Coffee Bar