Biking in MTL

I've been pretty quiet the last few weeks here. Partially because I have a lot of other things I've been working on, but also because I've been spending a lot of time biking around Montreal. The city of Montreal has created two proper bike lanes that run through the downtown area, one running north/south and the other east/west. When I say "proper" bike lanes, I mean the kind with a concrete barrier separating cyclists from vehicles and a total lack of parked cars to open their doors into your path. They've done something especially clever here that I've never seen elsewhere, by grouping the bike lanes together on the same side of the road, meaning there's less space taken up over all.

It's ironic that Montreal, a city that lives under the weight of winter for so much of the year and consequently has a much shorter biking season than Toronto, would be so much more progressive with its infrastructure. The beauty of the whole situation is that you don't need to build a whole lot of them for the plan to be effective. If Toronto had two dedicated bike lanes cutting through downtown, most cyclists would have to problem going a few blocks out of their way to catch them, since they'd save a lot of time and hassle, not to mention injuries.

Anyone feel like lobbying Toronto City Council to build a few of these beauties?


Kevin Cherry said...

Umm... YES!!! One thing I've found interesting is the way that cyclists and drivers have created this culture of animosity and conflict between them, when what they want is really the same. Drivers don't like cyclists in traffic. Cyclists would prefer not to BE in traffic. The solution? Safe, dedicated commuter bike paths! I think it would be interesting to start a campaign called something like "Get Cyclists Off of Toronto's Streets!" with the goal of creating such infrastructure to get cyclists out of drivers' paths, and see what kind of support you could get from BOTH cyclists AND the SUV-driving set.

Your observation that not many of these types of bike paths would even be required to achieve the optimal benefit is certainly interesting. I think the key would be to choose the right streets. One could imagine perhaps Harbord/Wellesley for the first East-West path, and either Bay or University for first North-South path being pretty good bets. Perhaps Front for something a little more South, and either Bathurst or Dufferin for the westenders and Jarvis or Sherbourne for the eastenders? So a total of 5 streets being outfitted in this way in total, would be pretty comprehensive actually and go a long way to get cyclists out of automobile traffic, for everyone's benefit.

Anonymous said...

that is cool, Dupuis!
it's similar in Denmark - the bike lanes are raised up a bit and there's a curb to prevent cars from driving into the lanes
of course everyone bikes about 2 KM and hour and smokes, but it's ok, because they're all really hot