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Woodbine bike lanes ease travel for two-wheelers but impact on auto traffic angers some car drivers and nearby residents

Unfinished bike lanes on east side of Woodbine were already being used on August 19 -GARY W-P

Unfinished bike lanes on east side of Woodbine were already being used on August 19 -GARY W-P

Bike lanes along the length of Woodbine Avenue from Queen Street East all the way up to O’Connor Drive are now fully installed as of August 31, but not everyone is easily adjusting to the new reality.

And criticisms that the design of the new configuration was poorly thought out seemed to have some validity given that changes are already being sought to the new set-up.

Social media platforms, particularly two Facebook groups with thousands of members each, have been so swamped with complaints from drivers and local residents that they’ve restricted posting of new threads on the topic.

While many oppose the new lanes, a poll conducted on one group geared to the Danforth-Woodbine area suggests the overwhelming majority do support the concept, if not the way it has been implemented. At its most recent count 253 people (74%) had voted in favour while only 87 were opposed.

As Labour Day arrived car drivers were anticipating horrendous traffic delays and complained the on-street parking configuration was confusing and dangerous, while some residents on nearby streets fear drivers will use their roads to avoid using the main route.

In order to make room for the lanes on each side of the road, traffic lanes have been reduced to one each way north and south, with another lane on the east side of the street designated for on-street parking spots.

New parking spot outside 1287 Woodbine Ave. led to tickets for parking in front of hydrant.

New parking spot outside 1287 Woodbine Ave. led to tickets for parking in front of hydrant.

It would appear that some tweaking of the new configuration will definitely be required, however. Already one parking spot in front of 1287 Woodbine Ave. has had to be eliminated when it was realized it was directly in front of a fire hydrant, but the issue only came to light when it was raised on social media after several tickets were issued to those parking there. (City parking representatives subsequently said the tickets would be thrown out.)

Others, including people who say they need to make deliveries to homes and businesses on Woodbine Ave., also expressed uncertainty as to how they will be able to do so with the no-stopping provisions created by the bike lanes.

While many complained that they had no idea the lanes were going in until construction started, the City Council members for the area pointed out that several consultations were held (as reported in East York Chronicle in June 2016 and when they were approved in October ) and that the lanes are here to stay.

Flyer for opening party for Woodbine Bike Lanes Sept 9

Flyer for opening party for Woodbine Bike Lanes Sept 9

However, Ward 31 Councillor Janet Davis has put a motion before the Toronto & East York Community Council for Sept. 6 to allow her to conduct a formal poll of residents on Woodbine Ave. on whether an overnight parking permit system should be implemented similar to what exists on residential streets.

(At present parking is allowed 24-7 in the designated areas on the east side of Woodbine, with no requirements to have a permit.)

Another issue that will have to be addressed was the question of garbage pickup on the boulevard, since trucks doing collections during the day have in the past pulled over to the curb lanes on either side of the street, but since completion of the lanes have been stopping in the traffic lane, creating long delays, some motorists report.

Regardless of the criticisms and tweaks that may be required, local councillors and others planned to celebrate the opening of the lanes with a ribbon-cutting at Woodbine and Danforth at 10 a.m. on Sat. Sept. 9, which some critics have indicated they may “crash” in order to stage a protest.

-By Gary Webb-Proctor

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