Bike Share June 2017 update

Toronto City Councillor Pam McConnell convened a meeting on June 7, 2017 at Riverdale Park West because the city parks department has raised concerns about snow clearing issues with the Bike Share station in its present location. In attendance were representatives from Bike Share, Parks and Recreation, the Cabbagetown Residents Association (CRA), and Friends of Riverdale Park.

It was clear from the CRA poll run from Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2016, that all but a handful of residents wanted to keep the Bike Share station in the park and many indicated by added comments it should stay in its current location. It was also the unanimous opinion of the 11 board directors of CRA that the Bike Share station does not need to be moved. The board feels the Bike Share should be part of the park and visibly displayed. The board, reflecting feedback from its members, did not accept a previous argument, later supported by the Heritage Conservation District Committee, that the Bike Share location was detrimental to heritage concerns.

However, given this new logistics concern raised by the Parks department, the CRA agreed to participate in conversations about an alternate location for the station within the park.

At the June 7 meeting, two options presented were rejected:
– Moving the bike share outside the park; the group committed to finding a spot within the park;
– Moving the station to street parking spots bordering the park, not acceptable since parking is at a premium in our neighbourhood.

The suggestion of using the space between the parking spaces on Carlton and the sidewalk at the southwest corner of the park seemed reasonable to all parties and does not present a snow-clearing issue, according to the Parks representative. This option would keep the Bike Share station in the park and keep it in a visible location — the primary entrance to the park and near existing post-and-ring bike parking stands.

The Residents Association is here to represent your views. While the parties at the meeting felt that this was the best solution, given the concerns presented, we welcome your feedback and will continue to work with the other parties to find the best solution.

The additional purpose of the meeting was to connect the Bike Share staff with community representatives from Cabbagetown since it is likely that more Bike Share locations will be installed in our neighbourhood over the coming years and city staff has promised consultations with the community through the CRA.

Sincerely,

Phil Frei
Volunteer Board Director & President
Cabbagetown Residents Association

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7 Responses to Bike Share June 2017 update

  1. Sandy Castonguay says:

    While I support Bike Share being at the park the proposed relocation site at the s.w. corner of park is too small a footprint to handle the Bike Share racks currently located on Winchester side of park. (Unless this new location would have fewer bikes, the present rack holds 15 bikes ) Thats a very busy corner with lots of foot traffic, strollers, bikes, etc. The suggestion that this small entry plaza can accomodate 15 bike share bikes seems flawed at best. And ee don’t want to reduce the number of bike share bikes, do we ?

    Has anyone actually measured the space ? How do they expect to locate the Bike Share at that entrance without blockkng access to the existing bike lock up posts or causing further congestion at this high traffic entrance to the park.

    The Bike Share rack should stay where it is on Winchster until a well researched, properly planned and vetted alternative location is determined. Let’s do this right the 2nd time or don’t do it at all.

    And thanks to the CRA for keeping us all informed.

  2. Anita Whyte says:

    Hello,
    I live at 152 Winchester St and use BikeShare even in the winter.
    I find it difficult to understand how “snow clearing” is an issue, the stand is not on the sidewalk or on the road.
    If anything, we should have more stands: for the most part – every bike ride is one less car on the road!

    Speaking of objects in the park – what is with the rock…? How did that get approved? Should it not have been subject to a neighbourhood vote?

    Regards,
    Anita Whyte

  3. Mary says:

    Here are some thoughts on the Riverdale Park West bike-share rack from a local resident and regular bike user (400 rides/year):

    • I asked bike-share for 3 years to put racks in Cabbagetown. I am thrilled and proud to have them here. Previously I walked for ten minutes to the Regent Park stand, which was so well used, it was often empty by 10 am, or the one at Allan gardens, 18 minutes away.

    • the rack needs to be in a visible and frequented place, wherever that place is, to encourage use and facilitate safety for the riders and security for the bikes. The current placement is not in a safe place, especially in the dark. I often come home late and I take a careful look around as I approach the rack. I am not by nature nervous after dark, but if I needed emergency assistance in the current location, the closest house is about 150 feet away and I would not be heard. There are people who overnight in the park and one regularly seems to choose the bench beside the rack.

    • I use a bike year-round (almost every day that I am in Toronto) for commuting to and from work as well as to social engagements. Snow removal is important, though I never noticed a snow problem last year (I guess because work was done). Those bikes are beasts in the snow whereas my bike is not. They are much safer than lighter bikes on the road in inclement weather.

    • I often spend time in Europe, where bikes are embraced and allowed priority – as we all know (except for Mr. Trump) climate change is related to reduction of fossil fuels. Many people in Cabbagetown choose not to own a car, or not to use one often, and they may not want to own and store their own bikes. Bike-share allows shared use of bikes – an ideal concept in my opinion.

    • the Riverdale West bike-share rack is well used and is also often empty by mid-morning. People use it, so it is really important to maintain one, wherever it is placed. One proposal was to use the land along Sumach south of Carlton – well lit, near homes, unused space, no front windows looking at it (for those who find a rack unpleasant to see). A bike-share rack in front of a school on Clinton street north of Bloor uses this school boulevard effectively.

    I hope this helps to provide another perspective. Whatever is decided, please do not consider removing the bike-share rack from the park. It is a positive step in the incremental progress we are making to effect changes in the way people move around this city and it is a vital part of the modern “sharing” economy. And, in my opinion, bike racks are always a positive addition to any landscape.

    Thanks!
    Mary

    • Anon says:

      That’s a important point on security. I walk my dog and night, but don’t walk through the park. I stay right next to the cars on Sumach. Moving the rack to a place that feel most secure seems like a good idea, especially during the winter when it’s dark early.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Disappointed to hear the racks will be move and possibly downsized. The Riverdale Park racks are well used and should facilitate the main attraction of the park – that is, entry to the park and farm at the main gates (Winchester/Sumach).

    That said, a comment above does make a good point re: safety and night-time lighting in the current location.

    I do not personally find the “Heritage” argument to be compelling.

    Thanks to our reps at the CRA for representing the neighbourhood’s view. Thanks also for the comments so far, which have raised a few points I hadn’t considered.

  5. Geraldine Cameron says:

    Thank you to the CRA volunteers putting time and effort into the question of the Bike Share rack on Winchester, and all the other neighbourhood issues!

    I too do not find the “Heritage” argument compelling as a reason for moving the bikes from the current location, and would like to hear more specifics about the “snow removal concerns” which have suddenly come up.

    Winchester is a true dead end street with no houses immediately across the street and less parking. I also walk a dog in that area at night and don’t feel unsafe, but that being said, better street lighting specifically in that area would be a good safety feature.

    Carlton and Sumach is the busiest entrance to the park, the area with existing bike parking and the most vehicular parking in the area. Regular groups of students come from Spruce Court School. Carlton Street is a through street that is used regularly now since repaving and clearing the area. Traffic to the Farm, to league baseball, to the dog park and to local homes is busy and extremely so on weekends and through the summer, and we do host a lot of movie making, but never it seems on Winchester and Sumach. Quite frankly this particular corner cannot safely accommodate more permanent traffic, especially with a physical structure attached.

    Regarding the street verge on Sumach south of Carlton, my understanding is this area does not allow for adequate sunlight for the solar panels on the bike share system so would not work as a location.

    I wonder if it is possible to address the snow removal concerns, push the bike rack back from the sidewalk, or turn it perpendicular to the sidewalk?

  6. Anonymous says:

    As an Architect, I am very visually sensitive and did not notice the bike racks until I read about the controversy. There are many more disturbing things (cementary sign). Love them, just leave them!

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