The impetus for my original Cycle Toronto proposal was to use the reconstruction of Jarvis Street as a template for future street and bike lane construction. If Jarvis Street could be reconstructed with a proper, physically separated bike lane, then it would serve as an important precedent.
From what I’ve read and seen about the project, it appears that the City has approved bike lanes for Jarvis Street. The design of the reconstruction, however, indicates that these bike lanes will take the usual Toronto form of “sharrows” (widened curb-side car lanes to be shared by cars and cyclists).
The photo below illustrates the before and after of the proposed changes. If you look closely in the “new” picture you can see cyclists riding between the cars and the trees.
This is the wrong way to construct bike lanes.
The City could easily create physically separated bike lanes by simply reversing where the trees and cyclists go. The excellently doctored photo below illustrates how Jarvis Street should be reconstructed.
As you can see in this photo, the cyclists are separated from the cars by the tree line buffer. In this scenario, all three users of the street – cars, cyclists, and pedestrians – have their own space, which creates a safer and more enjoyable experience. This is one example of how to construct physically separated bike lanes.
In Copenhagen, the above type of physically separated bike lane is common. The photos below show this type of construction in a real life example on Nørrebrogade – the busiest cycling street in Denmark.
If you’re interested in the Jarvis Street project, take a look around the City of Toronto site where you can download the environmental study report.