Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Open Letter regarding the Annette Street Bike Lanes

Ms Toft:

It was with sadness and anger that I read about the decision not to install bike lanes along Annette Street through the Junction. I moved to the Junction in March of 2007 from an area just west of Little Italy at College and Dovercourt. I had been riding my bike to work at Adelaide and Spadina for several years and wondered how the move would affect my ability to bike commute. I began bike commuting again in May of 2008 and it became quickly apparent to me that there is really no safe way to get from the Junction to downtown. Dundas is extremely busy with traffic often moving at an unsafe rate of speed. It has also recently been dug up by the gas company (Runnymede to Quebec St) and given the state of Roncesvalles (with a similar patch job that is obviously several years old) it is unlikely to be repaired any time soon. Annette, is also busy with high speed traffic and the area between Clendenan and Runnymede should be safer given the presence of several schools and a community center, but the traffic moves extremely quickly along there despite the curve in the road.

The community was consulted regarding the bike lane installation and at the September 15, 2008 meeting 81% of respondents supported full bike lanes and city staff endorsed the bike lane proposal. A great deal of work, time, and attention went into consulting those affected by this decision and to have what was clearly a well supported idea overturned at the last minute by a city Councillor acting on behalf of a Councillor that couldn't even be bothered to show up is insulting to those that gave their time and energy to their community.

I would like to take the time to remind you of the following:

- Staff studies taken at 3 different times (daytime, evening, overnight) show that even with the reduced parking capacity, there will be sufficient parking capacity to meet the demand.

- It is likely that parking will not be quite as convenient as without the lanes. However, we feel that it is no longer practical in the heart of a big city for drivers to expect to always find a parking spot within a few steps of their destination, when sufficient parking does still exist mere steps away.

- Many of the shops on Annette – including those we understand are most upset by the proposed Annette lanes – are unique in terms of the products and services they offer. They should not feel threatened by this proposal.

- Cyclists are consumers too, and keeping cyclists on a route with shops and services will benefit local businesses.

I sincerely hope that the decision to downgrade the cycling plan for Annette St to a 'shared roadway' will be overturned at the October 29, 2008 meeting and the original plans for the bike lane will become a reality. The Junction is an area undergoing a wonderful revitalization right now and new, young families seem to be well represented. Many of them cycle, many of them cycle with their small children. I would like to see their safety a priority and their decision to leave their car at home taken seriously.

Please forward this email to all Councillors regarding the above item for the Oct. 29/30 Council meeting.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

An Open Letter to Miss Lily's Cafe in Picton

It really was the most delicious latte that I have ever had. Really.

Friday, October 03, 2008

An Open Letter to the Mechanic at Curbside Cycle

Dear coffee drinking mechanic at Curbside Cycle;

Thanks for repairing my bike one whole day earlier than you had predicted. You're the best. Thanks for finding the source of the squawking noise coming from my drive train and getting rid of it. Riding home in a hail storm wasn't so much fun, but with my bike back early I was able to ride to my knitting group after dinner.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

An Open Letter to the Anonymous Police Officer

Dear Police Officer Driving the Unmarked car;

I saw you cut off that commuter on their folding bike on Adelaide Street West when you swerved impatiently around a semi making a wide left turn. Thanks for making that persons decision to ride to work a little more difficult.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

An Open Letter to the Parking Space Stalker

Dear Person Looking for a Parking Space,

This morning, while traveling eastbound on Grenadier Road I thought you were the most polite driver ever as you drove slowly behind me obviously trolling for a parking space. I felt so safe and so respected as a cyclist.

Why then, a mere 25 meters from the stop sign did you pull in front of me, turn on your right turn signal and come to a stop to back into a parking space?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Open Letter to the Horn Honkers

Dear noise polluters,

If your car is too big to maneuver around me and my bike while we are stopped at a red light, you have two options:

1) Be patient and stop honking your horn
2) Buy a smaller car

Thank you

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I'm the worst blogger ever

But I did move. That's my excuse. Towards the end of March I moved from the apartment that I had lived in since I moved to Toronto (tenant since 1998!) into a really amazing, lovely house. It is a detached house with a main floor, second floor, and a partially finished basement. It has everything we were looking for (except maybe a jazzuzi). We are still renting, but that is OK as this city is really too expensive to consider buying. So, moving took a bit of time, and then, the worst part, unpacking. Things are pretty much unpacked now, but there will be some shifting going on as we discover what works and what doesn't.

The best part of the new place is that there is a great space in the basement for the Computrainer. Now, with a concrete floor under it, and no neighbours, I can finally ride early mornings if I want.

In training news, things are moving along. It is finally time to start getting outside on the bike, which means that the long rides are going to get LONG. I have my first metric century on the schedule for this weekend. I ran the Hartwell half marathon on Aurora on the weekend. My coach Derek met me there and paced me to a 1:56:27. That's about 30 seconds slower than last year, but much faster than I thought I would be this year. This is a pretty tough course, quite hilly and the hills are fairly constant. There isn't really any section that flattens out, but there are some 'false flat' sections that feel flat after all that climbing. It was fun to run with someone else. I have acted as a personal pacer for others in the past and I know it can be a hard thing to do. You are there to help someone achieve their best, but you have to also keep an eye on any difficulties they might be having etc. Thankfully Derek wasn't/isn't too rah-rah, sometimes when you are suffering, the last thing you want is a cheerleader. He just kept a good pace in front of me and offered small bits of encouragement as we went along.

So no racing now until the Ottawa Half Marathon. Hopefully this year won't be a heat-fest because I'm ready to have a really great race.

In the past couple of days the reality of another Ironman is starting to hit me. In the middle of the day, on the streetcar, or the subway, or sitting at my desk at work a wave of panic will come over me. On one hand, I feel a bit calmer than I did last year (probably because I know what the training entails) but the panic is still there occasionaly when I think about the enormity of it!

Hope this blog post finds everyone else healthy, happy and ready to get outside and enjoy the sun!