Last Saturday, readers who also listen to the CBC awoke to a real nightmare. My dulcet tones were on the morning news, talking to Laurie Fagin about the lack of markings on the multi-user path (MUP) that runs along the north side of Scott Street and Albert Street.” Is it a bike path?” was the theme of the story. (It’s OK, you can listen to the radio today, it is Eric-free).

Long time readers may recall that last May or June I reported that the City decided to paint a yellow line down the path to clearly indicate that it is usable by cyclists too. Alas, the brushes of the line painting folks were busy doing real roads, and it was this week past before the line appeared. Yet to appear are signs, advising multi-users to share the path with other multi-users.

Not perfect, but making some progress.

the Albert MUP is an ill-considered amalgam of concrete sidewalk (for pedestrians) and asphalt path (shared use)
the path is set back from the curb for much of its length, but then runs in front of the bus stops creating a conflict amongst users

for much of its length, the route is quite pleasant to ride on

True Confessions: I first became aware of the planned “path” along the north side of the Albert before it was actually built. My letters and inquiries to the City suggesting it be suitable for cyclists, that cyclists continue behind the bus stops instead of mingling with bus patrons, that some consistent pavement standard be used … alas, all were rejected.

Out of that frustrating experience, WestSideAction was born. As was the BikeWest advocacy project. Now to be clear, the present alignment of the paths along Scott represent bike path ideas from 1980, and everyone knows the present path has many faults. Similarly, the Albert path was built by the water department and not the cycling folks, or the sidewalk folks. It just sort of appeared, ill-conceived and its faults all too obvious.

BikeWest is about upgrading these paths, replacing them bit at a time, opportunistically tying into other construction projects so that eventually we get a proper straight line path from the downtown to Westboro, and beyond. The present plans for the OLRT show significant upgrades to the paths and the near-delivery of BikeWest. More to come as details emerge.

6 thoughts on “BikeWest

  1. I really wished for a segregated lane the length of Somerset, into Wellington Village and Richmond Road to Westboro. But I suppose this will not be a bad alterntive. Probably a lot cheaper to do. Has anyone in the city suggested that Albert/Scott would just be a duplication of the Western Parkway path system?

  2. While the routes are parallel, they serve very different functions. Bikewest is attractive for utility cyclists (going to Loblaws,school, running errands, etc) and travels through built up areas rather than being attractive primarily to long-haul commuters or recreational cyclists. The ORP paths cease being used by women as soon as autumn comes and the ride home is in the dark. BikeWest and other urban paths will be lit. Being a straight line, it is also much faster than the ORP and shorter in distance and time. And having given up a few times along the ORP because of headwinds, I always found BikeWest to be much less windy.

    We have lots of roads that serve different users and purposes, and are parallel. Eventually we will have lots of bike route choices too.

  3. If I am biking along Scott I stick to the road and don’t use the MUP. It intersects with too many roads. It is worse than riding on a sidewalk in my opinion because sometimes you are screened by the trees from the cars on the road so there is every chance they might not notice you.

  4. i’ve forgotten the numbers, but there are about 16 intersections on the MUP side and 29 on the Scott (south) side, plus from scott there are all the driveways and entrances to the beer store, etc. But hey, its open to choice whether you like to play with trucks and cars or run interference with little old ladies walking yappy dogs.

    1. Scott St. is in awful condition, the path wins out for biking everytime! Especially the section from Churchill to a bit before Breezehill (that area being redone when they recently did the big water mains there).

      Sadly I can’t also drive my car on the MUP, instead I have to endure the potholes!

  5. Now hopefully the idiots that insist on biking up the single open lane of Somerset, against the traffic, or just plain ride on the single open sidewalk over the O train bridge, will have a clearer idea of where their alternate route is. I have come close to blows with cyclists who ask my son and I to step aside so they can bike on the sidewalk where the construction is taking place?

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