Sherbourne Ave segregated bike lane, Toronto


In 2012 Toronto converted some painted bike lanes on Sherbourne Street to a segregated bike lane.

Sherbourne runs parallel to Yonge Street, and is about 8 blocks east of Yonge, running from Bloor to Front Street. A walk along the bike track proved interesting.

Immediately south of Bloor, the track commences as a curbside painted lane, that then drifts out from the curb and becomes green painted. There is an orphan bit of black asphalt between it and the curb, with faded zebra hatching marks on it, but I was unable to determine if this was a right turn lane (awfully narrow) or a side boulevard or ….  Perhaps just being a rube from the hicks blinded me to its obvious purpose, but it did make me wonder just how other motorists, visitors, and many not-too-bright drivers might see and interpret this situation.


The stopped taxi in the picture above didn’t seem too concerned about where he might be and questions about the legality of the situation ..


A short bit further south, the situation became much more apparent. A low concrete mound-like curb appeared, to separate the cycle track from the motorist road. Where there is a segregating curb, the track was not painted green. Here is a close up of the mound curb, which was covered with skid marks and tire tracks, showing evidence of abundant and frequent vehicle crossings, no doubt a goodly number by Grand and Toy and UPS trucks:


Maybe it is apparent to transportation planners what all the different bits of road markings mean, but on site I thought there were way too many things to interpret: solid green paths, green lined paths, raised curbs, flat curbs, dotted merge lines, yellow bits, sharrows, diamonds … surely it would have been easier for everyone to have just painted the thing green everywhere! In this case, there was so much noise in the messages that the key points were lost.







2 thoughts on “Sherbourne Ave segregated bike lane, Toronto

  1. In Montreal they do it better.

    The major bike lanes are separated from other street traffic with major concrete dividers. My memory of these are that they are similar in size to the concrete “bumpers” used to mark out the periphery of parking lots.

    Auto traffic cannot enter the bike zone and the bikes cannot interfere with pedestrians due to the presence of the street curb.

    The other advantage of this design is that you do not ride outboard of a line of parked cars and have to worry about being “doored.”

  2. The dashed-out portion is just dead space. It’s a no-stopping zone, and space blocked off with diagonal lines generally means ‘your car doesn’t go here’. You see it more often with yellow paint, in parking lots as a cheap alternative to putting in curbs at the ends of rows.

    In this case, it looks like the City of Toronto cheaped out and didn’t extend the curb, nor even install any planters or barriers to demarcate this area as a no-go zone, and its width just invites people to park there.

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