Finding parking in downtown Toronto is nearly impossible — even when you’re riding a bike.
Sometimes, you have to get creative. One day, I was running late for a class at the Ted Rogers School of Management. I looked up and down the street, only to find a row of full bike racks. Not wanting to be late for a test, I desperately locked my bike to a tree.
When I got out of class, I went to my bike and found a typed-up note that read, “Please do not lock your bike to a tree, it kills the tree and you should have more consideration for the environment.”
I felt bad because I care about the environment — that’s one reason why I bike! I see trees getting abused by bikes all the time, presumably put there by cyclists like me who couldn’t find anywhere to park.
The other day, I was getting off the new bike lane on Richmond Street — a quick route west through downtown — and I saw new trees with black cages wrapped around them, planted on the sidewalk. Each tree was locked with three to five bikes, because it was just the right height and width to lock a bike on. I locked mine there as well and thought this is great, and the best part — no damaged trees.
This got me thinking: what if the city utilized this space and, in a combined green effort, planted trees with a protective cage that could be used to lock multiple bikes? After all, it’s happening regardless of the city’s intentions and we could always use more trees.
Yonge and Dundas is lacking in both bike racks and green space. Despite Ryerson having ample bike racks on campus from Victoria Street over to Mutual Street, it seems like the students of Ted Rogers School of Management are forced to walk a block or two to their classroom.
The past year has seen many victories for cyclists, like the completion of the Martin Goodman Trail along Queens Quay, which easily takes me from the East Beaches to Etobicoke along the waterfront.
A lot of people say they are afraid to ride a bike downtown. I say, it’s the fastest, most eco-friendly (not to mention free!) way to travel for a university student. Having bike lanes on major routes and streets is a crucial part of making biking in the city safer.
I hope city council makes bike lanes permanent and extends them over to Bloor Street East, so that they cover both east and west sides of the city, so all students within the city limits can bike.
Broadview Avenue was just repaved this past summer with no bike lanes. Why? It’s the connecting street between the Bloor Viaduct and Don Valley Parkway’s connecting bike path.
We need to keep putting the pedal to the metal to make roads safer for cyclists — and in turn, it won’t be long until we can all ride to Ryerson.
For more information on bike lanes or to map your route, visit this helpful guide from Torontoist.