Who Makes Municipal Decisions?

Some really dumb things get done. I suspect that certain lobbies are given visible successes to hush them up. Here are two dumb things that got done within driveable distance of where I live.

The West Mall Bicycle Lane. This was billed as going from Bloor Street to The Queensway. It does not.

The section between Bloor and the bridge over Dundas never got a bike lane. The roadway is four lanes. Parking is allowed on the east side, and there are always a few cars parked there. So the roadway isĀ  effectively one lane northbound, and two lanes southbound. It would have been possible to put a bike lane in by removing the extra lane and repainting. The homes here look prosperous, perhaps they were consulted and refused.

Somewhat south of Dundas the bike lane begins. The roadway was widened to allow this, and a sidewalk added to the west side (there has been one on the east side for ages). I marvelled that a bike lane was wanted here, as I have seen a bicycle along here exactly two times more often than I have been riding my bike along here. People don’t cycle on this road. But we now have a bike lane – sort of.

The bike lane does not reach the Queensway. Instead, it ends with no warning on a curve just as you begin to turn and descend to go under the railway tracks. Where the lane ends it is not possible to jump the curb – the sidewalk here never has pedestrians on it, so an escape for a trapped cyclist might be a good idea.The sidewalk does not go under the bridge either – at least not on the west side. The bridge is exactly four lanes of pavement, so without building a new one, it was certain that the bike lane would never go through here.

So that’s one really dumb municipal decision – a bike lane that nobody uses and ends dangerously.

Now for another weird municipal decision.

There is a place to walk, or cycle, or walk a dog that is accessible from Creekbank Road and Sismet Road. This used to be a very rough trail alongside the Etobicoke Creek until a second sewer was put through – apparently for Brampton – at which time the trail was smoothed over and paved, section by section. While the work was ongoing, there was legal parking on Sismet, everywhere. Once the work was done, a large sign was put up advertising the park, and showing where car parking was. Except that there isn’t any parking lot. And at the same time, new no parking signs were added to this street. The street is very wide, without lane markings but more than four lanes width for sure.

Finally someone had some sense and put stickers over the arrows on the last two no-parking signs, making it legal to park at the extreme end of the street.

Why would you put in a nice walkway, clean up the park, add a bridge, and then make it inaccessible? Nobody lives close to this area, it’s more or less an industrial park with the exception of one church. You are probably going to drive to get here.

I note that this location is in Mississauga, whereas the bike lane is in Etobicoke. So neither municipality has a monopoly on dumb decisions.

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