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Letter to Councillor Grimes re: Mimico Waterfront Trail Safety

Sent: July 24, 2015

To: Councillor Mark Grimes, councillor_grimes@toronto.ca

Dear Councillor Grimes,

I am writing again on behalf of the Mimico Residents Association to urge you to take immediate action to further improve the safety of the Mimico Waterfront Trail for pedestrians and cyclists.

As we outlined in our letter of April 2014 (attached), the Waterfront Trail has become a busy commuter corridor for cyclists and is increasingly dangerous for the many residents who use it.

We appreciate your recent attention to this issue in your E-Newsletter. The appearance of a couple of “SLOW DOWN” signs on the path is a welcome step in the right direction. We trust this shows your understanding and appreciation of the issue. You can read many more comments from residents about their experiences on the following pages.

Please ensure that further safety measures are investigated and implemented as soon as possible. Below is a sampling of some of the suggestions that have been submitted by residents:

  • Clear, concise signs that can be read at a glance by speeding cyclists, indicating this is a shared path, specifying a speed limit for cyclists, prohibiting e-bikes, warning pedestrians to stay alert and to stay to a specific side of the path
  • A “cyclist calming area” where the shared path begins (just West of Humber Bay Shores and bottom of Norris), with large, noticeable signs
  • Speed bumps, particularly near children’s playground areas and where path changes to shared
  • Short fence next to Amos Waites playground to stop children running onto path
  • Improve sightlines by trimming plant growth adjacent to the path
  • Painted indicators and line separators directly on the path – SLOW, SHARED PATH and which side is for which purpose
  • Consistent police presence on the path to ticket speeding cyclists
  • Some have suggested separate trails or wider paths are necessary to separate pedestrians and cyclists (others are concerned about losing greenspace to increase pathed areas) – this is an issue requiring further discussion and consultation
  • Complete review of entire area, including Mimico, to further address cycling and pedestrian safety concerns – including public consultation

Other issues that have surfaced in the discussions are winter maintenance of the path to clear ice, signage at intersections with car traffic, and location of the traffic lights at Hillside and Lake Shore moved to include Norris.

As our Councillor, we sincerely hope that you will take these concerns seriously and advocate on behalf of your community residents. We look forward to further action being taken in the short term, and to a comprehensive review and consultation in the longer term.

Thank you,

John Cary, President
Mimico Residents Association

cc: Mike Bender, Senior Manager Conservation Land, TRCA – mbender@trca.on.ca
cc: Jane McGrath, Project Manager, Waterfront Toronto – jmcgrath@waterfrontoronto.ca
cc: Waterfront Trail – Waterfront Regeneration Trust – info@wrtrust.com

Comments from Residents:

I have observed and experienced many clashes between cyclists and pedestrians along the Waterfront Trail. While cyclists may ring their bells, they almost never slow down. The bell literally seems to mean “move or I will hit you”. The clashes are nasty and the danger is real. A pedestrian was killed by a cyclist in Mississauga in 2013.
E.Code (by email)

What is being done? My dog was almost killed by a high speed cyclist last week. Another lady had her arm broken. I’d love set up radar to determine how fast the cyclists are going. My guess is between 40 and 50 KM per hour. It’s an unsafe speed on a shared path.
Something needs to be done before a child is seriously hurt or killed.
P. Heck (on the MRA Blog)

I witnessed a collision between a motorist and cyclist along the Waterfront trail last May. The cyclist was coming off the pathway onto the roadway. As soon as the cyclist touched the roadway, a motorist was attempting to make a right turn and collided with the cyclist. The cyclist sustained minor injuries… I have also seen pedestrians injured by cyclists.
It’s time for better signage and clear lanes for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. The entire area, including Mimico, needs a thorough review. I know HBS is currently under review but the area still requires more signage. It’s too bad that their review did not include the Mimico pathway. Once the signage is in place, there needs to be an awareness campaign/enforcement.
T. Vella

… I see people arguing with each other daily on the path. Something needs to be done before someone gets run over or a cyclist gets assaulted. It’s quickly reaching that point.
R. Shields (Facebook)

I had a realtor friend who’s little boy was run down by a guy on a bicycle [in Scarlett Road Park]. Little guy was in a coma for months, had to relearn everything and it was a heartbreaking situation for family. I still think bikes should have their own lanes. They fly like they’re the only ones on the path.
S.Bodnar

This path is a danger to all pedestrians and their children and pets. The cyclists treat it like it’s the Tour de France, and give no thought to those walking. My boyfriend was literally run into the other day while walking our dog, and the cyclist didn’t even so much as slow down. As to a previous post about the cyclists getting assaulted, yes, I believe it will come to that!
N. Schroder (Facebook)

Yes should be separated or speed bumps , the bikes whip around the corner so fast. I have heard about a couple dog deaths on the path. There must be some kind of solution.
U. Kuiper (Facebook)

I agree bikes should have own path they zoom to fast on the path, and you don’t even know which way to look. Its scary walking there sometimes
Margo B. (Facebook)

Bicycle riders must adhere to a speed limit of 15 km/h on such multiuse trails. They don’t, and this can cause major injuries. If riders were riding at civilized speeds, they would be able to stop if kid runs out onto the trail.
E. Tkachenko (Facebook)

These people are rude no bells no manners no home training!! I saw an elderly man riding his bike and he literally got told off because when the idiot with no bell says “TO the Left” the elderly man didn’t react quickly enough!!! Can you imagine – It happens to me everyday. Everyday I risk getting hurt when I walk my dog, thats how bad it is!!
M. Cumsille (Facebook)

Some of them thinks it’s a speedway and they won’t stop for anyone. I see them riding up and down Norris Crescent and they are in packs of 15 to 20 even when cars are turning around the bikes keep riding they don’t stop and wait for the car to turn around.
K. Colepaugh (Facebook)

EVERYONE needs to understand that it is a SHARED PATH. That means that kids/adults/dogs etc. are going to walk into it by mistake. Cyclists need to understand/realize that kids/people make mistakes and therefore should not be using the path for their training for the TOUR DE FRANCE!
Yes it is shared but not for people going at great speeds! Just like streets, speed bumps will slow people down, and accidents will be minimal.
D. Johnstone (Facebook)

I have lived here for eleven years and I’m disabled. I can’t always manage on uneven ground like gravel or grass. The paved path was a blessing. Other neighbours have also enjoyed being able to use thier wheel chairs, walkers or canes. That is until the bullying cyclists threatened and intimidated them. Most of the spandex clad bikers show no regard for other people using the path. A pack rode by me three abreast and I was hit in shoulder. I was recovering from shoulder surgery and the pain was excruciating. This is a community of people of varying abilities and ages. It should not be a speedway for disrespectful, bullying cyclists. We deserve better than this. With three children’s parks, a swimming pool and a seniors support center this is not the area to put a bike path for speeding cyclists who consider the other people using the path a huge nuisance. We are this community and this our neighbourhood. We should be able to walk the path without fear. We require police support to ticket the speeders and monitor this path. I agree numerous speed bumps would be a big help. We are an existing community of people, pets and wildlife not an cyclist’s expressway across the city.
C. Kathleen (Facebook)

Signs saying asking slower path users to keep right would be helpful as many people don’t respond to or acknowledge a bike bell. That said, clear painted lanes and a speed limit would help, as well as a fence by the mimico playground. Ideally, bikes/blades and pedestrians would have separate paths like it is along marine parade.
D. Hendsbee (Facebook)

I bike commute on it almost daily, including the weekends. In the mornings, it’s only the dog walkers with the long leashes that’s an issue. In the afternoon, people don’t realize it’s a multiuse path and meander with their children and friends on it. The park is the most dangerous that is near Mimico avenue. A short fence or something should be there for the kids not to run out onto it. Perhaps a couple of speed bumps very close together (at the end and near Mimico avenue). Some people just don’t get it that it’s a multiuse path and we all need to share it.
As for other problems, basically it needs a gravel secondary route for the walkers and kids. Then signs to tell them to use the gravel secondary route.
I would love to see the light at Hillside and Lakeshore moved to include Norris. Some cyclist will be hit there soon. There’s a bus stop just to the East and when a bus is there, there’s 0 visibility. Very difficult to cross as well due to the traffic on some days. And if I use the lights, the residents get very angry because I’m not walking my bike across which is news to me since that’s not a law and is much, much safer for all people if cyclist use that part to ride across.
Otherwise it’s awesome. A wonderful park used by many, many residents and only some minor tweaks are needed to increase some of the safely aspects.
M. Bouckaert

These cyclists have no respect for the multi purpose path. Surely, with it being multi purpose and all people should be able to walk freely and let their children run and cycle down the path. So far the accidents have been minor but its a huge accident waiting to happen, they have no regard for any one else, they do not use their bell and if they do its already when they are right behind you and there is no time to move, to my knowledge it is by law that they.must use a bell and I have not once seen anyone ticketing these cyclist. I have been narrowly missed, my dog has been narrowly missed (whom I walk on a short leash and close by my side, just in case someone wants to say something) and I’ve seen close calls with small children and the elderly. We have been complaining and nothing done for far too long its time you did something about it.
F. Sharp (Facebook)

Comments

  1. I was out walking with out of town guests along the path this weekend, and we were verbally abused by a cyclist who claimed “this is a bike path!” needless to say, we were on a section of mixed use, and he chose to use verbal harassment as his preferred method of clearing his way, rather than the more traditional bell.
    I’m also very concerned about the high volume of cycle traffic on the sidewalk on the south side of Lake Shore Boulevard between Norris and First Street, which has increased dramatically since the extension of the Lakeshore linear path. The previously bylaw signs indicating that cycling on the sidewalk could result in fines seem to have been removed ( certainly the one outside my house has gone).

  2. I went for a walk August 5 2015 along the Lakeshore trail beginning at Douglas Blvd. the trail starts at Norris Cres. I was almost run over by a speeding cyclist.

    I saw about 10 cyclists within my 20 minute walk speed down the hill completely unaware of signs saying slow down children at play or care me with a cane was walking dodging the bikes.

    One man with his family with 2 small girls all on bikes were afraid to get on the path due to the many speediing cyclists going down the path.

    I’ve lived here for 5 years and have never seen such rude fast drivers going down this hill and whipping around the corners like they were in a race.

    I don’t know if speed bumps or a separate path is the answer but this can’t go on like this.

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