One of the tricky aspects of the planned pedestrian and transit improvements to Roncesvalles is the TTC’s desire to put transit-boarding platforms right beside the streetcar tracks to enable fully accessible boarding by wheelchairs (not to mention baby strollers and anyone with mobility difficulties) when their new low-platform cars come into service. The problem is that this doesn’t leave enough room for bikes to go by safely on the road, because the platforms squeeze them too close to the dangerous tracks (when there’s a streetcar boarding, of course, bikes wouldn’t be passing anyway, because that’s not supposed to happen …).
The city is trying to design a system for providing a way for bikes to get by without getting tangled up with people waiting for the streetcar. So I was interested, while I was in Copenhagen earlier this summer, to see that they had worked out a quick-and-dirty way of making this work. On a street called Norrebrogade where they took out a lane of traffic, they made a simple asphalt transit platform, and routed the bike lane behind it. You can see in the photo above that the bus stop sign is still where it used to be, on the sidewalk. But people can just wait on the new platform while bikes go behind them. The bike path behind the platform is raised so that the trip to the platform is level, but it’s pretty clear to everyone which part is platform and which part is bike lane. I don’t know if they’re planning on making these a little more developed in the future.
This particular solution might not be feasible on Roncesvalles because there might not be enough space and because part of the point of the project is to expand sidewalk space at corners. As well, given it’s an “improvement” project, I would expect whatever they put on the new Roncesvalles to look better. But it does show that there are often simple solutions to these problems. You can see in the pic below that cyclists are warned of the shift in direction and/or the change in grade by blue paint on the road.