Advocacy progressing on Greenboro Pathway Missing Link
The Better South Keys Centre (BSKC) group has been hard at work progressing the vision for the Greenboro Pathway Missing Link and so we wanted to give an update.
In the spring, we hosted a community bike ride to discuss the Greenboro Pathway Missing Link and take people physically through the area to show the identified issues. This was a continuation of our work advocating for this project, including writing to Councillor Bradley in February 2022. The goal was to ride the missing link between the Greenboro Pathway and South Keys Station with stops for discussion. In addition, members of the BSKC technical committee, during an afternoon rush hour leading up to the event, surveyed people cycling through the Dazé/Cahill/Bank intersection about cycling in the area. BSKC then also hosted a design workshop on July 27, 2023, where members of the community sat together and discussed improvements. We also were delighted to host Councillor Bradley on a separate ride of the route on July 15, 2023.
Here, we would like to outline feedback from the ride, outreach, and design workshop to highlight the next steps to bridge this gap in the safe and comfortable cycling network. All of this has been shared with Councillor Bradley as well.
Participants in the ride and attendees at the design workshop value the Greenboro Pathway network. Cleared in winter and lit at night, the Greenboro Pathway enables them to cycle at any time, all year to a library, schools, a community centre, medical and small retail, recreation/sports facilities, parks, and splash pads. Most importantly, it can be used by all – where a parent is comfortable letting their child ride on their own.
When Better South Keys Centre’s missing link proposal was shared with the people cycling through the Dazé/Cahill/Bank intersection, they all saw potential waiting to be unlocked. It would encourage them and their neighbours to be and feel safer “cycling to pick up and drop off children at daycare”, “cycling to work”, “getting to the gym”, and “going on family bike rides”. During the intersection rush hour surveying, counts were collected. 39 bikes passed through the intersection from 4:15-5:45 PM (30 in peak 4:30-5:30 PM hour) of which 12 people on bikes were interviewed. The most popular direction of cycling travel was westbound through the intersection.
At the design workshop, the participants were split into two smaller groups to encourage discussion, and both groups converged on the idea of having a two-way protected bike path on the north side of Cahill and Dazé. As with the ride, the Dazé/Cahill/Bank intersection was raised by everyone as the single worst part of the route. There was agreement that Dazé did not need all the lanes that it has, and the median could be landscaped instead of asphalt. There was also a desire to extend the pathway to, along, and beyond Albion to connect with the other “forks” of the Greenboro Pathway.
The riders and design workshop participants reached a consensus that concrete curb/barrier separation would be best, but that painted cycle lanes would provide some improvement. Separation would include a protected intersection at the Dazé/Cahill/Bank intersection.
At the moment, part of this proposal is encompassed in the new Transportation Master Plan (TMP) list of Active Transportation Projects. Better South Keys Centre would like to see an expansion of the scope of this project to ensure that it covers the entire missing link – creating a seamless connection across Bank Street.
It is also a good sign that other projects listed in the TMP, such as the nearby Johnston Road and Bank Street bridge over-the-rail-line aspects, were organically brought up by participants in the ride. This means that they are on the minds of people who are not necessarily aware of the TMP process. Before the prioritization of the projects and timelines are complete, we think that easily achievable changes such as wayfinding can be made in the interim.
One of the easiest low-hanging fruits on this missing link proposal is wayfinding. While the Greenboro Pathway includes extensive wayfinding, the signage ends at Pushman Park and the map does not even include Bank Street. Some riders sought a yellow centre line along the main Greenboro Pathway to distinguish it from the smaller paths connecting to it. Others mentioned how many people are not even aware that one can travel through South Keys station and access the Sawmill Creek pathways leading to Hog’s Back/Mooney’s Bay and beyond, something that signage and pavement markings can help with. Signage would also be key in drawing attention to the soon-to-be-open Greenboro and South Keys O-Train stations.
Using the public input and our collective expertise, BSKC has developed a short-term, low-cost option that avoids construction at the Bank Street signalized crossing. We also have proposed an ultimate plan of a protected intersection at the Dazé/Cahill/Bank intersection and other improvements which is potentially feasible as part of the planned resurfacing of Bank Street in the next three to five years.
Other changes can also be made to South Keys Station. Currently, there are minimal bike parking spots and no secure/indoor bike parking. As well, there is a lack of bathroom facilities. The excellent location of South Keys on the cycling and transit network makes it a strategic location for these investments, especially after the O-Train part of the station opens along with the proposed transit plaza.
We hope that you find value in the perspectives we see in the community from the bike ride and cycling outreach. We have asked that Councillor Bradley consider the next steps we shared as we believe they form the foundations for a vibrant South Keys Centre embracing healthy living.
(Updated November 1, 2023) Councillor Bradley shared that a consultant has been hired to design the missing link. She met with city staff who were supportive of most of the BSKC ideas and now it’s actually getting designed, with a goal of being able to implement something as early as spring 2024.