On September 30th, Marvin Macaraig, TCAT’s Scarborough Cycles Project Coordinator, led a group ride in Scarborough. Scarborough Cycles is funded by the Metcalf Foundation’s Cycle City program, which aims to build a constituency and culture in support of cycling for transportation.
The 16 km ride showcased some of the distinct challenges and hurdles that need to be addressed in order to help facilitate cycling in suburban areas. The route crossed several major intersections, arterial roads, different types of shared roadways, and multi-use pathways.
Planned stops allowed participants to provide immediate feedback regarding the different infrastructural impediments and psychological barriers they felt while riding in a suburban area. Participants saw first-hand how Scarborough’s cycling infrastructure could be dramatically improved using best practices from other jurisdictions to increase safety for all road users.
One observation that surprised participants was how close (1 – 2 km) the Gatineau Hydro Corridor Trail is situated to major transit hubs (Kennedy Station and Scarborough Town Centre) and other important destinations like The Scarborough Hospital, Centennial College, and the University of Toronto Scarborough.
Despite the trail’s proximity to these destinations, wayfinding is an issue for pedestrians and cyclists as there are very few maps on the trail. Conceivably, these shortcomings will be addressed with the eventual implementation of Toronto’s Parks and Trails Wayfinding Strategy, which incorporates an integrated system that uses simplified directions, maps, and landmarks, similar to the pilot project launched for the downtown core this year.
These small infrastructure investments would go a long way to improving connectivity in Scarborough and thus cycling for transportation. Overall, the participants (several from out of province) experienced a safe and enjoyable ride, and the event was a great way to kick off this year’s Complete Streets Forum.