Got a chance to check out the much talked about - and ridiculed - new Jarvis bike lanes Monday evening.
Wow. Smooooth. Beat the rush hour traffic going away.
Felt good for once not being shoved to the curb by a train of heavy metal (ignoring for the moment the cab parked in the newly-painted lane in front of the Hilton at Dundas).
Doubt motorists barely inching their way up the street in their air-conditioned cubicles felt my sense of exhilaration.
Only a couple of minutes will be added to motorists' commute now that the left turn lane has been removed, but car traffic up Jarvis from my vantage point in the saddle seemed interminably slow.
But if the idea of bike lanes was really to piss off Rosedalians who use Jarvis to get downtown, why stop the lanes at Isabella?
Why not extend them up Mt. Pleasant? There's certainly the room on little-used sidewalks clear up to St. Clair.
Otherwise, Jarvis's bike lanes could end up making life more dangerous for cyclists.
One night does not a scientific study make, but maybe city engineers need to give some consideration to speeding up the traffic lights to move car traffic more quickly and uniformly up Jarvis.
Here's what I observed: the one less lane going north backs up traffic until the top of the street, when all of a sudden, all becomes clear as Jarvis turns into Mt. Pleasant.
Perhaps that's the idea, to slowly release traffic from the downtown core and make streets heading north out of the city more free flowing - a little like what's done with traffic lights on highway on-ramps in some American cities to avoid bottlenecks.
The unintended consequence for cyclists traveling up Mt. Pleasant, however, are cars just released from the jam on Jarvis whizzing by, without the relative safety of bike lanes to provide some measure of protection for those on two wheels.
The speed limit is currently 60 kilometres per hour on Mt. Pleasant.
But most motorists bomb up and down the twisty and hilly section south of St. Clair when the opportunity presents itself, despite semi regular police speed traps (and only then during the morning rush).
There was talk of council reducing the speed limit on Mt. Pleasant after two boy racers speeding up the road killed a cabbie trying to make a left onto Whitehall a couple of summers ago. The speed limit on most of the city's arterials is 50 kilometres per hour.
But as traffic claming measures go, bike lanes would be the best option.
Rosedale types might learn to appreciate the calmer commute downtown and the creation of a more pedestrian boulevard. Jarvis is certainly on its way to becoming one, thanks to bike lanes. [rssbreak]