Ontario Place needs all the good PR it can get, but it isn't scoring many points these days with cyclists or local councillors.
On June 5, in the middle of Bike Week , the park put up a chain-link fence at a fork in the Lakeshore West bike path to keep cyclists from cutting through its parking lot. So now, instead of being able to cut across the lot, cyclists are being forced onto Lakeshore Boulevard.
Says cyclist David Juliusson . "They have stopped people from taking the safest, most convenient way around their complex."
But Ontario Place officials argue that safety for both cyclists and visitors is the main reason they don't want people cutting through the lot.
"There are cars, walkers and more cars," says Ontario Place chair David Crombie . "Ontario Place has concerts every night, and it really is a problem in terms of bikes using [the lot]."
Despite the fact that it's a municipal bike path, city councillors seem to have been left out of the loop on the lane closure. Area rep Joe Pantalone says, "It seems very inappropriate to be diverting cyclists. We should be making it easier for them, not harder."
City cycling committee chair Adam Giambrone has written a letter to Ontario Place management telling them that it's imperative to let cyclists through.
"The path serves as a major east-west connector, and this section is a pretty important part of it, so we need to figure out how to get this back open again."
The Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation is in the midst of improving the bike paths from Marilyn Bell Park to the port lands. The plan involves revamping the section of the Martin Goodman Trail at the centre of the current dust-up next year.
"We'd be more than happy to meet with some of the cyclist groups," says the park's corporate affairs and guest services manager, Jonathan Daley . "Hopefully, we'll have a trail that everybody can feel comfortable with, use and be happy with."