Streetcar rails a poor fit for College St. cycling lane
Complaints continue to pour in from bike riders who are fed up with the long iron rails that have inhabited the cycling lane on the north side of College St., west of University Ave. since early spring.
I wrote a column last June detailing how the TTC uses the curb area as storage space for new streetcar rails that are to be used for nearby track replacement, because the rails are long, unwieldy and hard to move.
The rails always interfere with bike traffic, which travels close to the curb, but when they occupy a well-used cycling lane like the one on College, it pushes cyclists out of an area that provides them with at least some measure of safety.
The TTC said last June that the rails on College are for a track replacement job on nearby McCaul St., which would likely wrap up by November. But like so many TTC projects, it is unlikely to be done that soon.
Readers who didn’t see my column about the rails on College have been asking about them ever since, including lawyer Sheldon Silverman, who sent us a copy of a letter of complaint to city Councillor Adam Vaughan.
Silverman said the rails have been there for six months, “and are rusting very badly. I cannot see why these tracks should be blocking the bicycle lane for such a long period of time.
“I can assure you that if any cyclist is injured or dies because these tracks are there, I shall volunteer to testify as to the negligence of the City of Toronto and the TTC.”
In his letter, Silverman asked why they can’t be stored somewhere else until they’re needed, which is a reasonable question, given that they force cyclists out of their own space and into vehicular traffic.
It’s one thing for the TTC to say it’s their practice to pile the tracks next to the curb until they are needed, but when they occupy a bike lane on a heavily travelled street for many months, it is asking for trouble and should re-examine the policy.